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  • GRE experiences?

    Who here has taken the GRE and can offer some thoughts on the test?

    I am readying my grad school applications and may need to take it. Most schools I am looking at say it may be waived with an appropriate GPA. My GPA meets the waiver mark but I want to make as strong an application as possible. Especially because while my nursing grades/GPA are all great I took some Gen Ed's at 2 community colleges while trying to figure out what I wanted to do before nursing school. I worry that weakens my package. Plus I got 2 C's in those Gen Ed's.

    Even if waived do you think taking the GRE would be beneficial (if I do well) to strengthen my package? Any advice on study guides/prep books/courses?


    Thanks.
    Journal http://www.intensemuscle.com/showthread.php?t=51093

  • #2
    I think it depends on the program you're applying to. My experience with them is, obviously, based on applying to physics programs. I've never met anyone anywhere in this field who gave a flying fuck about the general score. It's used more as a weed-out; people with a lowish score are immediately excluded from consideration. Other than that, I'm not sure it matters much.

    But I still took it, and my experience is that you can't learn more material for it, but you CAN learn how to optimize the test. Like learn how questions are phrased and how to eliminate answers to make educated guesses. Basically how to work the system. I think that just about any test prep material focuses on that.
    Ph.D., Theoretical Physics '16
    kind of a douche

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Sammich View Post
      I think it depends on the program you're applying to. My experience with them is, obviously, based on applying to physics programs. I've never met anyone anywhere in this field who gave a flying fuck about the general score. It's used more as a weed-out; people with a lowish score are immediately excluded from consideration. Other than that, I'm not sure it matters much.

      But I still took it, and my experience is that you can't learn more material for it, but you CAN learn how to optimize the test. Like learn how questions are phrased and how to eliminate answers to make educated guesses. Basically how to work the system. I think that just about any test prep material focuses on that.
      My thoughts exactly. Learn the shortcuts for increasing your odds. The math section is ridiculously easy, the verbal ridiculously hard, and the test itself ridiculously irrelevant to anything.
      Last edited by Macho Man; 03-30-2013, 01:20 PM.
      2010 NPC North Star

      Comment


      • #4
        Agree with what Sammich said about it depends on your program. Also, they've made changes to the GRE since I took it ('05).

        If everything else is solid and you're worried about two C's in general ed courses you took at a CC ages ago, I wouldn't sweat it too much. If they ask, just mention that you were still trying to figure things out, then mention how you were able to be successful in your other courses. If you had a track record of C's or C's in more recent courses, that'd be another thing.*

        I wouldn't recommend a formal test prep program like Kaplan unless you really need a schedule laid out for you.

        * - based on chemistry graduate and medical school experience. ymmv.

        Good luck!
        #docswholift
        PGY-1 FM
        "No idea is above scrutiny and no people are beneath dignity." -Maajid Nawaz

        Comment


        • #5
          Back in the pre-Stone ages, we took the GRE with chisel and stone tablet. It was a 4 month test, just for each section...

          Seriously, it was very much like the SAT Math and Verbal sections, if you've taken those, although the analytical section (they may have reconfigured the GRE for all I know) is different, of course.

          You'd have to ask the admissions folks (both Grad School and department potentially, depending on your program) to see how important the GRE is. I ended up with a 3 year fellowship from the grad school where I did my PhD based entirely on my GRE score.

          I didn't even apply, from what I recall. I was just told I had been awarded the fellowship. Naturally, given that I didn't cost the department a single dime in terms of taking up a teaching or research assistant's pay, they gladly took me on. (I had already been "accepted" by my mentoring advisor beforehand, but this was a huge plus.) I did those jobs, but it meant space for another student within the alotted budget. So, in my case, my GRE was probably as important as anything in a certain sense.

          -S
          The Book Has Arrived!
          The Book Has Arrived!

          Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, used up, worn out, and shouting, "Holy #$&^%$^... What a ride!!!"


          www.TrueNutrition.com

          2012 NPC Master's Nationals HW 5th. Mid-USA HW & Overall
          2010 NPC Jr. USA HW 4th, Pacific USA Heavy 2nd
          2009 NPC Mr. Arizona HW & Overall, Jr. Nationals HW 16th, Smoked at USA's

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by nexa View Post
            Agree with what Sammich said about it depends on your program. Also, they've made changes to the GRE since I took it ('05).

            If everything else is solid and you're worried about two C's in general ed courses you took at a CC ages ago, I wouldn't sweat it too much. If they ask, just mention that you were still trying to figure things out, then mention how you were able to be successful in your other courses. If you had a track record of C's or C's in more recent courses, that'd be another thing.*

            I wouldn't recommend a formal test prep program like Kaplan unless you really need a schedule laid out for you.

            * - based on chemistry graduate and medical school experience. ymmv.

            Good luck!
            Glad you chimed in as your experiences are probably most closely relevant to mine.

            It's for a Family Nurse Practitioner program and the C's were General Chem and Stats.

