The GRE is a test much like the SAT that is used to help measure people for graduate school. I will be taking the GRE today in order to attempt to get into graduate school for Economics. Most Economics school only care about the quantitative as a Professor of mine illustrated with his scores at the University of Chicago. The disadvantage I have is that I write essays well and understand the material but fall easily to multiple choice traps. Is it true that the GRE is a good test of how well you will do in graduate school?

In undergraduate school, I have graduated in 3 1/2 years and over a 3.0 GPA but my SAT scores were just a little over average. I know plenty of people who entered the same school I did with higher SAT scores and they are struggling more. I believe it may have something to do with overconfidence. In fact, I know of one case where someone’s SAT scores were so high they thought they could apply to one top tier school and get in. They didn’t and now they are at a school with much less caliber than my own.

The GRE today will pretty much decide if I get into the school of my dreams. The same school that inspired me to move from law school to economics, the same school that I know and love the faculty and content, and the same school that inspired this blog. Maybe it is true that a Economics graduate degree is heavy in math but is taking this test about high school math that throws every trick at you without a calculator what is real in graduate school.

In the view of the school, you might say that it is rational for them. Even if there isn’t a direct correlation between GRE and success in their program, it is probably a better predictor without the test scores. One of the main problems is that these tests do not measure drive. The fact that I have graduated in 3 1/2 years and am taking graduate classes next spring without evening being in a degree program show drive. The fact that I have hired a tutor to help me figure all the tricks out shows drive.

At the one place in which I was taught that hard work pays off and slackers do not, they will judge my life by one test.


Published in: on December 22, 2008 at 1:39 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. The GRE is important, but at most schools it isn’t the end all and be all as you make it out to be. Also, I think it’s mostly a worthless exam and the only empirical evidence I’ve seen shows that it’s not a good predictor of performance after conditioning on other covariates. Nonetheless the schools use it anyway….

    If you haven’t yet been to the Economics TestMagic forums, I highly recommend it:

    Good luck pursuing your graduate education!

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