My graduate records examination that is. If you follow my facebook or twitter feeds you'll know that I have been cramming like no woman has ever crammed before for that @!&# test.
|Cute Vintage Math Flash Cards from Brooklyn Retro|
Mostly my issue with this test came from the math/quantitative section. I don't have anything against math. In fact I've always liked math, but I have a BFA and my BFA comes from a school where no maths or sciences were required to graduate. So other than one chemistry class that I took when I was briefly considering becoming an animation historian I had not touched math since 2003. If you're counting that's eight years.
So began two months of relearning your basic algebra, geometry and statistics for me. I started by forcing myself into a strict study schedule. Every day after work I would pop over to a coffee shop or the library and do math problems for anywhere from 2-4 hours a day depending on how much time I had available, but those of you who have taken the GRE know that that is only the beginning of preparing for the test.
I find the above comic strip hilarious as it isn't far from the truth. You think you understand the math, you think you've studied enough, and then they throw in questions that don't even use any math and are really just there to make you squirm. What the GRE tests is your ability to take a examination. It's kind of like the SAT, except much more sadistic.
I took practice test after practice test after practice test and eventually I started to plateau score-wise. I kicked up the study time again, but finally decided that it was time to just suck it up and take this thing. I was fairly sure of what score I would get and even though it was still below my ideal score I just didn't have any more time to devote to this thing.
Of course over the weekend (two days before the test I had been cramming for for two months) I caught a cold. A nasty knock you down sore throat couldn't talk kind of a cold. I swear I have never gotten sick as much as I do at the radio station. I don't know if it's the enclosed space and the recirculated air, but when someone at the radio station catches something we all catch it.
So Monday I go in for this test dripping from every part of my face. Somewhat nervous, not super excited about it, with a sore throat and my ears so clogged I could barely hear. I would have rescheduled the exam, but you have to do that three days prior or you have to eat your entire test fee. That fee happens to be $160 so I decided to just suck it up and go.
The first 45 minutes of the test are an essay which is followed up by another 30 minute essay. Then they give you a 10 minute break which I took full advantage of. I went out to the front office and crammed a granola bar into my mouth as fast as possible, took a few sips of water, went pee, and went back into the testing room with one minute and thirty seconds to spare.
Then I broke the test.
For the record, if you are taking the GRE and a little window pops up that says something like "do you accept this break" and gives you a yes and a cancel button, click cancel. It is not okay to accept a break. Basically it freaks the testing software out and it won't progress to the next section of the exam no matter how many buttons you slam. CTRL-ALT-DEL also will not help you.
Did I note that this is a timed test? So here I am slamming every single button on the keyboard, clicking my mouse on every section of the screen, and having a general panic attack. I waved my hand to try and summon the test proctor, but she was off having a sandwich or something and definitely not paying attention. So finally I ran out to the main office in a tizzy and finally found someone who could fix the testing computer for me. Phew.
After that there was another 30 minutes of verbal and 45 minutes of math multiple choices, followed by a "experimental section" that lasts 28 minutes. Yes, the questions were full of things like the comic above, but for some reason I kept finding them easy. Maybe it was my heightened state of awareness from my almost melt down, but of course the first thing that popped into my mind was that I was getting them all wrong. The test is supposed to be adaptive so if you get questions right it should give you harder questions and vice versa.
But after several other Murphy's Law moments including snapping the lead off both my pencils and running out of scrap paper I completed the test!
It was time for the moment of truth.
The next question on the screen: Do you want to cancel your scores or view your scores?
I clicked view.
AND HOLY BOLOGNA, BATMAN.
Not only had I beaten my ideal test score by 60 points, I had beaten my highest practice test score by over 100 points. I was so shocked by the outcome that I let out a rather loud "OH!" If you were one of the other students in the center, I apologize for interrupting you momentarily. I would have liked to get out of my chair and done a victory dance.
But I didn't.
I did call my fiancé, Mother and best friend immediately after leaving the test center and retrieving my cellular telephone.
So what have you been up to, Dear Readers? I feel like we've lost touch. Leave some comments to update me on your goings ons. If you've got a blog I promise to head over there and catch up this week. If I haven't been a regular commenter at your blog leave me a link and I'll make sure to add you to my blog roll.
Peace out, home slices and please enjoy this photo of Mr. Fiancé testing out towels for the wedding registry.