Monthly Archives: October 2009

Procrastination Station

So I’m completely done with the GRE.  Wonderful!  And I’m working on my portfolio. Awesome.  But I’m not Really working on it.  What is it about procrastination that gets you to surf mindlessly for 45 minutes until you realize, “Wait, why was I on my computer in the first place?  Oh yes!  I’m writing!”  Why is it so hard to concentrate on getting the words on the page?  The fear of accomplishing something?  Fear of sounding like an idiot?  Or the daunting task of editing the whole thing afterwards? I think it’s a little bit of everything.

I guess the real fact that I’m applying to graduate school is affecting me more than I think.  And the cold reality of being rejected from the nine schools I’m applying to.  I know this kind of thinking gets me nowhere and very pessimistic which leaves back to square one: Procrastination! 

If I have a plan to make things happen, make a list, and follow it then I’ll feel accomplished.  November is around the corner and I have a story that has completely changed its tone, voice, and POV.  That’s great but what if I revise and it does a complete 360 again?  I’m sure it’ll be fine.  The more I write, the more my writing will improve.

All I need to do is believe in myself and stop comparing myself to others.  Keep at it.

Post GRE

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.

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Last CAT Practice Test

I took my last CAT GRE test on the Princeton Review website and I am very relaxed about the whole thing.

My math score went up by 100 points which means I just need to pace myself and really do the problems.  What is interesting to observe is how my score changes based on my mood that day, any distractions I may have, and if I’m really doing the math problems and not just guessing.  When I do the work, I get more answers correct! 

As for my verbal score, its at a solid 450 – which kinda sucks – because it means that no matter what, that’s what I’m getting.  I have been working on vocabulary but I think what’s getting me is the sentence completion and the antonyms.  If I am more attentive to those, then I’ll be more likely to receive a higher score than before.

Overall, I’m looking forward to taking the test this Friday afternoon and getting back to my regularly scheduled life.  Because then I have applications to begin and personal statements to edit.  Yay.

Third Practice CAT Test

Took a third practice CAT test and my scores were not as high as the second CAT test.  The good thing about this outcome is I know where my strengths and weaknesses lie and how to tackle them. 

As always, I’m not a math whiz so my math score dropped about 100 points but it’s because I got the first two questions wrong and was sporadic in right answers.  My verbal is steady but not up to 500 which is annoying to me.  Only one school would prefer if I received a 550 on my verbal.  Luckily, the others just want the scores but are not too serious about it. 

How did I feel after this third test?  Nonchalant and nonplussed.  Whatever I know now, I know.  Whatever I don’t know, I’m not going to suddenly learn in four days.  I’m not stressing this test anymore.  I’m just going to keep practicing at a steady and calm pace.  I’m sure my score would be better with a course but my financial limitations didn’t give me a choice in that matter.

Overall, I’ve done well for myself.  I’ve taught myself.  I’ve studied diligently.  I’ve ignored opportunities to hang out with friends.  But after it’s done, I will feel very accomplished and extra proud of myself because I did it on my own.  I will also party because I deserve it!

Soon, I’ll be taking the last CAT practice test.  I should study for that test like its The real thing.  Then maybe my score will be higher. 

Until next time!

The Final Countdown…

Studying for the GRE was at times grueling, frustrating, and downright demeaning.  Why should I have to subject myself to take this gosh forsaken standardized test for school?  But alas, some of my choices do require it so I registered for the freaking thing.

With the date steadily approaching, I am much more calm, cool, and collected than I have ever been for a test.  I have been taking more practice tests and studying my vocabulary.  I have been stuck at the Procrastination Station a few times but once I got on the Productivity Line, I did not stop until I was done. 

I also allow myself some joy by studying and relaxing with mindless TV or socializing.  Social interaction gives me the balance to be solitary for 5 –6 hours and then talk to a person about anything but the GRE. 

There’s something almost soothing about taking this test and then dropping it like it’s hot.  I won’t have to take another standardized test again in my life (unless I want to get my MBA but I highly doubt it)! I’ll be focusing on my writing and reading.  Granted, there will be other things that will need my attention (financial aid, housing and whatnot) but the essential reason I’m attending graduate school will be my focus. 

I will be elated once I have taken this test.  I know when I walk in there, I will be aplomb with confidence and the ability to take on the GRE.

Until then, its all about vocabulary, vocabulary, vocabulary and some practice tests in between.

Christopher Pike – my favorite young adult author

In junior high school, I discovered the wonderful world of novels written by Christopher Pike.  I read everything he wrote except for some lesser known works.  But for the most part, if he wrote it, I read it.  The same goes for R.L. Stine but that’s another post.

I recently bought one of his popular series (apart from the Final Friends and Remember Me trilogy) reprint by Simon Pulse: The Last Vampire.  There are six books in the series and Simon Pulse released Thirst: No. 1 which includes the first three books in the series: The Last Vampire, Black Blood, and Red Dice. The second installment is called Thirst: No. 2 which includes Phantom, Evil Thirst, and Creatures of Forever.  For release dates and synopsis visit their website here: Christopher Pike

For its time, I enjoyed the thrill, the kick-ass nature of the protagonist, the vampire elements, and of course, any sex involved.  Reading this through the eyes of a much better read adult, the writing is amateurish, the motivations aren’t clear and the plots are predictable.  I loved not knowing the end result as a pre-teen.  However, presently, I can’t even stomach some of this writing and it was actually boring.  I found myself trudging through the pages and checking to see how far along I got until I completed the chapter.

There are some young adult novels that get better with age (Lois Lowry’s The Giver – again, another post) but these have not.

Christopher Pike was one of the best selling young adult authors in the mid-nineties (behind R.L. Stine) and now, young adults don’t even know who he is.  He’ll forever live in our junior high school hearts and stay there because that’s where he’s remembered, rejoiced, and on top.  Rock on, Christopher Pike!

Second CAT GRE Test

After days and hours of GRE practice with words and basic math, I was able to score a 900 on my second CAT test via the Princeton Review website.  I was excited and I couldn’t believe how much I improved in a short amount of time.

My first CAT test was 750 – more on the verbal but less on the math (way less).  Now my skills have significantly jumped.  I feel confident about this test.  My score will reach to 1000 in two weeks in no time at all.  My steady pace in working with words I don’t know, basic arithmetic, algebra, and geometry are all contributing to my success.  My scores alone will help me feel like I’ve conquered this beast of standardized testing.

Beat that, GRE! 

I’m on top of the world!!!