I am taking the GRE in less than two weeks, and I feel like a rabbit on a treadmill chasing a carrot. No matter how many practice tests I take, I can’t seem to get a perfect score. Close, but no carrot. Even when I get a 100 percent on one section I will miss a couple in the following section. I blame the adaptive nature of the test since it became computerized. Oh, so you got 100 percent? Here, let’s give you a harder section next time. Damn.
I have been studying for the GRE subject exam quite a bit lately, and thought it might be a good idea to study for the general as well. I figured the easiest way to see where I am and what I need to brush up on would be to take a practice exam and go from there.
I did very well on the verbal reasoning and reading comprehension sections. Honestly this wasn’t very surprising. In fact, I would be terribly worried about my life choices thus far if I didn’t do well on these sections. Yes, I would like to get a doctorate in English literature, but I can’t decipher a two paragraph section of text. Um… See? That would be a problem. Luckily I don’t have to worry about that.
However, I was slightly worried about the math section. Even though I did very well in math in high school and undergrad, I haven’t much dealt with math (except basic functions) in over a decade. Considering I assess students on their math skills on a daily basis I know just how fast unused math skills degenerate. In case you were wondering, very fast.
So when I got a 37 out of 40 on the practice exam, I wasn’t just surprised, I was quite shocked. I remembered all my formulas and concepts. And the three problems I got wrong had more to do with my own carelessness than anything else. How did this happen?
Granted I have been surrounded by math books a large part of my life, considering what my parents did for a living, and their educational background, but I don’t think I was learning by osmosis. Last time I checked, simply being in the same room as a book did not lend itself to learning.
I guess I am pleasantly perplexed?