Studying for the GRE Math

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:07 pm

Studying for the GRE Math

Post by rsk » Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:50 pm

Hello all,

I'm registered to take the October 25 edition of the Math GRE. I started studying (officially) for the test on September 1. I've been shifting back and forth since then as to what kind of study schedule to keep. I'm wondering what kind of schedule y'all are using / used to prepare for this thing, and (for those who've taken it already) whether y'all think it was effective. When I say schedule, I mean in a general sense:

1) How many days a week do you study, and how many hours a day (averaged of course)?
2) How many weeks/months (years???) out did you start to study for this thing?
3) How much material are you getting through a day (e.g. how many sections/chapters in Stewart)?
4) Are you actually reviewing the sections, or just working problems and consulting sections as needed?
5) About how much of your schedule is devoted to Calculus review alone (excluding higher-level analysis stuff), e.g. 4 weeks out of 8 weeks total?
6) Are you rigorously sticking to outlines like the one in the Princeton Review book, or just "feeling it out"?
7) How are you working timing into the mix, and how much are you stressing it?
8) Are you studying for it while still in college? Working full-time? How's that been working out?
9) Anything else you feel is worth adding.

To get this started, here's what I've been following so far:

1) I try to study at least 2-3 hours a day, 7 days a week (have done pretty well at keeping it up too...go
2) Started September 1, so about 7 weeks total. I was, however, studying linear algebra (Lax) for a good bit of the summer out of personal interest.
3) I've been moving slower than I'd like. I'd hoped to be at least into Calc II stuff (integration) by now, but I only just got through limits (I'm using Stewart). I was hoping to get by with 2 sections a day, but if I do that I won't finish Diff Eq until a week before the exam, which leaves barely any time at all to review the higher level stuff (abstract algebra, number theory, topology, analysis, etc.).
4) I've been quickly skimming through the sections in Stewart and working the examples he does step by step, then working ~30% of the problems at the end of the section. The pace has been painfully slow doing it this way though.
5) Ideally, I'd like to be finished with the calculus stuff AT LEAST 2 weeks prior to the test, so maybe 5/7 weeks. Even that I feel is too much though.
6) I bought the PR book, but I've only been using it to skim through the reviews. I haven't really been happy with it so far though, so lately I've basically just been following the chapters in Stewart fairly linearly.
7) I haven't really done much with timing yet. I'm not really sure how fast I should be doing them, given most of the problems are probably easier computationally than the ones on the test. I'll hopefully think more about this after taking a diagnostic (planning to do the first after finishing the calculus stuff...whenever the hell that
8) I graduated from undergrad last December and worked in a miserable IT job (supply chain...boring stuff) for 6 months, then quit to focus completely on preparing for grad school. Until then, a part-time job to survive on. No complaints though.

But anyway.

Posts: 161
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:29 pm

Re: Studying for the GRE Math

Post by DDswife » Sun Sep 14, 2014 8:27 pm

This forum has been reallu auiet for a while but maybe now that October and November tests are close, people will be a bit more active.

I am mot a good example. I graduated abraod in 2003 and now I have been retaking some classes to review stuff. I took real Analysis in 2000 and it has been a long while. For now i have been working with some of the exams. I haven't read the Princeton review yet. I took the test, though, mostly to identify the areas I am weaker. I took the 9367 under timed conditions and I was able to solve about 42, 6 wrong.
I think that this was close to the 50% percentile, but I want to believe that I can do much better than that if I go on studying.

I bought several books but they were meant for the Quantitative and this upset me. There was only one that was good. It was really expensive, about 200, but the questions are kind of the same level than the GRE questions on the tests I got to solve.

I don't have any deadline. I will take it whenever I feel I am ready. Maybe in April. Not sure if. I will be able to.

In the meantime I am watching the MIt openware (Multivariable Calculus), I watched some Topology and Complex Analysis videos but I never took this last subject and my Topology class was bad. And it was only about Metric spaces anyway.

I work as a tutor in a college and this forces me to review the basic stuff permanently. So, I will only try to get proficient in those subjects I think that I am still not ready for.

