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GRE Student Post: Studying Without a Lot of Time

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 1.08.55 PMIt’s Thursday, which means it’s time for another student post! This week we’re hearing from Jeanne, who’s had a really interesting career path, ultimately leading her to take the GRE. She graduated from Auburn University in 1996 with degree in philosophy. Upon graduating, she traveled to Seoul, South Korea, to teach English for a year. After that, she moved to Idaho to open a restaurant with her friend. Soon, Jeanne found herself working on a masters in philosophy. After completing her MA and having a child, she determined that speech-language pathology (SLP) was going to be her next profession. Phew!  Read on to hear about her GRE studies and her VERY stressful test day.

Studying without a lot of time: I’m sure the study plans Magoosh offers are incredibly beneficial to students, but I didn’t have the time to complete one. I came up with a different approach. I went in and immediately started practicing test questions. I looked at questions I missed and determined if I missed them for careless reasons (not interpreting the question right, for example) or because I didn’t know what I was doing. It was clear on the math, for example, that I didn’t know how to calculate probabilities or work through combinations problems. It was also clear that I had forgotten basic rules for all kinds of algebraic calculations. The verbal section had changed since I last took the test, and through practicing on Magoosh I realized I was pretty good at text completions and sentence equivalents but not as good at reading comprehension. There were always two answers that seemed plausible to me, and I often picked the wrong one. I didn’t have much time for vocabulary review, but the Magoosh Vocabulary eBook was entertaining to read, so I downloaded it and absorbed what was there when I could.

To sum it up, I studied the math lessons in my areas of weakness and got good at most everything but combination problems and problems involving machines moving at different rates, gambling that I wouldn’t see many of these on the test. I practiced getting super-fast on the text completions and sentence equivalences so I could spend as much time as possible on the reading comprehension questions. I knew success on the GRE for me was all about time management, so my plan was to flag any question that I was uncertain how to answer and blow quickly through the others. That way I could focus on the problems that were sticky for me without losing confidence and flubbing the ones that came easier.

A very stressful test day: Finally, test day arrived. At the end of a grueling four hours of maintaining focus, I had the finish line in sight. In my tired and blood-sugar-crashed stupor, I hit the “QUIT TEST” icon, thinking this was how to finish the test. A page came up with a bunch of writing that I skipped over, and I hit “CONFIRM.” The screen went blank and the “Prometric” logo came up. The computer was reset for the next test taker! There was no score report or opportunity to send scores to graduate schools. I began to panic, realizing what I had just done. The test administrator made some phone calls and tried to help me find out if my writing entries and scores were saved but couldn’t give me a definitive answer. Ten days later, after a lot of tortured waiting, I found out my scores would be reinstated. Just as I thought, I did well: 166 on the verbal, 159 on the math, and 5.0 on the writing.

During the period of waiting to find out if my scores were going to be retrievable, Magoosh offered me some empathy and humor. It was up to the folks at ETS to help me solve my problem, but it was Magoosh that gave me a sense of comfort so I could move on from feeling like the world’s biggest dork! In the end, everything worked out. I’ve been so pleased with Magoosh from start to finish, I tell everyone who will listen about the site.

I’m writing today in hopes my story might offer some helpful tips and encouragement to other students with limited time and energy for test prep. It’s possible to succeed on a limited time budget. And if you don’t do as well as you had hoped and plans change, I’m here to promise there’s a long and winding road to someplace interesting on the other side and cool people to get to know along the way.

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6 Responses to GRE Student Post: Studying Without a Lot of Time

  1. Mireille June 28, 2014 at 7:51 am #

    Congratulations on your awesome scores, Jeanne! GRE was definitely, a journey to remember for you AND perhaps, talk about and pass onto from generation to generation to come! 😀 I feel like after reading your post, I’m not going to be the only one to be EXTREMELY careful what to press at the end of the test! 🙂 Phew…just like they (French) say: tout est bien qui finit bien! Happy it all ended well for you. I can’t help wondering if you ever had nightmares afterwards on that …theme. Again — phew.

  2. Meg November 5, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Hi! I just took the GRE and hit the quit test button at the end too! I was hoping my scores would get reported like you said that yours did, but it’s been a few days and it says that my scores were canceled. I guess I should give them a call?
    Very frustrated…

    • Rachel Wisuri
      Rachel November 6, 2013 at 10:28 am #

      Hey Meg! Definitely give ETS a call!

  3. kushal July 24, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    Congratulation for awesome score. I have few question for you, how many days you end up studying? And were you able to do all the magoosh practice question?

  4. Adesewa July 16, 2013 at 1:50 am #

    wow! i found myself perspiring when you said you hit the “QUIT TEST” icon. 🙂

    i’m really inspired by this post. Henceforth, i’m going all out on practice questions as i have just a month and half left. Thanks alot.

    Rachel, is it ok to have Jaenne’s contact? 5 out of 6 in the AWA is just super! i would need her to give a few tips on that, in addition to the very useful information i got on magoosh.

    • Rachel Wisuri
      Rachel July 16, 2013 at 11:31 am #

      Hi Adesewa,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post! I can’t give out Jeanne’s contact info, but if you have any questions or need any help on AWA, feel free to contact us through the black ‘Help’ tab on the left of the screen when you’re logged in to Magoosh. 🙂

      Happy studying!

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