It’s been a little over a month since my last post, huh? I’ve mainly been trying to focus on balancing appropriate studying for the GRE, keeping up with classes, going to work, and working in lab — mostly unsuccessfully haha. I took a practice GRE at the beginning of September, and my actual GRE (which I took this past Wednesday! On my birthday, no less.) scores were the same as that practice one. Which is good, in a way, since I was worried that the actual GRE would be more difficult than the free practice tests they have on their website. On the other hand, it means that I didn’t study properly, otherwise I should’ve done better. I didn’t really study verbal reasoning stuff, since I’ve always been good at it, but the quantitative reasoning really bit me in the butt. I’m sure if I had actually done a few practice questions every night, then I wouldn’t have had such a difficult time with pacing myself during the actual GRE.
My score wasn’t bad though! 161 on verbal reasoning, which is around 87th percentile according to the chart the GRE website has. 152 on quantitative reasoning, which is around 48th percentile. Not necessarily bad, but not competitive either. However, I have a feeling that most of the programs I’ll be applying to won’t stress that score as much. As long as the scores I get back from my analytical writing are 4 or above, I think I should be okay on the GRE. Then again, I also had some difficulty with pacing on the analytical writing section also, so it still feels iffy. I just kept overthinking the prompt in its possible interpretations, and probably making it overly difficult. Like I usually do. I know I am good at analytical writing, if my grades on past papers I’ve had to write for classes are any indication — I just don’t do well under a 30-minute time limit. It takes me about that long just to mull things over and develop a definitive position on a topic, if not more.
I feel confident about it though, in spite of all that. Nowhere near as stressful as taking the MCAT, although that might be due to the fact that I got to see my scores immediately after finishing, rather than having to wait an entire month. I also might’ve gotten a little bit better at not being as intimidated by the GRE as I was by the MCAT. Or maybe I’m just dunning caring. Who knows at this point lol. Though, if I just don’t care enough, that’s probably an indicator that I should rethink my career decision to go into research and academia haha.
Update: I got a 3.5 on my analytical writing shiiii-. Well, guess I’ve got my work cut out for me for the next month. Dangit dangit dangit. Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.
What really irks me is that I generally write well — I just don’t write well under timed conditions. And except for exams, when during my PhD program would I need to hammer out an essay in 30 minutes? On all the essays that I’ve written for class assignments that I can remember off the top of my head, I’ve generally received top scores on. And some of these assignments were papers reviewing scientific articles, which makes them analytical writing assignments. I am so salty. :<
So much for feeling confident.