            Do you think retaking either course would be necessary or help at all? I think it would be silly seeing as I have a 3.7 cumulative in nursing specific courses but I don't know.
            Journal http://www.intensemuscle.com/showthread.php?t=51093

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            • #7
              As far as study books go, see if your local libraries have any decent ones, I really don't know why people buy the books at all.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Adam2433 View Post
                Glad you chimed in as your experiences are probably most closely relevant to mine.

                It's for a Family Nurse Practitioner program and the C's were General Chem and Stats.

                Do you think retaking either course would be necessary or help at all? I think it would be silly seeing as I have a 3.7 cumulative in nursing specific courses but I don't know.

                You could always try emailing or calling the admissions office and ask them about your application.

                How many years has it been since those C's? Unless FNP programs do grade replacement, I'd lean towards a no. I'm guessing you have a ton of credits under your belt at this point and getting an A in two classes isn't going to put much of a dent into your overall GPA.

                Also, ask for STRONG LOR and ask them EARLY. If you're applying this summer, ask them NOW. I had my CV, statement (rough draft), stamped envelope, any school-specific forms, and a list of due dates for each school ready to go to make life easy on my professors. Asking early also gives you some leeway time just in case you realize you asked a flaky professor and need to find an alternate.
                #docswholift
                PGY-1 FM
                "No idea is above scrutiny and no people are beneath dignity." -Maajid Nawaz

                Comment


                • #9
                  I just took the GRE in February. I paid about 2-3 grand on the Princeton review to help me. What I can say is that I hated that test and ended up not needing to take It as USF accepted me anf they dont require the test. I spent a Good couple months studying and prepping for it as I had just graduated with my BS and had nothing to do so I just studied for that test.

                  I did good on pratice tests through Princeton and saw improvement along the way in my strong areas. There are tips and tricks they teach you which help no doubt, but that test was totally different then what I was prepped for.

                  Unfortunately on test day it didn't go as planned.
                  I did do very well in the writing which I struggled at in the beginning. Math was a strong point and got a decent score. Reading killed me And not one single vocab word I studied was on that test.

                  What I can say is that I felt that test was unfair. It was completely different from what I had prepped for and spent lots of money on getting ready for. The math and reading sections were alot harder and had many things I did not cover.

                  That test does not reflect anything except "How well
                  You can do on the GRE." So if you do not do good it's not the end of The world as most schools look at everything.
                  Some Schools weigh the GRE high which I think is complete bullshit. But you should call admissions to find out as some schools look for "we'll rounded students" not whose a good test taker.

                  I would avoid it if possible unless you were good at taking ACT/SAT in high school.
                  Last edited by Petros; 03-30-2013, 02:55 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Herculeus View Post
                    And not one single vocab word I studied was on that test.
                    Pretty much sums up my GRE experience. :noidea:

                    That's really unfortunate that the real deal felt very different. My experiences with Kaplan were the complete opposite, right down to the practice exam room setup, headphones and all.
                    #docswholift
                    PGY-1 FM
                    "No idea is above scrutiny and no people are beneath dignity." -Maajid Nawaz

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Lol, I must have studied 500 words that were "essential to take the GRE" and I can't recall one.

                      The one thing I learned is that the test only measures your ability to do well on that test. Nothing else.

                      I must have taken like 8 practice tests and I kept getting better as I went along. Came test day I was confident to get the score I needed.

                      Long story short I missed it by 1 point :frusty:

                      Originally posted by nexa View Post
                      Pretty much sums up my GRE experience. :noidea:

                      That's really unfortunate that the real deal felt very different. My experiences with Kaplan were the complete opposite, right down to the practice exam room setup, headphones and all.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by homonunculus View Post
                        Back in the pre-Stone ages, we took the GRE with chisel and stone tablet. It was a 4 month test, just for each section...

                        Seriously, it was very much like the SAT Math and Verbal sections, if you've taken those, although the analytical section (they may have reconfigured the GRE for all I know) is different, of course.

                        You'd have to ask the admissions folks (both Grad School and department potentially, depending on your program) to see how important the GRE is. I ended up with a 3 year fellowship from the grad school where I did my PhD based entirely on my GRE score.

                        I didn't even apply, from what I recall. I was just told I had been awarded the fellowship. Naturally, given that I didn't cost the department a single dime in terms of taking up a teaching or research assistant's pay, they gladly took me on. (I had already been "accepted" by my mentoring advisor beforehand, but this was a huge plus.) I did those jobs, but it meant space for another student within the alotted budget. So, in my case, my GRE was probably as important as anything in a certain sense.

                        -S
                        I didn't see you post when I responded before. That's crazy such a big opportunity hinged on a test like that! I have some emails out to the admissions office and advisors. I have also contacted the Veterans Services office at the school to see if they can offer any help. I am not sure if veterans get any additional consideration. To be honest, the VA will be paying 100% of tuition through the Vocational Rehabilitation program so if letting admissions know that they will collect 100% of the tuition if I am admitted will help me than I am fine with putting that out there.

                        Originally posted by nexa View Post
                        You could always try emailing or calling the admissions office and ask them about your application.

                        How many years has it been since those C's? Unless FNP programs do grade replacement, I'd lean towards a no. I'm guessing you have a ton of credits under your belt at this point and getting an A in two classes isn't going to put much of a dent into your overall GPA.

