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Macrina

If you basically winged it (gre prep), how did you do?

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I ask because I'm scheduled to write in a week and I really don't have time to prepare. I'm fine with that -not applying until next year and I know I can do it again if/when I need.

Just wondering how others did in similar situations...

So, if you didn't prep much/at all, how did it go on test day for you?

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I prepped minimally over a few months since I had a lot of free time. The main thing that helped me was understanding the way they try to trick you in the quant section. Especially in the quantitative comparison questions. As for the analytical writing, I hadn't read a single prompt until the morning of the test and scored a 5.5. Since you're applying next year, it will be good to have a base score that you know you can improve upon if you need to. But since it's an expensive test, wouldn't you want to reschedule and have a little bit of time to prepare in order to score better?

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My 3-something year old scores are verbal 600 scaled / 160 (estimated), quant 680 / 153, and writing 4.5.

 

I did not study or prep or anything. I was oblivious to the GRE in general back then. I took it because one school I was applying to required a score - not a certain score, just a score. I took it with one week's notice. I was accepted to both schools I applied to and submitted the score to. This was 3 years or so ago.

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I only had about a month to prepare for my exam. I used Khan Academy's website to help me review math (it's been a few years since my last math class), and I found it very helpful and user-friendly.

 

However, my exam didn't turn out quite as planned. I took 1 practice test the week before and did fairly well. On the actual exam, both my V & Q were about 5 points lower than the practice. The essays are what really pissed me off. I consider myself a good writer, but I ended up with a 4.5. Both of the essay prompts I got on the exam were super-scientific and I am more of a humanities person, so I had trouble trying to figure out what I was going to say in the 30 min timeframe. I panicked and was scrambling to figure out what to write... I think that is what hurt me. I just wasn't able to do my best work with the topics they gave me unfortunately. I don't know if other people had that issue.

 

So I was somewhat disappointed with my performance on the GRE but I had no desire to waste another couple months of my life on it, so I just went with those scores. So far I've been admitted to 1 PhD program, the other 5 apps pending.

 

Good luck to you! You can always reschedule the test if you need more time.

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Lol - i'm proud of my 4.5! Considering i had no idea what they were looking for, I think that's pretty spiffy.

True, that is a good attitude! It's just disconcerting to not do as well as you'd hoped. And GradCafe doesn't help matters, lol.

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Guest Gnome Chomsky

I have 3 and a half weeks to study, and I'm also taking 4 really hard classes in my final semester of undergrad, so I don't know how much time within this next 3 and a half weeks I'll have to devote to GRE. I care a lot less than I should. I feel like it's silly. I've busted my ass for 6 years full-time (changed my mind a lot) and maintained a 3.97 GPA, and now lack of preparation in something as silly as a GRE (according to some people) will carry as much weight as the GPA I worked so hard for. It doesn't seem fair. I'm also a much better short-term studyer. Give me 3 days to study for an exam and I literally won't sleep once. Give me a year and I probably won't get started until the week before. I guess I'm more of a sprinter than a marathoner. 

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I got back from study abroad 2 weeks before my test, so I studied 4 hrs/day every day (except for the day before the exam) and did really well.

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Guest Gnome Chomsky

I got back from study abroad 2 weeks before my test, so I studied 4 hrs/day every day (except for the day before the exam) and did really well.

Did you study everything equally or just areas you felt weak in? The math should be easy. And I've heard the writing is easy if you look at a few examples beforehand. I just don't know the meanings of those obscure ass words they use on verbal. I'd rather not just sit there trying to memorize definitions. I'd rather just study tactics instead. I'm a native American (not Native-American) but I got bad vocab. Too much BET growing up. 

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Did you study everything equally or just areas you felt weak in? The math should be easy. And I've heard the writing is easy if you look at a few examples beforehand. I just don't know the meanings of those obscure ass words they use on verbal. I'd rather not just sit there trying to memorize definitions. I'd rather just study tactics instead. I'm a native American (not Native-American) but I got bad vocab. Too much BET growing up. 

