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JonnyCeltics's avatar

The best way to study for GRE's?

Asked by JonnyCeltics (2721points) August 25th, 2008

A Kaplan course? CD? Book? Personal success stories…?

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5 Answers

thegodfather's avatar

Recognize this very important fact: the GRE adapts to your answers. You may already know this, but in case you may not, the way it works is this. The exam is only concerned with reporting a score that compares you to all the other test takers, and is not meant to be an absolute assessment of how well you know the material. So your score is all about percentile, even the number value of your score. The first question will generally be somewhere in the 50th percentile range. If you get it right, you’re in effect telling the exam that you belong in a higher percentile range. So it then gives you a question that is in the 75th percentile or so. You can see that it’s a lot like the number guessing game, except that it’s fishing for your score in comparison to how everyone else answers the questions.

So, this brings me to my point. In studying for this exam, it’s all about time. See, the material isn’t all that difficult because the exam has to accommodate test takers coming from many different disciplines. But you are limited in how much time you have to answer the questions. This is the bottleneck that separates the high scores from the low ones. I first practiced for about 2 months just the material until I felt confident in answering questions correctly. Then, for the next 2 months, it was all about getting my time down. I took full-length practice exams using Kaplan’s materials and got my time below what they give you on the exam. When I did take the exam, I felt like it was much, much easier, though I still stressed about it. I was pleasantly surprised both with how my score turned out and how quick it seemed. I was the first one out of there and it felt good to do well on top of that.

hearkat's avatar

I didn’t study and was sick as a dog with the flu and we had a blizzard the day before… miraculously, I got a decent score!! This was 1989 – has the test been changed much since then, like the SATs?

thegodfather's avatar


Yeah, it’s all completely computerized now and the computer adapts to your answers.

syz's avatar

I took a course (I don’t remember if it was Kaplin) because I had been out of college for over ten years. It was extremely helpful and I did very well on the test.

hearkat's avatar

@TheGodfather: Wow! High-Tech! I was probably better off with the old one… Timed testing is bad for me, and I liked being able to skip questions that were challenging and then go back if I had time. I have a knack for coloring circles with #2 pencils! ^_^

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