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GRE studying help

Discussion in 'Pre-Physical Therapy' started by navybluedreams, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. navybluedreams

    navybluedreams 2+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2014
    Hi guys! So I've never been any good at standardized tests, but I do consider myself a smart and capable individual who has potential to get a high score on the GRE. Would any of you mind sharing some great study tips, aids, or resources that you found beneficial to your GRE preparation? At this time, I don't have the spare money to sign up for a prep class. Additionally, I'm applying to PT schools next cycle so I have a few months to prepare for this!

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  3. dropping101


    Jun 21, 2014
    Magoosh GRE and Manhattan Test Prep. Magoosh has tons of free material and you can find Manhattan Test Prep books on google (someone uploaded them in a google drive folder). Id advise investing $100 bucks into the Magoosh writing and math program.
    ptlover likes this.
  4. Watson27


    Jun 17, 2014
    If you set up a plan and stick to it, you can really get great results without a prep course. Here's what I would suggest: Take a diagnostic practice test to see what you need to focus on. They are available online with the purchase of most prep books or through PowerPrep from ETS. Since you are still several months out, I would set up a plan and study 2-3 times a week until you are one month out, then I would study every day. Look to see if Kaplan is hosting a free practice test in your area.

    The tools I used:
    Kaplan prep book - good for the amount of practice tests and sets, to familiarize yourself with the format and types of questions, worthless if you need to review your math skills
    Barron's prep book - I really liked it, but lacks the amount of online/CD materials that Kaplan book has. Good math review.
    Clif Notes GRE Math Review
    Barron's GRE Words App
    Magoosh Math Flashcards App (is actually developed for the GMAT, but was very helpful)

    The first time I took the GRE, I only used the Kaplan book and *thought* I studied adequately after doing fairly well on practice tests. Totally bombed the quantitative section. Once I realized that I need to do some serious work on the math, I took it again 6 months later and improved my Q score from a 148 to a 160.

    What it comes down to: Do practice tests/sets - review what you missed - understand why you missed it.
  5. 1027453812

    1027453812 ToxicWaterr 2+ Year Member

    Sep 20, 2013
    So far the tips provided have all been great

    I would like to also suggest the following:
    1. Standardized tests are all about 'framing' your mindset to tackle these problems in different ways so that you can find the easiest way to tackle a problem. Also reflect on the answers you got correct - why was it that you were able to answer it so quickly? Do you think you can apply that same approach to a more difficult problem?
    2. As for the analytical writing, I would recommend taking a few of the sample prompts on the website and practice drafting out outlines which should take you no more than 5 minutes.
    3. Time yourself and evaluate the way your time is broken up. If you are taking a practice test, when you feel ready, time yourself. Upon completion, reflect on how that whole time was used up.

    Good luck on the GRE! :D
  6. ptlover

    ptlover 2+ Year Member

    Apr 4, 2013

    Hands down.
  7. DPTcoasral

    DPTcoasral ready to go

    Aug 6, 2014
    as others have said, Magoosh and Manhattan prep are hands down the best. No reason to use any other resource. IMO, the rest are junk.
  8. Kuhdaytee

    Kuhdaytee 5+ Year Member

    May 5, 2011
    Magoosh/Manhattan are what I used, but for practice tests, make sure to take at least one from the ETS PowerPrep Software. My actual Quant score was 1-2 points above what the practice test predicted, and Verbal was 6-7 points above. Don't listen to the score much, but learning how to mark questions and move around the program was really beneficial for me. Powerprep also doesn't tell you how to solve the problems that you missed, so I had a few of my friends help me figure out the math problems.
    ptlover and DPTcoasral like this.
  9. DesertPT

