GRE Week

I’m ahead enough on Latin. I can shuffle priorities and study for the GRE this week. Study . . . practice, more like. It is a hoop you have to jump through and I’m still mad that so many Americans do. But they want to see that you’ve tried, and I can at least try.

This week they’re tearing down the Wendy’s behind which I live in order to put up something more in keeping with, I assume, the times. It is an exercise not altogether unlike mine of the GRE. I look on the diminishing building as I come out of my apartment building and think: “It’s GRE week.” I hope to have the examination over by the time Wendy’s is back in business.

Algebra! Who needs it? People who use it need it, but it has been 20 years since I have, and now I find myself tested on it–on the area of a triangle and the perimeter of a trapezoid, and stuff I no longer retain. And of course I wonder why we still consider hanging on to information like that important for graduate work. I would rather be learning Anglo-Saxon. I can see the need for carpenters knowing algebra. But I’m not applying to carpentry graduate school.

Is it an insight into the culture of higher education . . . you’re going to have to be able to handle this, it seems to say, if you’re going to be in places run by academics? Maybe it boosts the esteem of math faculties so that they don’t feel like an appendage and closer to the real work done by the glorious and necessary faculty of Anglo-Saxon. To me, it makes the places that don’t require a GRE look a lot more legitimate. Oxford does not require it unless you are applying to the department of the dismal science. Is this indicative of anything?


2 thoughts on “GRE Week

  1. Graduate schools are most interested in how well you do on the essay part of the exam. They are so frustrated with the writing abilities of college graduates, that they actually changed the GRE a few years back to include the section. If it’s a writing or literature program you are entering, they may not even look at the math score. But if you don’t score higher that 5 (out of 6) on the essay, that’s not good.

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