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GRE: J’ai fini!

I’m done! No more standardized test-taking for me, ever again!

I finally took the GRE this week in Paris. The only testing location in the city is located in a suburb on the absolute other side of the city from where I live. So, my test day went something like this:

6:10 a.m. Wake up

7:00 a.m. Leave

7:20  a.m. Arrive at train station

7:30-8:10 a.m. Ride train into Paris

8:10-8:20 a.m. Quickly locate espresso

8:20-9:10 a.m. Ride several other metro lines, to their ends

9:10-9:30 a.m Walk to the testing location

9:31 a.m. Wait. Hmm…wasn’t I supposed to be here 30 minutes early? Why is the office still closed? Oh, right, I’m in France. I forgot.

9:40 a.m. Sign some waiver that promises to give my firstborn child to Educational Testing Services if I ever tell anyone about any of the test questions. Or something like that. It sounded serious.

9:45 a.m. Stuff my possessions into a locker, say a quick prayer, and sit in front of a computer.

10 a.m  – 1 p.m. Test time

At the end of the test, you instantly receive your scores, since the verbal and quantitative parts are all computerized. I was really scared because, honestly, I felt like I was making educated guesses on all the math problems. And the verbal portions, which had seemed really easy to me during practice, were quite hard (the reading comprehension ones, anyway).  And, while I’m at it, why did I memorize 5,000 words in my GRE Prep book only to find ONE of them on the exam?

Anyhow, I ended up getting a 680 on quantitative and 690 on verbal, which made me happy. It’s above the average scores for all the programs I am applying to, so it’s good enough for me. It would have been nice to have beaten my husband’s GMAT scores, at least in the verbal area, but I was 10 points off. Darn!

I came home and immediately threw my notebooks — full of vocabulary and equations I never used — into the trash. It felt great. I’m done!!! I feel like this huge weight has been shoved off my shoulders. I can finally relax – a bit – and enjoy my last few weeks in France. I still have to finish my applications, of course, but that can be done in small spurts of work, as opposed to studying, which you feel like you could always do more, always work a bit longer, etc. There’s no end to it. Until now.

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