GRE Study Timeline

Discussion in 'Pre-Physical Therapy' started by jdaniels360, May 8, 2013.

  1. jdaniels360

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    Hey guys,

    So i just signed up to take my GRE on June 15th (7am was the only available time slot :mad: ), obviously this varies by person, but in general, is 5 weeks enough time to be adequately prepared and come out with a decent score? I've been looking over a few things in my book the last two weeks and am now starting to work through practice problems.

    Also, I'm focusing more on the math as it seems to be my weak spot and I wouldn't want that section alone to destroy my overall score. >300 is obviously the goal. I'm not too worried about the vocab and have been learning group words and origins etc. As for the AW, I've heard length will get you more points?

    Any advice on any of the above would be great! :D

    Joe
     
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  3. nicolej5

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    If anything you want to focus more on verbal. You need to get a good score on that as a lot of programs use that as a gauge to how well you will do on the board test. The verbal section isn't as simple as memorizing words and having a large vocab. I studied for only a month and barely skated by with my verbal. If I could do it again I'd set aside a few months.
     
  4. Balliamo402

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    I agree with Nicole - you might want more than 5 weeks. Would you consider rescheduling? I spent roughly 2 months preparing (basically dedicated more than half of my summer break to it, with just enough time to relax afterward before the fall semester of my senior year started! :D).

    It's good that you're no longer just reviewing material and have begun doing practice problems. However, I think my biggest piece of advice with regard to the GRE is to continually do practice tests, not just problems. And time yourself. That way, you'll have a good idea of how you'll want to pace yourself for the actual exam. I took Kaplan's online course, which to me was totally worth the investment, especially since it provided practice tests (I think a total of 8), which I spread out over my 2 months of preparation.

    Hmm, I haven't heard that length necessarily gets you more points. Since the AW section is really meant to test your reasoning skills, focus more on making valid points and supporting them really well. Quality over quantity. ;)
     
  5. MFS6

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    I studied for about 8 weeks and thought that was a pretty good amount of time...it was nice not to feel too pressed for time, but I know people have done well who haven't studied for quite as long. It seems like different studying strategies work for different people. I think overall taking a lot of practice tests is always a good idea. Take them from a variety of sources if possible (from study books, from the ets site, etc). I've heard good things about magoosh also. Figure out which section is the hardest for you based on your practice tests, and focus on that. Nicolej5 said to focus more on verbal, but in my case verbal was the section I easily scored high on, and I had to work much harder to boost my quant score. It just depends on the person. Good luck!
     
  6. jdaniels360

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    Thanks guys, some great advice so far. I'm a good writer, and I'm well aware of that. I analyze text well, and with haste, however that doesn't mean I'm going to skip over the verbal stuff. My math is extremely rusty and i feel i need to get that to a minimum before test time. If i have to take it again i will. With the current time frame I'll take it again on July 15th, which is in plenty of time to submit a timely and thorough application.

    PS Balliamo, you said you spent half your summer preparing, if anyone else utilized this strategy, when were your applications submitted? I'm worried about not getting it in early enough. However, like most people, I wouldn't mind seeing where i stand after the first crack at it (hopefully i won't need a retake).

    Any other advice is much appreciated.

    Joe
     
  7. nicolej5

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    oh BTW start spending a lot of time on the internet. Seriously. Start reading random articles or study for the test with online tools. If you aren't used to staring at a computer screen for 4 hours you will suffer during the test. I had a pounding headache by the time I was done and I had to take frequent "stare away from the screen" breaks near the end.
     
  8. jdaniels360

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    haha alrighty sounds good to me. I was planning on taking a test a weekend for the next four or five weekends. So i should have 4/5 tests under my belt by the time i take the test.
     
  9. Oregon48

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    I think the biggest thing to remember is that the material on the test isn't hard... because it doesn't test you on what you know, the GRE tests you on your ability to use logic and critical thinking skills. So you can study the math all you want, but the actual skill level probably doesn't get above basic algebra/geometry (although if you do super well it keeps taking you up to the next level and perhaps the skill set does get harder...). I would buy a book pronto or take a course to understand what I'm talking about... being able to solve quadratic equations or remember surface area formulas won't help you as much because the test is incredibly fast... the point is not to solve the quadratic equation but be able to look logically at the problem and see where the "trick" is to get the answer quickly. Because you'll only have roughly a minute per problem and inevitably will get tripped up on one and don't have much time to actually solve stuff. As for vocab... just study vocab cards every day! I took a Kaplan course and found it very helpful, but you probably don't have time for that if you're already slated for mid-june. Unless you're applying early decision I would push it back to July personally if you're feeling shaky.
     
  10. jdaniels360

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    If I have take it again in July I will. That's not a problem :) but I may do well enough the first time. I guess there's only on way to did out.
     
  11. Balliamo402

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    I took the GRE around the third week of July, and e-submitted on PTCAS in mid-August (and my application was processed less than two weeks later, if I remember correctly).

    :thumbup: Exactly. @jdaniels, for the 5 weeks you have, I recommend using a Kaplan Revised GRE book, since Kaplan often offers many "tricks" like what Oregon mentions. Work on "recognizing" key things in the questions and in the answer choices.
     
