GRE and travel upcoming


in Daily updates, Rants, Travel, Writing

The GRE is in four days, and I am pretty nervous. I don’t think it should be the most important consideration, when people are applying to graduate school. It is a very artificial test, largely based on some really narrow conceptions of how language should be used. I bet a lot of authors who have won major literature prizes would have trouble with their ‘reading comprehension’ and ‘verbal reasoning’ questions. Often, several answers are justifiable, and the rules according to which the test-writers choose which one is ‘right’ are somewhat arbitrary and parochial.

But I shouldn’t grumble too much. It will be over soon.

Getting in applications by the end of the month is a major undertaking. At the same time, I have a couple of exciting trips coming up. I am going to Ottawa next weekend for the launch party for my friend Andrea Simms-Karp’s excellent new folk album: Hibernation Nation. I have had the songs stuck in my head constantly since I first head them. Probably about 100 people have caught me humming them to myself on the subway to and from work, operating under the false assumption that everyone around me has hearing as mediocre as mine.

The weekend after, I am going to New York City for American Thanksgiving. I definitely need to have my applications in by then, as the trip will incorporate a 28th birthday celebration and is something that I want to be able to focus all my attention upon.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

oleh November 12, 2011 at 2:14 am

Best wishes for the GRE. The trips to Ottawa and New York will be very welcome rewards afterwards.

zoom November 13, 2011 at 8:45 pm

I might see you at Andrea’s launch. Are you going to the first night or the second? (We tried to get tickets for the first night, but they only had one left, so we’re going the second night.)

Good luck with the GRE. I’m sure you’ll do fine.

Milan November 13, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I am going on the Saturday. I will only be in Ottawa quite briefly, since I need to finish my US doctoral program applications before the 24th. I am heading over there on Saturday, and returning to Toronto fairly early on Sunday.

Regarding the GRE, it is a bit of an odd test in that what matters is your rank rather than your absolute score. You need to do better than other applicants, not answer a lot of questions correctly from an absolute standpoint.

alena November 14, 2011 at 11:36 am

You will be 28 on the 28th and that is supposed to be a significant and very successful year for you. I will keep my thoughts with you on the 16th and we will send you collective intelligent vibes from Vancouver on this day.

oleh November 16, 2011 at 1:01 am

I see you celebrated completion of the GRE exams with an extensive blog entry. A very healthy form of release.

Milan November 16, 2011 at 10:43 am

The GRE is today at five.

Milan November 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm

The test is done and I got my estimated scores:

Verbal Reasoning: 170
Quantitative Reasoning: 157

The verbal score is nothing to complain about, but the math score is only about the 77th percentile, if Wikipedia’s table is accurate.

Milan November 16, 2011 at 9:41 pm

My math percentile rank is significantly worse than the one I got when I wrote the SAT in 2001.

That said, the group being compared differs too. The SAT is written by high school students applying to undergraduate programs, while the GRE is written by people applying to graduate programs. The second pool probably contains a higher proportion of the mathematically adept than the former one does.

oleh November 17, 2011 at 1:28 am

Congratulations. I understand that 170 is the highest possible score.

alena November 17, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Bravo! Glad that it is behind you and your verbal score is out of this world!

Milan November 28, 2011 at 10:33 am

My official scores are up:

Verbal Reasoning
99th percentile

Quantitative Reasoning
77th percentile

Analytical Writing
99th percentile

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