Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Advice about Standardized Tests

I really appreciate the following advice (Re: The GRE discussion) from our codenamer of the week: Incredibly Undulating Daughter:

I used to work in a testing center, and this is pretty common--especially if you study books and practice tests designed by ETS (the company that gives the GRE).

It's best to purchase guides from Kaplan, Princeton Review, or other reputable third party sources. Remember, these are corporate entities. ETS wants you to have to take the GRE at least twice. On the other hand, it's in Kaplan's best interest for you to do well on the test and tell all your friends. Never assume a school or a testing service has your best interests in mind just because they're involved in education. They don't. Everything is run like a business these days.

Beyond that, your scores will almost always be lower than your practice tests due to nervousness. Then there's the unfamiliar location, which is usually too hot or too cold. This has also been shown to affect scores.

Bottom line, the best way to prepare is to start early, study non-official, third party materials, and familiarize yourself with the test location in advance.

1 comment:

trinmeg said...

Hi, this is formerly 'GREif Stricken in Manhattan,' herself. Thanks for your advice. I ended up retaking the GRE this weekend, just about a month after the last time. Surprise, surprise, I scored exactly 100 points better on the verbal this weekend. For me, I think the $130 and 4 hours of my life was definitely a fair trade for the peace of mind. I didn't waste any more time actually studying... just went in and gave it another shot. Oh, but the other thing is, I scored 40 points lower on the math than the first time. Does anyone know if you can 'split scores'... ie, take your best verbal and best math and report those... or do I just go with the scores from the most recent exam? I imagine different schools might have different policies, but is there one more common method? Thanks again!