  12. jdaniels360

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    I have 3 Kaplan books and a Princeton review. I also have the 500 vocab word cards Kaplan makes that i bought on Amazon. I'm hoping to get through all of this and at least 3 tests in the time that i have. I'm spending at least 3 hours a day on this stuff so hopefully it all works out.

    Joe
     
  13. Balliamo402

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    Sounds like you're set. Best of luck! :luck:
     
  14. jdaniels360

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    Sure hope so! Quick question though... Going through the math stuff now. What kind of calculator do you get on the screen for the GRE? Is it the most basic or does it give you square root functions etc
     
  15. nicolej5

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    no square roots. just basic. which gives you a hint about solving the problems.
     
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  17. lineoffire1175

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    To reiterate what some have already said, the material especially on the math portion is not at an extremely high level, however the questions are asked in such a way that a conventional approach to each problem would take a good 3-5 mins to solve which you will not have. Reading the books and practicing various methods on how to solve these problems will give you much needed short cuts because the gre tests yes your critical thinking and logic skills but also simply your ability to quickly answer questions because time is against you during the exam. I found that for math, the practice questions were really good to just show me the shortest possible way of solving the problem so make sure you are timing yourself and getting lots of practice with each type of problem they may ask you. I also used Kaplan and it really helped for the math portion. In all honesty, when it comes to verbal, I really am not a believer in studying endless vocabulary lists and reading articles in an attempt to quickly expand your vocabulary prior to the exam, because chances are you will find maybe only one question that pertains to everything you spent hours on hours studying for on the actual exam. Studying Latin and Greek roots for the vocabulary portion really helped me, it's not about immediately knowing the meaning of the word, it's about being able to pick apart the word and make an educated guess at its meaning which studying roots will help you do. Just my experience with the test. Good luck!
     
  18. schnell8

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    Well, I can't really give any input here since I took the old GRE...but I can say to definitely give yourself about two months...When I took the old GRE, I did take a segment of the new GRE for 'survey purposes' and it was A LOT harder than the old one...for the old one, I had to retake it 3 times just to get the Verbal score I needed too... (admittedly, I did not take studying for it as seriously as I should have for the first time...second time, I thought I was ready but just bombed the verbal...third time I finally nailed it...) Each time I took it, I gave myself a month in between...

    So with that in mind...give yourself two months at least...and actually STUDY with notecards and practice tests...(something that I did not do...)

    I have no idea how the new GRE for Dummies book is, but believe it or not, that $15 book actually helped me more than the expensive Kaplan book for the old GRE...lol...probably because they made it interesting with jokes as well is GOOD tips, tricks and warnings to look out for...If you get it though, make sure you get the 2011 or higher edition...but I can thank that silly cheap book for passing the exam my third time...lol :laugh:

    http://www.amazon.com/GRE-Dummies-Premier-7th-ebook/dp/B006K4HCJC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368210877&sr=8-1&keywords=gre+for+dummies+2013
     
  19. DesertPT

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    Nice tip on the book schnell, I had a look at it and it looks worth 15 bucks to me!
     
  20. somehowmadeit

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    Joe:

    I would strongly suggest purchasing all of the new and updated GRE review books, and reading all their suggestions/hints. I agree with others who have said that the Verbal and Analytical Writing sections are most important. When I called the UCSF admissions office a year before I applied to find out the scoop for what they were looking for, they said that they don't consider people with AW lower than 4.5.

    High verbal and AW scores indicate fluency in communication and analytical thinking, so you'll want to focus on that. I didn't do as well on the math sections but it didn't hurt me, I don't think.

    As for practicing AW, most of the prep books have a list of prompts. I took a sheet of paper and tape, and covered up all but the top prompt, set a timer, and practiced one each day.

    Also be aware that there are TWO types of essays, one where you have to offer your opinion and back it up, and one where you analyze the statement without offering your opinion. Be sure to nail the different writing styles required of the two.

    I spent three weeks studying intensively before taking the test, mainly because it was what fit into my schedule. I wish I had a week or two more, but any additional studying probably wouldn't have changed things.

    Hope this helps.
     
  21. jamesmr8138

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    Every program is different, it is important to call the school and ask what they look for. When I submitted my application, I was told a high AW and verbal scores were all programs look at, but that is definitely not the case with everyone. I've had some programs combine your two scores and others who won't even look at the AW all together. I scored a 146V and a 3.5AW, but my 155 on the math section made up for my low verbal for the school's that combined them (and so far have received 3 acceptances, with quite a few wait lists)
     
  22. jdaniels360

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    Great advice from everyone so far, and as of right now i feel as though I'm pretty on top of all that's been mentioned. I'm a strong writer, however, practice does make perfect. The only reason my focus has been on the math so far is because i haven't seen it since high school, and for most of us, that's a LONG time ago! ;) jamesmr8138, those scores are pretty low, so you must have a really high cGPA and pre-req GPA, right?

