so i just took a practice GRE test and bombed it...

Psychology 76

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The good news is that I have a year to take it and haven't started studying at all except for glancing over an old gre practice book. I found my baseline score from this test which is awful and will get my application thrown away from any halfway competitive program. I would like to know if anyone made a miraculous advancement from studying with GRE prep materials. Most of the people on here start with a good score and make it great. Has anyone started with an awful score and made it good? I'm just worried that not trying in high school will be my downfall because I have such a weak foundation in this area. Thanks for any input!
 
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psychanxiety

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I wouldn't worry too much yet. I didn't even take a practice test until I had done a decent amount of studying (I was too scared), but I really think a large portion of the test is becoming familiar with the crazy CAT. After that, get some prep books (I am an advocate for using several prep books- not just one company) and start becoming familiar with the different kinds of quant questions and memorize the appropriate formulas. I think after that you'll get a more realistic picture of what your score is and how much additional studying you'll need to do. Also, take as many computer practice tests as possible- it's completely different from paper and pencil practice tests.
 

apumic

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honestly, all the stuff out there for studying *is* for getting poor scores into the good range. There really are very few resources those of us wanting to bring a 1200 to a 1400 but theres tons out there for bringing a 1000 to 1200. I bet you'll be able to bring it up w some hard work. I 2nd the official ets gre book. The others were all pretty much crap I thought.
 

Psychology 76

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Thank you all very much for the feedback, certainly was encouraging. :)

I'm going to be a junior and I suppose I would take the GRE next summer/fall. Would preparing to study 6 months in advance be too late to bump up my scores? I was hoping to start winter break so I could focus on classes for one semester. I guess upping scores has tons of variability but what would be an average amount of time needed to have such an increase of say 500-600 points total? Thanks again!
 

irish80122

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If you haven't yet, take the practice tests from ETS, not from the test companies. I think the test company practice tests are harder than the actual thing (honestly) because they want you to sign up for their courses. I found the practice test from ETS to be very similar to the actual thing.

It is definitely a test you can prep for and raise your score. Good luck!
 

HeyJude

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Hang in there! My Q went from a 4-something to 710! I never took the SAT or any other kind of GRE type test, so I didn't understand that the quantitative section is as much logic as it is math. On the other hand, my V dipped about 100 points from my first practice test, but I chalk it up to bad luck.
 
D

deleted176373

Thank you all very much for the feedback, certainly was encouraging. :)

I'm going to be a junior and I suppose I would take the GRE next summer/fall. Would preparing to study 6 months in advance be too late to bump up my scores? I was hoping to start winter break so I could focus on classes for one semester. I guess upping scores has tons of variability but what would be an average amount of time needed to have such an increase of say 500-600 points total? Thanks again!

The math is where the easy points are at... the verbal is much more difficult to raise... lots of vocab will be of some help, and avid readers do well.

Mark
 
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JockNerd

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The most important part of the math section is learning the ETS tricks. For example, you might get a diagram with something that looks like a right triangle, but doesn't have the little box at the 90' corner. So, it's not necessarily a right triangle and it's pretty likely that the question can't be answered. Most of the algebra can be solved in a few seconds once you know the correct way of approaching the problems. If you find yourself spending more than 30 seconds on any math problem, you're missing something and should check your strategy.

For vocab, don't try to memorize. Instead, try multiple levels of encoding; use each word in a question about someone you know, in a statement about yourself, and in a statement about something you're very familiar with (so, NOT "Dad's car is antediluvian," but "Dad's car was so antediluvian that the Penguin couple used it to get to Noah"*)


*This is a very, very funny joke if you know the root of "antediluvian."
 
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psychmama

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Just another word of encouragement. I was a terrible math student and did very poorly on the SAT math. Many years later when I decided to go to grad school and needed to take the GRE I basically taught myself math from scratch. I used online and booklet materials from Kaplan, giving myself 6 months to study. I was so surprised to get a math GRE score in the mid 600's on my first try! So if I can do it, anyone can. Learning the tricks and test strategies is important. I found that Kaplan was helpful in this respect.

Good luck.
 

knowing

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The most important part of the math section is learning the ETS tricks. For example, you might get a diagram with something that looks like a right triangle, but doesn't have the little box at the 90' corner. So, it's not necessarily a right triangle and it's pretty likely that the question can't be answered. Most of the algebra can be solved in a few seconds once you know the correct way of approaching the problems. If you find yourself spending more than 30 seconds on any math problem, you're missing something and should check your strategy.

For vocab, don't try to memorize. Instead, try multiple levels of encoding; use each word in a question about someone you know, in a statement about yourself, and in a statement about soemthing you're very familiar with (so, NOT "Dad's car is antidiluvian," but "Dad's car was so antidiluvian that the Penguin couple used it to get to Noah"*)


*This is a very, very funny joke if you know the root of
"antidiluvian."

I love it! LOL I now have another word to add to my vocab knowledge.
 

Minnesotan4PsyD

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The most important part of the math section is learning the ETS tricks. For example, you might get a diagram with something that looks like a right triangle, but doesn't have the little box at the 90' corner. So, it's not necessarily a right triangle and it's pretty likely that the question can't be answered. Most of the algebra can be solved in a few seconds once you know the correct way of approaching the problems. If you find yourself spending more than 30 seconds on any math problem, you're missing something and should check your strategy.

For vocab, don't try to memorize. Instead, try multiple levels of encoding; use each word in a question about someone you know, in a statement about yourself, and in a statement about soemthing you're very familiar with (so, NOT "Dad's car is antidiluvian," but "Dad's car was so antidiluvian that the Penguin couple used it to get to Noah"*)


*This is a very, very funny joke if you know the root of "antidiluvian."

It would have been even more impressive if you spelled it correctly. :p AntEdiluvian.
 

thewesternsky

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HopefulPsych: I would re-take, unless spending the money means that you won't be able to eat or pay rent in October or something. There's probably still some room for improvement in your practice score before the test date. Also, from my experience (as long as you're not too nervous), real GRE scores tend to be higher than practice scores, so you may be able to score 1400+... Definitely worth it if you're applying to any of the really research-focused programs. Possibly slightly less worth it for programs with lower mean GRE scores, but it still can't hurt and might help. :)
 
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73BARMYPgsp

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Just a thought for maybe another thread? If one can study/practice for the GRE and bring their scores up by such a huge margin (AFTER graduating from college), what good was it? Or, what good was college? We all did it (bought books, took practice exams, etc) and increased our scores. For me, that was 6 years ago so I feel your pain. However, is the GRE simply another part of the "suck" that everyone has to go through to prove that they really want it, or does it measure something that you needed to obtain during that extremely important year between about 21-22 years old while you were a junior in college? (Read sarcastically).
 

Psychology 76

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Thank you all for the advice and encouragement!

Just a follow up- I studied about 30 minutes more and took another online practice test and scored 300 points better. I'm hoping this means if I study a lot more I can get a decent score that makes me at least somewhat competitive. :)
 
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