It is currently 21 Nov 2018, 07:40
My Tests

Close

GMAT Club Daily Prep

Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

Customized
for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Track
Your Progress

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance

Practice
Pays

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Not interested in getting valuable practice questions and articles delivered to your email? No problem, unsubscribe here.

What the GRE really tests?

  Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  
Author Message
1 KUDOS received
Director
Director
User avatar
Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 594
GRE 1: Q165 V161
Followers: 92

Kudos [?]: 435 [1] , given: 64

What the GRE really tests? [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2014, 13:52
1
This post received
KUDOS
Expert's post
The GRE General Test is not a math test. Nor is it a vocabulary test. Well, okay, you do have to know about these topics in order to get a good score. But this test is really testing your executive reasoning skills.

The term might be unfamiliar, but you already have—and use—these skills every day. Here are some examples:


You arrive at work in the morning and think about all of the things that you could do that day. You can’t get it all done, so which things will have to wait until this afternoon, or tomorrow, or next week? Which one thing should you start working on first?

You are faced with a list of 20 unread emails (or, if your inbox is more like mine, about 80). Which ones do you read first? The oldest ones? The ones from your boss? The ones marked urgent? Are there some that you won’t even click on right now because you know, from the sender’s name or from the subject line, that those emails aren’t very important? (And how did that one spam message get through the filter?)

You have a choice between working on Product X or Project Y. Project Y will result in about 5% more revenue to the company, but Project Y will also take 50% longer. Which do you do?



None of those decisions are easy ones (and many would likely require more information than I gave in the little scenario). This complex decision making is exactly what a good executive needs to be able to do well—and this is what the test writers and graduate schools actually care about.

The math problems, vocab questions, and reading passages on the General Test are ultimately tools to allow the exam writers to test you on your decision-making ability. The Subject Tests are the ones that assess you more on your domain-specific expertise.


None of those decisions are easy ones (and many would likely require more information than I gave in the little scenario). This complex decision making is exactly what a good executive needs to be able to do well—and this is what the test writers and graduate schools actually care about.

The math problems, vocab questions, and reading passages on the General Test are ultimately tools to allow the exam writers to test you on your decision-making ability. The Subject Tests are the ones that assess you more on your domain-specific expertise.


How does that help me take the test?



The first step is really to internalize the fact that they don’t expect you to get everything right, any more than you would expect to clear every last thing in your inbox today. You have to prioritize.

A great decision-maker has both expertise and experience: she’s thought about how to make various kinds of decisions, and she’s actually practiced and refined these decision-making processes. While the clock is ticking, she doesn’t hesitate to make a decision and move forward, knowing that she’s going to be leaving some opportunities behind.

In order to do that successfully in the real world, you need to know the company or institution’s goals and objectives, and you have to have a good idea of the kind of impact that various tasks or activities will have on the overall organization. You also have to have a lot of practice in making these decisions and observing the outcomes. There’s never just one right way to make these decisions, so the more exposure you give yourself to how things work, the better you’ll be able to make good decisions in future.

The same is true for the GRE: if you know how it works, and you know what kinds of trade-offs to think about when deciding how to spend your time, then you can learn how to make the best decisions to maximize your score.



Okay, how does the GRE work?


Glad you asked. The information I’m about to discuss is talked about everywhere, but I still encounter students nearly every day who tell me that they just can’t give up on a question. They figure that, if they “know” they can get something right, they might as well take the time to get it right, even when that means running out of time later on.

(Note: I put “know” in question marks there because… well, you don’t really know. : ) First, you could make a careless mistake at any time. Second, if you need a lot of extra time to do a problem, then something is problematic. You might still get it right, but your odds go way down if something is problematic.)

So here’s what you need to do: you need to grow up.

I’m not saying “Oh, grow up!” in a harsh way. I’m saying that you need to graduate from school. The way that we were trained to do things at university is often not the way things work in the real world. You already know this—you learned it when you got out into the working world (whether that was a part-time summer job or whether you’ve been working for years).

At university, it’s not that uncommon to ask for extra time on a paper or assignment; some professors won’t allow this, but many do, as long as the work is still done in a reasonable timeframe.

It’s not so easy to ask for an extension in the real world. You’d better have a very good reason as to why it would be better to extend the deadline than to stay up all night and finish the project on time. Also, you would be expected to bring this to your boss’ attention several weeks before the deadline, at the least. Expect a very unhappy boss if you don’t say anything until the day before!

Further, if you think that a work assignment is approaching a problem in the wrong way, then you can discuss that with your boss or your team and change the mechanism or the scope of the work or whatever it is that you think is “off.” Try going to your professor and saying, “I know you assigned us these problem sets, but I think it’d actually be more productive if we worked in groups on a project.”

In school, you’re supposed to do what the professors assign. At work, you’re supposed to think for yourself.

So get yourself out of school. Graduate to the real world. Approach the GRE as a test of your common-sense work ability and decision-making skills. The test just happens to include some school subjects in the details of the questions.


Graduation Day


If you can graduate to the “real-world” mindset, you’ll have a much better shot at hitting your goal score. If you stick with the “school” mindset, then you’re almost certainly not going to get the score you want.

So, first, keep reminding yourself that the GRE is a decision-making test, not an academic test. React accordingly
_________________

My GRE Resources
Free GRE resources | GRE Prep Club Quant Tests
If you find this post helpful, please press the kudos button to let me know ! :)

Intern
Intern
Joined: 05 Apr 2018
Posts: 2
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 1 [0], given: 0

Re: What the GRE really tests? [#permalink] New post 05 Apr 2018, 07:07
Thanks for your refreshing "decision-making" perspective on the purpose of taking the GRE. It's really helpful to instill a bit of positive mindset towards taking the GRE as being somewhat meaningful in the bigger picture of life, as opposed to being a completely meaningless but necessary obstacle to grad school.
Re: What the GRE really tests?   [#permalink] 05 Apr 2018, 07:07
Display posts from previous: Sort by

What the GRE really tests?

  Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  


GRE Prep Club Forum Home| About| Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy| GRE Prep Club Rules| Contact

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group

Kindly note that the GRE® test is a registered trademark of the Educational Testing Service®, and this site has neither been reviewed nor endorsed by ETS®.