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Do you get only one shot at the GRE?

  1. Mar 7, 2009 #1

    Math Is Hard

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    I haven't taken it, but the little bit I have read about it is intimidating. If you blow it, do you get another chance to take it?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2009 #2
    You can take it as many times as you want. As long as you pay them
     
  4. Mar 7, 2009 #3
    You can retake the general GRE like 1 per month or so, whereas the subject GRE is only offered a few times per year.

    The computer format for the general GRE is a little disconcerting if you haven't done it before, so you could probably benefit from taking the general one twice.
     
  5. Mar 7, 2009 #4

    Math Is Hard

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    Thanks for the info.

    The essay parts look the most daunting. Does the exam software have basic word processing capabilities like cut and paste? I tend to reorganize things as I am writing.
     
  6. Mar 7, 2009 #5
    I remember that the word processing they have is archaic and sucks hard, but I don't recall whether it has cut and paste.
     
  7. Mar 7, 2009 #6
    General you can take as much as you want, the Subject test I believe you can take up to 5 times in X (5 or 10?) years. The general in so far as I know is held whenever you want and the Subject is held 3 times a year.
     
  8. Mar 7, 2009 #7

    j93

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    There is a 5 time limit for subject GRE, where is that posted?
     
  9. Mar 8, 2009 #8
    I did absolutely terrible on the writing (essay) section, and none of the grad schools I applied to seemed to care. I really wouldn't worry about it.
     
  10. Mar 8, 2009 #9

    Math Is Hard

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    Thanks, folks. :smile:

    So, the schools see your scores for the each section then? I guess I was thinking they just saw one total score. Total n00b here. :redface:

    How long does it take to sit for the exam?
     
  11. Mar 8, 2009 #10
    Having taken the GRE math subject test in October and retaking it 3 weeks later in November after having been very sick on the first try, I have just one tip for everyone: take it many times and remember all the questions.

    I actually had 3 identical questions from the first try and it saved me at least 5 minutes. Thus, I recommend taking the test many times in your 2nd and 3rd year and each time opting not to have your test graded. This way it won't be seen in your records that you have taken it many times. After each test just write down every single question you can remember from the test and memorize all these questions for your real attempt. I guarantee that doing this you'll get at least 5-10 questions for free which has a huge impact as the test is all about speed.

    BTW, this doesn't violate their confidentiality agreement as long as you don't share questions with anyone.

    EDIT: To answer a few other questions, the standard GRE does have cut and paste. You can only take it once per calendar month (I think they change the set of questions at the end of each month). Your schools will see the scores of every single attempt you have made in the past few years or so. The only attempts they won't see are the ones you asked not to grade.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2009
  12. Mar 8, 2009 #11

    j93

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    If you have the money taking it once or twice ungraded would be a great idea because they do use exactly/near identical problems for most of the subject exams. Just cancel the exam after the examination and try to remember all the questions you thought were odd and make note of them and cater to exam.
     
  13. Mar 16, 2009 #12
    Personally, I don't think that is a good approach.

    Taking the test with better preparation the second time to improve your score is not a bad idea, however statistics indicate that test takers tend to score lower on their second or later attempts especially on the General GRE. The best way to prepare for the subject test is to solve the released papers of the previous tests under test conditions. For the General test one can download the free software PowerPrep (on ETS website). It simulates the exact testing conditions one will encounter at the actual test.

    Plus, taking the test more than two times can be counter productive since score is reporting is cumulative. Which means all the test scores of the tests taken in the past 5 years will be reported to the institutes.
     
  14. Mar 16, 2009 #13
    Someone else told me this as well, but it doesn't make any sense. I've never scored lower the second time I took any standardized test... ever. Not on the statewide standardized tests in gradeschool. Not on the PSAT. Not on the SAT general. Not on the SAT subjects. Not on the GRE general. Not on the GRE subject. I always score substantially better the second time. Even in regular classes I always did better on the second midterm exam than the first. I've talked to a few other people about this and they all had the same experience. Who are these people who do worse the second time?
     
  15. Mar 16, 2009 #14

    j93

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    I dont know but I have reservations when people say "statistics indicate" without showing any reference to any site/paper.

    There is also the apparent fact that you can decide to not have your test scored which is not cumulative kept in your record and as a matter fact is not kept in your record at all. I doubt anyone suggested that if he is taking any standardized exam just to get a "feel" for it that he should get it scored.

    For the subject GRE I very highly doubt that you found any statistic that indicates that taking the exam again lowers your score, I also highly found that you found a similar statistic for the GRE for test takers who did not do really well. The only possible situation which I would believe such a statistic is for scorers in the 700+ range. For any standardized test that one has scored really well in if one takes the exam again then youre very likely to do worse because around the 90% range little arithmetic mistakes count as well as time constraints.
     
  16. Mar 16, 2009 #15

    Vanadium 50

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    I too would like to see the statistics and where they come from, but it doesn't strike me as being a priori crazy. It could be caused by the Dunning-Kruger effect, for example.
     
  17. Mar 16, 2009 #16
    what was your score?
     
  18. Mar 16, 2009 #17
    I would assume that getting a lower score might be possible if you have studied like crazy for the GRE and get a score you're not happy with and retake the exam. Finding the energy to study for it for a second time might prove difficult or you might underestimate the effort it takes to prepare again, so I would imagine that a lower score would certainly be possible if not even likely.

    I was advocating an approach where you go to the exam a few times before you start studying for it and just try to to memorize the questions. Of course, you need to cancel your score so that it doesn't show up in your records. My actual exam in November wasn't really like the practice exam, because the test had quite a few exercises that required lots of pencil pushing, while the current practice exam had nothing but questions that were trivial -- assuming that you know the theory. This meant that I underestimated the difficulty of the test, because I knew the theory very well, but hadn't done these laborious exercises since I took my first calculus course at uni. However, I scored in the high 90s with a raw score that would have given me a 91 on the practice test, so everyone had the same problem.

    Going to the exam can also help with some quirks like:

    - You might realize that the table at the test center is really bad and you need to account for it in your preparation. (Yes I had a table the size of a postage stamp.)

    - The test monitor might tell you to start filling in your information on the paper and then after 30 seconds or so proclaim that the test has started and forget to tell you that you can fill in what you didn't have time for _after_ the test is over (this happened at my test and I lost a few minutes filling the answer sheets with personal information while the clock was ticking)

    Of course taking a prep course will tell you all of this, if you want to spend the money. However, a much better way is to spend the money on the actual exam, copy the questions and buy some prep books. :)
     
  19. Mar 16, 2009 #18
    j93 and maze:
    I am certainly not trying to discourage anyone from retaking any test. It is just that I personally don't see any sense in taking the test multiple number of times when it is only going to make a marginal difference in your scores (increase or decrease). If someone scored below 700 in the quantitative section with minimal preparation then it is worth retaking the test with better preparation. Again if the person isn't applying to any engineering or science programs the issue would be different.
     
  20. Mar 16, 2009 #19
    I think we're talking about different things here. Retaking the general GRE might not make much of a difference, but the subject tests are a completely different matter due to recycling of test questions.
     
  21. Mar 16, 2009 #20

    j93

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    Theres no reason to take the test again if you scored around or above 750 but aside from that your not that likely to do worse.
     
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