Monday, July 11, 2011

GRE Math

I want to stab math in the face with a pitch fork, and then watch Least Common Multiples ooze out all over the grass and watch them die. 

How is your day?  I would fit right in with these guys today.


Why?  Because I am studying a subject that encompasses many topics that I haven't needed in 12 years.  Because my knowledge pertaining to this subject bears weight on my GRE score, and therefore my admission into many grad schools.  Because I suck horrendously at math. 

It crossed my mind to "Christmas Tree" the math portion of the exam.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Christmas Tree method of test taking, you either just mark C for every answer on a multiple choice test, or you fill in the bubbles so that when you are done, they look like a Christmas tree.  The beauty lies in the assurance that you will get at least a few right answers without having to study at all.  I conjecture that the writing programs themselves that I want to apply to don't give much of a rat's booty about my quantitative score, but alas, the Universities do.

It next crossed my mind to only apply to schools that don't require the GRE.  So far, I only know of one, but I'm keeping my peepers peeled.  I'm not really serious about this, but I feel like boycotting universities that require the GRE because it's such a waste of time.  A subject test, perhaps; a 45 minute test on a subject that pertains not at all to my desired field of study?  Grrr.  For undergrad, ok; for adults trying to specialize - Boo, I say, boo.  They don't do this in England.  Oxford and Cambridge are some of the most respected universities in the world and they don't require a cross subject test like this.   

Here's the thing... I like knowledge.  I like to learn for the sake of learning.  I even like informational pamphlets and read them where'er I go.  But I've come to a point in my life where I have to prioritize my time expenditures.  I have a lot of responsibilities as a teacher and a parent, and I have my bodily health to look after and peace of mind to maintain.  Plus, in this life there is much fun to be had.  And, this is no one's fault, but I tend to need a lot of sleep.  So where should I cut back?  Should I exercise less so I can re-learn factorization of an integer?  Should I forego my daily walk at lunch time (which affords me fresh air, time to decompress, sunshine, a wee bit of exercise, and a healthier lunch) so that I can remember how to divide a polynomial by a monomial?  Should I spend less time with my little bubby boo boo so I can work with a math tutor? 

I say "No!"

To be honest though (as I hang my head in shame), I could spend a little less time on Facebook and a little less time checking my e-mail.  I spend a good chunk of time writing this blog, but I see that as valuable writing practice, and always justified.

I also know, even if it is not so obvious to me, that the mental exercise I would get from familiarizing myself with these topics again would be good for me... but I honestly don't think it would outweigh the stress I would/will experience as a result of my extreme distaste for math.  All in all, I conclude that it is not worth it, except if it is the only thing standing between me and grad school.

On the other hand, I'm really enjoying expanding my vocabulary as I study for the verbal ability section.  Words are nice.  Numbers blow.

From Japan,


Anonymous said...

" Oxford and Cambridge are some of the most respected universities in the world and they don't require a cross subject test like this. "

They require A Levels, which potentially suck more ;) But then again I don't really know what a GRE is so I can't comment, I guess.

Rob said...

Hi, I saw your comment on the MFA blog about programs which do not require the GRE. I have been doing research on that and there are actually quite a number that do not. For example, Iowa does not, but if you want to make your application more competitive it could help, I heard. A lot of the programs that give full funding such as Texas (3 years) require it.

I lived in Japan for 10 years. Hope you are enjoying your time. 勉強頑張って!

nancy john said...

Good information about GRE it is very useful for students

GRE math score

Steve Hawks said...

Higher studies would bring pride to self, if it is studied from a reputed university either in India or abroad. Thanks for sharing this.

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