Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Studying for the GRE

(why? I'm not going to grad school yet. So, I have no idea, other than, it's a good idea to do. And it's kind of fun. Yeah, I'm a nerd. That's going to be a theme.)

So, I'm sitting at work and I'm realizing what a nerd I am. I've bought a GRE study book and I'm reading through it.
Um, this sounds like fun.
It's on the computer, and it's long. But, the benefit of it being on the computer is that the questions are different for each person. So, if you get the questions right, they keep getting harder. They eventually want to find the level where you get fifty percent right.
So, the test gets harder as I do better. Isn't that kind of cool?
Also, I haven't gotten very far into it, but I have yet to get a practice question wrong (about fifty of them so far), and I've only needed to look up four words for specific definitions. And they told me not to waste my time doing that. I'm assuming that they're stupid, like all people who write tests, so I'm ignoring that advice. I'm sure that if I did follow their advice, my general impression of the word would be enough. But, that's not good enough.
'Cause, I'm a nerd.

My one complaint is that in the section that teaches us how to do the verbal section, they're making an all out effort to use the "special" "GRE words." And they're doing it badly. "Roots are an efficacious place to begin (studying vocabulary)" Can you tell which word is the one they're trying to point out to us? And, once you figure that out, you'll see they're using it only in a generally right sense. It's not the right word to use. In fact, to use their methods of vocabulary, using these words in such a stylistically incoherent way is not so efficacious for us trying to study. It distracts us and gives us the slightly wrong impression of the words they're trying to teach us.

Boo for them.

UPDATE: I got a study question wrong. I'm supposed to be working backwards on the analogies. An interesting and valuable idea, I think. They don't give us the stem words, just the five options for completing the analogy. We're supposed to pick the right choice by eliminating the others. It came down to a fifty-fifty guess between two that couldn't be eliminated. I choose poorly.

UPDATE II: this is a scary thought about the GRE. Since this book is written for the people who take the GRE and plan to go to grad school in whatever, why do I feel like the book is written at a 7'thish grade textbook? I can see keeping it simple so that it won't be tough to study, but complexity adds depth and makes the studying and practice better. And, if I'm wrong and this book is written at the level that it should be, well, what does that say about the relative intelligence/reading level of people going to grad school?

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