When writing fails, list-making to the rescue

1. Best T-shirt seen while running today: I Heart Tater Tots.

2. Tired of the same old baked goods at your coffee house? Go to May Day Cafe, Bloomington Ave. at 35th Street (SE corner of Powderhorn Park). I'd forgotten how much I love it there. It's kind of a chaotic mess, but damn, they can bake.

3. Humidity, I'm done with you.

4. I'm reading a book unrelated to research (don't tell), and loving it: Look me in the eye: my life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison. Robison's younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, achieved some success with Running with Scissors.

5. Mad Men is a good watch. Season 2 begins Sunday night on AMC. It's the first basic cable show to receive an Emmy nomination for best drama series. Eric and I had never heard of it before the nominations last week. Now we own the entire first season on dvd and are trying like mad to watch 13 episodes this week. Such is our devotion to popular culture.

6. I have to take the GRE. Not sure when, but soon. Grad school application is due December 10. Yike-ity yikes. Anyone have some GRE study/prep recommendations?

7. There's a good chance next semester might be hell. See 6, above.


Sean said...

RE: The GRE. Don't bother studying. You're as ready now as you ever will be.

I took the GRE on a wretchedly cold day (-10F) in 1988, sitting in a chemistry lecture hall on Hamline's campus (the one time I ever was there.)

The doors that led outside from the hall were metal, and as I colored in my little circles with my No. 2 pencil, I shivered from the icy air flowing through the room. I never took off my hat, coat or gloves.

I gamely tried my best on the math and analytical portions of the exam, but after realizing that the answers to all the questions couldn't possibly be "none of the above, I just stopped trying and started spelling things with my answers like "bad ABBA cab."

The verbal test segments were incredibly easy, and I didn't even try on the other sections. As a result, I was always the first one done with every test. That left me even more time to shiver miserably.

The final result: math and analytical, 62%.

Verbal 99.5%. I got one answer wrong in the verbal part of the test.

I figured, if Princeton's German dept. cares about my math skills, I'm screwed.

They didn't, and I got a full seven year scholarship.

You know your stuff. Just show up and color in the circles.

Anonymous said...

hint - don't color in ALL the circles

... otherwise, fine advice for life in general.


Ann said...

Knowing I might some day take the GRE, for the seven first years after undergrad I balanced my checkbook in my head, figuring (so to speak) that at least I would retain basic addition and subtraction skills. So you could do that (except you would have had to start 18 years ago). Let me tell you, the day after the GRE, Mr. Calculator moved into the Wachtler house.

Do they still have the puzzle (analytical) section? I did practice the puzzles beforehand. Solving them is kind of like facing a Rubic's Cube. At first they seem stupidly impossible, but you figure out a couple key moves and you can break the code.

Sean's right overall, though. Your future grad department probably isn't going to put much stock in the math and analytical portions. Don't sweat it. (I prepared for a summer because of my built-in psychological drive to get all the answers right in school. I used to be pretty smart before I turned 40.)

Final word of advice: Don't sit right behind a hot guy (let's call him "Trevor") with whom you've been hoping to go out on a date. Trust me, it's distracting enough to negate all the times you have balanced your checkbook without a calculator. He's just going to marry someone else (let's call her "Melissa") anyway.

Eric said...

Will you be taking both the GRE and GRE Music tests?

Scott Rohr said...

Yes, I'll have to take the special topics GRE for music. So I'll somehow have to remember things like French 6ths and modal transposition.

Anonymous said...

Bad news, folks...no more circles, no more analytics (writing instead), no more Trevors. New age of sinister individual computation has moved in that pegs shivery applicants into intellectual holes.

Studying IS crucial....if only because the test is always the same in method, differing in minor content alterations. Even if balancing a checkbook is a challenge, the exam can be mastered (and, some departments might swallow the excuse of: I forgot my words that day (um, 62%), but, look, I can't be all that stupid if I got 95% on math and analytics!). Then again, Princeton does seem to go for those verbal overachievers. Then again again, some departments don't care much at all.

So, Scott, don't listen to your overprotective friends, and get cracking on those practice tests (while you catch up on your cable episodes [what's cable?]). By Sunday, I expect you to be a GRE jedi knight.


Eric said...

Prof K speaks! (Thou sayest, indeed!)

Stephanie said...

Oh yeah, a friend of mine took the GMAT (the business school graduate admissions test) several years ago, after all the standardized tests became computerized, and apparently the computer does some sadistic thing now where the more questions you get right, the harder the questions get. So if the questions seem really easy, it probably means that you've been getting a lot wrong, which of course freaks you out and makes you do even worse. I guess it's all about psychological warfare these days.

When I took the GRE, back before the testing sadists starting simply toying with their subjects, there was a very fun "logic" section. As I recall, it was an entire test section on seating arrangements for dinner parties: "Mr. B will not sit next to Mrs. F because she once insulted his mother. If Mrs. F refuses to be seated within 3 seats of Miss R due to a perfume allergy, whose salad fork is it most likely that Mr. L will use by mistake?" Or something like that.

Anyway, this was a very fun test section, and I think you should prep for it by hosting many dinners in the coming months, inviting lots of people, and planning meticulous seating charts. To begin with, you should know that I DO have a lot of fragrance allergies and actually made Ann and K switch seats with me during "Shrew" at Winona last Saturday, because the guy on my right was wearing some nasty cologne that was making me cough just during the introduction. Also, I spill a lot, so you should seat me far from the wine or staining sauces.

Anonymous said...

BY NO MEANS take the regular GRE and the Music Subject test on the same day. I took the Music test AFTER the regular GRE (bad idea on so many levels). Mixolydian modes and 20th century music history won't matter if you can't remember who composed Mozart's Requiem because your brain cells have died. And listen to Prof K. She sounds smart. Would you run the Twin Cities Marathon without training? Good Luck!
Karen B.

Naomi Welsh said...

The GREs are not fun. You probably know more than you think you do. I did find that a study guide helped, with its evil little practice tests. (I think it was Barron's or something, but they are probably all on CD-Rom now anyway. This was in 1990, for heaven's sake.) They do give you breaks between sections at the generals, at least. When you take the subject GRE you'll be in there with a bunch of random people, all taking different subjects. I took the Psych GRE next to someone taking the music GRE. The proctor says go, and then about four hours later the proctor says stop...at least that is MY (admittedly hazy) recollection. I thought I had bombed it, but I got a 96% or something, so I'm sure you'll be fine. Practice, practice, practice.

deb said...

You need to be test savvy (from Spanish: saber = to know).

You don't need to study exactly, but you do need to run through some practice tests so that you're familiar with the formats that they use.