Recently, I received an email from a professor of a university I was interested in applying to for graduate school, and the news he shared with me was unpleasant. He notified me that there were a number of other applicants who ranked higher than me, and that it was unlikely the department would be extending me an offer of admission to the program. I have realized that I absolutely need not only the general GRE exam, but the Mathematics GRE Subject Test as well if I am going to distinguish myself from other competition when applying for graduate school.

I am not worried about the general exam; the math subject test weighs heavily on my mind. My first time taking the math subject test I performed very poorly. Computationally I was fine until I became stuck on one problem for around $30$ to $45$ minutes, and then from there I was unable to finish the exam. I only answered roughly $\dfrac{1}{3}$ of the questions. I scored in the $9^{\text{th}}$ percentile. This is not only embarrassing/degrading, it is also an inaccurate representation of my mathematical abilities and quantitative reasoning skills. It was impossible for me to send universities this result, and ever since that day I have been dreading taking the exam again. I was hoping someone who may have experience either tutoring and teaching techniques for completing problems quickly, someone who has experience tutoring study skills specifically for this subject test, or someone with general knowledge of how to triumph over this exam could help me achieve my goal of being accepted into graduate school. Thank you for your time.

Academic Background: I am a college graduate holding a Bachelor's degree in mathematics, with the majority of my mathematics courses in applied maths. The holes in my knowledge are in statistics/probability, topology, and upper levels of abstract algebra. I have diagnosed ADD and have time and a half approved for tests.

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    $\begingroup$ Spending more than 5 minutes on any problem is a HUGE mistake. Try to go through the exam answering problems you know how to do quickly (1 to 2 minutes), then go back through after you've gotten those to the ones you can know how to solve but might take a bit of time (3-5 minutes), THEN go back and solve whatever is left, if you have time. $\endgroup$ Mar 16, 2018 at 23:38
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    $\begingroup$ @TonyS.F. That is a great strategy. Next time I won't let my pride force me to work for 45 minutes on a Calc II improper integral question I knew I could answer under different circumstances. $\endgroup$ Mar 16, 2018 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ Math Subject GRE is pretty important for grad school in math. I would say get a math subject GRE book and go through all of the questions. Then take as many practice exams as you can find. The timing is a huge issue, you should skip over a problem if you can tell it will be very difficult, and then go back to complete it later if you have time (although I'm not sure if this is possible.) $\endgroup$ Mar 16, 2018 at 23:42
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnColtraneisJC I love your username, by the way. $\endgroup$ Mar 16, 2018 at 23:43
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    $\begingroup$ I think that was the book I used. I found it pretty helpful, but yeah, it will not cover those kind of general test-taking strategies. I don't know of a good resource for that off-hand. You might consider getting a tutor. $\endgroup$ Mar 17, 2018 at 0:01


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