advice on retaking PGRE?

s87
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advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby s87 » Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:36 am

I took the PGRE in October and did *very* poorly (less than 25th percentile, yikes). This doesn't reflect my ability in physics at all; I have an A- average in physics at a US ivy league school. Since then I have finally gotten my learning disability diagnosed (something I always knew I had, but never bothered to get officially diagnosed), so now I qualify for 50% extra time when I retake the test in November, which I expect to help a lot, but I still need to get faster/more accurate at doing the problems. On practice tests, if I give myself unlimited time I can do very well, but when I try to hurry I lose accuracy very quickly. And even with 50% extra time, I still need to speed up.

I'd really appreciate any advice you have for studying the second time around. The first time I had a study group with two other physics students. We would take one of the available practice tests on our own, and then get together to go over each problem twice, and then repeat with the next practice test, also keeping running lists of frequently-used formulas to memorize. This time I won't have a study group, and I've already taken all but one of the available practice tests (obviously I can take them again, but since I've already seen the material it won't be as effective). What would you recommend I do in the 9 weeks I have until the test?

tau1777
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby tau1777 » Sat Jan 31, 2009 12:48 pm

i was thinking about re-taking the test in april and indeed the hardest thing was to find a way to increase my speed, and also find new questions. as far as the new questions i would recommend the New York State regents exam. these are dumb easy, but you might be surprised if you get one or two wrong as it happened to me. since they are so easy i was using them to gain speed. i tried this by giving myself half the allowed time; to answer the 50 multiple choice questions.

after these were done i was going to move on the the multiple choice questions on the AP exams for physic, i was using a Princeton Review book, and then moving on too the SAT II for physics. i was thinking of giving myself 3/4 the allowed time as these tests are harder and the question style are similar to the ones on the GRE. of course nothing is perfect. none of these tests really have any questions on QM and some other topics.

so to make up for these i was just planning on using the four tests that are released. yes i had seen all of these before, but as i planned to study them in March it would have been a couple of months since i last saw them so maybe i'd forgotten some of them.

hope this helps.

nathan12343
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby nathan12343 » Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:40 pm

Schaum's outlines are a good source of review, worked problems, and other unworked problems. The books are also very cheap.

See: http://www.amazon.com/000-Solved-Problems-Physics-Schaums/dp/0070257345/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233434343&sr=8-1

cato88
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby cato88 » Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:41 pm

The AP questions are really good because they are at the level of the PGRE in its current state (the questions have become easier but more calculation,An SAT approach not like the exam was in 1986 or before) except that you only get questions in E&M and Mechanics and Thermo if you use AP Physics B.

IMPORTANT- FROM THE CURRENT EXAMS ETS LIKES ADDING ONE OR TWO QUESTIONS WHICH YOU CANNOT DERIVE FROM FIRST PRINCIPLES OR ANY KNOWLEDGE FROM STANDARD UNDERGRAD CURRICULUM. THESE QUESTIONS ARE ALOT LIKE A US HISTORY QUESTION BUT THEY ARE USUALLY ON SOME EXPERIMENTAL RESULT THAT IS RECEIVING ALOT OF ATTENTION IN THE PHYSICS COMMUNITY AND COULD BE PREPARED BY READING ABOUT NOBEL PRIZE WINNING RESEARCH IN THE NOBEL PRIZE SITE. IF YOU HAVE TIME READ THE NOBEL SITE AND TRY TO GET AN IDEA OF THE BACKGROUND FOR THE RESEARCH AND HOW IT CHANGED CURRENT THOUGHT.

s87
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby s87 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:47 pm

Thanks for the heads up, cato88. Though to be honest, I can't say I noticed any such questions in the test I took in October. But maybe I just didn't notice they were unusual.

nonick
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby nonick » Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:06 pm

s87 wrote:Thanks for the heads up, cato88. Though to be honest, I can't say I noticed any such questions in the test I took in October. But maybe I just didn't notice they were unusual.

