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Taking the GRE

I recently took the GRE as part of my application to the UNC Greensboro Kinesiology program. This was the first “standardized” test that I’ve taken since high school – the NSCA CSCS exam is also administered by computer, but it is a very different animal.

The GRE consists of three parts – a verbal assessment, a “quantitative” assessment, and an analytical writing assessment. I purchased several different types of study books in order to prep for the test and spent parts of 3 weeks getting ready.

The most useful aspect of the prep period was on the verbal assessment, specifically understanding the techniques used to answer the various “fill in teh blank” questions. Working through a recipe for answering the verbal questions was about 80% of the challenge. The remaining 20% – actually having a large enough vocabulary – is difficult to cram in a short amount of time. Likewise, understanding the method used to respond to the writing prompts was valuable. I didn’t actually write any prep essays, but knowing what the grading is based on gave me a roadmap to respond to the prompts.

The quantitative assessment is really a collection of high school level math problems – algebra, geometry, word problems, and other random stuff. I probably spent the largest amount of time reviewing and practicing this material. I was somewhat surprised how much of this I remembered and also how much I’ve forgotten. I made the mistake in my prep of not doing timed practice tests – although I was comfortable answering the questions, I found myself running out of time when completing these sections during the actual test.

I will have the results back sometime in the next week. The unofficial results – for the verbal and quantitative sections – looked promising. Hopefully, the writing section is assessed at a similar level.