Good Golly!

Holy crap this test is going to kick my keister! The analogy part alone will give me gray hair. But the book is good alhumdulillah and I think will help me a lot, and meeting it’s previous owner was a delight. Getting a book from a Fulbright scholar should be a good omen right?


Seriously. Anyone out there who has taken their GRE please, please drop me a comment or an email with some suggestion tips.

I’m going to go make flashcards now- my vocabulary has a tought road ahead of it.


15 responses to “Good Golly!

  1. I assume you’re talking about the general GRE, not a subject-specific one? I didn’t do any prep for it at all, just for the psych subject one, and I did well, especially for the verbal section. If you’re an avid reader, you should be okay. But expanding your vocabulary is never a bad idea 🙂

  2. I’m not worried about passing it, honestly, but since the program IS competitive I would like to do OUTSTANDINGLY on the reading/writing/analytical sections so my score will stand out. And yes, its the general, there is not subject-specific for creative writing, only English literature which is not my area of study.

    So I will be doing a lot of studying and reading the book. Well except for the math section- even if I WANTED to study math, which I decidedly do not, it would hold no bearing over my entrance into the MFA. So I will do a lot of eeny-meeny-miney-mo’s on that one.

  3. Also, the GRE is not required for entrance into the program, but they said that it would be a point in the applicant’s direction if they did it, and which is again why I want to do stellar on it, for additional brownie points.

    Plus I could use a lot of brushing up on my reading skills- I skim like a dairy farm- and writing skills, and well vocabulary because before this I was fairly proud of my wordy-ness but yea…. I took a definite hit to my self-esteem on that one.

  4. I understand the nerves; for all intents and purposes, the verbal section(s) is/are the subject test for you. Prepare as much as you feel like you need to, but remember two things: (1) the test is designed so that no one will know all the answers, so you can ace it while feeling like you blew it (take it from someone who aced the analytical and did darn well on the reading/writing but had no clue until the scores came in!) and (2) as with almost any testing situation, you’ll do better if you’re calm, well-rested, well-fed, and not stressed out. So prepare as much as you need to so that you don’t have to do any all-nighters and so that you can be calm and composed the day of the test.

    I wish I remembered enough specifics to give you some pointers, but I took the test … wow, almost a decade ago … and I just don’t remember. I do know two things that always helped me with vocabulary that I needed but didn’t just pick up from reading: for specific words, make flashcards and drill yourself, and to help with any other random word that comes up, try to get a good understanding of common (and uncommon!) prefixes, suffixes, and roots … it’ll help you guess better.

    I also tend to skim on reading tests … I’ve found that as long as time isn’t an issue–skimming helps on that 🙂 –it helps to look back in the text for specific answers to the questions, even if you think you know it. Usually the skimming lets me know where in the passage to look, and then I just read the one or two necessary sentences carefully enough to be sure of the answer. It’s very rare for the test-writers to be tricky enough to throw in a question that actually requires you to have read the *entire* passage carefully …

    Good luck!

  5. Thanks! I actually turned my house upside down last night looking for index cards. No luck. But I’ll buy some today before going home.

    Thank you so much for your advice, it helps. I’m nervous but looking forward to it. Thank God I’ve always been ok at test taking, the book even told us to not study that morning but to eat a healthy breakfast and sleep a good night’s sleep the night before. ha!

    Did you get your masters in Psych? From what school?

  6. I got my MA in social psych from the University of Utah. Feels like ages ago. Never actually did anything with the degree, but living so far away from my family for the first time was a great learning experience. Have you scheduled your test yet?

  7. No, I’m not sure if I want to take it at amideast here or wait and do it in the states. I might do both, as the woman I bought the book from mentioned. If I don’t like my amideast score I can take it again in the states.. I think. I must check the GRE website to see if it says anything about re-takes. I’m also worried that the school may not accept the results coming from a foreign country, but God only knows.

  8. You can take it once in a calendar month, I think. Some schools take the more recent score, some take the highest, and some average the last three. You may want to check with your program to see what they use … and by all means–don’t rule out taking it twice. I bet it’s common for scores to go up on second tries; it happens with almost all tests. How many times did you take the SAT in high school? During my junior year, I think I took it twice, and once again during fall of my senior year–the scores kept going up, and my counselors encouraged me to take advantage of those practice effects. I didn’t do that with the GRE, but I would have if I’d felt the need.

