GRE Math Subject Test- which books ?

  1. Hello,

    I'm sure this topic has been discussed in the past, but I couldn't search the forum with the word "GRE". Here is my story, I don't even know if I want or am going to take the GRE Math Subject test. The thing is that I applied to a few top financial engineering programs and I was either waitlisted (Cornell) or redirected to another program within the school ( Columbia MSFE redirected me to the MSOR). Therefore, I'm assuming that I'm somewhere on the boarder and improving my application by a little should help me get admission. I still have pending applications, but I've lost faith :\

    So, I think the GRE Math Subject Test will be a VERY good improvement.
    I majored in finance but took a bunch of math courses for the MFE program (All A's if it matters). Now, I missed many topics that are not needed for the MFE but appear on the GRE math. I'm not familiar with the following: Abstract Algebra, Topology, Graph Theory(not sure this one appears on the test), Group Theory, Intro Real Analysis, Complex Variables, I took Numerical Analysis but what kind of question can be asked with no programming ?

    Obviously, I need to review linear algebra, calculus, diff equations, stats and probability.

    I want to study for 2-4 months (mostly after work and during weekends) and take it in November (they have in April and in November only, right ?)

    First, is it really feasible for me to complete it by November ? Can I do it on my own?
    Another option is to take another 4-5 math courses, but I don't really want to spend more money on college credits :|

    NOW, my main question is this, which books are best for each topic (even for those that I need to review). And, I'm assuming the topics in the "Additional" part don't really require all chapters in each book, would appreciate if you mentioned how much to study for each topic. And, which books are good for practice questions style the GRE ? I heard the old Cracking the GRE Math Subject test is a good one. Should I get one of the old editions or the newest edition ?

    Sorry for the long post and thank you very much for your time.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. If you have not taken a single course in abstract algebra before, then I don't know how far you will succeed in the test. Abstract Algebra, Topology, Real Analysis, Discrete Math, Number Theory are the topics you seemed to have missed, which leaves only Calculus, Linear Algebra, Diff Eqn., (assuming you have taken probability & Statistics). You could definitely try and give your best shot, but I won't be surprised if you fail to achieve what you really wanted to achieve.

    Regarding the books (especially for PhD FE) I read somewhere that "Cracking the GRE Subject Test in Mathematics, Steve" is a good read, but I don't know any books for preparing for actual GRE exam.

    Good luck!
  4. I'm targeting at 75% or better. And you are right, I took the regular calc sequence, ODEs, PDEs, Linear Algebra, Probability, Statistics, Stochastic Process (not in the exam), Math Finance (not in the exam either), Numerical Analysis (not sure if the one that's required for the exam), but missed all the rest.
    So you think it's impossible for me to complete them all on my own even if I get a bunch of books to cover all the topics?

    And if "Cracking the GRE Subject Test in Mathematics" is not going to prepare one for the exam, where can you get questions that are similar on the real GRE Math Subject exam ?
    I'm assuming the regular books have questions but not this type that are good for the exam.

    Thanks for your help.
  5. I am sorry, that book I mentioned is for preparing for actual GRE exam but someone made a special mention about it for guys who want to do FE PhD.
  6. I can't answer that question. Let's see, the ETS' GRE practice book says the topics covered will be this: Abstract algebra and number theory: elementary topics from group theory, theory of rings and modules, fi eld theory, and number theory.

    Introductory real analysis: sequences and series of numbers and functions, continuity, differentiability and integrability, and elementary topology of R & R^n.

    Discrete mathematics: logic, set theory, combinatorics, graph theory, and algorithms.

    Other topics: general topology, geometry, complex variables, probability and statistics, and numerical analysis.

    Realistically, for the Algebra part alone guys who studied it for 1.5 - 2 years find it hard to ace it. Regarding Real Analysis, it's bit harder than Abstract Algebra and this is just 2 topics. Now, you have to decide whether you can go for it or not.

    All these are generally speaking, but if you are super intelligent person, that's another story entirely.
  7. I have no idea how useful or relevant this will be to you, but about 25 years ago I took the GRE subject test in Computer Sci because I wanted to get into Stanford. I hadn't taken a LOT of the subjects that were covered, but it turned out that most of the questions were general, and only a few were so specialized that you didn't even know where to start if you hadn't taken that subject. I think I ended up getting a 95 or something. Didn't get into Stanford, but I got into Berkeley!
  8. That doesn't really help since the math GRE was made alot harder in 2001 since too many math students were acing it and colleges couldn't differentiate between good and exceptional students. It is now widely believed that the math GRE is the hardest GRE test out there.
  9. That's really impressive, nontheless!!

    To the OP: If you can spend the registration amount I see no harm in giving it a try. Keep the "realistic" thing aside and go for it if you believe it will improve your profile.

    P.S: If it is legal to exchange emails in pvt msg then send me a pvt msg!
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