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Testing Best way to prepare for the Math GRE subject test?

  1. Jul 7, 2012 #1
    I have the princeton review book, and i plan on going through a calculus web tutorial online(mainly for calc 3 stuff).

    My school library has some pretty good books on algebra/analysis. What other kind of books should i be thinking about getting in order to do well on the test?

    Also, what is considered a good score on the test in general?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 9, 2012 #2
    Don't worry about scores so much as percentiles...the score distribution can change drastically with each test if this past sitting has anything to say about it. From the bit of grad school research I've done/talking with the director of grad studies at my school, if you get at least in the 85th percentile, it starts getting into nitpicky details, so I'm guessing around there. It really is dependent on the school, though. Some schools care about the test, others don't.

    You can find some practice tests from the ETS by searching for math subject gre practice tests on Google. There are a few of those, and all are good review.

    Any analysis/algebra books will be helpful but remember most of the test is calculus. Basically any subdiscipline is fair game...don't try to study for everything, study smartly.

    I can't really recommend any particular resources because of how wildly different the test was in comparison to the available practice materials. Just be comfortable with as much as you can. When the syllabus lists the other topics and says that it's not exhaustive...they mean it.
  4. Jul 9, 2012 #3
    Say i take the test and i do really bad on it. Do i have a choice whether or not schools see the score (assume i do send the regular GRE score which of course i plan on)? Some schools i'm applying don't require it and i would rather not send crappy scores to them if i can avoid it.

    Basically are the scores of the regular GRE somehow linked with subject test scores? In other words, if i send the regular GRE scores do the subject scores also get sent and vice-versa?

    thanks again!
  5. Jul 9, 2012 #4
    The emphasis is on calculus and doing calculations. Once you do a practice test, you'll find that there are certain types of problems that are common. So, what I did was find the essential skills that were being tested and practice them over and over. Actually, it didn't work too well in the end because I went for speed, rather than accuracy, but the way it is graded, accuracy is more important. However, I think I had the right idea. You just have to remember to be very careful on the test because you get penalized for wrong answers and the answers that result from the most common inadvertent calculation errors are often available choices.

    The two things that I remember practicing a lot were integration by parts and Gaussian elimination. Just do a couple integration by parts problems and a couple Gaussian elimination problems every day, so that you get really proficient at it, even if you know perfectly well how to do those things already. Another common problem is the kind where you have an integral and the limits of the integral are functions, so you have to use the chain rule plus the fundamental theorem of calculus to find the derivative. So, do a thousand of those.

    It's helpful to think of integration by parts as "throwing the derivative" from one function to the other and adding a sign change (plus the other boundary term), rather than some big formula that you use that's hard to remember.

    The second most important thing is linear algebra. Just focus on calc and linear algebra, even though they seem trivial and easy because the math GRE is about speed and accuracy in calculus and linear algebra, above all else. If you want a great score, you'll have study other things, too, but that's the priority.
  6. Nov 20, 2012 #5
    Good study materials for Pre-Calc all the way up to Diff Eq would be the Schaum's Outline books. They have a '3000 Solved Problems in Calculus' book that is great for practice just because of the sheer amount of problems. They have a great Linear Algebra outline too with lots of solved problems. Almost any Schaum's Outline book is good because of the amount of problems they each contain.
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