Tuesday, October 24, 2006


As some of my regular readers may remember, I've been busting my hump studying for the GRE, the required test for admission into grad school. Well, tomorrow's the big day. At 9am I'll be heading into the testing center and hoping to hit the thing out of the park. I'm not going to, of course, but I'll give it my best shot.
I had originally hoped that somehow I could study and study and study in order to get a perfect score on it, but after six weeks of work and more than a couple of practice tests, it is more likely that I'll score considerably less than perfect.
The test is broken up into three parts - verbal (analogies/antonyms/sentence completion/reading comprehension), math and two essays. My practice tests seem to indicate that I should do alright on the verbal as my practice scores have been in the mid-to-high 600's (high score being 800), which is in the 90th percentile of test takers - a pretty strong score. My math, on the other hand, is considerably less strong. My high in the practice testing was 550 (again out of 800) but the last practice test I took I scored a pitiful 430. The test is an adaptive one, meaning that if you score the first question correctly, your score (which starts at about 500 or so) goes up and they give you a harder question, but if you miss a question, it drops your score and gives you an easier question and so on. The test is structured in such a way that you really want to get the first six to eight questions correct as they mean more to your score than the last 8-10 questions (out of about 30 total questions). On the math section that I tanked, I missed the first two questions and that set me up on a path where even if I aced the rest of the test (which I didn't) I still wouldn't be able to make up the ground to get to a respectable score.
As for the essay part, I've only just learned what sort of structure the testers are looking for and it seems simple enough. As you may have noticed, I'm not a bad writer so as long as I can adapt my writing to the format of the two essays I should be fine.
I'm going to be calling it a night early this evening as I need to fight more nightowl urges and get to bed. I'm usually up until midnight or so most nights but tonight I'm popping some sleeping pills and heading off to lala land at about 10pm. I'll get up in the morning and pound two Red Bulls (I really really hate how those things taste) and I'll make the driver over to the university.
Hopefully, after all this testing is complete, I can go back to a more regular posting schedule. Many thanks to Kat as she's done a nice job of picking up the slack and hitting some good notes on her posts. I'm looking forward to seeing more of her stuff around here.

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