taking the GRE?? advice??

Hey everyone,

Sort of piggy-backing off the thread "long-term mental/emotional effects"..

Did any of you take the GRE test or any other standardized test post-treatments? I've always been pretty good at them and the writing sections were never a problem, but I'm taking it for the first time June 9th after everything I've went through and I was wondering if you had any tips to stay focused and succeed. I've been having serious focusing problems and sometimes can't even remember simple facts, so I'm pretty nervous when it comes to a test that I have to remember things from my entire school career. My brain feels like I have all the info, but it's all mixed up and fuzzy. And forget recalling something right on the spot. I've always been top of my class and after all that I've went through I seem to be falling in the ranks. I'm really nervous I won't be able to meet the standards that I have always set for myself.

I've wanted to be an occupational therapist for like 6 years, but need to go to grad school and I'm afraid I won't reach my dream because I won't be able to concentrate on the exam or make much sense on the writing portion.

I just wondering how it was for all of you? and of course any advice you have I'd really appreciate it :)



  • 17 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I just took it about 2 months back. I bought a book planning to study for like a month, wound up studying for a week. I scored within 100 points of my SAT (albeit, also taken after treatment), and high enough to get into just about any geography grad program. I didn't think it was that bad. Honestly, to me, the math seemed slightly easier than the SAT, and the verbal was harder. If you study a prep book and work on whichever side you are weaker on, you should be fine.

    I kind of thought I phoned in the writing part, and I still did well enough on it to get into any program I wanted.
  • hahaha some here! I bought a book like a month ago telling myself I'd start studying. I have a week til I take it and have yet to open that dumb book! lol I've heard the math is easier than the verbal in general and I hope I can do similar to my ACT and SAT too, but I took that before getting sick with everything so makes me a bit nervous.

    and Kenny.. my problem isn't that I'm lazy.. it's that everything is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy more interesting that studying for the GRE .. absolutely everything. lol good luck with combating that laziness :)
  • Ah! I'm totally in the same boat as you. I've been needing to study for weeks. I don't have a job, so I obviously have the time, but all I want to do is other more fun stuff. I've had a book for a couple of years, but still haven't taken the test. Now I will be taking the test in August, maybe September, and that's when they are introducing the new test. Hopefully that doesn't screw me up... I haven't been in school or done anything of the sort in over three years so... this will be interesting.
  • I've taken the regular GRE twice and the biology subject test once. I didn't study much for the regular GRE either time, to be honest. The first time, I did MUCH better on the math portion because I had been doing math in school more recently. Verbal, I wasn't as good at. The second time around, my math score dropped and my verbal score went up. My writing score also went up. Go figure. I think your studying efforts would be best spent on the part that's most challenging for you. The math portion seemed to be less math-oriented and more logic-oriented (since they've done away with the logic section years ago). Most of the questions really seemed pointless to me, in all honesty. The verbal was pretty straightforward. Lots of questions dealing with grammar structure and vocabulary. Nothing earth-shattering there, but if it's a weakness for you, spend the time practicing.

    There really aren't any "facts" you have to remember for the regular GRE per se. The subject tests, on the other hand, are highly fact-based. I rocked out the biology subject test, and the subject test seems to be the one that matters most for many grad programs. I spent 3 months straight READING textbooks (an hour or two daily at work - I had a job with lots of downtime back then) for that test. I started with general bio, and then moved on to books that covered more detail on the aspects of biology I'm weaker at.
  • What about vocab? Should I really learn a ton of all those new words?
  • You won't be able to learn all those new words. The test intentionally chooses strange off-the-wall words you DON'T know to see how well you can figure out what they might mean based on context.

