The experience was not as daunting as I expected it to be. The most harrowing part of taking the test is the Pre-test taking!
First you enter a room where they hand you a disclaimer that states you understand that you cannot share any information on the GRE with anyone, you cannot have anything in your pockets (and by anything they do mean anything, not even a piece of paper, your chap stick, definitely not your cell phone, eye drops, a pen, a paper clip – Nothing!), and they make you write this statement in cursive in a section beneath it. You receive a key and a locker for your belongings. Additionally, you cannot wear a sweater, a bandanna, or a hat. Not to mention that of course you are prohibited from eating or drinking in the testing area. It doesn’t stop there.
You sit and wait for your name to be called. You also give up your ID which is reviewed by one of the testing coordinators who double check that you have absolutely nothing in your pockets and then proceeds to take a picture of you. They verify more information, your ID is returned to you and you are off to the testing area.
When you sit down, you read instructions about how to use the mouse, scroll, and cut and paste during the test, like you don’t know how to use a computer. I understand why its necessary – even for people who do utilize computers on a daily basis – but this just cuts into my test taking time. I don’t want to spend four hours if I don’t have to!
Then you dig in and start the test.
Since I have taken up to seven tests up to this point (4 CAT tests) I was familiar with the format and never felt overwhelmed. It was very calming. And writing the argument essay was pretty fun too. I enjoyed it better than the Issue essay. I know my grade will be higher for the Argument essay because I really wrote a mediocre essay for the Issue. I was all over the place and not cogent. I’ll be surprised if I receive a 3 on that task.
The test took me about three hours including the experimental section. I was ecstatic. Oh yeah and I received my final score: 940. I’m excited because I did better and on par with my practice tests. 1000 would have been better but at least this part of the MFA application is complete. Personal statements and manuscript time is next.
In the aftermath of taking the test, I feel relieved. It’s a sobering effect from being drunk and inundated with vocabulary, practice tests, and GRE books. It’s like I tackled this huge task and I feel calm. After the next big task (applications), all is left to the universe. Then I’ll really be able to relax.
Good luck to all of ya’ll taking the test soon! If you are comfortable taking the practice tests, the real test will be a breeze. And study that vocabulary!