Friday, September 12, 2008

A Fervid Post Concerning My Ebullience Over the GRE

In hopes to attenuate the many anxieties felt over the GRE, I thought we could play a little word game. If my post seems desultory, it is because, due to my diffidence about test taking, I am attempting to incorporate ten verbal section GRE words. I'm very soporific these days about studying and I thought that we could all make this enjoyable if we try to be a little more sanguine about our studies. I hope to elicit some responses with multifarious uses of GRE vocabulary. We are not martinets here at the MFA blog, so respond with as many or as few vocab words as you like. Post anything you like, from lugubrious laments about your poor test taking skills, to plucky predictions of GRE success. Good luck!


Jennifer said...

I hope my anxiety will abate. I really need to ameliorate it in some way. Hopefully I can be eloquent in my analytical writing sample, do an estimable job with the verbal section, and be in fortuitous in my math score. I don’t want to end up castigating myself because of a weak score, god knows I am irascible. But I won’t abstain from the GRE, too many schools require it.

King of Eggplants said...

Crepuscular. I had that one on the GRE when I took it a year ago.

Anna said...

I have a question regarding the GRE. Is there any advantage to taking the GRE subject test in English? I mean as far as applying for an MFA. Would a good score on that test perhaps beef up my academic credentials? Cause the thing is I'm not an English major and I've been out of school for a spell, but I am a crackerjack test-taker. I did a practice one, and I could probably get at least over 600. But the stupid test is so expensive and only offered on the one date in the fall. Thoughts?

Jenny Williams said...

I took the GRE a few weeks ago, 4 years after college and 8 years after any kind of math class. I used the Princeton Review Cracking the GRE to study (3 weeks in advance) and scored adequately, I think. Their vocab was particularly helpful--I saw six or seven words on the test that I wouldn't have known unless I'd studied those Princeton Review words. I imagine Kaplan, etc, offer similar vocab lists. Plus, they give you tips on how to narrow down choices even if you don't know the words themselves.

KoE: Crepuscular is one of my favorite words ever!

Anna: I haven't seen any MFA programs that require the English subject test. I'd say, don't bother--unless you think you might apply for an MA or PhD down the line. But I'm not speaking from any place of real authority here... maybe one of the official bloggers would know better!

Kim said...

For what it's worth, I found it's helpful to sign up for the word of the day email at You never know, one of them might be on the test. I'm lucky to have taken them while applying for English a few years back, but I sure do remember all that anxiety.

OnMyWay^ said...

I'm spending all my spare time on my writing sample. I'd like to put it through about fifteen drafts. I'm getting the best type of feedback in my undergraduate workshop. The instructor told me I'm already writing at a publishable level. That means a lot to me because he's not the type of person who says things like that unless he means it.

Jennifer said...

Ok, so on Kaplan's practice stuff I am scoring about 750 verbal, but BOMBING the math, as in, I only get a couple of them right.

Is it going to kill me application wise if I really bomb the math section?

I'm taking the test on the 11th and I was just made editor of the magazine I work on so I can't imagine having much time to study.

Josh said...


Don't fret about the math scores. They will have no bearing whatsoever on whether or not you get into your program. Some schools don't even look at that number, and I can't imagine any of them actually taking it into any serious consideration.

I sure there are plenty of people in MFA programs right now who visit this site and who could tell you just how badly they bombed the Q section of the GRE.

Rick said...

I believe the true issue is whether the standardized testing accurately forecasts student’s ability to do graduate level academics. Does the use of polysyllabic words, in compound complex sentences, with obscure references to illogical theses, make a person qualified to write creatively?

Blu said...

I'm beginning my MFA in January. I never took the GRE. I'm learning, however, that having GRE scores can be beneficial for reasons other than admittance into the very program to which you want to go. Therefore, I recently decided to take the GRE. I hadn't planned on studying for it at all. Happening across this post makes me think that maybe I should. Anyway, I love words, thus would love to add thousands to my vocabulary. This, it seems, would be the impetus for my studying voraciously for the GRE, and would leave me pleased even if I never used those scores for anything. But who has $140 when you have tuition to pay?

tanya.debuff said...

I plan to take the GRE next month if I can afford it, and I can tell you I'm feeling chary about it. I have been studying my vocab religiously and am researching schools with alacrity. I've been out of school for 10 years now and my ennui with my current profession left me feeling educationally torpid, so here I go to embark on this new adventure!

Mike said...

I am applying to schools for nonfiction in Fall 2009, and still debating on whether or not to sign up for the GRE's. I have everything else in order: Manuscript, requested transcripts, started personal statements and know my recommenders. I have found five schools where I would be happy at and they dont require it, but there are a couple I wouldnt mind applying to who do require it. Is it too late? Also, how much does my undergrad GPA come into play? I may have done too many keg stands as an undegrad and my GPA reflects it. I am under a 3.0. I am totally confident in my manuscript, but I'm nervous that once they see my GPA my application will be tossed. Any words of advice?

undertheeaves said...

Just finished my GRE and am thrilled the thing is behind me. Wanted to give all interested the heads up: a ton of analogies. Way more than on my practice tests, both ETS and Princeton.

Good luck everybody!!

M. said...

I should warn you,this post won't be laconic. It might even be a tirade. Allow me to harangue:

Though I've been sedulous in my studies, is the idea that I'll score well on the Q section next Wednesday quixotic? After all I did score only a 480 on the practice portion and can't recall how to calculate the diameter of a circle. Does that pertain to poetry? Math is recondite and prosaic to me, and I don't have a proclivity for it. Am I being presumptuous in thinking either my brains and/or fortuity will get me through it?

I only have this one chance before the deadline, so my scores are indelible.

Was my decision to take the GRE impetuous? Did I lack acumen when I decided to do this?

140$? But I'm penurious! This will cause penury! Dearth! My money is far from prodigious. Truly, I am impecunious.

Poor scores could be inimical to my application! They could stymie my grad school plans. They'll ruin the burgeoning of my writer's life, though it is but an inchoate.

Will my sample be good enought to supplant a poor quantitative score?

What odious task will I be doing today? See me, inert in my desk chair perusing algebra and vocabulary into the crepuscular evening.

I can only hope my craven sweating ceases, that my nervousness abates. I've done nothing but study! I've been practically an ascetic!

Don't try to mollify me.
Oh, I am implacable.
I need a drink.
I will abscond from my studies with a cold one from the refrigerator.
I'll save the self-castigation for later.