Got my GRE scores back in the mail . . .

710 Verbal, 790 Quantitative, and a 5.0 on the Analytical Writing.

I’m *definitely *happy with these scores, and I do not want to take that fucking test ever again!

I’ll be applying for grad school, hoping to get into a good program in fall 2009. I was thinking about business, but after a long talk with some business profs, it looks like I’m going to be going for a degree in education so that I can pursue a library career in bibliographic instruction.

I’ve actually got mixed feelings about these scores. On one hand, I’m stoked, because I never thought I’d score this high. I was looking to hit the mean scores on both with a slightly higher than average score on the writing portion. On the other hand I’ve read the comments of one poster in a GRE thread a few weeks back who opined that she might have been rejected from a grad school program in education because her scores were too high. I’m not sure that would happen to me; my scores are good, but they’re not that good. Still, I’m a worrywart by nature.

Oh, and if anyone’s actually thinking about putting themselves through this bullshit, a few notes:

  1. There are a lot of great textbooks out there on how to prep for the GRE’s. Buy, borrow, or steal a few and attack the sample problems with everything you’ve got. GRE textbooks definitely make the difference, even if you’ve already got the math and vocab down. They prepare you for all the nasty little surprises the testmakers–who have to suffer from autism and personality disorders, judging by the questions they think up–prepare for you, probably while rubbing their hands and cackling with glee, all because you happened to lose your virginity before you were 37.

  2. A word on the Verbal section. Some of the textbooks state that you don’t need to memorize vocabulary words to ace the Verbal section, and that a well-read student should be able to ace it without a problem. This is bullshit. Go through those lists, pick out any vocabulary word you don’t know and memorize that shit. I went through all the vocab lists I could find in the books, plus some on the web, plus all the vocab that popped up on the sample tests that I didn’t know off the top of my head, and I studied, studied, studied, until I had those fuckers down. It saved my ass on the test.

  3. My math scores surprised me, because I always considered myself awful at the subject. The books helped here, too. I should say that they did not prepare me for everything I saw on the test, but they gave me enough of a primer so that I could decipher the harder shit and make educated guesses. Work the algebra. You’ll need it for the word problems. A couple of years ago, before I ever even thought about going back to grad school, I decided out of the blue to teach myself some math just to see how far I could get. I managed to make it through Algebra I and II, Trig (no trig on the GRE’s, btw), and even some very basic calculus, and I’m sure this helped when taking the test. One of the things that helped the most was this book on word problems. If your algebra isn’t that great, pay special attention to that in the GRE textbooks. The geometry is pretty basic, but make sure you know all your area formulas, for both 2 and 3D shapes (The textbooks cover them pretty well.).

  4. I have no idea if this is true for all the tests, but overall, stacking the actual test against the textbooks, I’d say that the Verbal questions were easier on the test than they were in the book, and the math questions were way harder on the test than they were in the book. Again, that just might have been mine.

So glad to have that out of the way!

Glad you’re happy with the scores! And I’m so glad I’ll never go to grad school.

Congratulations! I’ll be saving this thread for when my time comes…

Congrats! I’m currently in the process of studying for the exam, so this thread is helpful.

I will be prepping for the GRE here in a few months myself, so it is nice to have this information from someone who has taken the test! I will be saving this thread and coming back to it before I take the test also. I am very afraid of the math section of the test…math is not my strongest point.:frowning:

Congratulations, you beat me on every score. :slight_smile: (I took it last year and got 700 verbal, 770 quantitative, and 4.5 analytical writing.)

I have never heard of someone not getting into a graduate program because their scores are too high … I mean, I’m not an authority or anything but that sounds odd to me. GRE scores are always that important of a factor in admissions, though, so it’s possible to have great scores but be weak in other areas and still not get in.

anyhow, congrats, i hope the rest of the process goes well.

Ahh, don’t worry too much. It’s not mine either. It’s not about knowing all the whizbang formulas. It’s just knowing the basics of setting up a problem, and if I can do it, anyone could do it. If you work through the problems, sooner or later, it’s going to click. There’s no real trick to it. If you practice enough, you’ll get a decent score.

Yeah, I’m worrying about nothing here. It’s kind of a hobby.

Honestly I think I just lucked out. There were a lot of educated guesses that night.

Oh, and at the risk of getting this thread sent to IMHO, I’m going to go ahead and list some of the books that helped me out. I used quite a few, but I centered my study around three books:

  1. GRE General Test (REA): The best overall book as far as sample tests go. If you can only afford one book, get this one. Six full-length tests that taken together represent most of what you’ll see on the real thing (but not all). It also includes some introductions to math and verbal concepts, but it’s good mostly because of the tests.

  2. GRE Prep Course with Software and Online Course: This is the best book for explanations of the concepts of the tests, rather than the tests themselves. It’s a great review for all the shit you’ve forgotten from high school algebra and geometry, Remember how I said that memorizing all those freaky words saved my ass on the verbal section? I memorized most of them using the two huge horkin’ vocab lists in the back of the book. There are two: The quick and dirty list, which has 400 words quite a few of which you are all but guaranteed to run into somewhere, and a larger list with a few thousand words, and if you get through those and still mess up the verbal section, then you can be reasonably sure that there is a god and that She hates your ass. Oh, and there are even more vocab words scattered through the sample tests (which are not as good as REA’s), and they’ll help you too. The math review is decent, as I’ve already said.

