Many GRE candidates come to me with concerns that they have not studied math in a while and are worried about being able to pass the exam.
This is a real concern for Pakistani GRE test-takers as they are aspiring to get an advanced degree. However, graduate schools require the GRE because it involves a lot of Math. The question is how do you continue to study and improve your quantitative or math skills many years later?
GRE students often tell me that they are not good at math.
I have learned from years of coaching GRE student that math is not something they enjoy. They don’t take the time to learn it, practice it, or make efforts towards improving their skills. Many students who are rusty believe they can shine again if they just put in the work.
My GRE students from Pakistan always remind me that you need to practice math every day and attempt 5-10 questions each day if you want to get a high score on the GRE. Learn from your failures and keep going.
Begin with the basics
GRE students who are accustomed to studying math over a long period of time make the fatal error of purchasing the GRE books from the market like Kaplan and Barron’s. This allows them to start learning the GRE mathematics directly from the publishers. These books can be used to help you study for the GRE. But, for people like you, it’s important that you have basic mathematics books that will help you understand the basics. McGraw Hill is an excellent book that will help you to refresh your basic math skills.
After you have spent a few weeks doing this, it would make sense to move on to the actual GRE questions. You can also study the material and learn time-saving tips to quickly solve the math questions.
After you’ve completed a refresher, it’s important to continue applying the lessons you have learned. Many of my GRE student would simply come to my class, then forget about the assignments and quizzes. Practice a lot to improve your ability to memorize math tables, perform quick mental math (subtraction, addition, etc.).
Even though there is a calculator, mental math is extremely helpful for the GRE. It is easier to use a calculator and saves time. Calculator is a trap that can be used to cheat the GRE. Calculators are indispensable for any GRE question. You can solve any question with a calculator. Use approximations or shortcuts as well. Spend time learning the basics of number properties, such as how to tell the difference between positive and non-negative integers. GRE math is based on number properties, so you need to be very familiar with them.
GRE means that you are intelligent and have chosen to take it. Use your intelligence and smartness and work hard to pass the test. Be confident in your abilities and remember that hard work can accomplish anything. You will be fine if you focus on the points I made in this article.