There was a question about kaons and the symmetry breaking... I don't remember exactly cause I just skipped it, but I believe it was connected to the 2008 Noble Prize winner's research.

s87
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby s87 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:43 pm

hmm... ok, I vaguely remember that. I'm pretty sure I skipped it.

swepi
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby swepi » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:30 pm

cato88 wrote:IMPORTANT- FROM THE CURRENT EXAMS ETS LIKES ADDING ONE OR TWO QUESTIONS WHICH YOU CANNOT DERIVE FROM FIRST PRINCIPLES OR ANY KNOWLEDGE FROM STANDARD UNDERGRAD CURRICULUM. THESE QUESTIONS ARE ALOT LIKE A US HISTORY QUESTION BUT THEY ARE USUALLY ON SOME EXPERIMENTAL RESULT THAT IS RECEIVING ALOT OF ATTENTION IN THE PHYSICS COMMUNITY AND COULD BE PREPARED BY READING ABOUT NOBEL PRIZE WINNING RESEARCH IN THE NOBEL PRIZE SITE. IF YOU HAVE TIME READ THE NOBEL SITE AND TRY TO GET AN IDEA OF THE BACKGROUND FOR THE RESEARCH AND HOW IT CHANGED CURRENT THOUGHT.


I took the Oct. 2008 PGRE and did see a question that concerned measurements taken by the COBE (COsmic Background Explorer) which concerned the structure of the CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background radiation) and the anisotropy therein. Smoot and Mather were awarded Nobel prizes in 2006 for the measurement and interpretation of the data. If someone knows more about this, please feel free to post.

Either way, I skipped the question because I didn't remember the relevant result, but out of a hundred questions, I only saw one of this type. I would say, if you have time you might want to browse the Nobel prize lectures to see what is going on in current physics. However, I remember seeing more questions regarding the Doppler effect, so don't forget about the basics.

s87
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby s87 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:46 pm

I definitely remember that question. It basically asked what the wavelength of microwaves is. True it can't be derived from first principles, but you don't have to be familiar with CMB physics to know that microwaves are roughly centimeter wavelengths. I lucked out on that one, as CMB is my specialty.

cato88
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby cato88 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:14 pm

swepi wrote:I took the Oct. 2008 PGRE and did see a question that concerned measurements taken by the COBE (COsmic Background Explorer) which concerned the structure of the CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background radiation) and the anisotropy therein. Smoot and Mather were awarded Nobel prizes in 2006 for the measurement and interpretation of the data. If someone knows more about this, please feel free to post.

Either way, I skipped the question because I didn't remember the relevant result, but out of a hundred questions, I only saw one of this type. I would say, if you have time you might want to browse the Nobel prize lectures to see what is going on in current physics. However, I remember seeing more questions regarding the Doppler effect, so don't forget about the basics.


That is why I suggested that it is certainly something you should do if you have extra time. From my experience with Oct/Nov there is always one or two questions like that just like there is usually one or two Lagrangian yet everyone always pops out Goldstein or Marion and Thorton and overstudies for one or two Lagrangian problems but understudies on the straight memorization problems that the PGRE is seeming to move towards. The other benefit is that it is a straight memorization problem that you either know or dont but if you do you know the answer you get a raw point that corresponds to about 10 scaled in a matter of a few seconds. Compare that with some of the longer relativity or mechanics calculations that are not worth more despite the time drain they are. It is an excellent way to distinguish yourself because you get one raw point and relative to most of the other test takers your distancing yourself two raw points away from them in seconds.

mhazelm
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby mhazelm » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:51 pm

Hey s87,

How do you get a problem diagnosed? I have severe anxiety issues resulting from post traumatatic stress (long story), and I'm wondering if I can somehow also get extra time because of the anxiety. It sounds like it's not a big deal, but it was/is - it makes me quite sick and prevents me from thinking as clearly as usual. I have no idea where to start though in terms of having it reported to ETS, etc.

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grae313
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby grae313 » Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:51 pm

mhazelm wrote:Hey s87,

How do you get a problem diagnosed? I have severe anxiety issues resulting from post traumatatic stress (long story), and I'm wondering if I can somehow also get extra time because of the anxiety. It sounds like it's not a big deal, but it was/is - it makes me quite sick and prevents me from thinking as clearly as usual. I have no idea where to start though in terms of having it reported to ETS, etc.


