December 14, 2009

ETS - Educational Testing Sucks.

There's something worse than getting teeth pulled, potentially worse than getting teeth pulled without Novocain. That something is the Graduate Record Examination, commonly known as the GRE. It doesn't matter how long you study or what you know. It matters that you answer the first 1/3 of the random questions correctly in each section. If you're lucky enough to know what the most obscure words in the English language mean (all 5 unrelated definitions), and then if you can also write logical arguments for an hour and a half, while answering geometry, trig, algebra, and 5! -2xy + 3 squared to the nth degree... you might survive. Don't forget the little countdown going on in the upper left hand corner, telling you how many seconds you have left, ticking ticking ticking your life away. Somehow it's the longest 4 hours of your life, but you still run out of time too fast. Oh yes, and you get one 10 minute break... total.

Before you enter the room, you have to remove your headband. The skinny ribbon keeping the hair out of your eyes, that has to go. No watches, no pens, no pencils, no joy. Don't remove your sweatshirt unless you raise your hand. Show us the insides of your pockets, stick your hands in your back pockets and turn around. It's all so inhumane. Then they crank the heat up in the test room and give you giant headphones that make you feel like you're trapped in a dark subway alone, under water. They yell at you because your signature looks different from your license, which was signed a year ago. At the end, they have the nerve to ask if you would like to participate in an experimental section, but you're too scared of losing the score you already have to say no. All of a sudden, your score appears after saying you don't want to cancel it...twice. $150 to take the damn test, plus $50 to change the date. $30 for the review book, $15 for the vocab review book, countless hours, and still a below average math score. Doesn't matter that I'm going to school to get a Master of FINE ARTS in WRITING. They still had to tell me I suck at math and then also tell the schools to which I'm applying. The writing section, my only hope for redemption, is scored by snotty nosed TA's who don't give a crap, so that's reassuring.

That was standardized computerized hell, and after a day in a cubicle, a night in a testing cell, and a long phone conversation with my mother that I had to tune out due to lack of brain power, I am going to sleep to pretend it never happened. In the morning, hopefully my head is no longer a pureed glob of irrelevant data.


  1. Thanks for sharing, your blog is worth reading, nice post. Keep it up.

  2. Your writing style impressed me a lot! Have you received your Master's Degree of fine arts in writing?

  3. I don't think there is something worse than getting teeth pulled without Novocain but you have changed my mind, I agree with your position!

  4. Thanks for the shared experience. Graduate Record Examination requires us to answer the first 1/3 of the random questions correctly in each section, which is pretty uneasy! Nevertheless, I am sure that you will pass it!