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GRE coming up soon, really nervous about the Quant

captiv8edcaptiv8ed Registered User Posts: 63 Junior Member
edited September 2009 in GRE Prep
I am taking it in 10 days. I have been testing in the low to mid 600s on the verbal, which is good enough. But I am just barely cracking 600 (and not always) on the Q. I am obsessing over prep material, but it all feels like a foreign language to me and I can get the concept when the books are right next to me, but once I am sitting to take a test, every formula just runs out of my brain.

On the programs I am applying for, some say GRE is just one portion. One program states they require an 1100 combined, so I am hitting that. But one program says 60th percentile in each of the three categories. I am scoring in the 90th + in V, but anywhere from 48th to 66th on Q. What a range! In another program, the admitted students have an average of about 650 on the q. My highest ever was 630.

I feel impending doom creeping upon me :(
Post edited by captiv8ed on

Replies to: GRE coming up soon, really nervous about the Quant

  • asian75asian75 Registered User Posts: 448 Member
    what program?
  • captiv8edcaptiv8ed Registered User Posts: 63 Junior Member
    PhD in sociology
  • asian75asian75 Registered User Posts: 448 Member
    I don't think you need a good Q score. 600+ should be fine. You definitely need a higher V score though
  • MasterMoeMasterMoe Registered User Posts: 238 Junior Member
    What software are you using for your CATs?

    The powerprep?

    If so, the scores are accurate.

    I've gone through a regimen that significantly improved my scores in the CAT tests.

    I was also pretty lousy with the quant but recent CAT scores seem promising. I'm scoring 760Q-800Q consistently and I usually finish the tests with 5 minutes to spare.

    Firstly, how did you prep for the quantitative? What are your flaws? Your timing? Certain question types? If so, take a directed approach and address those flaws.


    Whenever you notice you are making a certain type of mistake on a frequent basis, make a not of it. Also keep track of new math rules you learned. Keep a few pages of this kind of info and read it now and again. Don't just assume you'll remember your mistake.

    Firstly, go to the ETS gre website and get the free quantitative prep .pdf file. Go through that. It is especially useful for probability and counting questions. It isn't too long. You should clear this in a day.

    Next, Go through the quantitative section for the Barron's text. That is a solid start. However, IT IS NOT SATISFACTORY. Go through the 5 Barron's paper tests and don't time yourself for 45minutes. Time yourself for 35minutes or less. You should be able to finish on time. The Barron's is well structured and is a solid start but the questions could be more difficult. This should take 4 days.

    Afterwards, get the Nova Prep Course textbook or .pdf. The newest version is not necessary. The 2004 (or 2003--forgot the year) version is sufficient. If you had ages to prepare for the GRE, I would have recommended the Nova Math Bible instead because it is more in-depth. However, this works well enough. The Nova Prep Course is the gold standard for the quantitative section. Go through the entire quantitative section of this book. It is ~300pages so try and clear through 100pages/day. This will require a few hours per day. --3days

    Once you have done that, try some CAT tests. The Kaplan CATs are decent practice. However, their scores don't mean much. They lowball your quant scores. Getting 700+ on the Kaplan tests is tough.

    Try and get your hands on the 800score GRE CATs. They have a built in pacer and will help with your timing. If you can clear these tests with time to spare, your timing is solid. These tests are difficult and they lowball your scores. If you can handle these, you are ace.

    Also, try the free paper GRE test from ETS. However, this is old and it is 30q in 30mins because the questions are easier. Try and finish it in 25minutes. If you can do this, that is solid.

    Afterwards, try the PowerPrep CATs. You should be scoring in the 7xx range easily.

    You should be able to do all of this within the remaining 9 days assuming you don't have any other significant commitments. If you do have other commitments, RESCHEDULE the test. It is better than going in unprepared and having to pay the $150-200$ again for a retake.

    One note-- even when doing practice problems --try and do the questions as fast as possible.

    tip for pacing the GRE: The first 1/4 to 1/3 of the questions are important. Making a mistake in these questions will hurt your score more than an error towards the end of the test. So take a few seconds on these questions to make sure you didn't make a stupid mistake. Skim through your calculations.

    Also, making an error in consecutive questions can also hurt your score. An error every 6th question or so is no big deal. This means if you skipped a question, try and make sure you answer the subsequent question correctly.

    While we are on the topic of skipping questions, make sure you don't stay too long on a question. If you've read a question and you are well over 45seconds in, I suggest skipping the question. The pacing of this test is such that one only has time to read the question twice, take ~30seconds to think and attempt the question once.

    In addition, if you know you have been answering questions correctly, questions should be getting more difficult. If you notice a question that seems absurdly easy later into the test, take a bit of time to make sure it isn't a trick because it often is a trick.

    If you follow this routine, you will get a much higher score, I can guarantee it. You have my word.

    BEST OF LUCK. Practice! Practice! Practice!

  • MasterMoeMasterMoe Registered User Posts: 238 Junior Member
    I just noticed you are gunning for a PhD in Sociology. Maybe a really high Q isn't necessary.

    So I guess my Quant workout would be a bit excessive for you.

    If that is the case, I suggest you just go through the Barron's. Do a quick run through most of the Nova Prep Course in a targeted fashion and try the Powerprep tests, ignoring the other CAT tests.

    Best of luck!
  • captiv8edcaptiv8ed Registered User Posts: 63 Junior Member
    Wow!! Thanks for that detailed write up!!
    If I can get my quant up to 650, I will be happy. If I can can it higher, that would be good, of course!
    Yes, those scores are ETS CAT.
    I will work off your schedule, possibly modifying it a bit. But I have cleared my schedule for the next week and a half, in order to do nothing but study for this.
  • captiv8edcaptiv8ed Registered User Posts: 63 Junior Member
    Well I got a hold of the Nova Math bible, not the GRE bible. :( But I do have a Bible program, don't know if it is the same thing.
    I have been going through PR and the barron word list and just doing ETS CATs like crazy. Last night, I got a 650 on ETS q. This morning, 700!! And the vast majority have been unique problems that I have not encountered before.
  • MasterMoeMasterMoe Registered User Posts: 238 Junior Member
    You don't want to bother with the GRE bible. It is a waste. The Nova Math Bible is gold though.
  • captiv8edcaptiv8ed Registered User Posts: 63 Junior Member
    well. i am taking it tomorrow. I took two ETS CAts today. Test 2: V 730 Q 530. That Q would be exactly 20 points higher than when I took my very first diagnostic CAT. The one from this afternoon: V: 670 Q 730.
    Sigh. We will have to see what happens. I either do good enough, I do borderline, or I do poorly. If I do poorly, I may try to take it again next month, and just study more. If I am borderline, I will keep it and apply. If I don't get in anywhere, I will retake next summer.
  • captiv8edcaptiv8ed Registered User Posts: 63 Junior Member
    Well, I took it today and it was really bad. 600 V and 410 Q. :( I am going to retake next month
This discussion has been closed.