Dec 11, 2009, 1:09 PM
Post #742 of 1018
Re: [aiyamei] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants
[In reply to]
I get that you are trying to be helpful, Forum Apps, I just have to quarrel with the specifics of your conjecture. Re: if you can't get around 600 on the GRE, you might not be intellectually prepared for a top program.
More than once I got an 800 verbal score on the SAT (without studying for it), I speak seven languages, including Chinese and Russian, and I read literature regularly in five of them (i.e. I can easily integrate new lexica). As far as my writing ability, admittedly there is no 'proof' of such a thing, but I will say that several agents offered to represent my first novel (literary fiction), and later several large houses bid on it, and next year it's coming out with Knopf. (Please bear with me, you will see the point of this) -- I went to a great college, I'm extremely widely read, not only in literature, but also in history, philosophy, and anthropology. I can write a mean analytical paper.
And YET when I took the GRE several years ago, I don't remember my exact scores, but I think I pretty much bombed it. Admittedly, I didn't study for it, but my recollection was that the test included loads of words that a person would most decidedly not absorb through natural means, not by reading the complete works of Pope, Donne, Shakespeare, Eliot, Joyce, and DeLillo, not by reading the complete works of Kant, Hegel, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida -- indeed, by no other means than by doing GRE practice tests. Also, as I recall, there were countless points where I could see clearly how more than one answer could potentially be correct, and I became quite confused. Or let me put it this way -- the test seems to test two things: your vocabulary AND your GRE test-taking skills (for which, admittedly, a rich vocabulary would be necessary.)
So perhaps you should stop beating this horse, because there seem to be quite a large number of people on these boards who have gotten low scores on that test, some still very touchy and easily bruised, others of us pretty unbruisable because we have many other proofs of our academic ability such that it's very hard to take low GRE scores very seriously, but all of us here to say that the GRE does not test intellectual ability in anything like a reliable manner. I don't think it's a matter of blindly optimistic youth, anti-intellectual can-do-ism, or anything of the kind. The test might simply be less than great.
With an ego as large as yours I doubt an MFA is necessary ;)