The Road to a PhD Program: One Step Forward...

I took the airport bus from Vienna Erdberg to Bratislava Airport (€20 round-trip) to take the GRE on Tuesday. The good news: the GRE is finally over. The bad news: my score was not what I'd hoped for. My verbal score had been much higher on the practice test I took, which lulled me into a false sense of security. Had it not been for that, maybe I would have studied more vocabulary and taken more time preparing. There's always more you can do and also more you can blame yourself for not having done.

There were also a couple of pleasant surprises, however. The first was that the experimental section of the GRE, which is usually hidden among the others, was stated explicitly and was optional. I found that fantastic. It came at the end, so I didn't have to worry about my score being dragged down by having the math section that counted come at the end of a three-hour test when I was worn out and ready to melt into the drain on the floor like that one Star Trek character from the show I obviously only watched once or twice. No really.

The other surprise was my math score: it was 90 points higher than on the practice test, which brought it up to where I thought I ought to be according to my own assessment of my math skills (nothing spectacular, but decent).

Overall, the total score was 20 points higher than the practice test score, but 450% of that gain was the math section. The actual verbal test seemed easier than the practice test, too! I was shocked when I saw the result.

For me, interested in a line of study/career that would involve a lot of analytical writing, the analytical writing section of the test is probably the most important. That has to be graded by a human, so I won't know about that score for another two weeks, probably. I am hoping essentially for a perfect score. That may be a little over-the-top, but that would save the rest of the GRE for me so... why not? I've aimed high and I'm hoping I've hit the target. If not, well, one of my favorite expressions is: "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it." You can't control everything (but you are free to try as much as you like ;-) ).


  1. Always worth your time to reflect on an important test/ performance. Good luck on the analytical section! (Though, I'm confident you did well)

  2. Nice blog! I like your writing way. I'm doing practice GRE here: . I hope it's useful for GRE test takers.


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