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GRE best way to improve scores

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zorran

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:eek: Any advice on improving the GRE. I just hate that test. I can not seem to do very good here at all.:confused:
 

egghead115

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Don't take a GRE prep course. It's a waste of money if you have the discipline to study on your own.

After reading Amazon reviews, I picked up the edition of the Barron's guide that included an interactive CD. The book was very thorough, and I spent about a month carrying around vocab flashcards and practicing math problems. For me, a month of earnest preparation was successful.

Some helpful features of the Barron's Guide:
-CD had several complete sample tests, which let you practice taking a the test on the computer
-Large glossary of common (and less common) vocab words
-MANY practice problems, organized by section and type of problem. The BEST way to master any section is to simply work out any problem you can get your hands on. Sounds tedious, but it worked for me when I was having a hard time completing the math section on time.

Another tip: Don't assume you know how to solve the math problems bc they only involve high school level math. Practice HOW to take the test, learn the typical types of problems they ask.

Good luck!
 

mistifical

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I took the Princeton Review. The cost wasn't that bad... also, if you are a member of honors societies such as NSCS or Golden Key you may be eligible for discounts (not sure how this works, I didn't find out until after the fact). It help me with the discipline to learn the vocab (my weakness) and I got a little extra help with some random advanced quantitative problems that were getting me stuck. My teacher also happened to be really helpful and met with each of us one on one in her own time before our exam.

If you do have the discipline to do it all on your own, see if you can get their books. Even just working through the princeton review prep books on their own will give you some good review and strategies for the test.

Have they changed the test yet?? I know there was discussion of it when I took the test and I took a peek at the 'experimental' section and it seemed pretty tough (for the fill in the blank you had to choose each word by itself... you couldn't eliminate one answer because the other worde didn't fit). But they also are supposodly getting rid of analogies.
 

kate_g

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There's a free exam prep website (not the GRE website itself) that's pretty good, it's got a bunch of tutorials on how the questions work (and strategies for answering them efficiently), and a bunch of practice questions. It also has a vocabulary drill that's just about learning the words (i.e. questions are not in the style of the exam, just choose the correct definition).

Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the website. I heard about it on this forum, but a quick search didn't turn up the link. Anybody else know what I'm talking about?
 

Emio

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If you do have the discipline to do it all on your own, see if you can get their books. Even just working through the princeton review prep books on their own will give you some good review and strategies for the test.
This is what I did, and I'll be honest... I had to study aallllll summer before I got a grip on my vocab flashcards. Every night I'd sit down with a little stack of 'em and work through them. A card usually didn't leave the stack for the "know" stack for a week. But it worked... I might even still know most of them, lol. The review book was really helpful in just sitting down and practicing reading comprehension and math problems that I hadn't even considered since high school.

Good luck!!
 

alonepear

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I took a GRE prep course, it was a local one geared towards working adults wanting to go back to school for a graduate degree. And because it was local, it was only a fraction of the cost of a Kaplan or Princeton Review course.

It was the right choice for me, because it organized the information over a 10-week period which made it very easy for me to continuously be motivated to tackle everything. When I had previously tried studying myself, I skipped around through a few GRE prep books, but I never really reviewed everything I needed to.

My scores improved only a little in the verbal after the course, but a WHOLE lot in the math. And I got a perfect writing score (not that any vet school even looks at that score though!...)
 

JumptheMoon

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I would definitely recommend practicing on the computer - especially for math. I never had any problems with timing when I practiced on paper, but it's a whole different ballgame when the problem is on the screen and you have to do all of your work on scrap paper.
 

4theanimals

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I agree with what everyone has said about vocab flashcards - they are your friend. You can carry a stack everywhere you go and look at them when you waiting in line, etc.

I too took a local prep course. It was around $300 bucks and for that price you could take it as much as you want. That was great for me. I went to the class three times. Took practice tests in between and noted what I needed to work on and pay attention to in the next class.
 

raiderj

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take as many computer-based practice tests as possible. go back to the questions you missed and review why you missed them. studying from a book is a complete waste of time. this applies to vocab too. it's a much more effective way to figure out which words you really know and which words you don't...and you'll remember 'em better when they cause your score to decrease!
good luck!
 

QTkitty

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I'm so glad to hear that I'm not the only one who spend so much time studying for the GRE! I, like Emio, spend ALL SUMMER studying vocabulary. I started with the Kaplan and memorized all of the vocab and math equations. I'm pretty good at math so I wanted to know the equations to expect but didn't waste any time practicing the problems. Anyway, after the first time I took the test my verbal score still sucked after studying through the vocab in the book so I finally opened my CD where I came to find out there were ~400 more vocab words. I thought making 400 flash cards would be rediculous so I printed a list of the words and highlighted the ones that I knew and would write a very short definition of the ones I didn't know next to the words. I carried this list around everywhere and ended up improving my verbal score over 100 pts (I ended up with a 550, which I know still isn't great but I was proud of myself for improving so much). So I think you should study the way that works for you but it seems that, for the people with the discipline to study on their own, the books really helped. I don't know anything about the prep courses, sorry.
 

