A question for academics! Feel free to boost to the outside world 😂

I’m planning on taking the GRE no later than October which means I need to start studying ASAP!

So my question is: how? 😂 Did you fork over the hundreds of dollars for the official online practice tests? Or fork over a smaller amount of hundreds for books? Or try to borrow books from gracious friends? Help a first gen college student out. This girl is lost.


I lucked out and none of the places I applied required the GRE, but before I knew that, I was studying. Si there's vocabulary and math. There's pre-made GRE vocab decks for the anki program you might want to use (since it syncs with your phone). Your mileage may vary. Memrise might also work.

I was reviewing high school math for that rest of it, since I'm a non-traditional student and a bit out of date on my math.

You might still want the official book, but get a 2nd opinion.

@madisonlmc I bought a workbook for maybe $20 or $30 from a retail bookstore. Didn’t end up going to grad school but I did pretty well on the exam.

@madisonlmc try your local library for copies of the practice books. I never paid for them because I was lucky that way. Borrowing from a friend would avoid due dates if one has them.

I would do books vs the digital test because the books let you sit better with problems IME than a computer screen. You can walk away, get water, move outside without computer considerations.

@madisonlmc unless you learn something’s recently changed, the last couple years books should be ok. If you don’t find a copy, ask for help finding/borrowing. You may be able to get them from another library in the county or even from another system (sorry if you know any of this, trying to be super clear). Librarians are normally geared to help with this kind of problem.

@madisonlmc I bought one book. It was the Princeton Review. I highly recommend it. It has study material, test taking strategies (very important), and practice tests.

@madisonlmc oh, the Princeton Review does lots of books. (It’s not a specific book.) I’d just get the one that looks the most helpful and fits your budget.

@madisonlmc I completely winged the GRE, and had a cold on test day; I went on to get a PhD in physics and now have "Professor" in my job title. This is not to say that studying is a bad idea, just that the GRE is a lot more intimidating than it deserves to be!

I second the suggestion of borrowing practice books from the local library. Even when they jigger the details of these tests, their soul remains the same.

@madisonlmc The math portion was actually where I did the worst, not because it required advanced knowledge, but because I was tired and careless, and so I did not check my work. I am very prone to the kind of mistakes that would mean partial credit on an in-class exam but are marked as completely wrong on a standardized test.

@madisonlmc I went to grad school in Canada where you don't need to take the GRE's. Also tuition is cheaper. (I'd make this plug even if I wasn't Canadian)

@madisonlmc hey! Yes, I was in a similar situation :) first off, you got this. Especially since you're still going to be fresh out of college, you won't need a year to remember how to write an essay or anything :) Second, how are you with tests usually? And of math, essays, English (vocab, grammar, etc), what are your strengths and weaknesses? I've got some prep suggestions but don't want to suggest anything useless to you!

@madisonlmc I’m old and I took it right before the test format changed, but between a book I bought, a book I inherited, and some flash cards, I’m pretty sure I didn’t spend over $100. If practicing in the exact same format as the test is important to you, it might be worth doing a short subscription, but otherwise I wouldn’t worry about it. You’ll be great!

@madisonlmc LIBRARIES. Your public or uni libraries will have prep books. The scores aren't super super consequential when it comes to admissions these days, so I wouldn't say that you need to throw money into prep. Good luck!

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