You have to get it diagnosed by a qualified physician. Go to your school's general advising. They should have experience dealing with this and can tell you where to go to find the right physician. It costs money. Once you have the proverbial "note from your doctor," it shouldn't be too hard to track down who you need to send it to at ETS or wherever else you ever have to take an official test ever again. Universities are required by law as well to give you more time if you have this "note".

s87
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby s87 » Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:25 pm

mhazelm wrote:Hey s87,

How do you get a problem diagnosed? I have severe anxiety issues resulting from post traumatatic stress (long story), and I'm wondering if I can somehow also get extra time because of the anxiety. It sounds like it's not a big deal, but it was/is - it makes me quite sick and prevents me from thinking as clearly as usual. I have no idea where to start though in terms of having it reported to ETS, etc.


Mhazelm,
If you're currently at University, contact your Disability Support Services or Office of Student Life, or whatever seems to be your equivalent (if you're not sure which office to contact, go ask a Dean). Make an appointment with someone in the appropriate office to talk about getting your anxiety problems diagnosed (tell them you want to talk to someone about getting a test-taking disability diagnosed). They'll be able to refer you to qualified psychologists in your area (for anxiety, you'll need to see a psychologist, not a regular physician... I saw a neuropsychologist for my dyslexia). If you're not still in university, call your regular doctor and ask for a referral. Or, if you've already had your anxiety officially diagnosed, you'll probably want to contact that Doctor if possible.

Once you've found a psychologist, they'll evaluate you, run whatever tests they need, etc. If the psychologist finds that you do indeed deserve extra time on exams, he or she will write up a report to that effect (ETS is more picky about thorough documentation than a school would be, so make sure the psychologist evaluating you knows the report is for ETS and is aware of the ETS documentation guidelines).

Then you fill out a couple of ETS disability forms and send those forms, the regular registration form, your testing fee, and a signed copy of your disability report from the psychologist to ETS for evaluation (note you CANT register online if you're seeking disability accommodations of any kind). They'll get back to you in writing within 6 weeks (still waiting to hear back on mine). The letter will either let you know they've approved your accommodations or it will say why they did not.

The ETS disability forms and more information on the procedures and standards for documentation are available on their website. Go to http://www.ets.org/gre and click on "test takers with disabilities" under the Test Takers heading. That will bring you to the page with all the guidelines and forms.

I hope that helps. Good luck to you in getting your extra time.

Edit: Incidentally, Grae313 is right, psychologists can be quite expensive, even with insurance. I don't know anything about the anxiety diagnosis process, but for anyone reading this who's interested in dyslexia diagnosis, be aware virtually all US insurance companies do not recognize learning disabilities (dyslexia and other related issues) since they're considered not a "medical problem", so the evaluation is not covered at all and you pay the full cost of the learning disability portion of your evaluation out of pocket (over $1000 typically), so be prepared to pay a lot. Conversely, ADD/ADHD is usually recognized and at least partially covered.

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grae313
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby grae313 » Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:13 pm

s87 wrote:Edit: Incidentally, Grae313 is right, psychologists can be quite expensive, even with insurance. I don't know anything about the anxiety diagnosis process, but for anyone reading this who's interested in dyslexia diagnosis, be aware virtually all US insurance companies do not recognize learning disabilities (dyslexia and other related issues) since they're considered not a "medical problem", so the evaluation is not covered at all and you pay the full cost of the learning disability portion of your evaluation out of pocket (over $1000 typically), so be prepared to pay a lot. Conversely, ADD/ADHD is usually recognized and at least partially covered.


Thanks for clarifying the details. My knowledge comes from a friend of mine who was looking to get diagnosed for test anxiety, so it is not first hand.

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twistor
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:30 pm

Holy ***!... there's a way to get more time?!

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twistor
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby twistor » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:37 pm

... and grae313, you are 2 posts away from the big 10^3.....

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grae313
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby grae313 » Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:00 pm

post

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grae313
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby grae313 » Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:00 pm

whore

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coreycwgriffin
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby coreycwgriffin » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:00 am

grae313 wrote:whore


I've been to a lot of forums, but this is a pretty good thousandth post.

s87
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby s87 » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:36 am

twistor wrote:Holy ***!... there's a way to get more time?!


