Testing for grad school

I’m thinking about taking the GRE next year – I started reading up on the format and it sounds like they’re planning to implement some significant changes around late summer. I would like to take it before that, if only because people know what kinds of scores to expect with the way it’s set up now, and major changes could affect what scores are average, good, or excellent. It won’t be clear until whatever new format they implement has been in use for some time – long enough to observe results for a representative sample of test-takers over at least a couple of years, or so I expect.

Of course, that means I need to get my ass on studying for it; I guess some people say that you can’t really study for the GRE, but while I don’t buy into the other end (that would be Kaplan’s end), I do think it would be good to familiarize myself with the format of the test and the types of questions asked. I suspect the analogies section will be the toughest – they can get tricky in a nasty way. E.g., they may use nonstandard – sometimes even questionable – definitions of the words on which the ‘correct’ answer is based; I saw this on one sample question using “equivocation” in the ‘right’ answer — they said it means “lying.” Pardon me, but the fallacy of equivocation is not the fallacy of lying, folks – it’s treating one word as if it’s equivalent to a word that means something different (generally involving homonyms). You don’t have to know that you’re equivocating to be guilty of equivocation. So, I get tripped up on the verbal section for…knowing the terms too well? Maybe. Sometimes I just don’t see what they’re getting at, though – you have to figure out which way they’re relating the first two words to each other, and sometimes there are multiple valid possibilities. Which one you choose can change your answer.

I should get in touch with a couple of my professors from L&C and ask what they recommend for GRE prep. I think I’ll ask my (hard-ass) philosophy prof who suggested I try law school (not exactly what I’m thinking for grad school, but clearly she’s willing to offer advice, and I have a great deal of respect for her) … and maybe my physics prof as well. Whether I do physics or computer science, I imagine the desired GRE scores will be similar, so good prep for one is likely good prep for the other, too. Both of those professors are ΦBK, as well, which means I trust them more than others to have suggestions that are good overall (not just for quant. or just for writing).

I want to take the GRE next year, and I want to kill it. I don’t just want to earn a good score, or a great score; I want to earn a score that’s stunning, no matter what subject I’m looking to study.


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