Graduate School

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Re: Graduate School

Unread postby Shu Ryorin » Sat Nov 06, 2010 3:39 am

I took the GRE earlier today. :|

I didn't contact the schools I'm applying for to ask how they evaluate it. :| I hope I have no reason to take it again. :|

Also, my face seems to be stuck like this. :|
"Only dummies call people dummy, dummy!"
-some fairy in "Breath of Fire III"

Grad school is hard, you guys.
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Re: Graduate School

Unread postby Lady Wu » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:31 am

Did they give you the score right away? And have you already applied to have them send the marks directly to the grad schools?
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Re: Graduate School

Unread postby agga » Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:06 pm

let me tell you the Legend of Agga and the GRE.

i finished college and went and got a job in a call center, sending replacement Cricket phones to people who had lost/broken their phones. it was pretty boring. throughout college i had worked as a clerk at a drugstore, which had been a cool job, but the store closed during my last semester of school. i had kind of an idea of maybe going to graduate school, and was also thinking of trying to join the air force (long story there).

anyways, it's getting to be Fall 2002, and i'm sitting in my cubicle waiting for calls and looking at graduate programs in experimental psychology, philosophy, that sort of thing. i see that the application deadlines are just in a month or so. i figure, am i going to do it?

i see that a test, the GRE, is required. i apply to take it at some point a few weeks in the future, and then basically forget about it.

meanwhile, my job as i said is pretty boring, and i'm not very motivated. and, i am a classical late-sleeper, and i'm repeatedly late for work - not significantly, in my opinion, on the order of 5-10 minutes - and i keep getting warnings. after 4 months of this job, i was a few warnings short of getting fired. i knew it was coming.

so, one day i go to work - this is the day before i'm scheduled to take the GRE, but i've basically decided to skip it since i haven't prepared at all (my nights all these months have been spent eating pizza, playing video games, and practicing karate with my friend James) and i forgot to get the day off to go take the test. i'm late again, another warning is coming. i get in my cubicle and take a call - it's a really nasty one, this person lost their phone but didn't pay the $30 up front for the Cricket phone insurance policy, so i have to tell her she doesn't get a free replacement, and she then gets to curse at me and yell and basically have a fit.

so, i finish the call, go to my supervisor, and tell her, "i think i'm going to quit. i can stay for the rest of the day if you want."

she looks at me with a really weird, kind of tense expression, says, "no, you can go now." in retrospect i guess that made sense, you don't want someone answering hostile phone calls when he has no job to retain.

so that night i look up details on the GRE, what it covers, etc., next day i go and take it - i do pretty well! full score in math, good enough on the other sections. i decide i must apply to graduate school.

8 short years later, i'm a PhD working in a lab in Boston. thank you, hostile mean angry lady who lost her cellphone.
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Re: Graduate School

Unread postby Lady Wu » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:48 pm

That's an awesome story agga. :)
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Re: Graduate School

Unread postby laojim » Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:00 pm

agga wrote:....
so that night i look up details on the GRE, what it covers, etc., next day i go and take it - i do pretty well! full score in math, good enough on the other sections. i decide i must apply to graduate school.....


You can apply and take it on the same day? Either that is artistic license or the rules have changed. When I took that back in 1980 the lag between paying the money and taking the test was about three months or a few weeks if you wanted to pay the fabulous late registration fee. I think I got something like 93rd percentile in math, 98th percentile in vocabulary, and I don't even recall the other parts any more. I think that at the time there was a new section that was supposed to be a test of logical reasoning and which, I was told, was dropped because so many of the questions required addition unstated assumptions which could have made one or the other answer better. I think I got only 83rd percentile in that, mostly be second guessing the questions.
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Re: Graduate School

Unread postby Lady Wu » Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:15 pm

laojim wrote:You can apply and take it on the same day?

He did say that he applied "to take it at some point a few weeks in the future" and then forgot about it.

I believe there are way more sittings for the GRE than back in 1980, since now the test is computer-based (are paper tests still available?). I wrote mine in the late 90's and had a choice between the paper test (for which I'd have to travel to the US or go to the middle of friggin' nowhere in my province) or the computer-based test, which was a 30min drive from home. The computer test also had the advantage of telling you your results right away. (Just the raw score, not the percentile---on my first score report I was 97th percentile in the Verbal section, but when I requested additional reports for grad school, my score became in the 98th percentile! Sweet!).

I was sad when they got rid of the Analytic section (full 800; 99th percentile). It's a bunch of fun logic puzzles to me.
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Re: Graduate School

Unread postby agga » Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:58 pm

Lady Wu wrote:I was sad when they got rid of the Analytic section (full 800; 99th percentile). It's a bunch of fun logic puzzles to me.


when i took it the analytic section was on a 6-point scale - i think i had a 5, not sure...
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Re: Graduate School

Unread postby laojim » Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:53 pm

agga wrote:
Lady Wu wrote:I was sad when they got rid of the Analytic section (full 800; 99th percentile). It's a bunch of fun logic puzzles to me.


when i took it the analytic section was on a 6-point scale - i think i had a 5, not sure...


I had a test of three parts plus this other one which I understand was dropped. I don't recall what the third was, but the fourth was called something like logical reasoning or some such and the puzzles were nice enough but I could usually find two or more that had good reasoning but they didn't offer any criteria to go by, which is about the same a asking you to guess. Like Olbrechts-Tyteca points out, most of what people call logical argument is quasi logical in that there is necessarily some unstated connection between the formal system of logic and the messiness of the real world. When I took it that section wasn't counted so I suppose they must have been testing their test.

It almost makes me want to go and look up my little score sheet.

So what is it? Did you sign up for a computer based test on short notice, did I miss something, or did you leave something out, or what?
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Re: Graduate School

Unread postby Lady Wu » Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:35 pm

agga wrote:
Lady Wu wrote:I was sad when they got rid of the Analytic section (full 800; 99th percentile). It's a bunch of fun logic puzzles to me.


when i took it the analytic section was on a 6-point scale - i think i had a 5, not sure...

Yeah, that's the newfangled system. It used to be on a 800-point scale like the other sections.

When I took it, one of the three sections was doubled, and you don't know which one was dropped. I got verbal twice.

To be honest none of these standardized tests really test for real life knowledge, and part of the trick of doing well is to know what they want you to answer.
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Re: Graduate School

Unread postby agga » Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:43 pm

laojim wrote:So what is it? Did you sign up for a computer based test on short notice, did I miss something, or did you leave something out, or what?


Lady Wu wrote:He did say that he applied "to take it at some point a few weeks in the future" and then forgot about it.


Lady Wu wrote:To be honest none of these standardized tests really test for real life knowledge, and part of the trick of doing well is to know what they want you to answer.


i think my math score, and my relatively good scores otherwise, is what got me interviewed/accepted into a program. at least they could see that i knew how to do math, and could read and write above average. i think that's part of what the faculty looking at applications are interested in - basic scholastic aptitude, and i guess standardized tests do say something about that. my transcript definitely wouldn't have told them i knew any math.

*edit*
though definitely it was good for me that they use those tests - i've always been better at tests than at classes i.e. homework, so if you're going to judge me on a point scale, please judge me on my test scores.
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