About the time per day, I am a Math lover. I just love these GRE problems and keep doing them for as much time as I can. I mean, whenever I don't have kids for tutoring, I work on getting better and faster. I redo the problems again and again, trying to find shortcuts to be able to solve them in less time, and I google for other ways to solve them. I have skimmed this forum's 26 pages searching for links and I have all the ones that corrspond to the 9367 with the question number. Most questions were solved here. I found a blog for 2 of the tests (0568 and 9768, I think) and a pdf from Charles Rambo (I think that this is his name). He solved the 0568 completely. I posted several of my solutions to different problems. They are in the 1st page of the forum.

I am open to study with people that would like to work with me online. I am in Tucson, Az, In case someone else is here and would like to study with me live.

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Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:02 am

Re: Studying for the GRE Math

Post by rajesh.747.bits » Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:08 am

Hi Guys, I have registered for subject GRE this october 25. I was hoping you guys could provide me some tips. I have "princeton review craacking the gre math". If anyone of you have pdf's of Practising to take GRE by ETS or GRE Mathematics (REA), please let me know. I am from india, finding it very difficult to find these books.


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Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:29 pm

Re: Studying for the GRE Math

Post by DDswife » Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:10 pm

I don't know about the REA, but ypu can google for the pdfs. Just write GRE and the numbers


Some of them might be 67 or 68, not sure. But I think that these are the numbers, corresponding to the years. BTW, it would be about time for ETS to release a new exam! The newst one is already almost 10 years old. And, according to the takers after each exam (I mean the comments on this forum), the exam has gotten much harder than any of the sample exams.

About tips, for now I have noticed this. There are questions you can answer from 0 to 3 minutes. 3 minutes is still OK since some will take 1.

There are questions you don't even understand and you wouldn't be able solve even in 4 years. Learn these subjects.

There are questions you cannot answer in 3 or less. You need to find ways to solve them in the right time. Maybe it's the method you approached the question

For exampls: the question askes you to find the tangent plane to a 3D surface. Rather than doing all the calculations, it could make sense just to check if the points are in the plane.

If I can think of more tips, I will post them later.

I posted a thread about 10 days ago, asking GRE takers to suggest questions. These can be from books, from videos, made up, etc. With, or without solutions. But tty that they look as much as possible like the GRE actual questions and that there is a way for people to solve them in the right amount of time. This way we can create more sample exams.

If you like the suggestion, please, add your questions to the thread. When we get to about 66, then we can consider that a new sample

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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:34 am

Re: Studying for the GRE Math

Post by xor » Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:37 am

@DDSwife Thanks for the tips! Are you taking the Sept or Oct test?

Edit: never mind, I just saw your post saying you might take it in April.

Posts: 161
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:29 pm

Re: Studying for the GRE Math

Post by DDswife » Tue Sep 16, 2014 12:20 pm

I will take it whenever I think I am ready. For sure it won't be in a month or two. But I think that I could be ready by April. Let's see how things work out.

There are several subjects I need to learn from scratch and I am doing it on my own since the University of AZ hasn't accepted me yet because of burocratic paperwork for people that studied abroad. They accepted my transcripts but they want the universities where I studeid to stamp the translations and the universities in my country don't do that, as far as I know. And, being in the US, it's hard for me to get anything that involves formalities over there. I applied in January and I am still in sort of a limbo. They don't reject me since I was invited to the honors program in the college I am, and I have a GPA of 4.00, but they don't accept me, either, unless I change my application to a non-seeking-degree student. They even offered me to waive the application fee if I do that and maybe eventually I will. But, since I am interested on a masters program and not on an undergraduated one, somehow I will need to have this sorted out. I am going to my country in about a month and I will try to get these transcirpts stamped, if this is possible somehow. Otherwise I will go on studying on my own and saving money.

This situation is kind of funny since I got an invitation from UPenn and now one from Stenton. They even suggested that I could get me a scholarship because I have to profile they want yada yada. But I am in Tucson and my husband is sick and in a nursing home and there is no way to move him to anywhere else. So, I am stuck here for now.

Maybe I could try with the University of Phoenix, that has a campus here, but I am affraid that it will be the same garbage.

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