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Student Post: Learn the Time-Saving Methods for the Math Section

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 10.33.05 AMAbout me: I am an older student with a career in information technology. Although I’ve been fortunate enough to develop a fulfilling career, it was a personal goal of mine to finish that degree I didn’t get when I was younger and dumber. Went back to school in my 30s and got my degree in physics. Loved it so much, I’m planning on going on to graduate studies in applied physics or scientific computing.

My biggest challenge on the GRE: Thanks to my physics background, I found that I could pretty much answer any quant problem, given enough time. Unfortunately, you’re not given much time. Although my methodologies worked, some of them just took way too long. Almost all of my study time was spent learning the more efficient, time-saving methods.

What I would change about my studies: I would have definitely done more full-length practice tests–including the mock experimental sections. Since I’m interested in hard science programs, I was mostly focused on scoring well in the quant section. That meant most of my mock exams only included those sections. During my final month of study, I didn’t do any full-length exams and wasn’t as well prepared for the 4.5 hour slog as I should have been. I definitely felt out of gas by the last quant section and may have made some mental errors.

Also, I only started studying reading comprehension a couple weeks before exam day and learned new strategies but didn’t have much time to practice. As a result, I was actually slower and not as good as before. I probably lost a couple points because of this.

Helpful tips for other students: Don’t make any radical changes to your methodologies if you don’t have time to practice and acclimate. Oftentimes, learning new things will actually cause a slight dip in score until your mind fully digests the new info. It’s best to get exposure to get the areas you’re weak in early on in your study regimen so you have some time to make plenty of mistakes and absorb the lessons.

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