Twistor,

Yes, test takers with certain documented disabilities that significantly affect processing speed (like reading disorders) or significantly disrupt the time spent on the test (like severe anxiety disorders or ADHD) can receive additional time (typically 50% extra time, occasionally 100% extra time) on standardized tests in the US (and possibly other countries, but I know nothing about that).

In the United States, the Americans With Disabilities Act guarantees, among other things, non-discrimination against people with disabilities in standardized testing. Expecting test-takers with certain disabilities under "typical" testing conditions is considered an unfair disadvantage and therefore discrimination in some cases. So test-takers with certain disabilities must receive accommodations to make the testing fair. Those accommodations might be extra time, a reader, a recorder (i.e. someone to fill in the bubbles on the scantron for you), extra un-timed rest-breaks, a separate quiet room, large print test book, extra scratch paper, various assistive devices, or many other things.

Long story short, yeah, you can get extra time or any number of other accommodations. But just to be clear, accommodations aren't just for people who are "bad at tests" or did poorly on their first try or just want extra time. They're for people who genuinely need and deserve extra time (or whatever else) because of a disability in order to be graded on a fair scale. And any US testing agency is required by law to provide those accommodations.

I'd assume the rules would be the same for people taking the GRE outside the US since it's still all the same company, but I'm not sure.

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WhatCanYouDoFermi?
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby WhatCanYouDoFermi? » Wed Feb 25, 2009 2:50 am

I'm sorry, but since I am anonymous I will go ahead and say that this is total bullshit. Getting extra time is cheating. Apparently we want everyone to get the same score, so we should assign an allotted amount of time based on your 'natural ability' so that everyone scores about the same, kind of like a handicap in golf.

cato88
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby cato88 » Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:45 am

s87 wrote:Long story short, yeah, you can get extra time or any number of other accommodations. But just to be clear, accommodations aren't just for people who are "bad at tests" or did poorly on their first try or just want extra time. They're for people who genuinely need and deserve extra time (or whatever else) because of a disability in order to be graded on a fair scale. And any US testing agency is required by law to provide those accommodations.

I'd assume the rules would be the same for people taking the GRE outside the US since it's still all the same company, but I'm not sure.

Im not sure I would take it as far as Whatcanyoudo but if you can get extra time on ADHD , Autism or "Test Anxiety" I would have to agree that is complete bs especially since all three of those things are overdiagnosed and the psychologist is given so much leeway diagnosing those that I believe anyone on this forum who tried could get diagnosed for at least two of those three.

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quizivex
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby quizivex » Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:55 am

grae313 wrote:post
grae313 wrote:whore
What a shameful way to reach 1000. Just like twistor, who for the past year has been splitting single sentences into double posts just to up his count, lol :wink: ...
twistor wrote:Holy ***!... there's a way to get more time?!
twistor wrote:.. and grae313, you are 2 posts away from the big 10^3.....
Lol. As for getting extra time, yea I think it's BS in most cases. Some people genuinely have problems and that's sad, but the world isn't going to slow down for them whenever they need it. Treating them as special in school is a disservice because it's not preparing them for the real world. They need to try their best to overcome the problems. Allowing these special priveleges only lets students (and parents) abuse them. It's easy to get yourself diagnosed with anything. And often even for the mildest cases of XYZ syndrome, students are given a carte blanche to do anything they want. One of my HS teachers got a job at another school and he told me it really bothered him teaching there because over half the students had IEPs (Individualized Education Programs... aka special priveleges). He said, "Nowadays the only students who are special are the ones who aren't special."

Once such a significant percentage of students get these special priveleges, the rest of the students basically need to get themselves diagnosed to stay competitive with their classmates. There was a girl in my HS physics class who had a "problem" and instead of allowing her a fair percentage of extra time on exams, she was allowed unlimited time. So she could just sit with the test for hours and hours, often over two days, which means she'd obviously be able to look up stuff in between.

Anyway,

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mhazelm
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby mhazelm » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:45 pm

Obviously none of you understand what it's like to have a disability.

I'm not sure if I understand either - my problems are mostly result of post traumatic stress anxiety, and I might not qualify for extra time, either.

