How to fail the GRE without really trying

A couple weeks ago Arielle and I happened upon the same special coupon discount outside Bobst Library. The fine folks at Kaplan were giving away a free GRE practice exam at the Wasserman Career Center on October 15!

Arielle and I don’t know a thing about the GRE. Didn’t. Now we do. We decided to sign up for the practice test without learning a single thing about the exam. The goal was to simply try it out and see what happened. And then maybe evaluate our futures appropriately afterward.

Disclosure: Arielle and I have not taken a math test since junior year of high school. When we did, we were not very good. Also, since enrolling at NYU Gallatin, we have not really taken any tests. At all. So needless to say we were unprepared for today, when we strolled into Palladium and headed to our date with destiny. Jai ho.

Even though this was a practice test, the stakes were high: The blogger with the highest exam score would be rewarded with a tasty treat of his or her choosing. And I really mean “his” because I assumed that I would win.

Our proctor, a squeaky clean, strapping young man in khakis and a freshly pressed blue button down, was there to greet us with a folder, exam booklet, and various Kaplan promotional materials. The proctor charmed us. He embodied the best qualities of an older brother, wise teacher, con artist, and dear friend. Things were getting off to a good start.

And then we opened up the math booklet and saw triangles. Isosceles triangles. We gulped as loud as cartoon characters and disproportionately large beads of sweat soaked through our clothes onto the carpet. After 35 minutes were up, Arielle was not looking so good.

But the verbal component would be a breeze, right? I mean, we thought, we go to Gallatin for crying out loud! If we’re not the best critical readers this side of Houston Street, then who is, right? We sped through this part of the test, looking up only to wink at one another and give air fives because we were so damn intelligent. We thought. More on that later.

Before we knew it, it was time for a break! A Kaplan representative sauntered over to us with a sizable bag of candy, from which we extracted our mid-test reward.

Soon eough, we returned for the last half of the exam. The questions were harder and we lost a little faith. There were more triangles, and Arielle and I floundered as we attempted to invent new mathematical theorems and tried to remember how to find the area of a circle. We couldn’t.

And then the exam was over! Just like that, we had taken our first step toward our bright, shining futurasdlfkhasdlfh…..

The proctor congratulated us on our accomplishment and reminded us, with a grin and a twinkle in his eye, that we could get $100 off any GRE prep course if we signed up today! Also we could get 20 percent off as NYU students! Then he winked at us, shook our hands, and stole our wallets. We strolled on over to another room to get our results and I dreamed of the tasty treat I would soon enjoy: a Coolhaus ice cream sandwich.

We stared at three stapled pieces of paper for a few perplexed seconds. There were lots of graphs, numbers, and charts and we really didn’t know how to interpret the results.

Luckily, a smiling Kaplan representative found us. After circling a bunch of things and checking off boxes she explained to us that we were….decidedly…..average???

Arielle turned white, like she had seen a ghost. I had other things on my mind.

“But wait, who had the better score?” I inquired. “Who gets the ice cream sandwich?”

The rep scratched her head, and then whipped out a calculator to find out. After a few tense seconds…at last…..she revealed…..

OK well let’s not make a big deal of this but Arielle got the better score. Moving on.

Now we were both upset because Arielle’s grad school dreams were sort of crushed and my ice cream dreams were melting before my eyes. I guess we said some pretty miserable things because the Kaplan rep ended up telling us to cheer up and sign up for a Kaplan course (WITH $100 OFF THE NORMAL PRICE IF YOU SIGN UP NOW!!!).

But we didn’t really feel like signing up for anything. After the rep scurried off, Arielle and I went over the questions in the exam. We were shocked that our verbal and math scores were pretty much the same, and pretty much mediocre. For a while we yelled at our test booklets and complained that the questions were dumb. But it wasn’t going to change the numbers on our pages.

So finally we just went outside and got that ice cream sandwich. And we split it as we nursed our wounded egos. Because that’s what blogger friends are for. Aww.

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One Comment on “How to fail the GRE without really trying”

  1. […] robbed me of the best of my youth: When I was 18 I was an energetic young thing. I knew how to do basic algebra and I could swim half a mile (Alright maybe it was just a quarter mile and maybe it was only once […]


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