# GRE: The Hell

1. Jan 8, 2005

### Clausius2

Well, next Friday I'm going to take the GRE (General Record Examination) test. It is almost sure that I'm not going to have a high score, mainly due to the lack of specific american vocabulary. The verbal section is going me mad.

So that I want to know what does the GRE exactly mean:

-Is it a requirement for all students who apply to a graduate school, including both american and international students?

-If so, do the american students take the same test than international ones?

2. Jan 8, 2005

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
Yes, that's right. International students take the same test as Americans. And it is an absolute requirement.

Graduate admissions committees, however, will be more lenient to a foreigner, as far as the score on the Verbal Section is concerned (remember, they will know your scores in each of the individual sections; not just the total). In fact, I think they will only use it as a criterion for elimination rather than for comparison. If you have a moderate verbal score, they will not preferentially select another candidate because of a better verbal score. But if you do have a very poor verbal score (which I don't believe you will - I'm just speaking hypothetically), they might eliminate you on that basis.

Most American universities also require a spoken English test : the TSE and TOEFL are the most common. Many universities will require this score as part of the application package, but very few will allow you to take the TSE after admission.

Here's my advice for your GRE. If you can, spend the rest of your time preparing for the verbal part of the test. The math and analytical sections are too easy. If you are good at memorizing, I recommend you go through all the words in a (Barron's or other GRE guide's) vocabulary list. This is probably the best thing you can do in the short term to help your score.

I believe most universities graduate application deadlines are coming up this month or the next, or are you planning to apply for 2006 ? Anyway, best of luck for your GRE !

If you have any further questions, feel free to PM me. As an international student, I went though this whole process a few years ago.

3. Jan 8, 2005

### Clausius2

Thanks Gokul. The official deadline is 2nd January. But that's only the official one, don't forget it.... :uhh:.

The fact is when I take the verbal section I find words that I have never heard. And it cannot be solved by learning by heart a list of words. I think it would be like wasting my time (I have the first semester exams in a while).

Next Friday I'm going to take the GRE, but next day (Saturday) I have to take the TOEFL too, so you see my endeavour is serious. What is the TSE?. As far as I know at TOEFL test you don't have to speak, or not?.

In addition to all this problem, I took the Advanced Certificated in English by the Cambridge University some weeks ago. I am bored of english. I need a rest. Why the hell USA doesn't recognize Cambridge exams as official certificate?. I have two of them and now they are useless.

4. Jan 8, 2005

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
I was suggesting the word list, ONLY if you have nothing more important to do, but clearly you have other exams to prepare for too. Yes, there is no speaking involved in the TOEFL...only listening to tape and selecting answers to the questions that are asked. The TSE is administered only in the US, I think. It is required by most universitites, if you want to be a Teaching Assistant, and it tests your ability to speak...but that's not relevant now.

As for deadlines, I'm fairly certain that some of the universities have a Jan 15 deadline and some have Jan 2 or Feb 1 deadline. Some universities take their deadlines seriously, and will not accept late applications, so be careful about that.

Are you applying to schools in the UK as well ?

5. Jan 10, 2005

### Clausius2

My level of speaking is low.

I'm not applying to any UK university. I'm applying to UCSD. About the deadlines... well I hope they won't be so rigorous.

Where are you from? And what are you studying?. I see you here a lot of times but I know little about you. How about you, Gokul?

6. Jan 11, 2005

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Good luck on that Clausius. You'll laugh at how easy the math section is! Unless they've changed that dramatically since I took it (I know they change some sections, but I don't think math was one of them), I remember thinking it was easier than the SAT, which is the test we take for undergraduate admissions! It didn't seem to test if you had accomplished college level math at all, IMHO. As Gokul said, the TOEFL test will be more important for weighting verbal skills than the GRE when an admissions committee is evaluating a foreign applicant for a science program. You're not going to learn those vocabulary words in a week. You can try to cram in as many as possible in the time you have left, but they probably won't stick too well. I really don't know why those types of vocabulary words are tested, but in the US, our education system anticipates these types of standardized tests and we start learning long lists of "big" vocabulary words in secondary school. The same vocabulary words show up on our SAT and GRE. Personally, I think it's a pointless way of testing students. Reading comprehension and essays are more useful than solving analogies between strange words no normal person would use (don't try using those words in real conversation, you'll appear pompous and people will start avoiding you).

