GRE Fail.

I took the GRE for the second time today. I’ll admit I didn’t stick to my studying plan, which might have made a difference in my scores. Well, honestly, I think I might have been able to improve my Quant score with studying, but Verbal is a tough one to crack, especially with ADHD and the time limit.

So I took the GRE in 2005 and got 520v and 580q (4.5 AWA). I had to retake because those scores were old and the program I want to apply to wants scores within the last 2 years. Today, I took the test again and got 470v and 580q (guessing similar AWA). Ugh.

I just get so frustrated taking timed tests. I can’t focus, especially on the comprehension section. If the test was done on paper I’d do better, but for some reason the font they use on the screen just doesn’t work for my eyes. I can spend so much time reading an article and realize I don’t remember one thing I just read. Unfortunately, ETS doesn’t make it easy to get any sort of accommodations for people with ADHD or LDs, which I’m starting to think I have (I was diagnosed ADHD in elementary school, but I honestly think I might be dyslexic or something. My sister is, and if it’s genetic, it would explain a lot about my problems with concentration and reading.)

I’m not totally depressed about my scores, though. I’m leaning towards wanting to go to business school, which means I still have the GMATs in front of me. The GMATs are supposed to be a harder test, but if they test reasoning more than vocab, I’ll likely do better.

I hate the stupid argument essay topics on the GRE. I’m not good at picking a side on an issue that I don’t have a strong opinion on. For instance, the essay question (which is available on the ETS website — I’m not allowed to reveal test questions, but since this is already public information…) was about whether people should pursue scholarship or research that doesn’t contribute to society. Uhmm… so I kind of blanked. I couldn’t think of anything someone would research that wouldn’t contribute to society, even if that contribution was indirect. I ended up writing about that, which I’m sure was not what they wanted. Then my analyze an argument essay was rock solid… I’m good at finding flaws and explaining them (or so I’d like to think, I’ll see what my scores are in a few weeks).

After the writing section, I went through the verbal section. I started getting easier words fairly early on, so I assume I got all of the first few questions wrong. Even with the easier words, I felt lost. I am just not good at analogies, EVEN WHEN I KNOW THE WORDS.

This… from a girl who got a 1230 on her SAT back in the day. My intellect has all but depleted.

I hate how the verbal section skips around from one question type to another, and then back. Just when my brain is getting comfortable with analogies it will be time to do a comprehension section, then back to analogies, then opposites of a word (which there were a lot of) and so on.

The math section would have been easier had I prepared more. I’m not sure how I managed to get the same exact score I got last time (580) but in any case, that’s not a good Quant score. I also ran out of time so filled in random bubbles for the last 6 or so questions (of 28) today. That probably didn’t help much, although maybe I am better at guessing than actually solving the problems.

This all leads me to ask… should I even apply to grad school? I know I struggle with academics, so why should I put myself through all of that? Even in an MBA program I’m going to have a tough time. Yet, looking at my career, I feel like I need to do something to go from where I’m at to where I want to be, and that something is looking more and more like “grad school” every single day.

I guess I want to know if I’m just unintelligent or if I actually have learning disorders. I used to test well early in my life, but not so much anymore. Like, I’d be ok if someone could just test me and tell me I’m dumb. I’ll quit my job and go work as a waitress or something. Maybe I’d be happier. But part of me thinks that underneath all the confusion in my brain lies someone with really strong reasoning skills and even a slightly above-average level of intelligence. I just don’t know how to prove that to anyone, or how to make use of it.

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8 thoughts on “GRE Fail.”

  1. I'm struggling with the same thing. I have ADD and a learning disability and am considering going for grad school. I'm not sure though that I'll get a decent GMAT score at all with my math difficultys. I'm planning on taking a practice GMAT this weekend or next weekend and start studying with the ultimate plan of takeing it for real in around 6 months or so.I'm almost scared to take the practice test and actually see how bad I am…argh….Good luck with what ever you decide!

  2. Sorry to hear you didn't do your best on the GRE. I took it a few years ago and I thought it was fine and I actually liked the fact it was on the computer since you get your scores immediately. But, I wasn't under any kind of pressure because I was 99.9% sure about my grad school admissions and knew I only needed the minimum score. The LSAT though was a different story…

  3. Hey, GMAT doesn't test vocabulary directly – it does test a lot of grammer though and reading comprehensive, and a little bit of logic in critical reasoning. If you think you have a learning issue, you should pursue additional time so that you can do the best you're able to. I don't know what the procedure would be, but I imagine being certified by doctors is a must. As for the AWA, I've realized that it's a formula/framework-based essay and is best to approach it as such. It doesn't really matter what your opinion is – it's more like… I think X is better than Y for A, B, C, reasons, although Y might be good for D, F reasons. However, upon closer analysis of this and this issue, we see that D and F aren't really sufficient to make Y better than X, etc. etc. Good luck!

  4. Your scores are in the normal range so if anything your scores should reflect that you have normal rather than inferior, intelligence as a graduate of a four year college.

  5. The time on the GRE should not be a huge factor. Focus on the first 5 or 6 questions, because as the questions get harder, they add only marginally to your score.My writing sample was AWFUL – I started talking about America as a modern-day Rome and how it could all crash and burn. And I don't even know how that happened, because that's not something I actually believe in real life!I scored well on the verbal part due solely to the fact that I studied vocabulary for 4 months. I seriously had flashcards and a spreadsheet with 1300 words in it! I woulnd up doing better on the verbal portion than the math portion, which was awkward since I was applying to an engineering program!

  6. I just failed the GRE, I have a learning disability too, I didn't finish any of the sections and I probably should have cancelled my score considering I knew I was gonna get a crappy score, but I kept it and FAILED…Anyways what I was going to say was you can get tested at your local community college or university or go to a specialist on your own and they will be able to help you out, I know I'm going to take advantage of the accomdations now for sure after this pathetic try good luck!

  7. "I guess I want to know if I'm just unintelligent or if I actually have learning disorders. I used to test well early in my life, but not so much anymore"You have no idea how that sentence resonates with me. I never thought I would succeed at the GMAT – I've been out of college for 7 years.I went on medication to study, but it was a hindrance during the test. It is great for the verbal (reading), but horrible for the math – b/c I lose my creativity I think.I learned not to read the whole passages on the GMAT. I read the first paragraph and the first sentences of the other paragraphs – then I scan for anything else I need.

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