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Is it possible to study for the psyc. GRE in ...a week?? Or is this just stupid?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by atis, Apr 7, 2007.

  1. atis

    atis Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 18, 2006
    Boston, MA
    Background info.: I'm currently a grad student in a public health program - I was a psyc. major in college and have always wanted to do something in the field (right now I'm leaning towards health psychology...) I've been considering med school for psychiatry, but recently I've come to the realization that a PhD program might be a better fit for me. BUT. This was a very very very recent decision on my part - I didn't start thinking about the practicalities of this until a few days and just realized that the April subject test is in a week. I don't want to take the test in November - I want to take it now and then re-take it if I have to.

    I'm fairly worried about studying but the thing is, if there is one thing I'm ok at, its psychology, having studied it for 2.5 yrs.

    The things that I'm worried about are history, learning/cognition, and developmental (didn't take a course on this college). Neuropsyc, social, personality are all things I think I could do ok with. I don't have a job right now, my classes are in the evening and I don't have much to do this week. I'd cram cram cram and then show up at the test center next Sunday to do standby testing.
    So - this possible in the span of a week?? :eek:
    Do programs look down on people taking the subject test twice?
    And is it unlikely that I'll be able to even get in standby (I'm in Boston)?
    Or is this absolutely idiotic?

    Thanks everyone in advance!
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  3. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Oct 6, 2006
    The Beach
    Uhm...probably not. The one thing you could do is study your butt off, take it (DON'T automatically submit your scores), and see how you do. You may surprise yourself, or you may bomb it. It could be good practice. With the GRE deciding not to switch over to a new test, you don't have to worry about that.

  4. JockNerd

    JockNerd 5+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2007
    Hiya! Sure, it's possible. I know people who studied for a week and did great. (But, I also know people who did the same and bombed, haha.) You seem to have the time available to devote to some work on the test, too. I do have some advice tho:

    Please make sure there's still a spot available in your area before you do anything! The April tests don't often fill up, or fill up early, but make sure first! If all you can get is standby, who knows-- I'm sure someone will chikcen out at the last minute and decide to write in November.

    You mentioned confidence in some areas. Is that due to your classwork, or practice tests? The GRE, I found, has an emphasis different from classes. You'll be required to know more researchers' names and areas of work than you probably had to in class. My strong recommendation is that you do one practice test, then go back and code every question. If you aced everything on neuroanatomy but flunked out on neuroanatomy researchers, you know what to study. Likewise if you rock social and personality through and through, but are weak in Dev. psych or memory, for example. Don't bother putting focus on an area you know well. After you study your weak areas, do another test an re-code the answers. Rinse, and repeat.

    You can get books with great subject area reviews and practice tests at any book store. Kaplan and Princeton Review are great. Both books are pretty cheap.

    I think schools are supposed to take only the most recent score, or the higher one. As far as I know, it's not *supposed* to reflect poorly on you, but it is on the sheet, so who knows how it actually plays in.
  5. psychwanabe

    psychwanabe 7+ Year Member

    Mar 4, 2007
    Okay, so lets take this one thing at a time.

    First, congratulations on your decision! I am biased, of course, but psychology is a great field!

    Second, I'm not sure that you can even register at this point - it might be too late. I have no idea what standby is like in Boston, but in the midwest, it's chancy especially with this test since it's only offered three times per year.

    Third, be careful about over-confidence. I am a 3.95 psych major in my senior year, and I took the Psych GRE and pretty much bombed it. I felt really confident in my abilities the same way you do. My advice would be to go to the ETS website and download their practice test. Take it and see how you do. It's a very complete version of what you will be taking. If you do well on it, then GREAT! If not, I would suggest you wait until November, get a good intro pysch book and brush up on everything.

    Fourth, I have never heard that programs "look down" on someone taking a GRE test twice. However they generally average your two scores together, so a low score can still hurt you even if you do well the second time. Also, it's just better to submit one, really good, score.

    I don't think it's ever "idiotic" to make a decision to further educate yourself. But after having been through this process of graduate school application, I will say that better prepared is the best way to go.

    Hope this helps! Good luck! :luck:

  6. LaLuna123

    LaLuna123 5+ Year Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    I did it twice, once straight out of college. That time I was slightly confused as to what to study, but studied various areas of an introductory psych book for about a month. I completely bombed it! Then I did it again a few years later, I had 2 weeks and only read the Kaplan psych GRE book (I memorized it, even used mnemonics to remember names!) and did really well. So I'd recommend that book if you have very little time.
  7. atis

    atis Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 18, 2006
    Boston, MA
    Thanks for all the input everybody!

    its not that I'm exactly overconfident, its just something I need to tell myself to get through what is sure to be a hellish week of cramming!

    I'm really excited about starting on the path, just a little scared that grad schools won't be too happy if I take it twice with the first time being a low score. Also afraid there won't be any slots open to do it standby (since the registration deadline was a month ago). Has anyone gone to a test center the day of and done standby registration?
    Also, any study tips? :D
  8. spyspy

    spyspy 2+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    I took it twice; schools generally indicated they would take the higher or the most recent (for me, that was the same score). Nobody mentioned averaging.

