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GRE Subject Scores

  1. Nov 13, 2007 #1
    GRE math subject score: 590 (42%)

    I guess I don't have what it takes to be a mathematician.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2007 #2
    You mean you don't have what it takes to do a bunch of basic, yet tricky, math problems under extreme time constraints and with the tremendous pressure of knowing that it can influence your admissions prospects. I took the physics test, and I did not do as well as I thought either.

    But I don't understand what these tests are supposed to say about our ability as researchers. I know when I do my research, I try to go as fast as possible, and if I have multiple possibilities for an answer to a research question, I just eliminate some until I'm down to 3, then I guess. I try to solve everything w/o any algebra or calculus, because it takes too much time. I NEVER check my work, because it takes too much time. I try to average 1.7 minutes per research project. :rolleyes:

    Don't EVER let ETS tell you don't have what it takes. You can work around your score, I would suggest having your best referee address it in his/her letter of recommendation.

    Or you could always wait a year, do some research, study for the MATH GRE, smoke it, and then apply again.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2007
  4. Nov 13, 2007 #3
    Yeah, I totally agree with above saying. I recently took GRE Physics as well. All I can say is this. ETS really do know how to make money off of us! Don't hesitate to defeat the system.
  5. Nov 13, 2007 #4

    Haha, you really made me laugh there.

    Yeah, I guess I was sort of joking and not joking at the same time. While the gre can't measure research ability, I know that I am probably off a lot of schools lists now. Thanks for your advice.
  6. Nov 14, 2007 #5
    I probably got a score similar to yours and I applied to pretty much no safety schools. I think I pretty much wasted A LOT of money. But it is ok, if I don't make it in because of my GRE scores, then that is the way things shake out.
  7. Nov 15, 2007 #6
    i guess ur GRE score right now doesnt truly reflect ur potential to be mathematician.
    assuming that u wrote the GRE test to get into a grad school, it's the motivation to become a mathematician that shud have driven you. this coupled with a little more hard work would definitely see you through.
    also, i dunno whether this is true but your scores could have been circumstantial. like something inevitable that u had to attend to during ur exams could have interfered with it.
    so dont get disheartened by one time score.
    I'm not endorsing you to sit for the gre test again, but if u wish u could, after thoroughly preparing for it. even otherwise, this score is not everything in life. you can still work on mathematics and show your enthusiasm for it by making use of the opportunities that your present score could help you with..

    good luck!
  8. Nov 15, 2007 #7
    I have read of many Math majors no scoring in the top 90%. Just take it again, and be sure to prepare for it by doing a lot of practice problems. I recommend the Kaplan GRE math book, and Barrons GRE, as a good starting point.
  9. Nov 16, 2007 #8
    Your percentile is much below. I will recommend to retake GRE.
  10. Nov 16, 2007 #9
    Heh, when I took the GRE math test I got around a 35 percentile.

    ...good thing I went to grad school in physics instead.
  11. Nov 16, 2007 #10
    I would definitely retake it if I could at this point. No, I didn't really prepare for it but that is because I have too many classes right now to spare anytime to do so. This is my fault. But, there are two schools i am applying to that do not look at GRE subject. I now actually don't know what schools to apply to; I think I am just going to apply to the ones I was before and just take what comes (maybe I will add a fall back school or two). If I don't get into any schools then I will seriously have to do some thinking. But, luckily, my family can support me for another year of school (this probably means I will have to move back home though). I am applying to one masters program that I should be able to get into, CUNY, and now I am think of applying to tufts. Everything else is pretty unfeasible unless I squeak in or they are impressed with my recs and classes. The best school I am applying to is U of Ill (urbana) and UW. I am thinking of taking UW off the list now. I just can't imagine getting into the places I am applying (and yet I don't think of them as all that great). For instance, UNC, Duke, Rice. Those were also on my list (Rice and Duke were always somewhat reaches), but now UNC...that has to go too. In the end, what I have to decide really is what is worth my money (parents money) to apply to. Maybe I should cut everything and just apply to the masters program at WFU, and phds to U of ill, Cuny, and tufts. I honestly don't know where else to go that would be worth it. This is where I need real advice.
  12. Nov 16, 2007 #11
    How about the University of Florida, Florida State, Arizona State, Texas A&M? These schools are decent and do not require or recommend the GRE subject test.
  13. Nov 16, 2007 #12
    Ok. Thanks for the list. Well, my advisor mentioned Texas but he said to stay away from Florida (probably because of my interest). I will look at arizona also.
  14. Nov 17, 2007 #13


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    I just took a look at the http://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/GRE/pdf/Math.pdf, and I gotta say, it's shockingly stupid. I'm confused as to why grad schools would require applicants to take this. It pretty much has no actual content at all.

    For example, just look at Q61. I simply took out my calculator and checked if 7^4 - 1 was divisible by 240, and it was. Done. Makes me wonder what the point of this question was. Was it put there just so that the already stressed out students taking this stupid test would stress out some more and try to find a slick (and proper) solution to this problem? In total, I only found about 10 problems that weren't terrible.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  15. Nov 17, 2007 #14
    Perhaps the point of the problem was to factor the difference of two squares, a solution that seems to me should be obvious to anyone proficient in mathematics i.e. perhaps it's testing the fundamentals.
  16. Nov 19, 2007 #15
    If you could see me right now, you would see dumbass written on my forehead: I don't know what your talking about. I see that 7^4-1 =2400. But, I don't see a quick solution to this. There was a question like this on the last gre.
  17. Nov 19, 2007 #16
    7^4 - 1 = (7^2 - 1)(7^2 + 1) = 48 * 50

    240 = 24 * 10.

    24 | 48 and 10 | 50.

    No need to despair. I think you should just study problem-solving from a problem-solving book.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2007
  18. Nov 19, 2007 #17
    Yeah, I definitely need to study some problem solving skills.

    Lets be clear here though. The question is

    Which is the largest value which divides P^4-1 for EVERY prime greater than 5.

    (a) 12
    (b) 30
    (c) 48
    (d) 120
    (e) 240

    The answer is indeed 240. But, I am missing the point where because 240 | 7^4-1, then this is true for all primes greater than P. I think I am missing some kind of theorem from elementary number theory. Just for the record only 25% of the people who took the test got this one right.
  19. Nov 19, 2007 #18
    They probably ruled out 30 and guessed from there. :P
  20. Nov 19, 2007 #19
    Well, one way to do it is to try stuff out. This may be the fastest way.

    Another way to do this is by using flt, i.e. fermat's little theorem.

    We know [tex]p^{5-1} - 1 \equiv 0 (mod 5)[/tex] for primes > 5 (note: p is always coprime to 5 if p > 5)

    We know [tex](p^{2})^{2} - 1 \equiv 0 (mod 3)[/tex] for primes > 3 (note: p^2 is always coprime to 3 if p > 3)

    We know [tex]p^4 - 1 = (p-1)(p+1)(p^{2} + 1)[/tex]. We know that either p-1 or p+1 is divisible by 4, since every other even is divisible by 4. Let's assume p-1 is divisible by four. Then p+1 is divisible by 2 and p^2 + 1 is also divisible by 2. Thus their product is divisible by [tex]2^4[/tex].

    Since [tex]240 = 2^{4} * 3 * 5[/tex], it always divides [tex]p^{4} - 1[/tex]

    This looks a bit long, but I think if you're experienced with flt you may be able to recognize this quickly.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2007
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