 

I was pretty solid on the verbal actually, so I focused on the math and general tactics for figuring out answers to questions.  Keep in mind I took the old GRE.

Edited by gellert

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I took the GRE at the end of my undergrad and spent about 20 hours total studying for the quantitative section and I got a 151V 154Q and 4AW. I focused heavily on the math section because I vastly overestimated my verbal skills and I was well aware that I was not skilled in math.

 

I recently retook the GRE with about a week to study when my adviser recommended getting a higher verbal score. I read through the verbal section of one prep book and did one prep test and received a 157V 150Q and 5AW. I attribute the writing improvement to a year and a half in a Master's program.

 

While these scores are markedly lower than the average population of gradcafe, I was accepted to 3/4 programs I applied to with my original, lower verbal score when I applied to MA programs.

 

I still haven't heard from any of the 6 programs I applied to with the higher verbal score, but for my field, it appears that my scores should be sufficient.

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I had been ambivalent all summer about whether I wanted to apply for grad school this application season and then I decided I did indeed want to apply, but with a month before I was due to live the country, it did not give me much time to prepare for the GRE. Standardized tests have always been daunting to me, I don't know how to prepare for them. This, coupled with poor test taking skills, and test anxiety I did not do well on the test. By the time I realized that I could have retaken the test in country, despite having researched this and found nothing, it was too late to retake it.

 

That said, I am hoping that adcomms will see the scores as a bit of a fluke as the rest of my academic record is strong. I hoping for this anyway.  

Edited by Porshyen

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Did you study everything equally or just areas you felt weak in? The math should be easy. And I've heard the writing is easy if you look at a few examples beforehand. I just don't know the meanings of those obscure ass words they use on verbal. I'd rather not just sit there trying to memorize definitions. I'd rather just study tactics instead. I'm a native American (not Native-American) but I got bad vocab. Too much BET growing up. 

I wouldn't just dismiss the vocab words, especially if you're already feeling confident on the quantitative section. A vocab flashcard app on my phone was probably my single most fruitful way to spend an hour. I was really surprised at how many of the words showed up on the test, but maybe that's just me.

 

Overall I read a GRE prep book cover-to-cover about a month before the test, and I took 2 practice tests in the last week. Between that, the flashcards and refreshing some math concepts, that's all I did. I got 168/160/4.5 (V/Q/W).

 

If I had it to do over with limited time to study, I'd take more practice tests. Funny handle, by the way :)

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I have 3 and a half weeks to study, and I'm also taking 4 really hard classes in my final semester of undergrad, so I don't know how much time within this next 3 and a half weeks I'll have to devote to GRE. I care a lot less than I should. I feel like it's silly. I've busted my ass for 6 years full-time (changed my mind a lot) and maintained a 3.97 GPA, and now lack of preparation in something as silly as a GRE (according to some people) will carry as much weight as the GPA I worked so hard for. It doesn't seem fair. I'm also a much better short-term studyer. Give me 3 days to study for an exam and I literally won't sleep once. Give me a year and I probably won't get started until the week before. I guess I'm more of a sprinter than a marathoner. 

I felt the same way.  Actually, I still feel the same way. 

 

I studied on and off for a couple of months.  My practice scores were awesome (over 160 on both portions) and I finished with almost 10 minutes to spare each time I took a practice test.  I ended up taking almost 10 practice tests. 

When I took the actual GRE, my scores were not as awesome, and I had to rush to finish the quantitative sections.  I think on one section, I had to answer 5 questions in 3 minutes or so because I ran out of time. 

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I wouldn't just dismiss the vocab words, especially if you're already feeling confident on the quantitative section. A vocab flashcard app on my phone was probably my single most fruitful way to spend an hour. I was really surprised at how many of the words showed up on the test, but maybe that's just me.

