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GRE Student Post: Returning to Academia After a 16 Year Break

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 3.18.17 PMToday, we’re hearing from Jamie, a future University of Oregon grad student! She has some great tips and inspiring words for those who have been out of school for a while, and are scared to tackle the GRE. Thanks, Jamie! 


I grew up in Portland, Oregon. Everything you’ve heard about the Pacific Northwest is probably true – especially our webbed toes. It’s true, growing up with the rain gives us a special bond with other webbed animals, such as ducks and beavers – which coincidently, happen to be mascots for two of Oregon’s biggest universities: U of O and OSU. And because of Magoosh, coming this fall I will be a new graduate student (I mean duck) at U of O!

I graduated from college in 1997 as a political scientist. 1997! Believe me, 1997 feels like a million reboots ago, before internets, interwebs, and blogs. The thought of re-entering academia after 16 years was intimidating. I had thought about it though, and I thought about applying to graduate school for five years before finally taking the dive. Can you guess what my biggest fear/hurdle was? Taking the GRE. I didn’t even know what the GRE was, but I felt intimidated. I ruminated on the ‘GRE fear’ for five, long years…. Five. Long. Years. I was convinced that I would bomb the GRE; so in a sense I was already failing as a graduate student longer than if I had actually applied and graduated!

One day, I typed in my Facebook’s status bar about how I wanted to apply to an AWESOME graduate program at U of O School of Journalism and Communications, but that I didn’t want to take the dang GRE! A friend’s post referred me to Magoosh. I said ‘Meh – why not. I’ll look them up.’ Magoosh was love at first sight. I knew immediately that Magoosh’s videos, practice tests, test taking tips, and blogs, would help me gain back the confidence that is required for the GRE. I quickly signed up for the premium account because I knew that I needed a lot more intensive review, and the money was well spent within the first hour.

The biggest GRE challenge for me was the math section. Unfortunately, math has always been my nemesis. I wish it wasn’t like that for me, but it is and I’ve come to accept this. I hunkered down and practiced, practiced, practiced and took notes while watching Magoosh’s videos, and I watched them multiple times. I also hired a tutor.

On test day I was nervous, but I kept hearing Magoosh’s videos and test taking tips in my head. I went in with confidence and left feeling very content with my overall score; especially my math score.

If you are still in the stage of indecision about applying to grad school, and the entrance exam is whispering sweet nothings in your ear (as in nothing sweet to say), check out Magoosh. If my friend hadn’t recommended Magoosh to me, I may still be thinking that I had already failed as a grad student.

If you are ready to take the plunge, good luck and may Magoosh be with you!

My question to Magoosh: when you are going to release Magoosh.GraduateSchool?

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5 Responses to GRE Student Post: Returning to Academia After a 16 Year Break

  1. karan laungani October 7, 2016 at 11:21 pm #

    I have been out of school for a long time and preparing for my GRE. Coincidentally I want to apply at U of O for an MBA in Sports Business.

  2. Rahul September 30, 2016 at 1:25 am #

    I’d completed my graduation in Engineering almost 10 years back. After that worked in a company for 2 years, then joined in our family business (which is not relevant with my degree neither with any specific course). Now for the last 2 years I’m working as a government officer. My question is , if now at the age of 32 I crack GRE , TOEFL & get my desired degree from any USA university will I get any job there? (specially as I have been detouched for so long period from any kind of relevant field ).

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 30, 2016 at 5:52 pm #

      Hi Rahul,

      Our expertise is in test prep, so I’m afraid that I really have no idea how to answer this question! Other students might have some perspectives to share, however. I recommend that you try to talk to some people who have been able to study in the US and get a job here, and maybe some who weren’t able to do this. They can give you some better answers! I wish I could be of more help!

  3. Stephanie May 1, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

    Thank you so much for getting the perspective of an older student. I am 15 years out of school as well, and strangely, I majored in journalism and am preparing to take the GRE for the University of Oregon’s Master of Public Administration program. Small world!

    • Rachel Wisuri
      Rachel May 2, 2014 at 10:15 am #

      That’s awesome!

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