p-adic wrote:I'd retake the GRE, like you said, and aim to do better. I'm retaking it too. Hopefully I can get in as a standby in a couple weeks and get a good score. If not, I'll have to wait until September. I took it twice before and got 56%, then 67% a month later, so it seems to be a test where you can really improve pretty quickly. I've been going through the PR book and the review tests (it's been several years since I took it) for about a week and everything seems super easy to be honest. Unfortunately the 2 exams available from the 80s are ridiculously easy. Hopefully my graduate studies is what prepared me to find this so easy and I won't be shocked by a test that's way harder than any material available.
I'd probably try to get 2 strong undergrad professors to write you LORs, and one from grad school. It can be tough to get to know grad school professors, especially in larger programs, and especially before you start doing research. It's not like they're going to be impressed if you get an A in their class either. Or possibly one from an REU advisor. But if you don't believe any of your grad professors would be able to write you a strong letter, don't bother with them.
p-adic wrote:I've seen lots of complaints around here that it's just a speed test and everyone was busy proving things in college and not doing computations like this (not all the problems are computational!). The best way I trained for this test was through 5 years of TAing, mostly calculus. Being able to do well is a good measure of overall math knowledge and of ability to be a decent TA I think (aside from language/public speaking issues), which, you can argue, is what they really are hiring you to do until you've passed your quals and gotten started with your thesis. Through my TAing, I definitely learned to do computations quickly, make very few mistakes, and become very good at calculus. Such complaints remind me of all the grad TAs who whine about having to do the "low-level" arithmetic in their recitations -- these are the same TAs who make tons of mistakes on the board and don't know their stuff as well as they should.
A lot of the theoretical analysis/topology questions are easier once you've worked on analysis quals (obviously). The algebra and linear algebra questions didn't seem too difficult.
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