Taking the GREs

Taking the GREs

Through my time working for various departments at UNH, I have developed a love of working on a college campus, with college students.  That’s why I’ve chosen to pursue a career in higher education administration and student affairs – perhaps one day working at a university admissions office, residential life office, or in academic advising.  Once I made this decision, I started looking at graduate schools that offered programs that would prepare me to enter that area of the work force.  Long story short: graduate school = taking the GREs.

The GREs, or Graduate Record Examination, like taking the SATs to get into college, is a way to evaluate the amount of knowledge you’ve obtained throughout your time as a student.  The majority of graduate programs require some sort of standardized testing like the GREs.  Some of the programs that I’m applying to (like the University of Georgia, Appalachian State University, and the University of South Carolina) all require my GRE scores.  I just completed the exam on Saturday…

There were a few hectic weeks of reviewing algebra and geometry, as well as brushing up on my vocabulary.  My RA staff in Williamson knew how nervous I was, and they made me an awesome poster with motivational thoughts written all over it.  My hall director Jacki even left me candy!  Anyway, on Saturday, I woke up at 5:30am (which I’m not sure I’ve done since high school) and drove to the GRE testing center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire to begin my exam later that morning.  The GREs are taken super seriously – photo identification was required, no food or drinks were allowed in the testing center, my picture was taken, and we were offered noise canceling headphones in order to focus more intently on our test.GRE2

The different sections of the exam definitely tested my ability as a student.  The math section was particularly challenging because it had been so long since I did high school level math.  Though I struggled through some parts, what I really appreciated was how well my classes here at UNH prepared me to succeed in the verbal and essay portions on the test.

The most nerve-wracking part of the exam is that scores are reported instantly, as the test is taken on the computer.  After completing the examine and letting out a sigh of relief, I left the center after over four hours of testing.  I’m feeling pretty satisfied about my scores.  My advice for anyone looking to take the GREs in the near future would be to focus on your weakest subject – whether that is math or vocabulary, and study hard – your test day will come sooner than you think!

And now on to graduate school applications!