GRE Mood Swings

First Steps I just got out of taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) an hour ago. For those that never paid attention or simply didn’t care, this is, effectively, the graduate school equivalent of the SAT for most people (leaving aside GMAT and other things). It is divided into three sections: verbal, quantitative, and analytical.

I originally took this back in 1993, in preparation for graduate school then. I had originally planned to get an Anthropology PhD back in the day. Instead of doing that, I got married and a job. As I’ve said before, I don’t think it would have worked out well then anyway. I had no real focus and was pretty much a spaz when I graduated from my undergraduate years anyway.

When I took the GRE then, it was the first year it was computerized and there were no essay questions. Starting in 2002, they made the analytical section into a two part writing test, one of which is arguing for a point of view of your own on a question you are given, and the other where you analyze the potential problems with another argument which is presented to you. This is graded by humans (on a sale from 1 to 6), so you don’t get instant results anymore.

In 1993, I received the following scores:

Verbal: 660 (90th percentile) Quantitative: 620 (62nd percentile) Analytical: 780 (97th percentile)

Today, I received:

Verbal: 680 Quantitative: 560

I’ll know the analytical score in roughly two weeks or so.

According to a guide that the GRE people publish, my verbal score is roughly at the 96th percentile and my quantitative is at the 40th percentile. (It’s a good thing that I work professionally within engineering, isn’t it!!) Having not cracked a math related book in, oh, 18 years or so, I’m not surprised by the latter score and don’t care since I’m looking at a Humanities doctoral program.

I was hoping to break 700 with my verbal score, so I am a little annoyed. They actually give you that section twice (or is it just broken in half) and I know I made a few mistakes in the second that I shouldn’t have. The whole test took me about three hours and the first hour and 15 minutes are for the writing portion.

At least this is done with before I leave for Egypt in a week.