I initially told myself I would spend a month studying for this test. But due to unforseen (aka procrastination) circumstances, I have one week between my final (summer school) and my scheduled GRE test date (8/26).
So. The books are Barron’s New GRE (no CD, 19th ed) and The Princeton Review (TPR)’s Cracking the GRE (2013). I bought two because together, they were barely over $25 and I needed $25 for free shipping on Amazon. I actually think I’ll only have time to go through Barron’s and I’ll skim over the questions in TPR’s if I have time.
While today technically isn’t the first day I’m studying for the GRE (more like day 4), I have now until next Monday devoted to only studying for the GRE. Let’s hope I can get my act together. 90th percentile, here I come.
I think I chose to go with Barron’s first because from past experiences with SAT prep books, Barron’s tends to have questions on the harder side than other books, and I’d much rather be over prepared than under prepared. Also, while I’ve always been decent at math, I needed a quick review. I especially needed some help with geometry (I despise triangles) since I have not learned geometry material since 9th/10th grade (about 6 years ago). Half of the Barron’s book is titled “Mathematics Review” with quick explanations and factoids which is perfect. Their mathematics answer key is a bit vague/concise and they don’t explain it from the basics which is fine for me, but if your math is on the weaker side, another book might be more helpful/straightforward. Also, call me weird but the Barron’s book is heavier even though it has fewer pages and TPR is oddly very light. This is most likely to do with material of the pages, but seeing how I mark up all my prep books (I get really frustrated and angry and I take it out on my books… I actually shredded so many pages of my 12 SAT Test Kaplan book with my pencil that if you shook it, paper bits will fall out. There also so many inappropriate words in there. I hate standardized testing). I just like the heaviness of Barron’s.
I flipped through TPR and saw vocabulary lists that will definitely come in handy for cramming. Most likely, I’ll look over the words/definitions while I take study breaks/watch Gilmore Girls.
Using the same “technique” as I did for the GRE, I took a practice test to see what things I needed to work on. Turns out, I need help with the verbal section. Mainly I need to work on not overthinking things and vocabulary. For the quantitative section, I really need to go over geometry and those “short-cut” techniques. And I doubt I really have time to really improve my writing… I’m just going to type out 1-2 essays to see how long it takes me to type (I don’t touch type) and I will read a lot of essays or something.
Also, Powerprep II (the software by ETS that provides 2 GRE practice tests) has been updated and is now compatible with Macs. Right on time, too! Here’s the link for the free download: Powerprep II, Version 2.1. I haven’t tried it yet, but will update when I have.
Here’s a list of free GRE resources that some awesome people over at thegradcafe compiled: Free GRE Resources Master Post
Will update soon. Happy studying!