My Review of SubjectMath.com

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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DMAshura
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:53 am

My Review of SubjectMath.com

Postby DMAshura » Thu Sep 03, 2015 1:25 am

I actually went ahead and bought the practice tests (hey more material is always good right?) and I have previewed his course, so I figured you all could use a review of the materials --- especially with the rather hefty price tag!

First, the practice tests themselves. While the material is in fact very thorough and does cover the same topics, it would be a lie to say that it's as closely aligned with the test as is advertised. Most math subject GRE's start off with (relatively) easy and routine problems, and generally build gradually in difficulty; on the other hand, SubjectMath.com's tests are designed so that almost every question needs a "trick" to solve it in any reasonable amount of time. Have to find a double integral under a plane? Gotcha! Just use the volume formula for a pyramid. Horrible Riemann sum? Gotcha! Just turn it into log(n)/n which goes to zero. Tricks are good to have, yes, but you don't need them for the entire test. In addition, the problems are worded in a much more verbose manner, with gratuitous notation and obfuscated expressions thrown in just to confuse you (reminds me of math competitions a bit). As a side note, the author is in serious need of an editor (e.g. "aspires to zero", "devisable by", "hight of 2") --- not that it takes away from the actual content, but it does take away a bit from the professionalism.

Also, after skimming through the online modules, I would say the only ones that are worthwhile are the Additional Topics and Advanced modules. There's a LOT of good stuff in those, especially the Advanced one. Most of the other stuff you can figure out yourself with a bit of Wikipedia searching for basic facts, or is already covered in the existing books. (Hint: Learn everything you can about eigenvalues and rings. Ever. :P) And honestly, you can get almost all of the tricks just by going through the solutions at the back of the practice test books. Whatever the case, this is another reason I take issue with the amped-up difficulty of the practice tests, as if to make you think "oh no! The GRE is like this? I'd better get the online courses!" Feels somewhat dishonest to me.

tl;dr: While the tricks presented are definitely valuable if you already have a high score and want to raise it by those elusive last few points, it's not really correct to say that the material is representative of the GRE subject test as a whole.
Last edited by DMAshura on Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User0821
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Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: My Review of SubjectMath.com

Postby User0821 » Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:22 am

Thanks a lot for this! Much appreciated. How would you rank the available review materials out there? Would this be close:

1. ETS Practice Tests 0568, 1268
2. Undergrad Textbooks (Stewart, Dummit, Insel)
3. Princeton Review
4. ETS Practice Tests 8767, 9367, 9768 (Too Easy)
5. Subjectmath.com
6. REA Mathematics (Too Difficult)

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DMAshura
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:53 am

Re: My Review of SubjectMath.com

Postby DMAshura » Thu Sep 03, 2015 6:58 pm

I would put Subjectmath.com as a tie with 87/93/97 for #4 and REA as #5. Both 87/93/97 and Subjectmath.com are off the mark in terms of difficulty --- just each in a different direction. They're both good practice, but not to be taken as representative. But also yes, Subjectmath.com is leagues better than REA.

p-adic
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:42 pm

Re: My Review of SubjectMath.com

Postby p-adic » Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:26 pm

No offense, but why are you buying all this crap? You've already taken it multiple times and gotten a pretty high score, right?

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DMAshura
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:53 am

Re: My Review of SubjectMath.com

Postby DMAshura » Thu Sep 03, 2015 11:24 pm

I tutor students who are going to be taking the math GRE, so I try to keep current with the test and the materials that are out there.

lp
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:28 am

Re: My Review of SubjectMath.com

Postby lp » Sat Sep 19, 2015 6:38 pm

Thanks for reviewing. A while back I found a pdf that Charlie Marshak put together with problems he pulled from all over the place as well as a solutions doc. And like you say, many of them are trick problems that are not that representative of the real thing; BUT, it's free, so why not! The solutions are a bit sloppy and careless and have some errors in some places for sure, but in general enough hints to go on.
http://www.math.ucla.edu/~cmarshak/GREB ... oblems.pdf
http://www.math.ucla.edu/~cmarshak/GREB ... utions.pdf




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