GRE Practice Test

710 Verbal, 790 Quantitative. Seems pretty good to me. I didn’t try the analytical writing section, since I’m not going to pay $10 for someone official to check a practice test, but I figure I can get at least a 5, based on the quality of the example essays, and the kind of BS I can churn out for timed blue book exams.

Overall, the format was pretty much identical to the SAT. There were analogy problems, passage analysis problems, the greater-less-equal-unknown column problems. It was downright familiar, almost comforting in its resemblance. And here I thought the GRE was supposed to be scary…

The math seemed ridiculously easy (basic algebra, using π and pythagoras, etc.). I think it might have been easier than a lot of the SAT math. Basic geometry and whatnot come to me pretty naturally by now, with so much practice. I still can’t see how half of the people who take the test get more than a third of the math wrong, but maybe I’m just biased. I mean, if you passed your first algebra class, you should be able to do really well on the GRE general test.

The hardest part was the “opposites” section of the verbal. This is where I made half of my verbal errors, and it was due entirely to vocabulary limitations. My failures were on enervate, inveterate, arrhythmic, precipitate, and opprobrious. I’ve only used enervate in the raising the undead sense, I’ve never heard of inveterate, I fell for their trick answer on arrhythmic, I’ve never seen precipitate used in the sense they used it (as the opposite of deliberate, but I don’t know if that’s verb or adjective), only in the chemistry and rain contexts, and while I’ve heard of opprobrious I can’t define it.

I can’t think of a good way to study obscure words, so I’ll just hope that they’ve dumbed down the test a bit for our increasingly stupid populace. ;o) I understand that the electronic version, which is what I plan to register for, is formatted very differently. Unfortunately, I can’t use their free practice software, because it’s Windoze only. I fully realize that I could use it on a public PC, but it’s the principle of the thing.

At any rate, as with just about every test I’ve ever taken, I feel very confident, and see little or no need to prepare beyond getting a good night’s sleep before I take the exam.

At the moment, I don’t think I’m going to take any of the special topic exams. The most relevant one, Computer Science, is geared towards a very different CS education than the one I’ve received at Swat. I won’t be taking Theory of Computation until the spring semester, and “theory” is 40% of the CS GRE. Almost all of the CS classes I’ve taken, such as AI, vision, graphics, and my robotics work with Bruce all fall into the “other” 5%. I suppose this just shows that my Swarthmore education is a very different undergraduate experience, compared to other institutions.

Why Does The Sun Shine? (The Sun Is A Mass Of Incandescent Gas)” from Carmen Sandiego – Out Of This World by They Might Be Giants

3 comments on “GRE Practice Test
  1. q10 says:

    the ‘theory’ in that test isn’t especially difficult. you should be able to teach yourself enough without too much of a time investment.

  2. stormwynd says:

    Way back when I took the GRE’s, I also thought that the math questions were pretty easy. My theory is that the Powers that Be make the GRE math easier than SAT math because some people taking the GRE haven’t touched math at all since high school.

    Do they still have those “here’s a diagram of an unfolded 3-d solid; what does it look like if you fold it up?” questions? I always thought those were fun.

  3. ursule says:

    My GRE scores were 760 Verbal, 800 Math, whatever-is-perfect-for-the-writing-sample, which worked out to 99th percentile on the verbal and 80th percentile on the math (they didn’t have enough people yet to do a percentile comparison on the writing sample). So 1/5 of the people who take the regular GRE do ace the math.

    As for vocab, try the nineteenth-century novel of your choice :P

Nurd Up!