    I had a breakup a bit before my first subject GRE, so my scores were low mostly for that reason. I annihilated that test the second time, though. ;)

    It *might* be possible to study in 1 week, but I'm not entirely sure you can even register at this point. I guess you could -- they really just want your $$. The questions are a total crapshoot...the emphasis was different each time I took it.
  9. doctorpsych

    doctorpsych Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2006
    the psych GRE is very studiable... as noted earlier, use this one around as a practice... good luck
  10. RayneeDeigh

    RayneeDeigh 5+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Ugh I can relate to this! The day before my subject GRE I found out I was being cheated on, then I gave him a second chance and two days before my general GRE I found out he was doing it again. But I did well anyway just to spite him. :D (bitterness gets me everywhere I need to be)

    The moral of the story: Boys suck.

    But to answer the OP, it's possible to study for the subject in a week. But don't be shocked when you sit down to study and you don't know much of anything. I had three years of psych courses and I felt the same way. It will be a LOT of studying (and in a week, that will be mostly memorization) but you can do it.
  11. iris07

    iris07 2+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2007
    atis - i would suggest going for it, since the worst thing that could happen would just be that you have to take it over again. i studied for my psych GRE in one week and ended up getting a high score. i also had not taken neuropsych, physio, or developmental. if you have a chance, i would suggest getting a study book (i don't know if it's too late now - but they might have them at barnes and noble). i used the kaplan version and it provided a great overview of all the key points in each area of psychology.

    and good luck - you will feel better after it's over no matter what the outcome is!
  12. lakewood

    lakewood 2+ Year Member

    Mar 5, 2007
    I think you're asking the wrong question. The answer will obviously vary drastically from person to person, depending on what you know and how you want to score.

    I didn't even realize that the Psych GRE was only scheduled every few months, and I planned to spend the month of December studying and then to take it at the end of the month. December 1st rolled around and I looked at the ETS web site and saw the actual schedule for testing.


    So I had that night and then one full day to study, and then I had to be a walk-on the following morning early in the morning. I used a study guide and read it cover to cover and found that there was a lot of stuff that had not been covered in my undergrad. I don't mean little details, but entire topics. There was only so much I could learn/memorize in one day, and I took the test to the best of my ability.

    My score was respectable, but not great, 74th percentile. There are people who can score better without studying at all, and there are people who can study a ton and not do as well. That's why I think you're asking the wrong question. It's not "Can I study in a week?" But rather, "How much do I know, and what is my goal?" Take a practice test to find out and it will become pretty clear how much studying you will need to do.

    And if you are a walk-on, show up first, and don't let someone try to cut you (3 people cut me and lied to the proctor about when they arrived (right to my face!), and I almost missed my chance completely, so be warned: people can be nasty).
  13. blindblonde

    blindblonde U.S. citizen, Dutch Ph.D 2+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Groningen, Netherlands
    Well, due to some major issues with ETS for my general exam, my timespan for studying for the Psych GRE was two weeks while keeping up my regular courseload. I planned out an intense review schedule, and still did not feel nearly prepared for the Psych GRE as I would have hoped. I had 64th percentile, which did not make me too happy. It wasn't bad, but I knew I could do ten times better if I had the month I originally had scheduled.
  14. sicologia

    sicologia 2+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    Chicago, Illinois, USA
    I was pressed for time to study for the psych GRE and took it with only a brief overview of a few preparation books. If I were to do it again, I would set aside at least 2 months to study regularly and review my areas of weakness. Still scored fairly well, but probably not nearly as well as I could've with more time! :eek:
  15. atis

    atis Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 18, 2006
    Boston, MA
    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks so much for all the responses so far. :oops:

    I had yet another question about studying - I'm moving through my Kaplan prep book at a pretty good clip :):knocks on wood vigorously:: ). Is understanding and memorizing this book going to be enough?

    I know there's not much I can do in the few days I have left, but should I look into other books (Intro to Psyc. Spark Notes, for ex.) or try to learn some of the material on a deeper level? Or is the level Kaplan presents it at sufficient? Also, did you find any topics/theories to be conspicuously left out of the study guides that is going to be tested on the subject GRE? Thanks again!
  16. iris07

    iris07 2+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2007
    although i had good intentions to study more than just the kaplan book (i even had a pile of all my textbooks from previous classes AND a cliffnotes guide to developmental psych that i bought as well), i ended up studying almost exclusively from the kaplan guide. i think it provides a fairly comprehensive overview of what you need to know, provided that you also have the basic background in psychology. if you don't remember much from undergrad, it might be useful to review other textbooks, but, in the end, you really need to be comfortable with the most important theories, names, and studies - which are all in the kaplan guide. and, DEFINITELY take the practice exams - they really are a good indicator of what to know (though i found my actual GRE to have a little less weight on the famous names - i'm not sure how typical or atypical that might be). best of luck!
  17. spyspy

    spyspy 2+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Delve into areas you don't know so well in an intro or specialized book if you have time. When I took the test the first time, there was tons of personality theory/stages/theorists. The second time, there was none of that. So...I'd sugget zeroing in on things you know least, just in case.

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