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Thread: Call to previous successful GRE biochem test takers for their valuable tips

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    Gandalf's Troop Manjit's Avatar
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    Call to previous successful GRE biochem test takers for their valuable tips

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    Hi Everyone,

    I will be taking GRE Biochem exam in coming month of October to get PhD in Human Genetics. My situation is that I have only 50 days left for the exam. I am currently studying from Stryer for Biochem, and Griffith for Genetics and Karp for cell and molecular biology. My M.Sc. GPA is 3.3, but sadly my undergrad GPA isn't stellar (it is below 3), also I don't have any relevant work exp. or any publications, therefore need to get a good score in GRE in order to get short listed. I have gone through many of the previous posts which I have found really helpful. However, it would be really kind if someone can suggest any ideas to get a good score in such a short time. Much help and advise is appreciated.

    Cheers!

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    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    I would suggest taking a year to get some research experience in. One year will make you ridiculously more competitive. But - anyway, back to the advice actually requested.

    I am prepping to take the exam the 27th of this month, so I can't exactly say how successful my method has been thus far. (I did take the practice test yesterday and got in the 70%, though I am gunning for 90th) Hopefully you have a good basis to go off of from undergrad. First I would go through the ETS outline and see what topics you know you need work on. Right out of the gate I knew I need to review enzyme kinetics, motor proteins & cytoskeletal elements, ECM components, photosynthesis and signaling pathways (this is just the very beginning). Tackle the things you know from your classes you either didn't understand or forgot the second you walked out of the exam. I read up on these things and watched lectures.

    I'm sure you've seen recommendations for readings, Alberts Molecular Biology of the Cell, Lehninger Biochemistry, whatever else people are recommending for genetics (I've found from internet, Alberts, Lehninger and youtube, you don't really need a genetics text). Don't get too caught up reading from cover to cover (you're short on time anyways). I'm wicked dyslexic and ergo a slow reader, so I primarily watch lectures and supplement with text, instead of the other way around.

    Do as many MC questions as you can possibly find in scouring the internet (PM me with your email and I can email you what I have found)
    Study as much as you can, many people take 3 months to study for this (not like 12 hr study days, but with work/school), but in your case you only have month.

    I started making a playlist of helpful youtube videos if that helps( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9Ar...jxS9DMaMnTLoxo ). For biochemistry I really like Kevin Ahern (played back at 1.25-1.5x speed, use a youtube to mp3 ripper and open in VLC). He goes into the depth needed, and will often pop a cell biology relation that is relevant to the exam.

    I almost forgot to mention the methods.. Don't forget to study this... This is where research experience really helps you.

    Best of luck to you,
    Krystal

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    Gandalf's Troop Manjit's Avatar
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    Hi Krystal,

    Thanks for your reply and for a detailed insight into your preparations style. I am taking the exam on 25th October, and I am also looking somewhere above 90 percentile in order for my application to be competitive (I do reckon that it sounds a bit silly to get such a good score in such a short time for me).

    My strength is Molecular biology and Genetics (I can easily do all the questions given in the practice paper barring a couple here and there), my cell biology is okayish type, and the weakest part is Biochemistry (I consider myself lucky if I can answer more than 10 questions correctly). I have been studying Biochemistry from past couple of weeks, and as the time is running short so I am focussed merely on the topics mentioned in the practice paper. It is till a long way to go, especially memorizing those cycles. I have heard about Kevin Ahern's lecture before, and have checked out his videos, but I guess I am more of an reader mindset than a listener (which was one of the reasons of my low G.P.A. in my undergrad, as I would doze off during the lectures). I can grasp better if I am reading something. I will check out the link suggested by you, and I have also messaged (PM) you my email.

    I haven't actually attempted the practice paper yet in an examination style, only had a look at its pattern, and have checked out genetic questions only. The only questions that I am practising right now are the ones given at the end of each chapter in Berg. So, it's an uphill task for me considering the Biochem and Cell biology part. Trying my best to get the topics covered in the shortest possible time. It's a race against the time for me.

    Best wishes for your exam,
    Manjit

    Cheers!
    Last edited by Manjit; 09-15-2014 at 06:58 AM. Reason: -

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