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How do I prepare for the GRE Computer Science subject test? Are there any standard text books I should follow? I want to score as competitively as possible.

What are some good references? Is there anything that top schools like CMU, MIT, and Standford would expect? For example, Cormen et al is considered very good for algorithms.

Please tell me standard text books for each subject covered by the test, like Computer Architecture, Database Design, Operating Systems, Discrete Maths etc.

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What is GRE Subjective Computer Science? –  glenatron Dec 30 '10 at 14:33
GRE is a common test for Graduates, not subject to any field. –  Kugathasan Abimaran Dec 30 '10 at 14:42
...and the Computer Science subject test is a supplemental test for possible graduate students in CS. –  Michael K Dec 30 '10 at 14:46
Also, I'll add that what you get on the General test is more important. If you want to get into a top school you will also need a strong writing score. Do break out of the bad writing habits that internet forums and chat encourage. To practice, make each email and post you write from now onward sharp and clear. –  Macneil Dec 30 '10 at 17:40
To whoever voted to close as too localized, the GRE is a universal graduate school entrance exam in the US, and is relevant to a programmer audience at large. –  user8 Dec 30 '10 at 17:52
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5 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I have this book: http://www.amazon.com/GRE-Computer-Science-REA-5th/dp/087891434X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1293728836&sr=8-1

It is pretty interesting, and provides great insight into what is expected of someone looking to advance in post-grad CS studies. Most universities don't require the CS subject test though, so you should really just use the book to help determine what topics in CS you are weak in. Then with that knowledge come back here to ask what books you should look at for those specific topics.

Good luck with your studies!

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My grades are low 6.92/10 so i need to compensate for same through good GRE subjective computer science score. I will prefer to read few test papers first then basic text books for all of subjects and then only i will read practice book like you mentioned. Can u please list books for subjects that are part of graduate program like OOPS, database, Computer system architecture, operating system or any other subject i need to study for exam. –  Maddy.Shik Dec 30 '10 at 20:32
What are your interests though? If relational database theory is one of them (as it is mine) then the best place to start is with C.J. Date and Hugh Darwin here who have literally written the book on the relational model: thethirdmanifesto.com Finding your interest and having your focus already determined is a great way to get points with faculty if there is someone there who has studied the same topic. –  tcnolan Dec 31 '10 at 0:51
OMG 15/15 people rated it 1 star o.O –  Phil Mar 11 '11 at 4:26
Yea, I wouldn't buy it as a brain dump for the exams. It does however show you the material that will be on the test, even if it gives you the wrong answers! You can only ask for so much from a $20 GRE guide. –  tcnolan Mar 15 '11 at 5:42
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Hmm, maybe follow this guide from ETS? I think it will give you a fair understanding of what is required for the test...


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+1 you shouldn't need any textbook because the test syllabus should be covered in undergrad CS course –  segfault Dec 30 '10 at 14:59
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Christopher Scaffidi has done an excellent job in 'Preparing for Graduate School Examinations in Computer Science'. Its a good booklet with sample questions and commentary. Also, its a shareware but the money is every bit of worth it!

You guys should also find URCH CS GRE Forum helpful.

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I took it 20-some-odd years ago so my experience may no longer be relevant, but from what I remember it covered a lot of subjects in many different areas, from computing reliability and availability for a given MTBF, to strategies for avoiding deadlocks in multithreaded or multiprogramming systems, to analyzing algorithms, etc. If the general test assumed you'd just stayed awake in class, the subject test assumed you'd paid rapt attention to every syllable uttered and every line written by your professor and had done outside reading on your own.

I second the recommendation of grabbing a practice test and studying it thoroughly to see where you need to brush up.

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I cannot recommend any textbooks, although I'd check to see if Kaplan has any. However, I highly suggest taking practice tests at least three times before you take the actual test. This will not only show how your study is proceeding and areas to improve, but also familiarize yourself with the test style so you know what to expect when you go to the test center. The tests are available on the GRE site.

EDIT: Also, the topics on the test were all covered in my CS courses. I'd suggest studying from your undergrad books. You did keep your CS books, right?

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Yes i have my cs books with me. But just want to verify if they are good enough or should i read some other like for Data structures i read some local author who just gave programs for linked list, stack basic operations. with more maturity as a programmer i should read some better books now. –  Maddy.Shik Dec 30 '10 at 20:44
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