Applying to graduate school is stressful, but being prepared for the Graduate Records Examination makes the process easier, said Steve Saladin, a license psychologist at the University of Idaho Counseling and Testing Center.
To better prepare UI students, the CTC hosted a GRE Preparation and Panel Seminar Wednesday. Saladin said the purpose of this seminar was to make more people aware of the nuances that surround the GRE, such as how much it costs, when prospective students should take it and what to expect from the test itself.
“We have done seminars in the past,” he said. “However, this is the first time there will be a panel.”
The panel consisted of three UI students who recently completed the test and
applying to graduate schools.
Saladin said the panel allowed for students to ask questions of what worked and what didn’t, instead of speculating about what should be done.
John Wakkinen, a UI senior in athletic training and pre-physical therapy who has already been accepted to graduate school, encouraged the audience to start studying for the test early.
“The test isn’t that hard,” he said. “You just have to make sure you have good time management as far as studying for it.”
Both Julia Workman, a UI senior in range ecology and management, and Michelle Mollison, also a senior in athletic training and pre-physical therapy, said that studying early and a little bit every week was one of the best ways to prepare for the test.
When audience members asked about the hardest part of the test, all three members of the panel said it was the vocabulary section.
Geometry and writing were also tough aspects of the test, but Mollison said it helps to understand how the test is scored and to know you can skip certain sections.
Wakkinen said taking the timed practice test also helps, as it creates time management skills.
Mollison agreed, and said before anyone takes the actual test, they should take a timed practice test online to get a true feeling of how the test will be.
“The test is not hard,” Workman said. “It has just been awhile since you have learned a lot of the material, so you have to make sure you brush up on everything.”
The GRE scores are available for seven years and most of the material is learned in high school, Mollison said.
“So, if you are a freshmen, your score will probably be better,” she said. “This is one of the tests you want to take sooner, rather than later.”
The panel spent 30 minutes answering questions people had and giving advice from their personal experiences.
“This is really awesome,” said Jessica Striffler, a part-time UI student who is thinking about graduate school.
She said she had a friend who had to take the test twice because she was not prepared the first time, so getting advice and finding out more information about the test was helpful to her.
“They made the test look a bit more positive,” she said of the members of the panel.
She said they also made it easy to find where to find help, such as websites that give free practice material.
Striffler said last time she tried to go to a session like this, not enough people showed up and
it was cancelled, so she was happy many more people came.
Saladin said having an information session is important to those who will be taking the test.
“Being more aware will help students come into the test a lot more relaxed,” he said. “Which means they will more likely do better.”
Allison Griffith can be reached at email@example.com