But I don't think any of you have a right to call people with genuine disabilities "cheaters" because they seek accommodation for them. It could be you someday (think you're too good to develop a problem? Just wait. Many disabilities don't strike until you're past your adolescence. Or childhood, for some of you). Try to have some compassion. ETS doesn't let anybody just waltz in and take extra time. You have to go to great lengths to show that you have a disability. That is much more effort than a "cheater" would ever be willing to put into anything.

cato88
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby cato88 » Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:37 pm

mhazelm wrote:Try to have some compassion. ETS doesn't let anybody just waltz in and take extra time. You have to go to great lengths to show that you have a disability. That is much more effort than a "cheater" would ever be willing to put into anything.

I think youre underestimating cheaters. I also still think its BS and if you need another reason think about poorer people with disabilities who can not afford to get diagnosed and ultimately get accommodations. A whole lot of people dont even have basic medical insurance, psychiatric benefits are a pipe dream for them. Only two groups who benefit rich cheaters who are willing to spend the time and money to get diagnosed which is unfair to everyone and rich people who might possibly legitimately possess the disability which is unfair to the poorer population.

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coreycwgriffin
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby coreycwgriffin » Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:51 pm

Just get rid of the PGRE. Problem solved.

mhazelm
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby mhazelm » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:13 pm

@ cato88

So should we stop putting up ramps for people with wheelchairs because some people are too poor to buy wheelchairs???

Your logic makes no sense to me. According to you, we should keep anyone with any sort of disability out of physics by preventing them from achieving success on the PGRE. At least, that is what your logic implies.

I do think, however, that organizations must be careful to avoid abuse by people who want to claim disability status when they really don't need it. But we should not let those individuals ruin it for people who genuinely need it.

kaosgrace
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby kaosgrace » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:16 pm

re: the world isn't going to slow down for people with disabilities:

The real world doesn't involve timed multiple-choice tests. And now that we're no longer navigating spacecraft with a team of people doing pen-and-paper calculations, I can't think of any currently-existing real-world situation where being able to solve elementary physics problems really fast without a calculator would be useful; even when it was useful, its usefulness was confined to a few very specialized situations where obviously someone with a LD requiring extra time wouldn't have fit the job.

On that note, however, I think that the time element of standardized testing is stupid (and I say that as someone who's really good at it). Everyone should get enough time to finish the test. I think it is actually rather unfair that people who can afford to get an LD/psychiatric disability diagnosed properly get more time than those of us who can't; it's not like the accomodations for physical disabilities which really do equalize people's chances (obviously someone who can't see the test needs someone to read it to them and fill in the bubbles). There's no clear, precise way to tell how much extra time someone ought to have in order to compete fairly because the various LDs and psychological problems involved affect individuals differently and in many cases have different levels of effect on different days for the same individual. You can't just give them as long as they need to finish every question on a test when many non-disabled people don't manage to finish every question. So where do you draw the line?

abeboparebop
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby abeboparebop » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:23 pm

WhatCanYouDoFermi? wrote:I'm sorry, but since I am anonymous I will go ahead and say that this is total bullshit. Getting extra time is cheating. Apparently we want everyone to get the same score, so we should assign an allotted amount of time based on your 'natural ability' so that everyone scores about the same, kind of like a handicap in golf.


The problem with allowing people extra time is that the GRE is fundamentally a race. If it were designed to test physics knowledge in depth, giving all the time one could reasonably need to fully solve all of the problems, then extra time would be completely appropriate. But with the GRE practically determined by one's speed at solving problems, extra time unlevels the playing field.

In short, I agree with coreycwgriffin. Get rid of the GRE.

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quizivex
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby quizivex » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:57 pm

Ah I didn't even realize what thread this was on. At first I thought it was the acceptances thread, but now I see someone was asking for help. Basically, the only thing I can think to say that others might not already have said is the following tips I said before...
quizivex wrote:I came up with a few special time-saving strategies. For instance, since so many relativity problems involve manipulations with the gamma factor, I committed it to memory that v = c*sqrt(1-1/gamma^2), knowing it would probably save me from deriving it 3 times during the test. I also decided that the mass of an electron was 10^-30 to expedite computations etc...
Good luck, s87!