  3. ARCO GRE/GMAT Math Review 6th Edition: As the name suggests, this only has math, but it will get you in shape for the GRE quantitative section. pbbth, I know you worry about your math ability, but if you get through this book and the word problems book which I linked to above and will link to again here, you will definitely be in shape for the GRE. Again, you won’t learn about everything that shows up on the test, but remember that when it comes to the GRE’s, it’s better to forget about perfect and just go for very good. If you happen to get perfect scores, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Well . . . good luck, everyone who’s taking the test. Get it right the first time, and then laugh at everyone after you who still has to take it. In fact . . .

(points at pbbth, vintageloveletter, and Lionne) HA-ha! :stuck_out_tongue:

Seriously, though, good luck to you all. If I can do it with my pea-brain, you all should ace it.

I took mine a few years ago, but never finished grad school, and may be applying to more this year, and I might take it again. My scores were pretty bad (I forget the exact ones, but they were both mid 600’s…being an engineer, I should score over 700 on the quantitative IMO.) I’m happy with my writing, a 5.0.

So if I decide to take them again, can I just skip the writing and use the old score? For engineering schools, a 4.0 in writing is good enough, so why waste ther time and effort into writing more essays?, right?

Oh, and one more thing for pbbth. If I’m reading your post right, it sounds like you’ll be starting to prep for the actual test a few months from now. If that’s the case, I’ll give you one more piece of advice.

Go out and buy a cheap second-hand algebra textbook and work through it. It doesn’t have to be expensive or deep, as long as it takes you through quadratic equations, radicals, and a few word problems. Some of the problems on the GRE are quite complicated, but the algebraic concepts they’re based on are all very basic. If you get the bare basics out of the way before the GRE preps loom, then you’ll have won half the battle before you even begin fighting. Just a thought

Thanks for all the advice, Linty Fresh!

I will indeed be starting the GRE prep in a few months. I would be doing it right now but I am going back to get a master’s in history and to do that they require that I speak a foreign language so right now I am teaching myself spanish. Once I have a better grasp on that I will start the GRE prep and then take the test so that when I start applying to programs I will be ready for when they test my language skills too.

I used the Princeton Review–the CD practice tests and the book. I studied about an hour a day. My Verbal score: 770. My math was quite a bit lower, 510 (I haven’t had any math since HS), and I got a 5.5 on the essay portion.

IMO, doing the practice tests, checking logic at the door (re the vocab and their weird word comparisons) and going over it almost every day makes the difference.
The hardest thing was deciding whether or not to send the scores (unseen) to the school I wanted to get into. I did and thank god–no way was I taking that test again!

Buena suerte!

Great job on the verbal and writing; those are some kick-ass scores!

I am confused, though, about your last sentence. I was under the impression that you could send your GRE scores well after taking the test and getting the results back (up to five years after the test, I believe).

I’m taking it in about a month, and have been spending an ungodly amount of time with my Kaplan Premier Program prep book. My sister got it for me after having been very satisfied with it when she took the GRE. The CD program is pretty good.

At this point I honestly don’t know what I want more: a really good score, or to just be done with it. Good grief.

Does anyone have any advice for someone who’s really bad at basic mental math? I absolutely understand the concepts of basic algebra, but when it comes to doing basic division or whatever without a calculator I get all muddled up.

I hear you. Eventually, you hit a point where you realize that no matter how much more you’ve studied, you’re not going to learn much more, and it hits you that you might as well just take the damn thing and get it out of the way. I’d been studying hard for a couple of months, and as soon as I started feeling this way, I trusted my instincts and scheduled the test online for the soonest possible date, which turned out to be two weeks from the scheduling point. I reviewed during that time, but I didn’t knock myself out over it, and I think I made the right decision.

Well you don’t have to do much mental calculation. You’ll have plenty of scrap paper. You just have to know how to use algebra to set up the problem. If you’re having problems with the basic division or multiplication process itself, you can just review it online with some practice problems, but you don’t have to perform all the actual calculations in your head.

ack, obviously i meant to say “NOT always that important of a factor”. :smack:


Well thanks for getting my hopes up, pal! I was walking around like "Wooo-HOOOOO!! I got a 1500! I don’t need grades or a personality to get into grad school, and now you’ve just wrecked it! Way to piss on my parade! :mad:

I actually got what you were trying to say when I read it. I almost pointed it out, but I figured that if I’d done that, I would have immediately made five or six grammatical and spelling errors, and then all anyone would talk about was how the hell I could have possibly gotten a 5.0 on the analytical writing part.

Congrats, Linty Fresh that’s some good work there!

Best wishes for your grad school experience!

Something that helped me a lot when I took the GRE (mind you, 15 years ago) was knowing, not the words, but the Latin and Greek roots. There were several questions where I didn’t know any of the four words but knowing that a “phobia” is a “fear” meant that I was able to pick up the fear of whatever obscure thing the testers had come up with. Of course, this wouldn’t have worked if there had been two phobias to choose from, but there weren’t.

Having seen how much trouble many of my students had with “word problems” or with recognizing as an equation something where the variable hadn’t been called “x,” I’d like to recommend that anybody who’s having problems with science courses take a look at those books on “word problems” which have been mentioned here. The immense majority of the students I tutored in Chemistry didn’t have a problem with Chemistry per se, they had a problem with being able to figure out that they needed to find the value of [Na[sup]+[/sup]]… “but it’s not x, it can’t be the variable!”

Linty – How long did it take you to get your scores back? I just took the test today, and I wonder when I’m going to find out how I did on the essays.

Also…I am very, very disappointed in my scores. I got a 690 verbal, when I got an 800 verbal SAT and could have done better this time…and 470 quantitative. I’m soooo bad at math. It’s not just that I forgot it…I never learned it to begin with. It frustrates me into knots and always has. If having a class 5 days a week with a real live teacher couldn’t teach me this stuff, then working through practice problems alone isn’t going to work either. I don’t know what to do. :frowning: