A MinD in MoTown


SAT, the steroid edition.
December 17, 2009, 7:33 pm
Filed under: School daze, When I grow up

T-minus 14 hours and 40 minutes.

At 8:30 a.m. tomorrow, I’ll begin the daunting GRE. Sure, I’ve studied. And yes, I’ve taken a few practice exams and worked through my fair share of mock questions. But my confidence is mediocre, at best, despite my academic future riding on this one exam.

Okay okay, perhaps that’s a bit on the hyperbolic side. But at $150 a pop, I can’t exactly afford to take this test again. It’s now or never.

Taking this GRE is a huge step forward toward my decision to head back to school for my Master’s degree. I might have two Bachelor of Arts degrees, but as the economy worsens and jobs become increasingly scarce – not to mention the complete transformation of the news industry, which I’m currently in – it’s evermore clear that a simple higher education is no longer enough. A “higher” higher education is practically required to get ahead in this world and that means I swiftly need to plant my ass in a graduate program.

It was May when I first decided that I’d attempt grad school, but I didn’t begin thinking about it seriously until several months later. Then nearly two months ago, I firmly chose to apply to UNC Charlotte’s communication studies graduate program, aiming to focus on mass media studies. I had no cash to take the GRE, so I started saving … and studying on occasion … in the hopes of taking the exam before Christmas. Two weeks ago I broke down and typed in my credit card number as I registered for the test, still without the financial means. But the test simply HAD to be taken prior to January, as my completed application – GRE scores included – are due by Feb. 1.

And now, the moment has arrived. I’m still debating whether or not to study some tonight, hoping to cram a few last minute tidbits into my brain before the morning.

To say I’m terrified of doing poorly would be an understatement. With so much seemingly riding on this one exam, the pressure to succeed is quite high. And while I had previously believed math would be my biggest weakness on test day, my practice sessions are proving that my verbal skills are lacking while my math abilities come with little effort (of course, that’s after a few hardcore days of refreshing my memory about geometry, algebra, etc.). How am I to know words like “mawkish,” “laconic,” “ebullient” (and so on) when they remain far from my everyday vocabulary?

Then there’s the analytical writing section, and while I somewhat worry about stumbling upon a topic that’s far less than appealing, my confidence there has stayed intact. After all, if I can’t do well on this portion of the test, something is seriously wrong with my current chosen profession.

I’m heading into this test with my nerves on edge, my abilities uncertain and my hopes somewhere between high and ambiguous. At times like these, the realist in me emerges and challenges any assumptions I previously might’ve held about how smart I am, especially when practice tests tell me otherwise.

All I know right now is 12:30 p.m. tomorrow cannot come soon enough (it’s a four hour test!). I’m certainly ready to get this damn thing over with and finally breathe a sigh of relief that it’s behind me. For now, however, I’m going to (maybe) study a little this evening and attempt to relax before practically throwing myself at the mercy of stupid standardized testing.

…Wish me luck!

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15 Comments so far
Leave a comment

GOOD LUCK MINDY!!! Um, also, yeah the dual major English/Journalism was such a great idea when we were at PSU. Now? Not so much haha!

Comment by stealthnerd

Good luck hun, I all ready took the Lit exam so I know how you feel. On the bright side, you won’t have long to suffer and wait for scores.

So review tonight, try and relax, kick ass tomorrow.

Comment by Kendall

Having been in your shoes w/ the GMAT, all I have to say is don’t stress it. Sure, your descriptor of it being like the SAT on steroids is correct, but like the SAT, either you know it or you don’t. And believe it or not, you’ll be amazed at what you still know. So relax a bit, grab a brew, then head out in the morning to blow that test out of the water. You’ll do fine.

GO FOR BROKE!

Comment by TOPolk

Best wishes. Relax and don’t let it psych you out. I took it and it was brutal, but only cuz I let it take control of me. It wasn’t until the writing portion that I was relaxed enough, that I totally raped it.

Comment by phampants

Good luck! The math on the GRE is actually easier than on the SATs. I would like to say other encouraging things about the test, but I feel pretty bitter about it. Kick its ass for me, will you?

Comment by Ashley

I hope everything went well!!

(I hate tests like these and the mere thought gives me the shakes)

Comment by thatShortChick

I know how this story ended, and I’m glad! Congrats! Now you can get some higher high edgeamacation!

Comment by omegaradium

Hey, know i’m a little late but I hope the GRE went well! I’m sure you killed it.

Comment by Jessica

I hate that horrid exam. It’s nothing short of torture. But I’m pretty sure you did an awesome job and kicked GRE butt!

Comment by Marie

I already know you did well…because I’m late with the comment. 🙂 But I knew you’d do well anyhow.

Comment by Kimwithak

I hope everything went swimmingly and that you’re having a lovely holiday!

Comment by Sarah

I hope the test went well! Keep us posted.

Comment by Akirah

Good luck, Mindy. Go tackle it. I;m sure you’ll do well 🙂

Comment by andhari

How on EARTH have you not updated since then?!?! Going to stalk your twitter now…

Comment by LiLu

i’m little late but i’m sure you did well! 🙂

Comment by Felicia




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