Thursday, 19 July 2012

Mini torture sessions.

I finally sat for my GRE today! Over the past few days I was really excited to take on the challenge and get it over with, and I was in a pretty good mood when the exam started at nearly 1pm today (nervous, sure, but nothing like The Great Law School Meltdown of '08!).

I had a cucumber sandwich for breakfast (I think!), and my dad drove me the Sheraton Hotel for my exam. Up the elevator to the 15th floor I went, and into Prometric Testing Center for some paperwork to register, hand over my passport to verify my identity, and take a picture as evidence that I was sitting for my exam - not some hired nerd!

There were the two essay questions for Section 1 - discuss an issue, analyze an argument - nothing I couldn't take a deep breath and handle!

And then... Section 2 of 6: Math. At first I thought, "How bad can this be? I've studied all of it, practiced as much as I could tolerate - so it must mean that I'm going to be okay!". Alas, lol, how wrong an overly-optimistic student can be! Each question was progressively worse than the last, and when I was barely halfway through the 20-question section I had less than 15 minutes left on the timer. 35 minutes for 20 math questions may sound like a lot, but trust me, coming from a liberal arts background and not having had any formal mathematical education for the past 7 years - 35 minutes for 20 math questions isn't enough time at all! So yeah... I ran out of time and had to guess the last few questions. I've never been in a situation where I cried during an exam, but that 35-minute section nearly brought me to tears. I was sitting there thinking, "Oh noooo I'm gonna do so badly and not meet even the MINIMUM SCORE REQUIREMENTS, I'm going to have to retake this whole exam and study for it all over again and waste so much money!"

But anyway - nearly brought me to tears, but I stayed strong and held it together long enough to finish the damn section. When Section 2 was over and Section 3 was Verbal, I was hugely relieved - I think throughout my whole life I've found the verbal side of things much, much more enjoyable than anything involving numbers and calculations. :(

And then there was a 10-minute break. I went to the bathroom, sighed in the mirror wishing I had a better aptitude for math, and went to my locker and texted my mother and boyfriend about what a nightmare the math section was. :( That 10-minute break felt so damn long, I kept asking the invigilators if my timer had started yet - everything's computerized! - but one of them went to check and said, "Nope don't worry, 4 minutes to go" only to go "Err, sorry I looked at the wrong computer, your 10-minute break has ended". Lol.

So Section 4: Math again askjdkashdaskdhsakdashkjsda. But it wasn't as bad as Section 2 was. I probably knew how to do 10 questions and had to make up some reasoning for the other 10 haha. I'm sorry, but understanding mathematical principles and then applying them to cruelly-twisted math questions in the exam are two very different stories! If I had to count the volume of a cylinder during practice exercises, I had to count the difference between volume of a cylinder INSIDE a square, and the volume of the square! Or there was this one particularly sick question with a graph with y-axis, x-axis, four circles and a square in the middle of them, and some right angles and words like "perpendicular" in the description. :( And in that pressure cooker of an exam, with a timer and all, each math section was like a mini torture session - and I had to force myself to try the next question, and the next, and the next. NOTHING WAS EASY.

Section 5: Verbal. I was relieved when I saw the word "Verbal" but then the questions were so much harder than in Section 3. You know when there are "fill in the blank" questions, and you know what kinda word should go in the blank - but then you look at the answer choices, and you find out that you don't know the meaning of ANY of those answer choices? That was my stumbling block, for like the first 5 consecutive questions. I was wincing - literally, wincing! - at the unexpected difficulty level of the questions. It was like the exam took the hardest questions in every mock exam I've ever done, and crammed them all into that one section. :(

But no matter what, no Verbal section is harder than a Math section for me. Haha. After I finished Section 5, I pressed "Continue" and prayed and prayed that the last section would be a Verbal one. ENOUGH WITH THE MATH.

Section 6: Math.


I pushed myself through it, and finished it. Then I pressed Report Scores and prayed that I would at least meet the minimum requirements for the grad schools I'm applying to (minimum being 295 combined scores, or 153 verbal/142 math).



Now to wait nervously for 10-15 days for my essay scores to reach me! Classes for Honours resumes on Tuesday, meetings with my research supervisor recommence on Wednesday! And there's another exam I need to do - TOEFL or IELTS. :( Plus other grad school application stuff like admissions essays akjsdhaksdhas so many things to do.