Well it is over. Yay! I have to tell you it was the most stressful thing I’ve done so far in this saga of continuing my education. While I didn’t take the old format of the GRE, the new one still smoked my brain. I told my boyfriend that if he was there, looking into the camera screen, he would see fumes pouring out my ears, because the cogs in the wheels of my mind were working overtime.
I have to say that taking this type of Exam was indeed an adventure. The test center was in another city (Dahlonega) about an hour and half from my house over Blood Mountain. Winding around hair-pin curves, I grew anxious the closer I got. The instructions said that if I was not there 30 minutes before the test began, they would close the door and I wouldn’t be allowed in, thus forfeiting the costly fee. I had 20 minutes to go and I hadn’t even reached the bottom of the mountain yet.
The driving directions weren’t all that great from the map I pulled from the website, but I managed to find the location with five minutes to spare. Told to take a seat in the row of desk lining the wall outside the exam room, I was given a clipboard and forced to fill out paperwork. 45 minutes later, I was escorted into a small room just outside the main exam area. TVA and airport security doesn’t have anything on these people. Told to stand upon a white line, I was wanded with a metal detector from head to toe. Then the lady in charge told me to pull out my pockets, lift up my pant legs, show her my wrists under my sweater. There was some tension for a moment when I showed them my DL because I signed up under Connie Wallace instead of Constance Wallace. (I got a very stern glare). They didn’t know if I could be allowed in to take the test with the name difference. I may not be who I said I was and could be taking the test for Constance Wallace. 0.O I shrugged my shoulders and said that I forgot the formalities when I was signing up on-line. After they made me drag out every bit of information in my wallet, including two credit cards, my college student ID, and my Rite-Aid discount card, they finally noted that they would just have to do a report on me and hope that ETS didn’t reject my scores because of it. WHAT!!!!????
I next had to put all my stuff into a locker and was told that I could not take off my sweater or shoes in the enclosed testing area. I had cowboy boots on, I don’t think I would be able to take them off without some help. Next I was buzzed into THE room. This testing area was behind double pane glass that reminded me of bullet proof glass. (I wondered for a brief moment, if there had been individuals before who may have went crazy in the testing center. A quick mental picture of straitjackets flashed before my eyes.) The lady who escorted me in had me stand against the wall until she readied my cube. Then she motioned me over and told me to sit there and not to get up. If I needed to go to the bathroom I had to raise my hand. NO talking to anyone either she whispered. While I was signing in to the computer I looked up and saw a camera aimed right at me. It reminded me of Big Brother in George Orwell’s “1984.” I suddenly felt very conscious of every movement.
After 4 and 1/2 hours of staring into the screen clicking ”A, B, C or D,” I finished. The screen gave me my scores. 152 in Verbal and 144 in Math. (Have to wait on the analytical writing part). I did a quick scan on the internet to find out how the new test scores are compiled and what makes a good score. Both sections are graded on a scale of 130 to 170. (150 – 155 is about average). It’s about what I expected. I’m pretty average and I’m okay with that. Hopefully, as I apply to graduate programs for my Masters and then PhD education, I won’t have to retake the GRE. I’d rather rub poison ivy on my arms.