Is it really necessary to take a GRE prep course before taking the exam?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Teacher_Lyn, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. Teacher_Lyn

    Teacher_Lyn Companion

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    My understanding is that before you can even apply to grad school you have to take the general GRE exam.

    Kaplan offers a test prep course for $1,999. I can't decide if I should take it or not.

    The reason I am on the fence is because when I passed the Praxis I and Praxis II: Content Knowledge on my first try without taking a prep course.

    I'm assuming that the GRE is much harder though so my chances of passing without the course are slim?

    Can I please get some advice from people who have taken the GRE. Please state whether or not you took a prep course and if it was worth it. Thanks so much :)
     
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  3. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Good gogly mogly! I can't imagine taking a prep course for the GRE. Get a book and study on your own. You sound like a regimented person -- you should have no trouble.

    I took the GRE (back in 1986) and all I did was get a study book and I didn't even study all that hard -- and I did great. I have no idea if that is typical though.

    No way I'd spend $2,000 bucks for a pre-class when I could do it myself. But that's just me...
     
  4. Teacher_Lyn

    Teacher_Lyn Companion

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    Was the GRE anything like the SAT?
     
  5. Teacher_Lyn

    Teacher_Lyn Companion

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    PS: They've got another course called the GRE Express at Kaplan which condenses all the general GRE stuff into a two day course. That one is $400. Anyone tried it?
     
  6. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I don't have much advice about the GRE, but at those rates I do wish my last name was Kaplan...

    I'd say save your money...
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I would first invest $20 on a Barrons Review book.

    If I thought I was in over my head, and ONLY if I thought that, then I would think about a review course.
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Oh, this sounds like a complete ripping. I didn't study at all and passed the first time. I was taking it just to see what it was like, especially having never taken the SAT, but I passed. Heck, even if you do fail the first time, that trial experience will probably be more beneficial than a $400 or $2,000 course.
     
  9. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    As Alice says, spend the $20 and study on your own.

    (Man, was I lucky -- I took my graduate courses at the same university from which I received my bachelor's, and I was not required to take the GRE.)
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Ditto...

    I took the MAT for my grad program...

    The GRE tests the following areas:
    Verbal Reasoning — The skills measured include the test taker's ability to

    analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it
    analyze relationships among component parts of sentences
    recognize relationships between words and concepts

    Quantitative Reasoning — The skills measured include the test taker's ability to

    understand basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis
    reason quantitatively
    solve problems in a quantitative setting

    Analytical Writing — The skills measured include the test taker's ability to

    articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively
    examine claims and accompanying evidence
    support ideas with relevant reasons and examples
    sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion
    control the elements of standard written English

    I'd think if you have taken any classes in the not too distant past, you should be able to handle the GRE. Husband took it to get into grad school- I think he just looked over the bulletin that ETS provides...
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Whether you need a prep course depends on how competitive the grad program is and what it demands by way of scores.

    Back when I took it, the general GRE was basically the SAT with somewhat more advanced vocabulary. I think that's still broadly the case.

    Barron's might do for you, but there are other alternatives, and I have yet to find The One Best Resource For Every Test Taker - so go to your local big bookstore, invest in one or more stiff coffee drinks, and leaf through all the possibilities till you find the one that best suits your needs and your learning style.
     
  12. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    I took the GRE in 97 ... I didn't take a prep course and I did just fine.
     
  13. Writer's Block

    Writer's Block Companion

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    There are tons of practice tests online that will also give you the results immediately. Just google "GRE Practice Tests" and things like that, and you will get tons of sites.

    Good luck!
     
  14. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I didn't study for the GRE, my NTE (Praxis) tests, or my MA comps . . . and I did well on all of them.

    Of course, only you know what kind of needs you have. I've always been really good at standardized tests for some reason.

    As someone else suggested, try looking at some of the study books on your own to see if there is anything that looks like it would be useful to you. Then again, if you're a person who wouldn't take the time to read the book if you had it, then that would be a waste of money, too.
     
  15. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    I taught GRE classes for The Princeton Review for several years. While I believe TPR does offer a pretty good value (even $2k, depending on if you can afford it and want a really stellar score), there are other ways to get a very similar effect. The absolute best way I found to prepare for the tests is to get as many copies of ACTUAL GRE's as possible. ETS releases and sells (at least, it had been the policy to sell them -- I'm not sure whether it still is) old tests. The important thing is to take these and to understand each answer, both the ones you get right and the ones you get wrong.

    The actual tests are far superior to sample tests, even samples invented by the professional test services such as Kaplan or TPR.

    Like the SAT, you can't really "fail" the GRE.
     
  16. TampaTeacher2Be

    TampaTeacher2Be Comrade

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    True, but you can score too low for the program you want to apply to. Most schools have a cut-off that they will not accept scores below.

    I think it depends on how competitive your program is. If all they require if a baseline socre (900-1000 is pretty typical) then you should be fine studying on your own. If, however, you are trying to get into a very competitive graduate program, and your undergrad GPA leaves something to be desired, then it might be owrth taking the course.

    I took it (and my score went up quite a bit) because when I did I was planning to apply to a much move competitive grad program. But, in hindsight, I didn't need to, because the program I am in now only requires a 1000, which I got on my practice exams w/o even cracking a book.
     
  17. stevesgirl

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    I took the GRE a couple of months ago and did fine. (I graduated college 20 years ago, so I was really rusty!) I used the Princeton Review book and did all of the practice tests and scored quite well on the test. I really don't think you should pay all of that money for a course. You can always try and take the test and then if you really do poorly pay for a course. Good luck!
     
  18. jenngugs

    jenngugs Companion

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    Why not seek out a private tutor in your area who might be able to work with you in addition to a book? It'll probably run you $50/hr, but you'll be getting individualized attention. Try looking on Craigslist- there are tons of ads for GRE tutors in my area (I'm one of them!)
     
  19. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Most of the masters in ed programs around here don't require the GRE, so I would look into that first.

    Secondly, when I was in college, Kaplan offered a practice test one weekend, and then they returned the scores on another day and went over them with you. They are trying to make you think you suck and need their classes but when I took it I did well enought that with a review book I would have been fine I think. (I never took it because I didn't need too, although I will for my doctoral program.)
     
  20. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    :up:

    Absolutely. The hardest "GRE" questions you'll ever see are from test prep agencies trying to sell their product. That said, even when they're not selling the quality of their made-up exams is questionable.
     

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