    Joe
     
  23. jamesmr8138

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    My cGPA according to PTCAS was a 3.43 (even though my transcripts say a 3.53), my prereq was about a 3.5 (varied from school to school though). I do believe that the GRE was the weakest part of my application, but I had other strengths. For instance my last 45 credits I had a 3.90, I have quite a few observation hours in 5 different settings, participated in research, was a student athlete, and nailed my interviews. There's much more to an application than just grades and GRE scores.
     
  24. jdaniels360

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    I'd love to chat with you and ask you a few more questions James. I think we have a lot in common and i'm a student athlete also. You got an email I can send them to?

    Joe
     
  25. okramango

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    I'd suggest doing a lot more than just 3 practice tests during your five weeks of study. I did more like 2-3 practice tests every week. The challenge of the GRE is the timing more than anything else. Once you review the material and get a basic handle on how to solve the problems, start timing yourself doing problems as soon as possible, and keep timing yourself regularly. If you don't do entire practice tests, at least time yourself on full sections of the test. You really want to get a sense of how you will perform under the timed conditions. If your schedule allows, I'd also suggest taking your practice tests at 7am, since that's when you'll take your real test.

    FYI, I studied for about 3 weeks, full time (8 hours a day/seven days a week), and was really happy with my score. I took about 7-8 practice tests during that time, and did at least a couple of timed sections every single day. I think this is really the thing that helped me get a good score.
     
  26. jdaniels360

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    This is what my summer schedule looks like people... Okramango, i'll be doing tests wherever i can find time! :laugh: I do enjoy being busy but this is ridiculous haha, no pressure! On top of that, two out of the three classes i have this summer are pre-reqs. GET ER' DONE! :p

    *Edit: I basically study GRE from the time i get back from class around 830pm until i go to bed at midnight every night. So that's a good 3 hours a day, plus reviewing vocab on the flash cards i carry around all day. Jeeeez i'm such a nerd ;)
     

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  27. Balliamo402

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    Haha, love it! Reminds me of this past summer - it was so structured, I felt like a robot. Even a trip to the mall with friends had to be scheduled in.
     
  28. jdaniels360

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    Balliamo, I'm glad you can sympathize! I was starting to think i was the only robot around ;)
     
  29. Balliamo402

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    I imagine you'll have no choice but to have the same structured lifestyle once you're in PT school, so best to get used to it now. :D (It is nice being busy though!)
     
  30. okramango

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    Ah, yes, I remember when my life was like this a year ago! After I finally finished my prereqs and applications, I barely knew what to do with myself, because I was so used to being so insanely busy. This gap year has been really nice, but I'm worried I'm becoming too relaxed before PT school smacks me in the face this August! :)
     
  31. jdaniels360

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    I will literally have NO CLUE what to do with myself once this process is over! :S But i love love love being busy so i look forward to starting PT school. An Asian friend of mine wants to take me to China to visit between finishing undergrad and starting PT..... Can you say excited?!?!?! :D
     
  32. clos

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    Great thread.

    Where are you guys getting all these practice exams from???
     
  33. Balliamo402

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    Some books contain full-length practice exams in addition to questions. I had the ETS book (from the people who write the GRE!), and I also used the Kaplan online course, which comes with 8 full-length exams (really good b/c you can time yourself).
     
  34. jdaniels360

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    Goooooooooogle!!!!!!!!!!! But ETS PowerPrep II software is really good too.
     
  35. jdaniels360

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    So I just had my first full GRE experience this morning. The AW I felt went really well, but I didn't do as well as I'd have liked. 148V 146Q. So I guess I'll be taking it again in July.

    Here's my question though... With a 3.75 cGPA and >3.5 pGPA, has anyone here gotten in anywhere with those kind of GRE numbers? That is assuming my AW comes back decent. I REALLY don't want to go through that again but obviously of I have to I will.

    I felt adequately prepared but some of the questions were a lot more difficult. So I need to take a few more practice tests for sure!

    Any advice welcome...
     
  36. jdaniels360

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    Also, would I have to forge AW section again, or would they just keep the score I got if I decide it's good enough...
     
  37. jdaniels360

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    *do the not *forge. My bad.
     
  38. okramango

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    It depends on the programs you apply to. Some schools take the highest score from each individual section, some take the highest overall score from one specific date, some average out the scores, and some take the latest scores, no matter which are higher. You should check with the programs that you are applying to.
     
  39. jdaniels360

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    Absolutely okramango... How about the essay though? I'm assuming your advice is only referring to the verbal and quantitative sections?
     
  40. okramango

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    I'm talking about the essay, too. Some schools will take the highest, and others will take the most recent.
     
  41. jdaniels360

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    Reaaally? So you can't opt to just not take the essay portion? They'll just give you a zero?
     
  42. okramango

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    Some schools let you opt to not take a certain section, and others won't let you do that, because they'll take every score from only one test day. You need to check with the schools you're interested in. If a school just takes the highest score from each individual section (highest verbal, highest math, highest essay), then you can skip a section. But if a school takes all the scores from one test day only, then you need to retake all the sections. A lot of schools don't let you pick and choose which sections you take from different test days, because it's easier to take only some sections on the test, as opposed to taking the full test, and that might skew the scores.
     
  43. jdaniels360

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    Very true! Thanks. I'll check with my schools.
     

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