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Standardized Tests

  1. Aug 15, 2015 #1
    I just took the Graduate Record Exam on Thursday. I must tell you, it was a harrowing experience. They start you off with two essays, one is "analyze an issue" and the other is "analyze an argument." So that's how they start you off. You get 30 minutes to do each and you better have more than 3 paragraphs or else. So this is a great way for guys like "Mr. writers block" like me to start off an exam. After that, I had to do FIVE other 30-35 minute tests on my verbal-reading ability and math prowess. It is a 4.5 hour exam. They throw in one exam that's not even counted, it's supposed to give them feedback in order to compose questions to torture future graduate students or something like that.

    I was praying that my "wild card" seventh act was going to be a verbal challenge, but sure enough, it was a quantitative challenge and, by that time, four hours in, I had pretty much burned up all the glucose in my brain. So I pretty much just stared at the screen wondering what percentage of Johnny's this was the standard deviation of that.

    I serve on the editorial board of two journals, I have several articles published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, yet I was forced to endure this tragic episode on Thursday. My question to you is, is this necessary? What is the value of a standardized test such as the GRE or even the SAT? If you've already established yourself as a scholar, why should you be required to take a test such as the GRE? What is it testing? What is it supposed to test? Ostensibly, you'd think it would test which students have the intelligence and motivation to do research and write and publish papers in scholarly journals. Correct? What else could it test for? Maybe if you got a good score they could give you a trophy so you could align it next to your runner-up trophy from that track event?

    I've already established myself as a scholar in my field, yet the "establishment" made me go through this 4.5 hour ordeal anyway. So, again, my question to you is, what's more important in deciding who you want "on your team," so to speak, someone who actually does the work and writes the reports, or someone that scores well on a standardized test?
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2015
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  3. Aug 15, 2015 #2

    Astronuc

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    I would think the university can wave requirements on the GRE based on one's credentials and professional experience, but that's probably institution specific. After all, most, if not all, institutions are required to treat all applicants the same. I don't know if there is more flexibility for private institutions than for public (state) institutions with respect to admissions policy. However, professional experience criteria would seemingly be applied fairly - either one has experience or not.
     
  4. Aug 15, 2015 #3
    That's what I was hoping for, but 20 years on, that didn't happen..

    That is the actuality. So pretentious geniuses, take note. Take note of my cautionary tale. This is why I originated this post.
     
  5. Aug 15, 2015 #4

    Evo

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    How have you already established yourself as a scholar if you can't even pass the basic tests? I say yes, you need to be able to pass basic entry exams. If you can't pass them, it sounds like you may not be qualified for your position. Just saying.

    In the last job I had, every year we were required to pass the most current qualifications. It roots out older people that got in before good qualifications were in place and makes sure that the current lot are as competent as the new people.

    If you can't keep up with current qualifications, it might be time for you to either get up to speed or hit the road. things change quickly, much new information comes up every day, you need to be able to stay on top or suffer the consequences.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2015
  6. Aug 15, 2015 #5

    Astronuc

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    I can ask some folks who were invited to attend graduate school after working in industry or research lab to see if they had to take the GRE.

    Most folks I know do keep a fairly detailed CV and list of publications. I think most publish more than several papers.

    It may depend on the journals. There are some high quality academic journals, and unfortunately, some not-so-good journals these days.
     
  7. Aug 15, 2015 #6
    Thank you for responding Evo. The answer is yes, I have established myself as a scholar but secretly I had to wear the scarlet letter of not having taken the GRE.

    Maybe this is my own issue. You'd think that any numb-nut that wanted to go to grad school would just walk in and take the F*&^ thing. But for me it was more personal. It took me 20 years to take it because I rebelled against it. Again, as I said in my earlier post, what's most important, what you do or how you "test."

    And I would not disagree with you here.
     
  8. Aug 15, 2015 #7

    Evo

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    Sorry, but in this day and age, you can't rest on your laurels and be thankful that you managed to skate by untested years ago.

    You need to be able to keep up. If this is a job requirement, maybe you'll be allowed to study and re-take the test.
     
  9. Aug 15, 2015 #8
    Ok, talk about an example of raw wisdom. You ARE right, Evo, that's why I finally took the test. And I don't really want to know the score for a few weeks. I need to settle myself.
     
  10. Aug 15, 2015 #9
    I understand this Evo.

    I come from a family of medical professionals (actually just my grandpa on my mom's side). There's a big difference (from what I know) between taking seasonal tests to monitor how well you are keeping up in your field and taking the GRE.
     
  11. Aug 15, 2015 #10

    Evo

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    As much as I believe that higher ups need to keep up to date with new technology, I also believe that higher ups, if their job is to manage, should be better at managing and not necessarily as knowledgeable in the technology, it's not their job to know my job.

    So it depends on if you are expected to know what is going on, or just manage people. I've had managers that lost their jobs, their directors lose their jobs, their VP's lose their jobs. Just depends on what the company is looking for.
     
  12. Aug 15, 2015 #11

    Evo

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    I talk a lot to my GP and it's crazy how much he's supposed to keep up to date on, but it makes sense, you MUST keep up to date in the medical profession.
     
  13. Aug 15, 2015 #12
    This is exactly what I'm talking about, I hate the vagaries of the business world. I've owned two companies and did fairly well. But when you have employees you have to be a hard ass or they don't work, especially when they are on a salary. I don't want to be a hard ass.
     
  14. Aug 15, 2015 #13

    Evo

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    I was salaried and I had to be continually told to work less. Some people are workaholics and other's are slouchers, you want to get rid of the slouchers.
     
  15. Aug 15, 2015 #14
    That's kind of a counter-intuitive statement. Told to work less but thinning the herd at the same time. Exactly my point, unless you're a selfish greedy bastard, eschew the business world and devote yourself to science.
     
  16. Aug 20, 2015 #15

    micromass

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    The GRE is a dumb test. Luckily, this seems to be only a US thing. I don't know why the US is so focused on standardized tests. But I think it is quite clear that being able to pass the GRE says very little about your ability to do research.
     
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