Sunday, November 15, 2009

Taking the GRE for MFA Programs (p.2)


Beats me what is so wonderful about these words.  As a writer I find some of them impractical and downright ugly.  Circumambulate, meaning to walk around?  Amatory, pertaining to lovers or lovemaking?

Try turning somebody on with that.

Anyway, on FlashExchange, where creators of digital flashcards graciously share their study aid with the rest of us, there are a few batches of cards available to help you with these popular GRE words.  Here's one example.  That means you can avoid buying flashcards, or worse, writing up your own.

The site lets you sort by which cards you get correct or incorrect (according to your own judgment), and by cards you've studied versus those you haven't.  You may study a sub-group of the full deck, and then a sub-group of that sub-group, etc, and FlashExchange will record your entire study history.  Thus, I was able to study in batches of 50 at a time, returning to those I got wrong, then once more, then repeating for the next 50, etc.

Took a few hours but eventually I had all 295 cold.  Was it worth it?  You bet your ass.  Even though I was betting on it, I still found myself stunned that so many of these words were on the exam.  Easily made the difference of 100 -200 points. 

There are also hot lists greater than 295 if you have the time (500, 800, 1000, etc.), but I found 295 to be sufficient.

3.  Free Online Practice Test - This is a no-brainer, and it seems there are plenty of them available.  I arbitrarily chose the practice exam offered by Princeton Review and it suited me fine.

*One more GRE learning experience I'd like to share.  I'm sure it was buried somewhere in the resources I've listed above, but I completely missed the part about reporting your scores immediately after completing the exam.  The test fee includes up to four score reports, mailed to schools of your choice.  The trick: You can only take advantage of this once, right after you finish the test.

After that, sending your GRE scores to schools is 20 bucks a pop.

I was so dazed by the end of the test I couldn't even figure out what the damn computer was asking me.  "Score reports... sending to... wait, what are these things it says I'm applying to?"  Thankfully I had the wherewithal to look for my top choice and enter it, not really knowing what I was doing or what the school would get.  I figured I could work out whatever it was later.


So don't be like me and piss away $60.  Be ready with four schools you know you're applying to.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for the encouragement and links. You rock.

Ink and Beans said...

Well, thank YOU! (whoever you are!)