                        Also, ask for STRONG LOR and ask them EARLY. If you're applying this summer, ask them NOW. I had my CV, statement (rough draft), stamped envelope, any school-specific forms, and a list of due dates for each school ready to go to make life easy on my professors. Asking early also gives you some leeway time just in case you realize you asked a flaky professor and need to find an alternate.
                        It's been 6 years since the Chem and 4 since the Stats. Nothing less than an A- in my BSN program.

                        Like I said to Scott I have some emails out to admissions. I intend to follow up and talk to them after the holiday.

                        I just didn't know if they would give me a, "More is better/Can't hurt" type answer as to what I need for the application. The general requirements state that GRE may be waived for >3.5 which I have. But I didn't want to just meet the minimum's on the application if >3.5 and a good GRE would be better. Know what I mean?

                        They have said, as have current students, that the LOR and interview are important as they stress looking at the whole student. I feel I am very strong in those areas as well as clinical experience. If I have a weakness it is the academics I referenced in those 2 classes plus the fear that taking Gen Eds at Community Colleges before deciding to pursue nursing would be looked as less desirable even though the grades were good.

                        Good point about the timing of requesting the LOR's. They ask for 3. I will see if I can submit more. I have 2 very strong ones in mind and already spoken with them. I do not have a super close relationship with any of our Doc's as there are 100+ nurses and 20+ of them so I go weeks without working with the same one. But I will be inquiring with the ones I am closer with about the possibility.
                        [/QUOTE]

                        Originally posted by nexa View Post
                        Pretty much sums up my GRE experience. :noidea:

                        That's really unfortunate that the real deal felt very different. My experiences with Kaplan were the complete opposite, right down to the practice exam room setup, headphones and all.
                        I took Kaplan before the NCLEX and got a lot out of it. I blew through boards and felt very prepared.



                        I probably sound like either a weak candidate or a paranoid one. Perhaps I am a little paranoid but I know I am strong. I have no doubt I can get into many very good schools. I just have my heart set on one very specific program and don't want to set myself up for disappointment especially when people tell me I am an excellent applicant.

                        Thanks all for the advice. I'll let you know after I get some feedback from admissions.
                        Journal http://www.intensemuscle.com/showthread.php?t=51093

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This might help give you some idea (there are several of these online) what kind of scores you might end up with:

                          http://www.princetonreview.com/grad/...tice-test.aspx

                          -S
                          The Book Has Arrived!
                          The Book Has Arrived!

                          Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, used up, worn out, and shouting, "Holy #$&^%$^... What a ride!!!"


                          www.TrueNutrition.com

                          2012 NPC Master's Nationals HW 5th. Mid-USA HW & Overall
                          2010 NPC Jr. USA HW 4th, Pacific USA Heavy 2nd
                          2009 NPC Mr. Arizona HW & Overall, Jr. Nationals HW 16th, Smoked at USA's

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I took the GRE a few years ago but here is my input on it: It isn't a hard test. You have probably done everything it covers it has just been years (this is especially relevant to the math section) and will take some time to review and refresh. My suggestion, and this is what i would suggest after I had taken the test and looked back on it, is to take a practice test first. Just sit down and take a legitimate practice test. This will give you the feel for how the test is structured and will allow you to see where you weaknesses are. Make sure you have the timing element when taking your test. As stated above just learning the test style and test taking techniques is 75% of the battle. Then you can buy the appropriate gre se tudy books for those sections. I used the kaplan books but I assume the Princeton reviews are just as good. For the writing section there are companies that will allow you to write a response and submit it and they will grade it and give you feed back on how to improve in that section. If your writing is weak I suggest doing this. As for the GRE vocab flashcards, I would not suggest them. Several of my friends spent endless hours memorizing these flashcards not to have one of them on their exam.

                            As for the math part pay special attention to the review problems that give two lists of numbers. a list of number labeled x, and a list of numbers labeled y. There is some equation relating x to its corresponding Y. It will then give you a question saying if given the above, and X is "blank", what is y (or vice versa). This is obviously an easy concept but having not prepared for this style of question it through me off and I wasted valuable time.

                            All of the above information is based on the idea of you being a motivated individual who can easily sit down and structure your own test preparation tactics. If it has been awhile since you have been in school or you have struggled with this in the past one of the classes may be a better option for you as they structure everything for you.

                            One word of warning: sign of for a review class far in advance of when you plan to take the test. A friend of mine signed up for a course with kaplan a few weeks before he planned to take the test and banked on that course for his prep. 2 days before the class was to begin he got an email that not enough people had enrolled and it was cancelled and rescheduled for 2 months later (obviously past when he was scheduled to take the GRE).

                            Also if you are planning to take the GRE for application to a specific school plan to take it much earlier than the deadline so that if you do not do as well as you would have like you can take it over. I believe they have a rule on how long you need to wait to retake and how long it takes results to process so I would look into those to figure out when to schedule your tests for.

                            Hope that helps and goodluck.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              ^^^good post
                              Ph.D., Theoretical Physics '16
                              kind of a douche

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