RazorDoc2010

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I agree to take as many CATs as possible...

For me, I was taking 13 summer school hours while working 50 minutes away so I needed to take the classroom course from Kaplan to make me fit time in to my schedule to study. It all depends on what you'll be doing in the months up to your test date on whether you can just use a book or if you think you need the classroom. Oh, and another piece of advice...know the policy of the schools you're applying to...for instance, I thought "why waste my time trying to write some stellar essay that will only give me 6 points tops" and then after I took it I found out that K-state will convert that score to a score out of 800 making it much more important than I thought!
 

cyrille104

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Just get the books that come with CAT practice test CDs. I improved my scores by 200 points and aced the math section with them.
 

jomiel

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After you've taken the actual GRE, which practice books/tests match up the best to GRE's level of difficulty, questions, vocabulary, etc.?

The three top prep companies (Kaplan, Princeton, and Barron) vary in their difficulty and areas of coverage coverage for SAT and APs, and I assume this would be true for GRE too.
 
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cyrille104

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After you've taken the actual GRE, which practice books/tests match up the best to GRE's level of difficulty, questions, vocabulary, etc.?

The three top prep companies (Kaplan, Princeton, and Barron) vary in their difficulty and areas of coverage coverage for SAT and APs, and I assume this would be true for GRE too.

I used Kaplan. Their tests are a little more difficult than the actual test, but they are still the same types of questions, and when you take the test you'll be pleasantly surprised with how well you did. Maybe that's their marketing strategy, I dunno...but it worked for me.
 

k9 <3er

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Their tests are a little more difficult than the actual test, but they are still the same types of questions, and when you take the test you'll be pleasantly surprised with how well you did.

i agree. i bought seven books and did all of their problems and was praying to break 1,000 because of my poor performance on those practice problems. and when i took the actual test i did a lot better than i ever thought i could because many of the same types of questions came up (and even same vocab words) and the actual test problems just seemed easier than the ones in the book.
 

JIKJen124

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I went all out and got a private tutor for the Kaplan program. I had struggled to get SAT scores that were in line with my grades and potential when I was applying to undergrad. Given this history, and lack of results from the Princeton Review group course I took 4 years ago for the GRE, I decided to go for it. It was expensive certainly, but not nearly as costly as another year without my DVM would be.
 

Boxsterluv

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My vote is to save some money and buy a review book, if you have that type of discipline. I really liked the Kaplan book, and the CD that goes with it is really helpful. The little games are kind of elementary, but they take away the monotony of vocab - card after card after card.. Also, the practice tests are awesome, make sure you do a few so you get a feel for what you're in for. Also, when you're actually at the test, take advantage of the little break they give you.. Bring a snack like a granola bar or banana or something, and use your whole break, give your mind a minute to rest before tackling the rest of the test.

Good luck!
 

Monkey85

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I took a different approach to the vocab. section than most people have posted. I went to M-W.com and signed up for the word-a-day email. Everyday you get a new word in your email account. It's a good way to get exposed to many new words. The one down side is that the words aren't necessarily from the GRE Most Common word lists. For the math I used Barron's review book and did as many practice problems as I could. If you've only taken the exam once I would consider taking it a second time before getting overly concern. My friend and I did considerably better on the verbal section the second time with little prep. I think you can focus better the second time. On another note, if you get significant financial aid from your college you will probably be able to get a fee waiver. It will save you the $125 for the test. It helped me out when you are spending a ton on applying.
 

cyrille104

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I took a different approach to the vocab. section than most people have posted. I went to M-W.com and signed up for the word-a-day email. Everyday you get a new word in your email account. It's a good way to get exposed to many new words. The one down side is that the words aren't necessarily from the GRE Most Common word lists.

I've been on that list for years and the words tend to be either words that I already know, or specialty words that no one ever uses (like words that come from phrases in other languages). You could always try it, though
 

PAThbrd

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I really liked www.number2.com, specifically the vocab builder. Several of the words from there were on the GREs when I took them.
 

fargeese

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This is not a short term answer, but sort of a long term funny one :)

I did really well on the verbal, because I read alot of crappy romance novels to de-stress. Anyone who has ever read a romance novel knows that most of the writers are not very good, and seem to hit the thesaurus all the time. I have learned more obscure vocabulary words (and not just the synonyms for throbbing, BTW) reading crappy fiction.

