Give me a qualitative analysis of the GRE.
October 28, 2008 7:31 AM Subscribe
At the very last minute, I'm applying to grad school to get my PhD in English. Hooray! Except that I'm abysmal
at math. How much will that hurt my chance at top PhD programs in English? Because I've got two weeks to A) teach myself basic algebra for the GRE, and B) stop psyching myself out to the point of panic attacks.
I always figured I'd go back to grad school eventually to study English and teach, and this decision feels really right. Too bad I reached it three days ago. My first pick among English programs has an admission deadline of 12/1.
Here I was, worrying about whether I should write a statement of purpose about postcolonial feminism or new-history theory, and ha ha, I can't multiply decimals. I've always struggled at math, but since I haven't touched it since high school, I am exponentially dumber than when I took the SAT.
Let's assume I will do well at verbal and writing on the GRE. Let's assume I produce a sterling 20-page admission essay and a humbly ambitious statement of purpose. Let's assume I earn disappointing marks on quantitative. How much will (really) low quantitative scores mar my overall English PhD candidacy?
My time is very limited. Because I anticipate that quantitative is going to put a huge chink in my armor, I'm tempted to spend most of my time perfecting a good essay, drafting an impressive statement of purpose, and beefing up my verbal abilities, which is where I shine on tests. This strategy also has a whiff of avoidance to it: throwing my hands up in the air because I can't juggle quadratic equations.
Secondly, how I stop freaking myself out about this? I crack open these GRE math study books and I am near-tears with terror that I'm blowing my chances at an academic future.
Thirdly, what books helped you out? I've got til November 17th to reacquaint myself with math concepts.
Lastly, if anyone has good or bad anecdotes or words of advice, please, lob them at me. I'm slightly adrift in my priorities and insecurities, and I need some perspective. I'm applying mainly to schools in Chicago, but I'm currently in NYC, if that helps.