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Preparing for GRE MATH Subject test

  1. May 6, 2008 #1
    I will be taking the GRE Math subject test this next Fall and I need to start preparing for it this summer... I have been looking around on the internet and it seems like there's very few practice tests available. Has anyone else prepared for this test and can give me some advice on how to prepare for it and what kind of plan of action to take?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 7, 2008 #2
    Hey I am in the same boat as you - I am planning on taking the test this November.

    Regarding practice tests, I believe there are only three official old exams. One is available at the ETS website.

    I had a meeting with my schools Math Chair and he gave me the following advice about preparing for the GRE Math Subject Test (He scored in the >90%ile 15 years ago):

    1. Know your Calculus (I-III + Diff EQ) inside-out. This is the easiest section to prepare for and you don't want to miss easy points.

    2. Same goes for the algebra portion.

    3. The last portion ("Other topics") is the hardest to prepare for. According to him, these are the topics in (rough) order of importance:

    Probability and Statistics
    Real Analysis
    Complex Analysis
    Others (Combinatorics, Logic etc.)

    Hope this helps.
  4. May 7, 2008 #3
    Ah alright thanks... Let me know how your preparation goes as you advance and we can update each other on our progress and any other ideas.
  5. May 8, 2008 #4
    I scored in the 90th % last fall, and it's safe to say calculus comes up a lot. Thankfully, I took advance calculus the spring before, so I remember a lot of fundamental ideas.

    My best advice is do old exams and practice exams. If you keep struggling with a certain type of problem, study those problems. If you find some of your foundation to be shaky in analysis, study that too. A lot of the harder problems require you to be a bit more clever, try to think find quick methods to solving the problems giving on the practice exams.
  6. May 8, 2008 #5
    Thanks for the tip. I was wondering how to tackle subjects I haven't taken yet. I will have taken everything by November except Complex Analysis and Combinatorics (only offered in the Spring.) Should I even bother teaching myself the basics of these over the summer, or should I just focus on solidifying what I already know.
  7. May 11, 2008 #6
    math GRE subject test

    This has probably been posted already but I couldn't find it in a search so just provide a link if you it has.

    What is the best way to prepare for the math GRE subject test? I have taken all the mainstream courses: the calculus sequence, differential equations, real analysis, complex analysis, topology, algebra, statistics

    Are any of the following books useful:

    What are some good websites aside from the ETS one?

    I am currently a rising junior. Next year I will take all graduate math courses and math seminars. Does it make sense to take the test in fall 2008 instead of fall 2009 or will a year of graduate-level classes give me an edge?
  8. May 12, 2008 #7
  9. May 16, 2008 #8
    I live on the other side of the pond in Europe so I haven't a clue what GRE test is.
  10. May 23, 2008 #9
    So, I still don't know whether it makes sense to take the math GRE next year or the year after...
  11. May 23, 2008 #10


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    What does your advisor at your college suggest?
  12. May 23, 2008 #11


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I actually think taking grad courses is more of a disadvantage when it comes to the GRE. You're not going to be tested on any of the material you learn in these courses; instead, you will be chiefly tested on elementary things you probably met as a freshman. I'm going to be taking it this fall (I will be in my fourth year), and after trying some sample tests, I deeply regret not taking it in the fall of my second year. So sooner is probably better. Also think of it this way, if you do badly, you still have the chance to retake it next year.
  13. May 23, 2008 #12
    I think you're right, except the GRE has some basic topology, complex analysis, combinatorics, etc... I doubt most sophomores have covered the material.
  14. May 23, 2008 #13
  15. May 24, 2008 #14
    I've done quite a bit of research into what's available and here's what I've found:

    Online ETS Test: 1997 Complete Exam (New Scale)
    Practicing 3rd Edition: 1997 Complete Exam (Old Scale)
    Practicing 2nd Edition: 1993 Complete Exam + Most of the 1989 Exam
    Practicing 1st Edition: 1989 Complete Exam

    I'd only recommend using the ETS online test and the Practicing 2nd Edition Book (which I found at a library). The other two items are hard to find/expensive/redundant.
  16. May 25, 2008 #15


    sample questions. there is actually a lot of material available on net. google math subjective gre more than once, you'll get different results sometimes. you might find a lot. albeit there is lesser out there than other subjects, but on the other hand, all that is available must be enough. one wouldnt have to waste much time looking for stuff.
  17. Jun 28, 2008 #16
    regarding the GRE, is it a bad idea to take the test multiple times

    Do schools care how many times you take it, as long as your best score is good?
  18. Jun 28, 2008 #17

    Good question. I would like to know the answer to that also.
  19. Jun 29, 2008 #18
    A friend of mine took it twice. Scored ~62%ile the first time, ~77%ile the second time. Got into two top 25 schools. From what I understand, taking it twice is okay, as long as your score doesn't go down the second time.

    Also, if you scored very low the first time, you'll probably want to significantly improve your score the second time. Getting two low scores would look pretty darn bad IMHO.
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