Monthly Archive for October, 2010

A Very Scary GRE Entry


Halloween is rounding the corner, so in the spirit of the evening before All Hallows Day, here are a few things about the GRE that scare me.

1. Reading Passages
Giant blocks of text without equations in them make me a little nervous. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to read long passages about obscure, boring topics in which I have absolutely no interest. Will I understand the passage? Will I understand the questions? Will I be able to stay awake? It’s scary. College certainly hasn’t made me dumber, but it has changed my way of thinking — I’m a little out of shape when it comes to GRE-type critical reading.

2. The Computer-Adaptive Test
I’ve taken a lot of paper-and-pencil tests in my day, but, if memory serves, the GRE will be my first computer-adaptive test. I did take a computerized driver’s license test six years ago, but somehow I don’t think that will help. The idea of not being able to skip or change an answer is pretty intimidating — it flies right in the face of every test taking strategy I’ve ever been taught. Fortunately, the ETS provides practice CATs on their website for us to download and practice with. I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to spend my Halloween.

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How to Study Vocabulary for the GRE

A few days ago, while I sat around administering a practice exam to a student, I finally cracked open my GRE vocabulary book.  In the two hours and ten minutes it took my student to finish the exam, I managed to get through the entire “A” section.  Not bad.  Did you know that “apposite” is a word?  I didn’t.  If I had come across that word on a test, I probably would’ve frowned and muttered something about the ETS being too stupid to spell “opposite” correctly — and that, Alanis Morissette, would have been ironic.

I must have read some of those definitions ten times before I actually read them.  It was like highway hypnosis for reading.  Was studying vocabulary always this hard?  The beginning of the book suggests a few different strategies to help, like flashcards or mnemonics, but I’ve never found these methods to be particularly effective.  Rote memorization has never been a strength of mine.  My mind just isn’t wired to map keys to values like that.  For me, understanding of a word has to grow organically, through context and usage.  Fortunately, the book uses each word in the context of one or two sentences — and that helps me remember and understand the meaning of the word a lot better.

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Promotional Consideration Provided By…

After I graduated from college, I decided not to get a job in EE or CS because I didn’t want to get sucked into the real world just yet; instead, I decided to see what’s up at my test prep alma mater, Testmasters.  As it turns out, this blog is what’s up — so here I am, blogging away.

“Well, gee, Jason, you must LOVE Testmasters to come back to work for them.”

Well, sure.  Six years ago, Testmasters helped me crack the SAT wide open and seize a golden 1600 for myself, so why wouldn’t I come back?  It’s like that classic saying — you scratch my back, and I blog for your website.

Learn more about test preparation with Testmasters and its GRE classes.

GRE and Graduate School Admissions: A Journey Through the Jungle

Technically, this is a rainforest.

Hello, fellow prospective graduate students.

I’m guessing you stumbled upon this blog after searching for the phrase “new GRE.”  If that’s all you’re looking for, no problem — here you go:

Other frequently asked questions about the GRE can be found here.

If you’re still reading, allow me to introduce myself and explain what this blog is.

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