Jump to content

How to prepare for computer science GRE? How did you prepare?


gradSchoolBound

Recommended Posts

I am thinking of taking computer science subject GRE next October/November if my application is not successful this year. Lets share some thoughts about how to best prepare for it. Also, share your experience taking the actual test - what was the result and how did you prepare for it? What books did you use? How did the actual test compare to the practice tests?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi gradSchoolBound,

Probably the best resource for preparing for the CS GRE, besides the current ETS booklet, is the TitaniumBits booklet by Christopher Scaffidi. He wrote it as a guide when he was preparing to do the test. He scored very high on the test, got into CMU to do his PhD and is now an Assistant Prof at Oregon State. The booklet is here: http://sites.google....e/titaniumbits/

A good community for preparing for the test is the Urch CS GRE forum here: http://www.urch.com/...mputer-science/. The moderator of the forum, CalmLogic, makes a habit of doing that test. There are some great links in his signature on that forum.

There is a yahoo group for CS GRE here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/grecs/ I don't think it's active anymore, but the files section has previous ETS booklets, and worked solutions, as well as other practice materials.

Here are a couple posts with links to other useful materials:

http://www.urch.com/...html#post411230

http://grecs.wikispaces.com/

The CS GRE is a pretty hard test because it can draw questions from such a wide range of sources. It will take literally hundreds of hours of study and practice in order to do really well on it. I don't think that not having it on your application will hurt you, since not a lot of CS applicants do it and not many schools look for it. However, it can help if you do well.

If I don't get it this year again (I hope not) I'll probably be doing that test in October/November as well. Hopefully, both of us will get in, though if I end up going to a MS program (I applied to 3 Canadian MS programs) I'll still probably do the test in Oct/Nov to get it out of the way for when I would be ready to apply again to PhD.

Edited by newms
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unless any of the schools rejects you for the lack of CS background, I would suggest you to look at options to get some good research experience rather than wasting your time on AGRE. What really matters for a PhD admission is your research background and recommendation letters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unless any of the schools rejects you for the lack of CS background, I would suggest you to look at options to get some good research experience rather than wasting your time on AGRE. What really matters for a PhD admission is your research background and recommendation letters.

I agree with this - that research experience is much, much more important than CS GRE, but the CS GRE can have some limited value if you've been out of university for a while or if you're from an unknown school. The question is if the cost of effort required to prepare for the exam worth the potential opportunity cost of not using that time getting more research experience. For most people its a no, in some limited situations it may be a yes.

Edited by newms
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would happily devote my time gaining more research experience rather than studying for CS GRE, but I have no idea how to go about pursuing a research project as I have been out of college for over a year. So I thought taking a subject GRE would be a more appropriate way to strengthen the application during the year wait. If anybody knows of research opportunities/programs for students in computer science who have already graduated from college, please let me know; I would be grateful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd say get back in touch with your old professors to see if they have any research positions open, especially if you did well in one of their courses, etc.

By the way, I can attest to the limited value of a CS GRE. I took it because CMU's LTI program strongly recommended it and got a pretty mediocre score of 800 (81st percentile). I still got accepted, though. So I'm sure a low score doesn't break your application if the other parts are good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are better things to do than take the CS GRE... I was actually pretty worried that I didn't take it, but I did have 3 years' research experience, and that seems to have helped a lot. I actually took the Math subject test, having been told that that would impress admissions, but ended up scoring so badly that I didn't submit my results almost anywhere (haven't heard back from the school where I did yet). So, if there is any way you can get research experience (even if that means investigating a topic in your area of interest by yourself, and creating a website describing your progress or something like that), I'd say go for that. The CS test is only required at some schools, and mostly of students who haven't already gotten a degree in CS.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use