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I'm pretty new to this forum, I was hoping for some input/help :( I'm planning on applying to grad school for speech language pathology for the Fall 2017 year, and I'm just freaking out about applications and GRE scores.

I have a 3.731 GPA but my GRE scores are god awful. It's pretty embarrassing to even share my scores (mostly due to the math). To be fair, I did not study as hard as I should have for the GRE. I'm planning on taking it a second time around and I've been putting in major hours (Memorized 500 vocab words + Magoosh vocab). However, it seems my Achilles heel is the quantitative reasoning. 

I know people say they are "bad at math", but I just do not understand math.. I am able to understand if I walk through the solution, but it seems like when the problem is rearranged in any way or given to me different I just blank out. I've always been this way and have been placed in remedial math when I was younger. It's just the hardest subject for me, and I hate that I have a hard time understanding it. 

I wish I could afford an online GRE course, but it just is not an option for me. I have been practicing diligently with the Manhattan Prep + Vocabulary I mentioned before, and also The Princeton Review: Cracking the GRE. 

Having limited understanding of math (I could probably do the simple problems..), does anyone have any suggestions or think it's worth it to keep trying with the math? Or should I not worry about the math and just focus mainly on my strong subjects (writing, reading, text completion)? 

Any answers would be appreciated!

Edited by slp2be01

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Hi slp2be01,

If you're as uncomfortable with 'math' as you say, then there will be a limit to how high you can score on the GRE. That having been said, much of the Quant material that you'll face on Test Day isn't too hard, so you should be able to train to face the 'gettable' questions and train a bit more to make smart choices when handling questions that are just 'too hard' for you. 

To help you built up your basic math skills, I suggest that you set up an account at Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org). The site is completely free and makes the learning more fun and 'game-like', as opposed to most books that focus on the dry, academic aspects of the math. While the site is vast, you should limit your work to basic arithmetic, algebra and geometry. After spending some time there, you should restart your GRE studies. While it's understandable that you wouldn't want to spend too much money on your GRE studies, there are a number of online Courses that are reasonably priced. Most GRE Companies also offer free online practice materials (practice questions, Trial Accounts, etc.) so that you can 'test out' a product before you buy it. We have a number of free resources at our website (www.empowergre.com) that you should take advantage of.

If you have any additional questions, then just let me know (and you can also feel free to PM me).

GRE Masters aren't born, they're made,


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I'm the same when it comes to math. I understand it while I'm studying it, but then it all just falls out of my head. What I did that saved my skin on the GRE (I got a totally average score, like exactly 50th percentile) was that I skipped all the questions I didn't immediately know that I could figure out and then went back to the skipped ones after I'd done all the ones I could. I knew I wasn't going to have time to do a fair number of them, and I wanted those to be the ones that I absolutely couldn't do.

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You should definitely keep trying. The thing about GRE math is, it's high school math dressed up with unfamiliar questions that look a lot harder than they are. The first time I took the GRE, I basically panicked at some of the scarier-looking questions, barely tried to answer them, and did terribly-- like 25th percentile.

The thing that helped me the most was just the free SparkNotes introduction to GRE math. It goes over strategies for answering the questions and provides a refresher in some of the concepts you may not have used in a while. The thing they pointed out that really helped me was that, with a short test time and only a basic on-screen calculator, no question can really be that hard or complicated-- it just looks like it. So when you see something come up that you think you can't do, take a deep breath and start looking for the shortcut because there definitely is one.

Go through that whole intro, work the example problems, even the ones that seem easy, and that will help a lot. After that I worked through the Manhattan Prep big book of questions. I'd recommend doing sets of 10-15 in any one topic, checking your answers, writing out the corrections, and moving on to a new question type once you find you're getting most or all of them right. You can always go back and finish a full topic if you have time; it's better to get exposed to all the topics IMO. This will get you making fewer silly mistakes, and recognizing the types of shortcuts you can take on a typical GRE problem.

My GRE retake after doing this was about the 75th percentile. Obviously those materials didn't teach or re-teach me math, but they did help me learn some strategies and be less intimidated so I could work calmly and show the reasoning abilities I actually do have. You may find you do a lot better once you know that the exam isn't some kind of subject test for math majors.

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The principle in my experience as a tutor is this:

If you never learned a concept, GRE prep books probably won't be enough. I agree with @EMPOWERgreRichC's advice about Khan Academy - or using math textbooks (some are better than others). This isn't a quick fix; in fact, it may take several months or longer to build a math foundation good enough for an average GRE math score.

If you at some point knew a concept, then GRE prep books might be enough to refresh the concept to the point of proficiency.

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