Testing

Lots of tests coming up in the next couple of weeks.

In the next two weeks, I have:

  • The GRE
  • The midterm for my Security class
  • The midterm for my Networking class
  • The midterm for my History class (Civil War and Reconstruction)

And a week after those, I get to take the GRE CS exam. Of course, this is all on top of my normal course load (course readings, programming projects, research, the history paper I should be working on, etc.).

A friend of mine leant me his GRE prep book. Reading through it reminds me of back in high school when I took a class after school to prepare for the SAT and ACT. It’s pretty much the same thing, after all, which is why I’m not too worried about it. One thing I don’t like about using test prep materials is that it feels a little like cheating the system. If the idea behind the test is to judge your aptitude, learning all the tricks to how the different types of questions work seems like you’re trying to misrepresent your ability. But on the other hand, it’s obviously in your best interests to maximize the score you get; there’s no bonus points for acting on principle.

So anyway, there isn’t much in the GRE prep book that I hadn’t learned four or so years ago about the SAT or ACT. It’s more of a refresher for what I should be aware of instead of being anything really “new”. And yet my performance on a practice verbal section was less stellar than I had hoped. There’s still a few days until Tuesday, I suppose.

Which reminds me, I haven’t yet received an admission ticket for the GRE general exam, though I did get the one for the GRE CS subject exam. The computer-based GRE is outsourced to some other company (or something like that), so maybe they don’t use admission tickets? I ought to read through the brochure again to make sure.

One other thing about the GRE prep book: although it acknowledges that the GRE general exam is a computer-based adaptive test, the main text was clearly originally written for a more traditional, paper-based format; some of the sections seem to forget that you can’t easily cross choices out on a computer screen. At least, not without drawing the ire of the lab attendant.

The book also came with a CD with exams in the adaptive format on it. What do you suppose the chances of it running under Wine are? I’ll probably have to go into a computer lab to use it. It’d be nice to practice working under the crazy adaptive format at least once.

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