Getting rid of the GRE would be a terrible mistake. It's the only objective measure of merit we have. And I don't even see how that's relevant to this thread. For someone who has a real disability, they'd need more time for all timed tests (at least problem solving ones), not just the GRE. All tests in college are timed by the length of the class period except for take-homes, and the time is often a key factor that limits how well we do. Anyone still in the classroom when the prof collects the papers is a victim of the time. So do you propose getting rid of all types of assessment?

I don't think anyone here is against helping people with disabilities. We're against:
1) Overcompensation: For ex. giving unlimited time instead of extra time.
2) Abuse: People without serious issues getting diagnosed and exploiting the benefits.
3) Detachment from reality

What I mean by #3 is, for instance, if someone takes twice as long to do something as everyone else, then that's part of who he is. An employer hiring workers shouldn't be forced to disregard that issue and pretend that won't affect his productivity. The guy may overcome the problem with exceptional quality work or personality.

mhazelm
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby mhazelm » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:20 pm

Ok - that makes me feel better.

Also, I think I am just in a bad mood from my lack of acceptances thus far (still haven't heard back from anyone!). So, I was cranky when I made my other posts.

cato88
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby cato88 » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:59 pm

quizivex wrote:Getting rid of the GRE would be a terrible mistake. It's the only objective measure of merit we have. And I don't even see how that's relevant to this thread. For someone who has a real disability, they'd need more time for all timed tests (at least problem solving ones), not just the GRE. All tests in college are timed by the length of the class period except for take-homes, and the time is often a key factor that limits how well we do. Anyone still in the classroom when the prof collects the papers is a victim of the time. So do you propose getting rid of all types of assessment?

I don't think anyone here is against helping people with disabilities. We're against:
1) Overcompensation: For ex. giving unlimited time instead of extra time.
2) Abuse: People without serious issues getting diagnosed and exploiting the benefits.
3) Detachment from reality

What I mean by #3 is, for instance, if someone takes twice as long to do something as everyone else, then that's part of who he is. An employer hiring workers shouldn't be forced to disregard that issue and pretend that won't affect his productivity. The guy may overcome the problem with exceptional quality work or personality.


I agree fully with all of his points. I also think that the learning disabilities thing is extremely easy to abuse because it is vague in terms of diagnosis unlike physical disabilities that are so clear I could diagnose all of them. If there was a chemical tests or some clear diagnosis I would have no qualms with giving an extra hour and a half.
However dont people with ADHD take medicine which is supposed to help them focus at normal or above normal levels then why do they need extra time.

The way learning disabilities are diagnosed it is easy for anyone to get diagnosed even if the were trying not to. Who hasnt had anxiety during an exam? If somebody gets 990 with double time and a regular person gets a 650 cant the regular person think,"Why did I do so bad maybe I have a learning disability that I dont know about?" It is possible if he regularly visited a psychologists he would get diagnosed with some type of learning disability. There has recently been a surge of college students using ADHD medicine to do better in exams. If there doing better with medicine maybe they have some ADHD then they should also get extra time. Then pretty much everyone should get extra time.

s87
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby s87 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:27 am

WhatCanYouDoFermi? wrote:I'm sorry, but since I am anonymous I will go ahead and say that this is total bullshit. Getting extra time is cheating. Apparently we want everyone to get the same score, so we should assign an allotted amount of time based on your 'natural ability' so that everyone scores about the same, kind of like a handicap in golf.


I'll grant you some of these things are over-diagnosed and some people apply for (and sometimes receive) extra time who don't deserve it, but to say that across the board everyone who gets extra time is cheating is pretty ignorant. Just as an example, the way they measure how much of a negative effect dyslexia has on a person's performance is (basically) by measuring the person's intelligence (usually with an IQ test) and comparing that to a processing speed test. In my case, my IQ was *well* beyond the 99th percentile for my age group, while my overall processing speed was in the 70th percentile and my reading speed was in the 9th percentile for my age group. If that's not a legitimate unfair disadvantage on a highly time-pressured test, I don't know what is. Just reading the questions takes me a huge portion of the time alloted for the exam.