In fact, one of the questions from my GRE was straight out of a romance:

Pick the opposite of COMPROMISE:

a. something
b. something
c. protect one's honor
d. something else

Straight out of a regency romance. I don't know if the same is true for bad murder mysteries but it would be interesting to find out. Of course I know most of us have little time, but incorporating reading, maybe just a few minutes a day before bed, can do more than you think. I didn't even have to bother studying for the verbal.
 

Cheska

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This is not a short term answer, but sort of a long term funny one :)

I did really well on the verbal, because I read alot of crappy romance novels to de-stress. Anyone who has ever read a romance novel knows that most of the writers are not very good, and seem to hit the thesaurus all the time. I have learned more obscure vocabulary words (and not just the synonyms for throbbing, BTW) reading crappy fiction.

LMAO.... My mom got me hooked on romance novels when I was about 12 and I think you are right about that verbal score on the GRE, it was definitely my strength!

And I must say it is very brave of you to admit to reading them, I always get made fun of! :p
 

fargeese

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Everyone makes fun of me too, but there is something to be said for not having to ever study for verbal sections on tests! I think it would be preposterous to relinquish my partiality for bathetic potboilers because people cogitate they are hackneyed.

Goodness, I had to think a minute on that sentence :)
 

kate_g

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I really liked www.number2.com, specifically the vocab builder. Several of the words from there were on the GREs when I took them.
Aha! That's the website I couldn't think of earlier. I liked it too. (-:

Oh, and it might be less... um... entertaining... than trashy romance, but all the 18th and 19th century literature I read for my English minor had a similar long term vocab-enhancing effect. Some of it is even pretty light and enjoyable, not the Faulkner-esque kind of stuff that makes your head hurt. So if you've got a summer to study, you could go to the library and check out some classics for summer reading, and then feel both culturally enlightened *and* prepared for the GRE. :)
 

peco

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Aha! That's the website I couldn't think of earlier. I liked it too. (-:

Oh, and it might be less... um... entertaining... than trashy romance, but all the 18th and 19th century literature I read for my English minor had a similar long term vocab-enhancing effect. Some of it is even pretty light and enjoyable, not the Faulkner-esque kind of stuff that makes your head hurt. So if you've got a summer to study, you could go to the library and check out some classics for summer reading, and then feel both culturally enlightened *and* prepared for the GRE. :)

totally agree.
i was taking a semester of American literature class last fall when I took the GRE at the same time. it helped a lot because usually you will see short articles asking literature related stuff in GRE. so if you have a background or have an idea on the authors that GRE mentions, it helps you better understand the articles and answer questions.
 

jomiel

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In fact, one of the questions from my GRE was straight out of a romance:

Pick the opposite of COMPROMISE:

a. something
b. something
c. protect one's honor
d. something else

Straight out of a regency romance.

Hahahaha.


Thanks for all the suggestions on GRE prep books. I ended up buying two Barrons and the Kaplan Verbal workbook, so I will have plenty of material to study from beside my ETS and Princeton books.

One other question. Aside from analytical writing and the progressive answer test-taking software, the GRE's content seems to closely mirror ETS's other biggie, the SAT. I was planning to reuse my SAT strategy of review test taking skills, study vocab, and take a sickening amount of practice tests. So besides the similarity in test preparation, do you guys also see a correlation between your SAT and GRE scores?
 

ri23

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I think if you did well on the SAT, you will probably also do well on the GRE. The math sections are pretty much identical from what I remember. Also, there is this website, flashcardexchange.com that has a lot of GRE vocabularly flashcards from various GRE books. I found it really helpful and the best way to improve your score is improve your vocab!
 

ZoeyBay

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Here is some info I recieved in an email from my school regarding the new GRE's that might be of interest for those applying in the future...

1. The current GRE format will be given through the end of July 2007. There will be NO GRE tests given in August. The new format will begin in September.

2. The test will go from a 2&#189; hour exam to a 4+ hour exam

3. The current scoring is on a scale of 200 - 800 points for each section. The new scoring will be on a scale of 130 - 170. (It will take a while for schools to determine how to norm these new scores / compare them to the old scoring system.)

4. The current test is offered every day that the Prometric testing centers are open. The new version will be offered up to 30 times each year. It is likely, however, that there will be additional testing centers, not just Prometric.

Kaplan is recommending that individuals who are considering going to graduate school in the near future take the test NOW before it changes. Why? Because it is a known entity. There are a lot of study materials, practice tests, etc. available. As with anything new, it will likely take a few administrations of the new version to work out kinks, establish scoring norms with the new scoring system (I think the plan is to use the first three sets of scores), etc. Test scores are valid for 5 years - even if you take the current test now - those scores will be valid for 5 years.
 
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