  9. Actually I never took the SAT in high school, most of the Unis in Minnesota outright preferred the ACT over the SAT and so thats what I took. And, to be honest, I remember barely anything about the exam. I think I will check out taking the GRE here and back home as well, the only problem will be price.


  10. *squeak*

    From the Dept of English:
    “Our admissions committee has the preferred performance level of at least one of the following: an undergraduate English GPA of 3.5; a graduate GPA of 3.8; or a verbal score in the 85th percentile of the GRE.”

    !!!! Holy smokes I need to study!!!!!

    And I’m not an undergraduate English major (Communications all the way baby) and I don’t believe I graduated with a 3.5 anyway.


    I am definitely leaning towards taking it twice.

    Ya ummy!

  11. I have been wondering if I would have to take the GRE to go do a masters in English. I keep thinking I want a masters… DH took it and he swears by the sample tests. He thinks it’s the best way to get an idea of how you will do and where you need more study. After seeing where he was weak he also got some books and studied. He ended raising his score between the times he took it quite significantly. The only mistake he thinks he made… Old books. The second time around he got the newest books he could find and swears it made a difference.

    I had a friend in college who just sat with the software that gives you sample tests for an hour a day and did vocab for about 15 minutes 3-4 times a day… And her scores were great. She was a religion major, so she had no subject area test either.

  12. I think grey hair is sexy especially under hijab. GRE’s are only created to stress people out. I think they simply randomly distribute scores. But, that’s just my excuse for not making flash cards

  13. I was lucky enough to apply to a programme that explicitly said that they cared little about the GRE verbal score for non-native English speakers (thank God!!). So I didn’t study for the verbal as much as I should have.
    I did okay on verbal and aced analytical though.

    For verbal, what helped me the most was.. my French! Many articulate words in English have Latin roots, and that’s how I got through many of the questions.
    You speak a Latin language; that will help you tremendously. Be confident.

    Also, look at the prefixes or roots. I heard Daniel Tammet – a fascinating human being by any measure – explain that he learned words by noticing that most languages have common prefixes for words of the same general meaning; for instance, most things that have to do with light in French begin with ‘lu’.
    Not sure if GRE training books use that; in any rate i thought I’d mention it, could come in handy.

    Re: taking the test: does Amideast do a computer-based or a paper-based? Because i think the latter still exists in some parts of the world – and it’s a very different feel.
    Re: preparation books: if you’re getting someone’s books make sure that nothing has changed in the exam. It’s silly, but they update/re-write sections. They do advertise it though. I’d invest in a 2009 book. Kaplan i found pretty well done. The Princeton Review book had plenty of extra tests.

    Use the free programme they send you when you sign up (on a CD; you can also download it). It has a couple of practice exams – do them.
    Then get a book, and do the exams there too.
    I had a couple of books, read all the tips and stuff but the most useful was the practice exams.
    I feel I didn’t say it enough so there it is once more – practice exams.

    If you’re booking a date near the deadline application for graduate programmes, make sure you do that in advance.
    When taking my GMAT while I lived in Boston, my friend and I found that the only available slot was two-weeks after we began studying for the test, and we had to drive to Lebanon, New Hampshire to take the test..

    You’ll do very fine I’m sure. Go Molly!!!

  14. Reading the blog counter-chronologically..
    Oh, so you already got a 2009 Kaplan book. Awesome. Great minds think alike. 🙂

  15. Actually you know what, thats pretty much what I’m doing. I’ve made flash cards of the words I don’t know and I’m practicing the analogies which are by far the most difficult for me.

    Math is something I just can’t do and I think being able to get the analogies is in the same section of the brain. Mr. MM, even without understanding the words, can get them in 2 seconds flat and he’s great at math. Once I explain the words he says, “oh the answer is c!”

    Gar!!!!!!!!!! it frustrates me.

    But practice makes perfect so I’m doing all sorts of analogy practice tests and working on my vocab.

    Thank you for your advice, I needed to know that I was on the right track.


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