Flashcards improved my score.  I think I have a decent vocabulary, but they have the most obscure words on the GRE. 

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I ask because I'm scheduled to write in a week and I really don't have time to prepare. I'm fine with that -not applying until next year and I know I can do it again if/when I need.

Just wondering how others did in similar situations...

So, if you didn't prep much/at all, how did it go on test day for you?

 

I studied a night before up until an hour before the exam. Needless to say my GRE scores are average. It didn't seem to bother my POI. 

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I basically winged it and got scores I'm happy with. 163 v 162 q 5.0 w. I think it's because test-taking skills from the SAT transferred over still.

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Studied off an on for about 6 weeks, result was 160V/161Q/5.5W.  There's nothing that complicated on there; I just needed practice executing consistently.

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Took it on a whim in junior year of undergrad. Probably studied for like 3 weeks and it was totally disorganized studying.

 

158V/147Q/5.0W

 

I plan on spending about 6-7 months intensive studying this time around along with working on everything else for my applications for Fall 2014. I'd like to hit 162+ on both, I think it's doable.

 

I am weak in math (just really rusty more than anything) but I know what I need to do and have an extensive study plan set out.

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Srsly, Magoosh, crammed for 5 days, and I improved my score by 8 pts, 160v/163q and 5.0 writing. I was seriously tempted to just "get my refund" for having it less than a week (I'm a miser), but I'm like wow a product that works, I would be a jerk to rip them off. 

 

I didn't even practice writing. I thought it was going to drop if anything. It's about doing a ton of problems. Watch the videos if you have time, but do a butt ton of problems. I did like 800 problems or something over the span of five days. Live and breathed GRE problems. And Sugar-Free Red Bull. 

 

The first time I "bought a book" and did a few practice exams and slowly did the program over a month. 

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The first time I took the test I didn't study much at all and got average scores, the second time around I studied a little. Since I was applying to MFA programs I didn't focus on studying for math at all really. I looked over a bit of material for maybe 1 to 1 1/2 hours max a couple days before the test. Other than that I downloaded a couple of vocab aps for my iPad and half ass studied on those. Honestly though, for me the full experience of taking the test is more helpful than any amount of studying. I did a lot better but I do not think it was because I studied. The content on the test (as people have already stated) is not that difficult, it is about being able to maintain a steady pace and focused on the test. 

 

I think it really comes down to knowing what works best for you. That is not much of an answer, but its the truth. GOOD LUCK!

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I took the old test and studied about two weeks, which consisted of doing practice tests from the Kaplan book and the CD they send you. Got a 800Q,720V (168 scaled ) and a 4.5. Don't really think you need to study a ton of vocab words, the majority of the words they use are not difficult. In my opinion the verbal was more of a reasoning test

Edited by StatPhD2014

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I registered for the general GRE a couple months in advance. But unlike many of the people on this thread, I didn't so much as look at a practice test. Or study for the test specifically in any capacity. I completely winged it.

 

I suppose for the math GRE, I looked at a practice test and vaguely remember doing a couple problems?

 

Final scores: 169Q /161V / 5.0W, mGRE:760

Percentiles: 96% Q/ 86% V/ 91% W, mGRE: 73-76% (depending on the year; it has been decreasing).

 

I regret not studying for the mGRE more. What I did was take some of the courses shortly before taking the mGRE so that the topics were fresh in my mind. Weird how there was a lot of abstract algebra on there.

 

But anyway, there a couple reasons why I don't study for these kinds of exams. The first was a misplaced idealism and self-righteousness where I believed these tests are designed to test our competence in these areas as they had developed in college, and to cram for the exam would be disingenuous, because it would inflate our scores to a point that was not reflective of how competent we actually are. But screw that, multiple choice tests aren't really super reflective of competence anyway. The second reason is because I just happened to be drilled on multiple choice tests since I was 6. It wasn't even kaplan or some other test prep service. There were just that many scantrons and multiple choice tests for a decade and a half.

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