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Are GRE classes worth the expense??

creolancreolan Registered User Posts: 176 Junior Member
edited June 2011 in GRE Prep
I'm preparing to apply for phd programs (human genetics, bioinformatics, or genomics) for class of 2011. I graduated in 2008 and took the GRE as a last minute decision in late 2007 without too much preparation. I did above average on the verbal and qualitative sections (not great, but acceptable) but totally bombed the writing section (timed essays have always been my downfall). I plan on retaking the GRE in October or November later this year.

Does anyone have any experience with taking GRE classes through Kaplan or Princeton Review or such?? Are they worth the expense of $1000+? or are the self-study books just as good?

Keep in mind I'm a research assistant now so $1,000 is A LOT of money, especially on top of the costs of the GRE, the subject GRE, and college applications.
Post edited by creolan on

Replies to: Are GRE classes worth the expense??

  • Professor XProfessor X Registered User Posts: 893 Member
    I have taught test prep classes at both K and PR.

    Since you're in a science field, and since you earned a decent score on the verbal, just buy a prep book and work on the quant. You'll need a very, very high quant score for admissions. Don't worry - the quant stuff is actually quite simple. It's probably just that you're out of practice since most of the math is HS level stuff.

    As for the AW section (essay), don't worry too much either. Just keep in mind you'll be writing an elementary five-paragraph essay, with an argumentative thesis statement in the introductory paragraph, evidence, more evidence, counterarguments, and conclusion.

    Make sure to use topic sentences as the first sentence of each paragraph, and transition sentences at the end of each paragraph (except the last one, obviously). And use proper grammar and spelling. That's it - no frills.
  • MaceVindalooMaceVindaloo Registered User Posts: 221 Junior Member
    I recommend 800Score.com, mainly for their 5 computer adaptive tests (it also only costs 25 bucks). I improved my scored to the high 700s with that from the low 600s with just a regular prep book. Overall, I would recommend just getting prep books and take as many tests as you can. I believe ETS also has a service where you can have your essays scored. That might be worth the expense to get your writing portion up.
  • jixanijixani User Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 53 Junior Member
    I am in the same field as you, and given the sometimes quite tough maths that is involved, I feel that 800Q is almost necessary to be competitive.

    Personally, I studied only with test books and I could imagine little that a class would have helped me, unless to help with my abyssimal time management skills.

    On the Quantitative section, the scope of the test is limited to elemental geometry, simple arithmetic laws and the awareness that 1 and 0 are sometime special cases. Verbal is about stupidly memorizing words anyway and as mentioned before, AW is about writing an as cheesy standard essay as possible. As you took the test before, you should know the scope of the questions and thus be in a good position to remove your weaknesses.
  • asian75asian75 Registered User Posts: 448 Member
    waste of money. Dont' take it
  • creolancreolan Registered User Posts: 176 Junior Member
    Thanks for the tips! I've got about 5 or 6 months before I plan to retake the GREs so I guess it will be my books and me until then...
  • sarbruissarbruis Registered User Posts: 290 Junior Member
    You can buy every prep book ever made for the cost of class. For quant, all you should need to Barron's and, if that isn't enough, the GRE Math Bible (and PowerPrep, of course). Just practice, practice, practice until you can do everything without thinking about it. You should know how to approach every question immediately.
  • grad122grad122 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    There's a new book on GRE-GMAT quant I'm studying. I'm finished with the first four chapters, and I think the author makes most of the concepts amazingly easy. He's also a test-prep instructor, if I remember it right. I'm planning on taking the GRE in October, and the GMAT a bit later. The book is called "GRE/GMAT Math: A Systematic Approach." It's written by Sid Thatte.

    The book is available on Amazon.com and these other websites. Good luck!
  • Foster9999Foster9999 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Thanks for the advice on the 800score.com
  • ElefantinnaElefantinna Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    The 800 scores.com seems good. I am currently using Barron's prep book. Feel that the prep courses can only give you a sense of how to study, but it depends more on how YOU study.
This discussion has been closed.