Before and During the GRE Test
WTAMU > Virtual Math Lab > GRE Math
Math isn't the only thing that I help students with. Sometimes I find myself being a cheerleader or even a stress manager for the student. This section gives you some tips on things you can do to help relieve at least a little bit of the stress. I know I can't make it totally stress free. To do that we would have to get rid of the test all together and you know that isn't going to happen
. But any little bit that I can do I think will help you in the long run.
If this is your first visit to our website, please read the disclaimer.
The Grueling Days Leading up to the Test
Math Before Taking the Test:
If you are reading this, then you are on the right
track. In my vast experiences of helping students get ready for various math
tests, I have found that just plain old fashion practice
practice practice has the highest success rate. You want to make sure you
stretch those brain muscles before you take your test.
I know it is not glamorous, exciting or quick, but I found
that most of the students that I have worked with who have gone on to pass math
tests worked through math problems, asking questions about them as they
The more different types of questions you look at the more
comfortable and familiar you will get with working with the various types of
questions. So when it gets to the real deal you will be ready to go full steam
If you haven't done so already, check out our Math Help page. This page will link you to math tutorials that
will cover concepts you need to know for the test.
| Memorize Formulas:
The GRE test DOES NOT provide you with formulas.
Some of the more common formulas are slope
and geometry formulas.
| Practice Your Basic Math Skills Daily:
Remember when you questioned why you need to know how to add,
subtract, multiply and divide when you have a calculator? Well, here is the
answer to that question. You CANNOT use a calculator on the general
GRE math test.
If you practice adding, multiplying, subtracting and dividing
BEFORE the test, you will be more comfortable without a calculator when you go
in and take the test. Also this might help you work the problems on the
As you practice, make sure that you check yourself with the
calculator, just in case.
| Take Practice Tests:
Once you have reviewed your math and have polished up those
basic math skills, then you should look at some practice tests.
This will help you become familiar with the different types of
questions that will come your way on the test.
It will also help you get used to the directions that you will
see on the test, which can help you save time when you take it.
There are two practice tests at this website: Test I, the Warm-up Test and Test II, the Adaptive Test.
| DO NOT Cram the Night Before the Test:
Yes, do go over math problems, but do not try to do it all
the night before and don't over do it the night before. If you try to
overload your brain in a short time it might explode during the test (or at
least feel like it) :-)
| DO NOT Stay Up All Night:
Yes, I do know that it might be hard to get to sleep early on
the eve of the big test, however try not to stay up all night. I have had
students say they were up all night before a test and literally fell
asleep during the test. Even if you don't go to sleep, your brain
will be tired and consequently you will not be able to perform to your
The Moment of Truth: Test Day Part I, "AKA The Mom Knows Best Segment"
| Make Sure That You Bring Two Forms of ID:
| Eat Something Before Going in to Take the Test - OK MOM!!!!:
Chances are you will be taking the test over several
hours. The last thing you need is your stomach howling at you while you are trying
to remember a formula.
I know that when I'm hungry I can even forget my own name :-).
| Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Get to the Test - OK MOM!!!!:
You must show up by your scheduled time or you forfeit that
I would try to get there early so you aren't rushed. If
you are running late, this can cause stress that you do not need when taking
| Go to the Restroom Before the Test - OK MOM!!!!
As funny as this sounds, you are only allowed one ten minute
break after the writing section. So if nature calls any other time
during the test, you may take a break, BUT it will take away from your test
taking time :-(.
The Moment of Truth: Test Day Part II, "Arriving at the Testing Center"
| You Will Need to Show Your ID:
As mentioned above, you need to have ID to be able to take your test.
Go to the GRE
Registration Bulletin for the most updated information about the ID that you
need to bring to the test.
If you do not have the proper ID, you will not be allowed to
take the test.
| Some, if not all, Testing Centers Will Give You Scratch Paper:
I can not guarantee that your testing center will provide
scratch paper, but some do. You may want to check with the testing center you
are signed up to take the test with to verify this.
If your testing center does give you scratch paper, make sure that you
take full advantage of it. Try to do as little in your head as possible. This may help to avoid errors.
| Some, if not all, Testing Centers Will Give You Ear Plugs When You Go in to Take the Test:
I can not guarantee that your testing center will provide ear
plugs, but some do. You may want to check with the testing center you are
signed up to take the test with to verify this.
If your testing center does give you ear plugs, you may want to consider
using them. It can help cut down on the noise from the other students taking the test.
The Moment of Truth: Test Day Part III, "Tips to Help You through the Test"
| Chances are They Will Set You at a Computer to Take Your Test:
Most of you will be taking a computer based test.
If you are already signed up for the test, then you should
know if you are taking a computer-based or paper-based test.
If you haven't signed up already, check with the testing
center that you will be taking the GRE at.
| When the Test Starts REMEMBER TO BREATHE!!!!!:
I know that some of you are scared to death at the thought of
having to take a math test of any kind. For you guys, try to relax and
don't forget to breathe.
(Even if you aren't scared to take a math test, it is probably
a good idea to remember to breathe. I wouldn't want you to pass out
during the test)
| Keep an Eye on the Amount of Time That You Have Left:
If you are taking the test on the computer, there will be a
timer on your screen that will count down the time you have left on each part of
There are 28 questions on the quantitative part and you have 45 minutes
to take that section of the test. So let's do the math. That averages to about 1 minute
and 36 seconds per question. Some questions are going to go quicker than others. Just
balance it out as you go.
| Keep an Eye on How Many Questions That You Have Left:
If you are taking the test on the computer, it will tell you
what question you are on.
For example, if it says 21 of 28, this means you are on
question 21 of the 28 questions for that section.
| Pace Yourself:
This can be tricky.
do not want to rush through the test. Rushing can lead to
On the other hand, you don't want to spend a long time on one
problem. If you find yourself spending a long time on a question, take an
educated guess and move on. There are too many problems on the test to get
bogged down on one or two questions.
This is why you need to look at practice tests, so you are
familiar with how things are worded, so you won't have to spend a lot of time
trying to figure out what they are asking.
Remember that if you are taking the test on the computer, the
screen will show you what problem you are on and how much time you have left.
| Use Your Breaks Wisely:
If you are taking the test on the computer, you will have a
10 minute break after the analytical writing section. If you need to go to
the bathroom and it is not an emergency or distracting to you, wait to
do it during this time. If you do it any other time it will take
away from your test time.
If you are taking the test on the computer, you will have a 1
minute break between test sections. Even if you haven't used all of your
scratch paper, use this time to get new scratch paper. If you run
out of scratch paper in the middle of a section, you may get scratch
paper, but the clock will keep ticking away on your test.
| Think Through Each Problem:
Some of the problems will be a combination of several ideas
in one problem. Think through what the problem is asking for, then put
it all together.
| You Must Answer Each Question to Move Ahead:
You Do Not Come Up With a Solution That They Have Listed, Work the
If you haven't already spent a lot of time on a problem and
doesn't match any of the choices that you have, turn your scratch paper
over and rework the problem again.
are you will not make the same arithmetic mistakes twice in a row.
Again, if you notice that time is getting away from you, and
cannot get an answer, take an educated guess and go on.
Think. Take your time, but be quick about it.
WTAMU > Virtual Math Lab > GRE Math
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|All contents copyright (C) 2003 - 2008, WTAMU and Kim Seward. All rights reserved.
Last revised on August 8, 2008 by Kim Seward.