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Thread: GRE Literature Test-Did anyone take the 11.08.08 test?

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    GRE Literature Test-Did anyone take the 11.08.08 test?

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    Hi guys,

    So I have a BA in Mass Communication, am seeking admission into either an MA or PhD program in English/American literature. I have been a prolific reader my entire life, wanted to get a BA in Lit or English but was dissuaded by naysayers but am thrilled with my new direction Anyway...

    I studied for four months for the GRE subject test. Skimmed every Norton's anthology, read in depth and memorized first and last stanzas of the 500 most "important" poems, studied old tests (1989 test, the ETS free test and Princeton Review test as well as the useless worthless REA tests), memorized every drop of info on the Vade Mecum site and Hapax Legomena site and generally made myself sick over Shakespeare. I was, however, under the impression that grammar/syntax, old English and the Bible really didn't show up that much so I barely glossed those. Well, to my remembrance, the test was comprised solely of these things, as well as a huge dose of theory. The only theory I studied was what the Princeton Review had me study, so the name Lacan, I shudder to say, meant nothing to me

    So...some questions....

    Did anyone else feel like they studied for a literature test and got an English and Lit Theory test?

    If I call in for my scores, will it tell me just my score or will it also tell me the percentile? Because from my understanding of this test, the percentile matters and score not at all, since the high score changes from 800 to 990 from year to year. I would call but not if I'm left with a number that gives me false hope or makes me suicidal because I am improperly calculating my percentile.

    Oh, and any tips other than what I mentioned above for how to study should I have to take this damn test again?

    Thank you so much!

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    Trying to make mom and pop proud alissaroot's Avatar
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    I haven't taken this test yet, but I am registered to take it April 2009. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the heads up about studying the Bible as Literature and Middle/Old English. I will shift my focus more toward literary criticism and theory as well.

    Also, I just called yesterday and received my GRE Psychology score early by phone. They do give you your scaled score, followed by your percentile ranking. It's worth noting that I called two days before the site says scores would be available, so you may want to call a day or two early as well, just to see.

    Don't make yourself sick with worry, either. I was absolutely positive my score would be in the 500s, with a 50th percentile, if not worse. Your score will likely be much better than you expect, as mine was. It sounds like you really put your heart into it. I think your efforts will pay off! Good luck to you!
    Last edited by alissaroot; 11-20-2008 at 12:21 PM.

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    Hey Alissaroot,

    I don't want you to throw away all lit that isn't theory, bible, old English or grammar, just saying that the study guides de-emphasized those areas and I felt that the test did not.

    Thinking back I'd say that the ETS breakdown saying that literary theory comprised 15-20% of the test was true. That being said, Princeton guaranteed nice big dumbed down chunks (signifier, bourgeois, phallo-whatever) and I didn't really find that, either.

    The grammar would not have been overly difficult if a) I were remotely familiar with it and b) it wasn't based on old English (i.e. "find the past participle in this piece from Beowulf" or whatever).

    Don't freak out though, the truth is that I could probably have gotten the lit theory with one heavy duty weekend studying it and looking back, I don't think I did as poorly on the Bible as I thought that I did.

    You'll do fine! I will probably be retaking the test in April myself so good luck to both of us

    And thank you for the call in info.

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    Trying to make mom and pop proud alissaroot's Avatar
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    I still think you are going to end up with a better score than you expect. It sounds like you studied really hard. So just hold off on registering for the April test until you have your Nov. scores. I bet you knocked it out of the park. I will plan my study time around the ETS outline. Thanks for reminding me of that!

    I plan to study for the next five months until the exam. I only have one book on the Bible as Literature, and one book on literary theory and criticism. I also have all the exam specific preparatory books, and I have been making flashcards out of the Vade Mecum site. I haven't gotten into the Hapax Legomena site yet, but I will likely turn that into flashcards as well. I have ordered Longman, Oxford, and Norton anthologies. Not all of them! Too expensive, I've been ordering the cheap ones as I find them on amazon. Do you think this will be sufficient?

    I have a couple other smaller exams to complete before I can dive in to Literature studying completely. I can't wait to really get into it! I'll be very interested to hear how you do, and if you decide to retake this test. Good luck and keep me updated!

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    I took the subject test on 11.8 and felt like I got my literary butt kicked after months of poring over dreadful Restoration comedies and middle english crap. Sorry- never have been a fan of William Congreve or Chaucer.

    Anyway, I'm praying that I score at least in the 50th percentile, which seems to be a common "cutoff." Like most prospective English Ph.D.s, I did very well (96th percentile) on the verbal portion of the general GRE. I have been dreading the subject test for years and now I know why. I had twenty minutes left with forty questions to go. I almost had a panic attack in the poor fifth-grader's desk I was stuffed into.

    Anyone with any luck getting scores by phone yet? I realize it's a bit early but the suspense is killing me.

    M

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    Like one of the other posters here, I also took several real GREs from out-of-print books and memorized the poems, etc., and I felt like the 11/08 test was particularly brutal. Even as a medievalist, I thought that the medieval lit questions were really obscure.

    Scores are out, though; at least mine was.

    And also...Chaucer is ALL that. Sorry--have always been a fan. Not offended; just adding my two cents.

    Best of luck to everyone else checking their scores this week.

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