Photo by George Eastman House
The GRE is at the heart of the preparation process for most who wish to do graduate study. For those of you who don’t know, I typically describe the GRE as the SAT for graduate schools. It’s a test that supposedly measures one’s ability to perform at the graduate level. All I can tell that it actually does is measure one’s facility with 7th – 9th grade mathematics and 2nd, 3rd, or 4th level definitions of many obscure and/or arcane words. Tomorrow at half past noon, this test and I will battle.
I have taken the GRE before and faired well, but since I am currently applying to PhD programs to hopefully start in the fall of 2010, I am retaking it to attempt to inch my score up, because, hey, every little bit counts, right? I have been preparing for this test for a while now, using flashcards, reading GRE books, blog posts and taking practice tests.
Alas, the day is finally upon me and I have, I think, a much better disposition toward the test than I have at other times during this process. I have been bitter because of how poor of a measurement of my ability to perform in a PhD program I think the GRE is. At other times, I have been quite downtrodden, feeling that I am going to be wasting my time and money, namely after a few of my practice tests.
For the past few days, however, I have had a different perspective. Ken Brown posted about his GRE Preparation and Approach a few days ago and he ended his post with the line:
it’s a battle you can win.
Hence, the title of my post. So, that’s my attitude toward the GRE now. I’m going to battle tomorrow and I fully believe it’s a battle I can win. The GRE is not the war (the whole application process is the war), it is merely one battle along the way; a battle that I intend to win.