    DesertPT ` 2+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    The "GRE for Dummies" book has a lot of bad reviews because it does not have any detail at all compared to other more extensive books, but I found it to be a excellent overview of what is on the test and it is much easier to read and much less painful to work through than other books I have seen. And it's like 17 bucks on Amazon. I went through the whole thing, practice problems/tests included (minus writing practice essays), in a week. If you feel you don't need detailed prep for the test, this book might be sufficient, but if you feel you need more extensive preparation I would definitely recommend spending a week to go through the "Dummies" book as a warmup/introduction first. This is analogous to reading through the chapter/powerpoint before going to lecture so you are better able to understand the teaching due to your prior familiarity. This book also spends a lot of it's time filling you in on what you should devote your effort to versus what studying effort is less likely to net you points on the test. Some more extensive books (such as the "official" book from ETS, which I would avoid BTW) ask you to spend a lot of time and a lot of study effort on things that have a low likelihood of translating directly to more points on test day. Because of this the Dummies book is also an excellent resource if all you have time for is "cramming" for the GRE. :D Beware though that it skims over a lot of things, with its math section being the weakest, and it does contain a number of typos and several blatant errors. But its cheap and actually pretty entertaining to read. So take it for what its worth.
  10. DesertPT

    DesertPT ` 2+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    I will also say, at the risk of sounding unintentionally conceited, that I do not think the GRE is actually as hard as people make it out to be. I am convinced that a lot of the problems with peoples' scores are psychological. Prepping for the GRE, reading about other peoples' experiences with the GRE and spending too much time on SDN seeing what other people are getting on the GRE psyches you out into thinking it is harder than it is. It is not the MCAT. It isn't even a test of any particular body of knowledge, other than some high school algebra and geometry. The GRE is examining your test taking skills and your powers of logical reasoning. While it is definitely beneficial to memorize vocabulary words and math formulas for solving problems, and this is required to be able to answer some of the questions, most of the questions can be answered without actually knowing the answer if you have excellent test-taking skills. For example, out of the couple hundred vocabulary words I went through before the test, I think 1 or maybe 2 came up on test day. And maybe 20% (at best) of the math problem types and formulas I memorized came up. So needless to say prepping for the GRE via memorization has a very low reward to cost ratio.

    The GRE is also a test of stamina, as having to write under pressure for an hour solid right at the beginning is very mentally taxing. I was fried by the time I got to the second math section, and that damaged my math score much more than not knowing how to do math did.

    Take that sentiment with a grain of salt if you wish, but that has been my experience. Spending several sessions the length of the real test (4.5 hours) developing stamina and test-taking skills will help you more than attempting to memorize a "Top 400 GRE Vocab words" list and the method used to solve hundreds of math practice problems.

    Also, studying for months and months is not going to help you. If you study for more than 10 or 12 weeks you will have either forgotten what you learned in the first few weeks by the time you get to the last few, or you will have just spent an inordinate amount of time making yourself believe the GRE is something that it is not. If you are intelligent enough to be going to PT school, then 2 months of an effective and efficient 8-10 hours a week or so of studying should be more than enough.

    The gist of it is that you should definitely study the vocab list and definitely commit to memory the key math and geometry formulas you've forgotten since high school, but if I was you I would spend less of my time memorizing individual facts and definitions and more of my time learning and practicing problem solving strategies.

    My 2 cents anyway...
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015
    tweaze likes this.
  11. navybluedreams

    navybluedreams 2+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2014
    Ohh that's really helpful! Do you by chance have the link to get to the google drive?? I can't find it online! Thanks
  12. navybluedreams

    navybluedreams 2+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2014
    And thank you, everyone! I shouldn't be siking myself out so much.
  13. Kuhdaytee

    Kuhdaytee 5+ Year Member

    May 5, 2011
    Eh, I loved the Magoosh program. I learn best by watching videos, so their explanations to the math problems were really helpful and they were harder than the actual gre. The verbal section was a waste of my money though because I didn't use any practice problems.

    Check out your public library for free test books. They probably won't have Manhattan, but I grabbed a few others and read through the test taking strategies.

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