The GRE

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Martin, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. Martin

    Martin
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    First let me say that this is a standard question about education and not about Baptist Seminaries. However I hope the mods will allow it to stay here so that some of the more learned educational types on here can help me with this.

    Now to the fun stuff...

    Background: I STINK at standardized tests. Got that? STINK! I could take a standardized test on basic colors and still get a miserable score. This has been true of me all my life. I also STINK at any sort of advanced math. This is despite the fact that my biological father is a math teacher and wiz (I guess it is not in the genes).

    Since I am working on my second masters, and since I don't want a third masters, and since I want a PhD I am going to have to take the GRE. Liberty did not require the GRE and my current program does not require a GRE if the applicant already holds a masters degree. So I have avoided taking it so far.

    My brother took the GRE and did fine but he is very smart. Believe me the guy graduated from college (exercise and sports science) with almost a 4.0. He is currently finishing his masters in Sports Administration and he still has a 4.0 :mad: . Even though he did fine on the GRE he told me it was tough. He showed me the study book he used and I about fainted. All of that math!! He told me, as did my stepfather who is a retired dean, the best thing I can do is study. The problem is that I can study that stuff until cows fly and chickens swim and I am still going to stink at it.

    I have thought about taking the GRE and then hope my grades (which are very good: mostly 'A's with a few 'B's), along with some impressive references, would help overcome my predictable low score. Would that work? Others say it could very well work but I am just not sure. It would look to me like it would but I am not sure. Any suggestions?

    Btw, I don't think the school I wish to earn my PhD from (George Mason Univ) has a minimum GRE score requirement. I think that is what the admissions advisor told me. However they don't accept that many PhD students per year (about 20) so I will need to stand out somehow.
     
  2. mcdirector

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    Martin!

    First of all, you have freaked yourself out over something that may or may not happen --- a poor test score.

    Second, have you gone to the book store and bought some test prep books?

    Third, GRE actually has some software that is very good to help you prepare and shows you where you fall for you desired degree area.

    You can go in and take it cold, but why put yourself through that. With some prep, you can lower your anxiety somewhat and increase the likelihood of increasing your score.

    I've taken it twice -- being the perpetual student that I am and the darn thing has a shelf life ;)
     
  3. mcdirector

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    AND

    Schools do know that some folks are dismal at test taking. They will take everything into consideration. Even schools with minimum requirements will most likely not toss an application completely out if everything else is stellar.
     
  4. Brandon C. Jones

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    Martin,

    I am also terrible at math and took the GRE twice. The first time I didn't really prepare for it since it was during the school year and I bombed the math part. The second time I had studied hard and raise my scores significantly. The prep books are excellent (I used Barron's) and the software was good. However, even if after you study hard your score is not the best don't sweat about it too much. Your heading into a humanities program so your verbal and writing are the categories that admissions people will look at the most. Furthermore, your application essays, writing sample, referrals, and transcripts will most likely carry more weight than your GRE score. If you want something to set you off from the rest it will most likely come from those other application elements.

    Good luck,
    BJ
     
  5. Rhetorician

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    Martin Reponse

    Martin,

    1. Study, study, and study some more!

    2. Take one of those classes that teaches you how to take it. It will be worth the money.

    3. Take it again and again until you get the score you want or need to get into the grad program where you want to be.

    It is not only a score but a hoop through which one must jump to have the entire dossier for the grad school applications process. But, I know you have heard all of this before.

    God speed!:praying:

    sdg!

    rd
     
  6. StefanM

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    If you're looking at history, the math section won't mean all that much, unless you blow it out of the water or do very, very poorly. Basically, they probably won't expect you to do that well on the math section because you aren't a science or math major.

    On verbal and writing, however, you will need to get a good score.

    I wouldn't take it more than you have to take it, as many graduate schools simply average your scores. Therefore you need to do your very best on your first try. I'd strongly suggest getting a GRE vocabulary book (it helped me when I took the GRE!). The verbal section is mostly esoteric vocabulary, so it's quite useful.

    Also, you may want to see if some graduate schools may take the Miller Analogies Test.
     
  7. Martin

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    Thanks to everyone who replied. I will be looking into those various options over the next few months. You have all certainly given me a lot to think about. :thumbs:
     
  8. Broadus

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    I endorse the idea about software. I took it in 1998 in order to enter SBTS's PhD program. I worked through the software preparation and it was a great help. I took the GRE at a Sylvan's Learning Center on computer, and the screen shots were much like the software I used, so the familiarity helped. Plus, test scores were immediately accessible after the test. Of course, almost ten years later, I do not know if it is still given on paper.

    I wouldn't sweat it, if I were you. You've done well in two master's programs. Relax--do the software prep and you'll do fine.

    Bill
     
  9. mcdirector

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    Broadus -- I've taken it twice on the comuter. I think that's the only way to go!
     
  10. Humblesmith

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    If you stink at taking tests, you just need practice. Take 50 practice tests, and by the time you're done, you'll be good at it. It really is that simple.....hard work and practice.
     
  11. mcdirector

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    Exactly! and it's one of the good things about the computer software -- gives you lots of practice. But do hone up on the math part too. It's Algebra and some geometry. There is no reason you shouldn't do well on it if you practice. It won't hurt you. I know I'm a math person speaking, but my goodness. It will look better, the better you do on it.
     
    #11 mcdirector, Jul 28, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 28, 2007
  12. Broadus

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    I'm not a math person, and the first pre-test I took, the math portion laughed at me. After working through the math training sessions, though, I recalled all that lost high school and college math stuff, and made a little higher on the math portion of the GRE than the verbal.

    Bill
     
  13. mcdirector

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    Oh! That's so good to hear!
     
  14. StefanM

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    This reminds me of an important point. If your verbal score is lower than the math, don't fret. My math score was 110 points higher than my verbal, yet my verbal score's percentile was 8 higher.

    The math test, to be quite honest, is actually easy when you consider that math and science majors take the same test. However, that doesn't make it easy for humanities majors! It does throw off the percentiles, though.

    You pretty much have to get a 780-800 to get in the 90+ percentile range.

    You can be in the 90+ percentile with a verbal score in the high 600s.
     

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