Category: DON’T PANIC

GRE Math Subject Test Preparation Strategies


  • Official guide & official test practice book
  • Format:
    The test consists of one section which is 2 hours and 50 minutes long.
  • When is the test offered?
    In April, October and November each year.
    Note: The test registration deadline for the November one is usually before the time when the result of the October test comes out. So, it may be a good idea to register for both if one is in urgent need of a good score.
  • Nearest Location:
    Berkeley High.
  • Graduate programs that require GRE Math Subject Test score:
    Math & Applied Math.
  • Graduate programs for which a good Math Subject score would be helpful:
    Financial Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, etc..

Test preparation strategies:

  • START EARLY so that you will have enough time to review all the materials, and will be able to take the subject test again (which many people do) if necessary.
  • Start with a diagnostic exam: identify the topics that you are unfamiliar with, and master them.
  • Review ALL the concepts mentioned in the official guide, and relevant problem-solving techniques.
  • Practice a lot, practice often.
  • Mock exams: do the full length past exams under TIMED conditions, at a place where you are unlikely to be disturbed. (Speed matters!)
  • When practicing, mark the questions that you can’t solve even if you manage to guess the correct answer.

Test prep books:

  • Princeton Review: fairly exhaustive, but contains typos and errors.
  • Research & Education Association (REA): covers more topics than the actual test does, contains 6 practice exams, and is great for those who have a good score already but want an even better one.

Where to find past exams:

  • Google keywords like “old gre practice”, and the following forms shall be available online: Form 0568, 1268, 8767, 9367, and 9768.
    Note: If a URL is no longer valid, use the Wayback Machine to retrieve it.
  • Some are available at: (This webpage has some other information on test preparation as well.)
  • ETS has one past exam available on its website.

What if I don’t know about a certain topic yet?

  • Take a relevant course.
  • Learn the basics by reading a textbook and doing the exercises. (Here is a book-list for reference; you may search the topic in the second column.)

Other resources:

We [Lilian and Rose] are more than willing to share our Subject Test experience, and help you with your test preparation, so please come by our advising hours! Besides, I [Rose] have written up some test preparation notes for my own sake, and will gladly share them on an individual basis.

Can you believe Evans was once covered in snow?! OMG SO CUTE


“Evans is going to be replaced soon”
“Evans is a windowless dungeon”
“Evans is the ugliest building on campus”

Everyone has heard, maybe even said these types of comments about Evans Hall, the large grayish cube-like building sitting between the Memorial Glade and Hearst Mining Circle.

If you are reading this, then you are probably aware that Evans is home to the UC Berkeley Mathematics Department. What you might not know is that Berkeley has one of the largest math departments in the United States, which raises the number of Berkeley residing mathematicians to a rather staggering amount. Evans also houses the Statistics and Economics departments, which further makes Berkeley a great place to do math. You can easily find others who share your mathematical interests–from algebraic geometry and number theory to logic, from PDE’s or statistics to theoretical neuroscience–Evans has it all.

Since you are still reading, you must be interested in applying, or maybe you are already a student and curious about majoring in math or applied math, or maybe you’ve already made that decision–either way, we congratulate you and welcome you to the math department!

Either way, by now you probably know from the tagline that this is a blog about student life as a member of UC Berkeley math community and what being an undergraduate math student roaming the top 4 floors of that large grayish cube-like building is like. Look around here, and you will find advice from fellow undergraduates about what to do while you’re here at Cal, what to do over the summer or abroad, or what to do after you graduate.

If you have any questions from us, or if you are a student or alumni and you would like to contribute, definitely get in touch with one of the peer advisers or send an email to one of the emails below.

Mahrud Sayrafi [mahrud at berkeley dot edu]
Claire Tiffany-Appleton [claireta at berkeley dot edu]
Eric Chen [a5584266 at berkeley dot edu]
Shu Li [shuli1995 at berkeley dot edu]
Duc Tran [ductran at berkeley dot edu]
John Jimenez [jimenez.john at berkeley dot edu]