GRE Blues

Standardized testing may have its purpose, but it’s a headache for anyone and everyone who has ever had to go through it (which should be just about everybody in the US and may people besides).

I am currently studying for my GREs, which I’ll be taking the last Monday of the month (prayers and crossed fingers appreciated). I’m consistently getting high enough verbal scores, but for one of my programs my math scores need to be at least five points higher.

This leads to me studying, and taking a test a day, because I decided I wanted to do this a bit late in the game and really should have taken the test last year.

That, and I really need to nail it the first time.


The GRE test costs $185 each time you take it. As if that wasn’t the most ridiculous pricing I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s not even like they’ve got a bunch of paper and ink they’re spending that money on because it’s all computerized. Isn’t that supposed to save money?

Anyway, here’s my advice on this test. Don’t wait until the last minute. If you have even an inkling that you’re going to need to take this for Grad school, start NOW, however far into college you are (and if it’s about to be fall of your final year, get going RIGHT NOW, don’t even bother finishing this post – well, maybe when you finish, then). Princeton Review has a single free test, although it doesn’t give the best analytics post-test. Kaplan also has free services, and they’re FANTASTIC. I really think this is a good place to start. Get a book if you can. Do an online course through Kaplan if you can afford it and your preliminary tests reveal that you need help in one or both sections. They actual have Verbal Only and Quantitative Only courses, which is great if you know one’s fine but the other needs work.

One thing I did for the math as well, since I was so out of practice, was do all the SAT II math practice tests we had around the house from mine and my brothers’ previous testing experiences. It’s a bit of overkill as this level isn’t all going to be on the test by any stretch, but I have to admit that my math scores were better off for it.

So that’s my advice on this particular part of Grad School Applications. I will go back to reading about MFA programs and leave you with that nugget of thought for the night.




About Charlotte Blackwood

Charlotte Blackwood is a self-employed aspiring author working on perfecting her first novella/ first novel. She is a current student at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, CA. If you're looking for a reading list (someday she'll add her own works to the list), she's currently supporting Anna Karenina, anything by Dickens, anything by Tolkien, anything by JK Rowling, A Song of Ice and Fire, and The Hunger Games.

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