By Sarah Fader
Pubilshed January 6, 2012
8:00am- Woke up to my daughter, Samara, crying. Changed her. Feed her breakfast. Drink fancy hot chocolate that I got for Chanukah
9:00am-Looked in my email for the GRE test site information.
9:00am- Came to the realization that there could be a problem with my IDs. I registered with my maiden name “Sarah Fader.” But all valid IDs that I have are in my married name “Sarah Fader-Van Luyn.
9:30am- After panicking for 30 minutes, call ETS and talk to an agent named Brandon who informs me that the test center has the right to “refuse me the right to take the exam. Brandon puts me on hold to speak to a “higher level department.”
9:45am- I hang up on Brandon and figure I’ll just show up at the test site with the IDs and see what happens.
10:00am- Get in the shower, get dressed and ready to leave for the test. My son Ari is asleep on the couch, recovering from a stomach virus. My husband, Wil, and our daughter, Samara, are playing in the middle room, while “Better Off Dead” with John Cusack is playing on the computer screen.
11:45am- I attempt to leave the house five times, but can’t find my keys. Finally I locate them, they were in Ari’s bed, and run out the door.
12:15pm- Get a good luck coffee and muffin at my favorite bakery.
12:33pm- Looking for parking near the test center.
12:45- Still looking for parking.
1:03pm- Still looking for parking, and getting really nervous.
1:11pm – Make an impulsive decision to park in a ridiculously expensive parking lot, knowing that this will overdraw my checking account, but cannot find another solution and know I need to get to the test center.
1:15pm – Run across the street, into the elevator, and up to the 11th floor.
1:23pm- Go through elaborate and scary process to check in for the exam. Sweat bullets as I hand the woman behind the desk at Prometrics my ID, which has a hole punched in it, but has my maiden name “Sarah Fader” on it.
1:24pm- Woman behind the desk says “Not this one!”
1:25pm- Still sweating, hand the woman an alternate ID that has my married name “Fader Van Luyn” on it. Hold my breath and pray. She says nothing, but hands me a long black and white form and asks me to complete an extremely long sentence in cursive about how I won’t talk about the GRE to anyone after I take it.
1:26pm- I write the sentence in horrible cursive and keep obsessing over whether she will say something about the ID.
1:35pm – She doesn’t say anything.
1:40pm- I am sitting with two other test takers waiting to be frisked for any cheat sheets or weapons. In the meantime, we talk about how ineffective and nonsensical the GRE is, and how it is not an accurate indicator of how well one will do in graduate school.
1:44pm- My name is called and I am told to turn out my pockets, I am frisked for weapons, no joke.
1:47pm- I sign yet another form.
1:52pm- I finally start the exam on the computer.
1:58pm- As I get to each question, I realize why I wanted untimed testing in the first place, and become angrier and angrier as I have trouble understanding the large blocks of text that the ETS people refer to as “reading comprehension.”
3:00pm- I am starving and can’t wait for the test to be over.
3:30pm- I realize that I’ve forgotten most of the math I’ve ever learned.
4:00pm- I finally finish and get my scores- 148 Verbal, 138 Math. I don’t know what they mean, exactly, but I know they don’t sound very good.
4:15pm- One of the other test takers and I commiserate about how much we hate standardized test taking.
4:30pm- I overdraw my checking account paying for parking.
5:00pm- I arrive home, and post about the experience on Facebook.
5:30pm- I obsessively look on the internet for what my scores mean. I find out that I am in the 7th percentile for math, and the 40th percentile for verbal. I want to cry, but instead, go out to a fancy Italian dinner with my husband and try to forget about ETS, Prometrics, and PEMDAS.
Follow Sarah in her application adventures:
The GRE Approaches | Facing My GRE Phobia
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