    You'd be better off learning the techniques to figure out what a word might mean from its context than actually trying to memorize vocab words.
  • Julie Cecys;3566 said:
    How the heck did I type an o instead of an a... they aren't even close to each other on the key board!! egh.. get my out of school my brain is fried lol
  • Yeah, any study guide will show you strategies for figuring it out, not just memorization. I also kind of piled on the studying in math, where I am not as strong. I agree that the math is kind of pointless. In a geography grad program, I would really just be doing statistics. I mean, yeah, we might use some geometry when making maps or doing photogrammetry work, but the computer likely handles it for us. Maybe for some subjects the math is more relevant. I wish they just had a subject test in Geography.
  • CareyCarey Community Member
    Blah. I have to pick up a study book too. Thanks for the reminder. The math is going to be the worst part for me since it's where my learning disability is. It's been over 10 years since to took any sort of standardized test, so we'll see how I do in general.
  • update! So I took it a week or so ago.. and it wasn't too bad. I haven't been sleeping well (my medicine is all jacked up) so I only got like 2 hours of sleep the night before but I scored high enough for the program I will hopefully be going in to! haha I'm retaking it in July because I think I may be able to up my score a bit because I was also super anxious about being able to think and concentrate, etc. etc. but definitely no those vocab words in the books backwards and forwards it helps a lot.. and for the math.. egh. lol it's not my strongest suit but it also wasn't toooo bad, but definitely brush up on some of that middle school math and geometry lol
  • Glad the test went fairly well for you Julie!
  • IMColonIMColon Community Member
    Glad your first test went well...As long as you practice enough you should increase your scores...my friend did badly on his first test and on his second did amazing. I did okay on the test so I'm hoping that's good enough for the part-time program that I'm applying to. If not, I guess I'll have to retake the test and re-apply. I know I can do a lot better since my score was above average on both parts and on the math I ran out of time and just guessed on like 5 or 6 questions.
    I also rather do a lot of other things than study so got lucky that my husband was studying for it too since it helped me stay on track.
    By now you must have taken it a second time. How did it go?
  • Hey IMColon... I did take it a second time like a week ago, but only improved my score by 20 haha I too have an issue with studying, I just can't focus long enough, but whatever. I'm applying to schools now so hopefully a little above average is good enough for me too. Good luck on getting in your program!! :)

    I was wondering if I could ask you a question too. I noticed you were diagnosed with H. Lymphoma. If you don't mind me asking... how did you know to go to the doctor? Did you have any major symptoms? I ask because while I did have thyroid cancer 2 years ago .. I've been having these other symptoms that may lead to lymphoma. I have a huge lymph node on the back of my neck that I've had since before my thryoid removal surgery. If you don't mind explaining some of your symptoms I would GREATLY appreciate it. I actually just emailed my endocrinologist and asked how I could go about getting a biopsy on the swollen lymph node.. because to be honest I'd just rather know it's completely fine than wait around ya know.

    Thanks and It's nice to "meet" you :)
  • Hey Julie,

    Sorry I didn't reply sooner. I haven't logged on in a while.
    I had enlarged lymph nodes on my neck. At first I went to the college infirmary where they I thought I had an ear infection just based on having had many other students visit them with it. I was given advil to take for about a week and the lymph nodes went down in size for a while. When they became enlarged again my concerned fam told me to go see the doctor. My physician was always quick to act when I mentioned any symptoms so he ordered exams that showed abnormal results. He then scheduled a biopsy which gave us the final verdict.
    I would also want to be sure what it is. Did you get the biopsy done?
    I got in my program Part-time MBA at NYU Stern...woo hoo. I start classes on Monday.
  • If you haven't had it done, you may want to check out getting a neuropsychological evaluation done to determine any defecits caused by chemotherapy and radiation. Once the report is written up by the neuropsychologist they can write a letter to the GRE people requesting additional time and other accomodations. You will need the documentation of the neuropsychological report and will have to jump through a lot of hoops but if there are legetimate challenges caused by the chemo drugs the time and effort it will take to get the paperwork submitted will be completely worthwhile. Check out this wiki article on neuropsychological testing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuropsychological_test. Ask your hospital social worker or survivorship clinic about this - they will be very familiar with it.
  • Kopriva42Kopriva42 Community Member
    For the exam preparations one must be relaxed. Along with the test prep general tips the candidate should have the hands on right prep material because this is only what will help you prepare in a right way. Even for my LSAT I have just subscribed to one of the best LSAT Prep Courses.