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When should you start preparing for the GRE?

schiesserschiesser Posts: 117- Junior Member
edited October 2011 in GRE Prep
What's the ideal amount of time to give yourself if you want to get a 600+ above on all sections (not subject tests)?

Also, how hard is it exactly to get a 600+ above on all sections compared to the SAT (I know that with the SAT, a 600+ above on all sections without studying is quite commonplace, but is this the same for the GRE?). How do the scores tend to correlate?
Post edited by schiesser on

Replies to: When should you start preparing for the GRE?

  • safetypin00safetypin00 Posts: 351Registered User Member
    This depends 100% on your field and your knowledge already. If you haven't done math in 6 years you will need more time studying the math section, but if you are in math or engineering, you might not need any studying. Same for verbal. Do a pre-test or just try to do a written test and see how you score and where you need to improve.
  • kryptonsa36kryptonsa36 Posts: 1,735Registered User Senior Member
    schiesser wrote:
    I know that with the SAT, a 600+ above on all sections without studying is quite commonplace, but is this the same for the GRE?
    No. The verbal section on the GRE has a higher percentile for the 600 score than on the SAT (to say nothing of the much higher average ability of GRE test takers versus SAT test takers), and it is often touted as being noticeably more difficult than the SAT's equivalent.
  • schiesserschiesser Posts: 117- Junior Member
    Great, but is there a minimum time limit or ideal time limit that any of you would recommend? For those who have taken the GRE, what did you do and how did you do?
  • algiraualgirau Posts: 55Registered User Junior Member
    study till you feel good about material.

    Im aiming for 800Q so I've been going through every type of possible quantitative question I come across. For verbal, you can never study enough...sorry.
    I'm taking mine in october and I've been studying quantitative and vocab since the summer but mostly quantitative.
  • cosmicfishcosmicfish Posts: 4,074Registered User Senior Member
    Schiesser - a 600-600 does not mean much to most people, as grad schools are looking for specialists instead of generalists. Translation: your program will probably only really care about 1 of the scores. If you are going for science/engineering you want as close to 800Q as you can get, but anything over 500V is probably not worth anything. Reverse those for arts/humanities.

    As far as when to start studying... how much time do you have?
  • sang54sang54 Posts: 656Registered User Member
    If you study a month really hard (by hard I mean really hard) you can improve your score dramatically. My verbal score went from 400 to 700 after studying for a month.
  • Professor XProfessor X Posts: 893Registered User Member
    I used to teach test prep classes (GRE and LSAT). I'd suggest beginning to prep about two to three months prior to the GRE, or even earlier, up to double that, if you have a whole lot of catching up to do, or if you only have a very limited amount of time each week to spend on prep.

    A test prep class usually lasts either 4 or 8 weeks, and many prep books are geared to these timeframes.
  • IBclass06IBclass06 Posts: 2,846Registered User Senior Member
    Also, how hard is it exactly to get a 600+ above on all sections compared to the SAT? How do the scores tend to correlate?
    Reasonably well, at least for me. I started studying the week before the GRE using the practice tests on the CD they sent me, and I got almost exactly the same score as my SAT.

    The curve on the math section is ridiculous. I hadn't done math in 3 years but still got nearly a perfect score. :eek:
  • boneh3adboneh3ad Posts: 6,363Registered User Senior Member
    Just to throw out a fact, getting a 600 on verbal is somewhere around the 90th percentile, while getting a 600 on quantitative is much lower. The 90th percentile on quantitative is somewhere closer to like 760 or something like that, and even an 800 is only the 95th percentile. I don't know if that means that a lot more engineers/scientists take the exams than, say, literature gurus, but it is kind of an interesting stat.

    But to help out the OP, how well a 600/600 stacks up depends on your field of study, as many people here have posted. For instance, for engineering, if you get a 600 on verbal, you are going to be ahead of the game (as the average is somewhere around 500-550). However, if you get a 600 on quantitative, you will probably get flat out denied from just about every school you apply to, as the average is somewhere around 780 for engineers.

    When I took the test, I studied for about 2 to 3 months leading up to the test. I would take one practice test a week, and review problems twice a week (one night math, the other verbal). You could always pay out the butt for one of those Kaplan courses, which guarantee an improved score over your base value, but they are expensive, so only do that if you have the money to spare or you really really need that higher score, otherwise you could probably get nearly identical results with self study.
  • Mr.ZooMr.Zoo Posts: 248Registered User Junior Member
    Not a bright question to ask.... of course the earlier the better, ideally you want to finish GRE by the junior year (GRE scores are good for 5 years), which makes you can start looking at GRE materials early junior year, take the sample test, if you can score well then obviously you don't need to study much, and yes i know kill GRE tests without studying... if you are doing eng/sci, the math is just middle school stuff, few hours of refreshing your memory is all you need.
  • nutmeg1284nutmeg1284 Posts: 42Registered User Junior Member
    I spent a little over a month studying for the GRE, Kaplan and Powerprep, and managed a 640V/760Q/5AW, which I am happy with. I feel that with the verbal section, it was luck of the draw with the words that popped up; Kaplan does sell vocabulary flashcards. With quantitative, the preparation was easier.
  • pacificvistapacificvista Posts: 366Registered User Junior Member
    I don't know. I'm a freshman now, and I've looked at a few GRE books and they seem really similar to the SAT. They just use a lot of big words. I've just glanced through it though.
  • cosmicfishcosmicfish Posts: 4,074Registered User Senior Member
    I will chime in on the practice tests - my scores were within 10 pts on each section between the practice and the actual.
  • judyjacobjjudyjacobj Posts: 5Registered User New Member
    Whats the usual methods used in remembering those so many words in verbal for GRE? DO you guys write the whole thing out like a list or do you use flashcards?
  • Mr.ZooMr.Zoo Posts: 248Registered User Junior Member
    I agree with fish, the sample test (the ones you downloaded off their website and run on computer) are very accurate
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