Friday, November 21, 2008

The GRE: a guide for dummies (Part Deux... or Epilogue)

Well, it's over.... And now, I wait....

Because the GRE was a computerized exam, I could see the results for the multiple-choice sections once I had completed the test in its entirety. Before the scores came up on the monitor, a pop-up announced that I had the choice to throw out my scores before seeing them. Now why would anyone want to do that? I didn't even have to specify which grad schools to send the results to until after seeing the scores. So, if I had done poorly, I would simply not have the results sent anywhere. My hand trembled on the mouse as I hesitated at this "screen of death." What if I accidentally clicked on the wrong button, and discarded my scores, after spending over three hours doing some of the most intense thinking I had ever done? Luckily, my nerves calmed down enough to navigate to the right choice.

So -- I'm both pleased and disappointed at the same time. I had thought that I would excel at the Verbal section and do poorly on the Quantitative. After all, don't I have a degree in English Literature? When all was said and done, I kicked some serious butt at the Quantitative section, but the Verbal left something to be desired. I earned 690 for the Verbal, 770 for the Quantitative. And I do know that 690 for Verbal is still a good mark, but I was aiming for higher. Until I receive the results by mail with the corresponding percentiles, I guess I don't really know what it all means. According to the official GRE website, people usually score about 80 points lower in the Verbal section than they do on the Quantitative, so I guess I'm ok.

My initial feeling on the Analytical Writing section is that I did pretty well. I'm going to stop overthinking, as I'm prone to do. In two or three weeks, I'll find out one way or another.

Onward I go.... Time to plow on ahead....


  1. Verbal 690 and Quantitative - 770

    Is wonderful score. 770 is kinds ok, but 690 in Verbal is way better. As you said 80 percentile - which means you scored better than 80% of the candidates who took the exam for a certain period.

    Good luck.. I blog about GRE and Graduate School at Happy SChools Blog

  2. 690 and 770 are marvelous scores! You can't compare the sections. I'm pretty sure you'll be in about the 95th percentile for both with those scores, or even better. Yes, stop overthinking!

  3. Seems as though you've got your priorities straightened out again. I'm so proud of you, as usual. Just a bit left to go! Let me know if you want me to read over your application essays.

  4. The option given in the pop-up screen DID sound weird! Makes you wonder what they were thinking when they designed that into the test!

    I was surprised recently when Darcy scored a higher number on the math section of a standardized test, than she did on the English section...but then, as I dug through what the actual percentiles were, it wound up that judging by percentiles, she actually did better in English (as I would have expected) than in math. Like you eluded to, the percentiles will actually give you a more accurate way to judge your score than just the raw numbers that you are seeing now can give you.

    I am sure you did EXCELLENT.