Kaosgrace is right, these problems don't necessarily have much of an effect int he real world. Or, perhaps more accurately, I've had 21 years to adapt to the real world and have built up coping methods that make it so my disability has virtually no effect on my life in the real world. On regular show-your-work physics tests, I do fine (A- average at an excellent school). On homework assignments, I may spend a more hours than the average student, but I do just fine. And dyslexia has had no effect on my ability to turn out quality original research (which, after all, is what many of us here are hoping to do with our lives). So, no, I don't expect the real world to bend over backwards for me. Or really to do anything for me. But a highly time-pressured standardized test that essentially determines the quality of the grad schools I can apply to is such a contrived situation that the coping skills I've developed for the real world don't apply. And that's why people with disabilities (and if anything, especially those who do just fine in the real world) aren't cheating by having extra time.

We can argue all day, and I know some of you won't be convinced, and you're obviously extremely entitled to your opinion on the subject, but I think for those of you who don't have a disability of this type, it's not really appropriate to run around calling people in situations you don't understand cheaters. I'm betting none of you who are criticizing students who take extra time have neuropsychology degrees or learning disabilities, so you're not really in a position to judge whether extra time is fair or not. If you have a problem with it, get a psych degree and go lobby congress to repeal the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Engage
Posts: 25
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby Engage » Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:13 pm

WhatCanYouDoFermi? wrote:I'm sorry, but since I am anonymous I will go ahead and say that this is total bullshit. Getting extra time is cheating. Apparently we want everyone to get the same score, so we should assign an allotted amount of time based on your 'natural ability' so that everyone scores about the same, kind of like a handicap in golf.


I agree. The test is meant to pick people out who have either natural or developed abilities, including the ability to think quickly in stressful situations. It seems to me that giving someone extra time completely defeats the purpose of the exam. I have an anxiety disorder, but I would never ask the ETS for more time. I will give graduate schools my GRE score exactly as they turn out, so that they can see what I am capable of in 3 hours - which is exactly what the test is meant to do. If they are going to give people extra time, they should just make 2 different physics gre exams, one with a greater alloted time (or fewer questions), and allow test takers to pick which test to take.

Mataka
Posts: 160
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby Mataka » Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:44 pm

I agree, giving some people more time is missing the point of the GRE. Next step, women will be allowed more time because they generally don't ace the GRE ... and next step giving less time to internationnal student since they are usually better than american ... and so on !

If you have learning disabilities than perhaps physics is not the place for you.

tensorwhat
Posts: 54
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby tensorwhat » Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:35 pm

Mataka wrote:If you have learning disabilities than perhaps physics is not the place for you.



this statement is absurd.

Mataka
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby Mataka » Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:43 pm

Why is this absurd ?

Doing a phd in physics is basicaly learning cutting edge physics for about 5 years, if you have difficulty learning than perhaps this is not right for you.

To be a police officier you have to pass physical exams, they make you run and do other kinds of exercice. You don't get a special treatment if your not in shape because you're naturally weak ... if you're naturally weak then perhaps you shouldn't be a police officer !

tensorwhat
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby tensorwhat » Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:50 pm

people do things for different reasons.....plenty of people on this earth who are even lucky enough in the first place to goto school or have a job, do things they arent always the best at and work really hard to do them. being a physicist isnt dictated by finding out you have a innate ability for it......if youre lucky enough to be good at problem solving and happen to enjoy physics and want to pursue it, then by all means go for it.....but dont act like people should be fitting into some kind of mold, its just not how things work...

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dlenmn
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby dlenmn » Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:15 pm

Mataka wrote:if you have difficulty learning than perhaps this is not right for you.


There are many different types of learning disabilities, some of which hurt your ability to perform on a 3 hour multiple choice but don't hurt your ability to do physics research. (I know you used the word "perhaps", but based on the analogy you drew -- where there was no ambiguity, it's not clear that you meant it to express uncertainty.)

Mataka
Posts: 160
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Re: advice on retaking PGRE?

Postby Mataka » Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:12 pm

Well my "perhaps" is sincere, but I just keep thinking the GRE timing should be the same for everyone.

On the other hand it's not because you don't score good on the GRE that you should stop doing physics, this is why I said perhaps. Just something to think about...




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