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Wish I knew then what I know now


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I took the literarure in english subject test last month and should receive my score sometime in the next few days. I thought I'd check this forum to see if anyone has received his/her score yet. Apparently no one has. I checked this forum when I was studying for the test, but it seemed as if I was the only person on the planet taking the literature in english subject test. Now there are at least two other people. :tup: Based on my experience, here's some unsolicited advice - the most important thing I'd like to know about the gre subject test - if I were just getting ready to take it for the first time - is how to manage the little time that there is. I think that it is IMPOSSIBLE (and inadvisable) to answer all the questions within the given time limit, so it's extremely important to develop an answer strategy that centers around time management. There's no point wasting time on questions that require even a little thought. Much better to have several passes from beginning to end. The passes are like a circling airplane, waiting for clearance to land - pass one, circle the first time, pass two, circle the second time, etc. Pass one - answer only those questions whose answers jump right out of the page at you in seconds. Pass two - answer the questions whose answers jump out at you within one minute. Pass three - answer the qestions whose answers jump out at you within two minutes. Pass four - if there's still time - answer all the other questions. I still kick myself for not strictly following this strategy. I did only two passes - one and four. Pass one was fine, but pass four bogged me down and ate all the time, because I didn't pace myself! Because I didn't do passes two and three, I didn't get to reread questions that I could answer! If I hadn't done pass one, I wouldn't have even seen the questions near the back of my booklet. Beware of pass four, time ignorantly reading and answering questions without pacing yourself. In my opinion, once time management is fine, content is secondary. Think about it. You have 230 questions and 170 minutes. That's less than 1 minute per question if you're to answer all the questions. That's not even enough time to read and comprehend some of the passages! About 90% of what I studied didn't turn up and about 50% of what I answered didn't require content specific preknowledge. And there were questions that I could not get to answer only because time wouldn't let me :yuck:. Time management - that's the key.[clap] Good luck.
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Thanks a lot for the good advice! I haven't taken a full practice test in one go (I'm doing a couple of questions every day, just to get the feel of it), but as soon as I get closer to knowing a bit of everything, I should get started on my testing strategy and try to work as fast and efficient as possible... I hadn't even thought of the fact that it's actually not much time to do all 230 questions. Thanks for pointing this out and providing a good strategy! I hope you still did well on the test! One more thing, is it better to leave a question unanswered if you're not entirely sure or to guess? My math is letting me down here, they substract 1/4 of your incorrect answers from the ones you got correct and wrong answers just don't count, right? What is better then? Guess or not?
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Too true! The regular GRE being given on a computer teaches you BAD habits for a pencil and paper test. I can speak with experience on this because I CLEPped half my undergraduate degree--all pencil and paper tests. I had to learn (hard! hard! hard!) how to slow down, focus, and answer something no matter how obscure the question seemed just to advance the computer for the regular GRE, which I take tomorrow. I am looking forward to going back to a pencil and paper format for precisely the reason of timing that you cite. Zig-zagging between the "known" (get em all) and the "unknown" (requiring time to contemplate) was one of my greatest strengths as a tester. Because of the "black in the squares" format, this method does require good clerical skills--making sure you're blacking in the right little dot for the question five ahead that you are lightning sure of without losing your bearings. But it does seem to me that the Lit test will reward this zig-zag skill very heavily. Everyone says the Lit test "feels" hard, and no wonder. It may be that having just taken it, you are still decompressing. If the score does come out disappointingly, would you retake it--knowing what you know now?
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How did you do? I am still studying and planning to take it next time (November). Is it really as bad as people say it is? Do you feel like a car wreck afterwards? Do you have any idea about what a decent score is? What kind of score do top graduate schools expect you to get? Tell us all you know! 'Cause this test seems to be a real mistery! Practice tests are hard to find, ETS gives you one, "Cracking the GRE..." gives you one they made, but it's not a real one, and the ETS book (out of print) gives you three but is hard to come by... Any ideas on where to get more practice tests? As you can see, loads of questions... And let us know how it went! :D
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