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Thread: V: 163, Q: 162, AWA: 6.0—and I thought I did horribly!

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    V: 163, Q: 162, AWA: 6.0—and I thought I did horribly!

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    Hello, everyone! Just recently, I was finally able to take the GRE, and after having taken it, I want to warn you all of one thing: do not let the GRE trick you into thinking that you're doing worse than you really are! There were various points in time while I was taking the test in which I was highly convinced that I was doing absolutely horrendously, and I thought that I would have to retake the test. Well, I just got back my results last night, and... well, as you can see from the title of this post, I had absolutely nothing to worry about! Here's the thing: because the GRE is so complex, it was designed—and I am convinced intentionally—to make test-takers feel as if they're understanding less than they actually need to. My best guess as to why this is so is so that test-takers are less likely to rely on prior knowledge that they had before taking the test and rather to apply more of an a priori logical approach to solving the problems which the test presents to you.* Therefore, many of you will feel like you are doing worse on the test while taking it than you really are, and I want to ensure you all that there is still a chance that you may be doing well.

    Now, my advice can certainly be taken a bit too far—if you feel as if you are struggling with the contents of the test, you may very well be struggling to get your desired score. An overconfident view of your capacities to score well on the exam won't do you any more good than a total lack of confidence in yourself. So, if you find yourself in a similar situation to the one I was in while taking the exam, I would not advise deciding to ignore that feeling that you might be struggling entirely. However, I would most certainly advise you to remind yourself that it hasn't yet been ascertained that you have scored poorly, and there is still a chance that you may be doing better than you think. In doing so, you will neither be compelled to throw your hands in the air while in the middle of taking the test, nor will you be setting yourself up to see the test as easier than it really is and thus remove the necessary amount of pressure you need to take the test seriously and consider each question carefully.

    I hope that this account of my experiences while taking the test has proven useful to some of you, and I hope that it removes some of the anxiety that some of you may have while taking or preparing for the exam. I wish you all the best of luck in your studies for the test and in your performance on test day!

    Kind regards to all,
    —Topher

    *If anyone is not entirely sure what "a priori​" means, I will be happy to define it for you!

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    Re: V: 163, Q: 162, AWA: 6.0—and I thought I did horribly!

    Hey! Did you do your Gre Test at home?

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    Re: V: 163, Q: 162, AWA: 6.0—and I thought I did horribly!

    Hello, Zainab! Yes, actually, I did take mine at home—are you thinking of doing the same thing? Because if so, I do have a couple of suggestions, if you'd like to hear them!

    Best wishes,
    —Topher

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    Re: V: 163, Q: 162, AWA: 6.0—and I thought I did horribly!

    Hi Topher,
    I am considering taking the test from home, and would love to hear your advice.

    Kind Regards,
    A

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    Re: V: 163, Q: 162, AWA: 6.0—and I thought I did horribly!

    Hello there, A! Sorry for the delay in my response, I've been rather busy this past week helping out with setting up for orientation week at my University. I hope I haven't missed the opportunity to give you helpful advise. Anyway, I'm glad to hear that you're taking the test from home—personally, I felt that it was helpful for me to do it in this format. A couple of tips to help you do your best on the test while taking it at home:

    1. Deprive yourself of any and all fluids the day you take the test. You may be used to having a nice glass of water or cup or cup of coffee or some other beverage in the morning. Do not drink anything before taking your test. You will not be authorized to use the bathroom until after you have done both portions of the analytical writing test as well as both the first quantitative reasoning and the first verbal reasoning test. You will be monitored by a proctor to ensure that you do not leave your testing space during any breaks before this. It is best if you set up the situation so that you don't get distracted by a need to use the restroom in the middle of the test.

    2. Make sure you have a desk or some other such flat surface on which to put your computer. Though you are, to my knowledge, allowed to place your computer on your bed, it makes it much easier to run into various obstacles with the proctor. For instance, your camera may occasionally lose focus of you, which will not go over well with the proctor, or you may be tempted to change your position (which you should never do if you are being proctored.) It is simply easier to avoid accidentally setting off an alarm with the proctor if you use a nice and flat surface.

    3. Take the test in a similar environment to the one in which you studied. If you studied in a bedroom, see about taking the test in a bedroom. If you studied in a dining room, see if you can keep this dining room quiet for the period of time in which you take the test. Just be wary that the proctor will frown upon any noises occurring in the room in which you take the test and will absolutely not allow you to talk to anyone else during the test. If you've been studying in a somewhat noisy room so far, you may want to start studying in a quieter room before you take the test.

    4. Finally, get a good dry erase board on which you can work out the math problems in quantitative reasoning. From what I know, scratch paper is not allowed when taking the GRE at home, as ETS wants to minimize the possibilities of any work for any of their test material being retained as much as possible. You'll want to use a small dry erase board to do your work instead. One style of dry erase board that I highly suggest is a double-sided one that has a blank side as well as a side with an XY-coordinate grid. This greatly helped me when I took my GRE test at home. Some should be available on Amazon.

    These are the best bits of advise that I can think of off the top of my head. If you have any questions about any of them, or would like to get my advise on something a bit more specific, please don't hesitate to let me know!

    Best of luck,
    —Topher

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