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Gre Math Subject Test Advice Please

  1. Jun 8, 2008 #1
    Gre Math Subject Test Advice!!!! Please!!!!

    Hi everyone,

    I just posted a thread before but I am interested in asking this as well. I'm sure some have taken the GRE MATH subject exam. I want to take it but I believe I am lacking in some classes like, analysis, topology, and complex variables as well as abstract algebra. I plan to take it this December, is there any advice that anyone can offer on how to prepare for the exam? Like any books (besides the princeton review cracking the GRE MATH) or how to go about studying for the exam? Thanks in advanced.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 8, 2008 #2
    Just review a lot of calculus. What gets a lot of people are theorems from Calc I they forgot. If you can squeeze in an Advance Calculus course, do so. It help me. Analysis comes in handy too. As for topology and complex variables, not to many questions come from those classes. Abstract Algebra makes the test a bit easier and you'll get more right if you know it.
  4. Jun 8, 2008 #3

    Thank you for your advise. Basically, I have seen the percentage distribution of topics and ultimately, it does boil down to mastering Calculus. I am planning to work through Advanced Calculus (by this you mean something along the lines of Kreyzigs Advanced Engineering Mathematics). Although I have not taken a formal proof class, I am taking Number Theory and I am being introduced to induction and contradtiion and good stuff like that. But I am confused as to how Analysis would be useful. If you do not mind, can you please elaborate on that more? I really appreciate your help so far. Thank you test
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2008
  5. Jun 9, 2008 #4
    Hey do not forget precalculus; every once in a while you might have to know the equation of a parabola (the whole directrix stuff) or the equation of a hyperbola or an ellipse. Also, you gotta memorize all those trig identities.
  6. Jun 9, 2008 #5


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    If you're taking the mathj GRE and can't derive the trig identites when you don't remember them, you shouldn't be going to grad school.
  7. Jun 9, 2008 #6
    In real analysis you'll learn a lot more about differentiability, convergence, integration, sequence of functions, smoothness. Having a more detail idea over those topics give you a better chance answering the questions most people get wrong.
  8. Jun 9, 2008 #7


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    practice the test. log onto the gre website and find out what is measured and learn that.

    and/or buy a gre practice book.

    hint: the gre test is about a thousand levels below the level of grad school, so any thing below about a 750 or 800 is discouraging,
  9. Jun 9, 2008 #8
    Dear Everyone,

    Thank you very much for all of your valuable input so far. Thank you PowerIso for elaborating on the advantage of understanding analysis. To further on that, I'm going to start using Understanding Analysis by Abbott then move to Rudin if time permits. Yes, I agree that a strong precalculus background is essential. So thank you Vid and PowerIso for the tip.

    This question if for Mathmonk; if you do not mind. Before that, thank you for your time. Mathmonk, can you (or anyone who wants to provide their advice, please anything is deeply appreciated) apply that same concept to a program that is not completely mathematics based? An adviser from the Computational Biology and Molecular Biophysics program said that any life/physical/mathematical science subject test would be RECOMMENDED, but if I choose not to go with it, my other credentials have more weight. Might I add that I have already taken a graduate mathematics course in that department and did very well.

    Thank you once again for everyones time. Hope to hear from more soon!!!
  10. Jun 9, 2008 #9


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    well i started to say my advice was drunk advice.

    but no, i think the math gre is more trivial than probably the gre in other subjects.

    so dont freak out.
  11. Jun 11, 2008 #10
    I would not recommend taking the GRE Math Subject Test with your current background. Without any background in Abstract Algebra, Topology, Real Analysis, Combinatorics, or Complex Analysis, you will, off the bat, not be able to answer ~25-30% of the questions on the test.

    If you are still determined to take the test, self teach yourself as much Abstract Algebra, Real Analysis and Topology as possible. Then, review Calculus I-III, Diff EQ, Linear Algebra, and Probability HARDCORE. If you study hard, you may have a decent shot at >75%ile.
  12. Jun 11, 2008 #11
    When I took the exam, it was 25% calc, tops. If you don't have any advanced coursework in mathematics, you'll need to be an absolute genius to break 40th percentile.
  13. Jun 12, 2008 #12
    The format of the GRE MATH subject is approximately 50% in Calculus, 25% in linear/abstract/elementary algebra, and the the last 25% on mostly the material that you are lacking in. So, you should be able to answer a majority of the questions on the test.
  14. Jun 12, 2008 #13


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    Yea, but pretty much everyone taking that test will be able to answer all the calculus problems so the other stuff is what actually matters when generating scores.
  15. Jun 13, 2008 #14
    No way do I agree with this. I have a friend who got a 700 on the math gre and he's kicking @$$ at one of the top math schools in the nation.
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