One thing to consider in your applications is if you have any professional contacts in the US who know your academic work well enough to write a letter of recommendation for you, that will help a lot. Recommendation letters are important, and they will hold more weight if it's from someone whose reputation the admissions committee knows.

7. Jan 12, 2005

### gravenewworld

I too have to take the GRE this week, on thurs. though. I honestly have done nothing for preparing for the GRE. I think it would be a waste of time to study for it. I honestly don't give a rat's @ what I get on it. The people who make the standardized tests like the GRE, GMAT, SAT, etc. would like you to think that their tests measure intelligence and are able to semi accurately predict how a student who takes theirs tests will perform in college etc. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Educational Testing Service, ETS, is nothing more than a money making machine. I wouldn't be surprised if they bribe college admissions officers to make taking their tests required for an applicant. The ETS doesn't even have to pay taxes on all the money it makes. LOL I only scored a 600 on my SATS on the math section and I ended up majoring in mathematics and getting extremely good grades. Standardized tests are just a formality that are a scam aimed at stealing your money.

8. Jan 12, 2005

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
gravenewworld, if you're taking the GREs this week, I'd recommend you locate a prep book (borrow one from the library, don't waste money on the thing) and just refresh your memory on the tricks they use. That's truly the frustrating thing about those standardized tests, the knowledge is simple, like a basic algebra problem will be on it, but there will be some lame trick that you need to catch (there's always something along the lines of counting fence posts where you need to remember to add one for the one on the end of the row). A little studying will help you brush up on those tricks so they don't catch you off-guard. I know you say you don't care what your score is, but if you want to go to grad school (and you must if you're taking the exam), the admissions committees will care what your score is.

9. Jan 12, 2005

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
I believe he's got this base covered.

I actually enjoyed the little time I spent preparing for the GRE. But then, when I was a kid and my friends were reading comics, I'd spend all my reading time with an atlas or a dictionary/encyclopedia...so I'm a little weird.

10. Jan 12, 2005

### ElectroPhysics

11. Jan 12, 2005

### Clausius2

I'm starting to think that Math section has been reviewed an changed. I have a book with some old tests, and the math section is very more easy than the tests provided by them in CDROM. I thought that quantitative section was going to be my workhorse, but after doing those modern test I'm not really sure. My score has lowered from 750 or so in the test book to 680 in the computer tests I have taken as training. :grumpy: (afraid)

12. Jan 12, 2005

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
Yes, the math has gotten harder since Moonbear took the GRE, and may have gotten harder still since I took it.

But if it's hard for you, be sure that it will be hard for everyone. Do you have a guide or preparatory text (Barron's, Princeton Review, etc.) of any kind (or do you only have a collection of previous tests) ? If you do, make sure you go over the topics to clear up any areas that you might have gotten rusty with.

13. Jan 12, 2005

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
That's good to know. It was far too easy when I took it, to the point that any high school student should have been able to get a perfect score.

14. Jan 15, 2005

### Clausius2

Mission completed.

My scores were:

Verbal=460 (a modest score)

Quantitative=770 (hey, that looks pretty!! )

Maximum possible score=800.

After all, they are not so bad.

15. Jan 15, 2005

good job, man!

16. Jan 15, 2005

### ktpr2

Great job! :) The world is your oyster. :)

17. Jan 15, 2005

### Clausius2

Thanks thanks

18. Jan 15, 2005

### gravenewworld

Wow. You and I got the same exact scores on the GRE. My verbal sucks also. No normal human being has ever seen or used those words that are on the GRE. The verbal section could have been written in German, I would have still done the same.

19. Jan 16, 2005

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Congrats! Your quant score is excellent, no problem applying to programs with that, and your verbal score is quite decent for someone who does not speak English as their primary language. Good luck on the next phase...applying to the grad programs!!