Surviving Senior Year: Taking on the Tutor

Right before I sat down to write this I registered for the GRE. Well, actually, I registered for the GRE, opened a bag of chocolate covered cranberries (Kim Kardashian’s snack of choice), and then sat down to write this. But I digress. This was supposed to be a serious moment. Because registering for the GRE is serious business. At least, it is for me.

You see, the whole “post college plans” thing has always been a bit of a sore subject for me. What I want to do with my life, what I have always wanted to do with my life, is write. I want to write, and read, and edit, and that’s all I’ve ever really been able to come up with. But there’s no set plan for how to make that happen. Pre-Law students take the LSAT and get into law school. Pre-Med students take the MCAT and get into medical school. Business majors have the GMAT. Dentists have the DAT. And the rest of us flounder helplessly trying to either find a job or a rich husband graduate program that works for us.

Currently I’m stuck somewhere between the two. It’s why I’ve held off on registering for the GRE for so long (and why I’ve been contemplating head shots so I can join Patti Stanger’s Millionaire’s Club). I didn’t want to shell out the cash, put in the study time, and commit to the freak out if I wasn’t even going to end up at grad school next year.

But I’ve researched some programs and made some (tentative) plans and decided that even if I don’t end up at grad school next year I still want to take the GRE. I want the option. (I like options.) So I registered.

Which means I actually have to start preparing for it.

Now, since I haven’t done math without the aid of calculator since I took Math 111 during the second semester of my freshman year, I decided to save myself a whole lot of pain and suffering and get myself a tutor for the quantitative section. (Because I have so much free time for tutor sessions….) The tutoring program assigned me a name, I e-mailed her to set up a time, and it was all well and good until she mixed up the date we were supposed to meet. Then, in an e-mail, she wrote the words “I’m not normally this ditzy. I promise.”  That pretty much sealed my opinion of her right there. I was convinced this woman was going to be a complete airhead, and the Facebook recon (I know! I shouldn’t have!) I took part in did nothing to alleviate my concerns.

By the time she showed up (ten minutes late) I was ready to get myself a different tutor. But then she sat down and we started talking, and she started making sense. Not only did she (re)teach me how to factor, and how to add fractions without finding a common denominator, but she gave me some really great tips about how exactly this test works. This is not an exam that is testing general intelligence, skills, or anything else you might have happened to pick up during the last four years. This is a test that is all about the strategy.

Did you know that if you spend less than a certain amount of time on each question, the computer automatically assumes that you guessed, and penalizes you for that? The computer assumes you have poor time management skills.

And did you know you’re not actually supposed to try and solve the problems? It’s all about plugging in numbers and guessing and checking and doing as little work as you possibly can. It’s about training yourself to approach a test in a certain way.

So that’s what I’m doing, slowly but surely. Day by day. As senior year just trickles away.
If only someone could teach me some strategy for how to approach life after college. Do they have tutors for that!?

Kiss and Tell 2.0
Kiss and Tell 2.0
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