Brown dropped the GRE requirement for doctoral students. It’s hard to imagine how stupid one needs to be to fail the embarrassingly easy GRE but Brown is on the lookout for precisely such people.

We keep complaining that there are too many PhDs competing for too few jobs but at the same time there’s an effort to herd people who need anything but a PhD into these programs.

Instead of the GRE, it will now be about “recommendation letters, personal statements and interviews.” In other words, whoever has a more convincing sob story gets in, has a horrible time, graduates, and becomes a perennially pouty adjunct.

Obviously, the already dying foreign language departments are eagerly participating in this.

17 thoughts on “GRE”

  1. I completely agree with you. I am also now curious to see whether my gre score will be higher now than it was in 2004. Especially in maths.


    1. “so desperate to be a victim?

      meta message: I’ve been a victim and any criticism of me (or disagreement with my pronouncements) makes you an abuser. A baby trick but often effective…


      1. Why would I ignore a news outlet just because I disagree with its politics? That’s what conservatives who only watch Fox News and dismiss everything else as “fake news” do. It’s not suddenly good if it’s liberals doing it.


  2. The thing about the GRE, though, is that it funnels all this money to private test-taking and test-preparation companies. I didn’t do well on the subject test for Spanish. It had all these questions about the metro system in Madrid — I could have done the Barcelona one, but in Madrid had always driven in cars or walked. And about Mesoamerican cultures, about which I knew very little. The questions were easy, yet arbitrary and I didn’t know I’d be hit with them — I thought it would be more like the English test, except in Spanish.


    1. I never knew the Spanish test existed. The GRE I had tested English vocabulary needed to read scholarly literature and the capacity to write an essay. There was nothing content-related.


      1. When I took GRE there were just two sections, English and Math (IIRC) and you just needed a basic pass as part of the admission process. Is it more complicated now and do they take exact scores into account? That would be…. not… good.


        1. When I was doing it, it was math, English and essay. And nobody cared about the exact scores. My math result was obviously not spectacular. You had to pass some basic level that showed you have a brain for graduate studies. Nobody accepts people into graduate programs just because of the GRE results but there has to be a baseline of acceptance.


          1. The GRE I took just had two sections, verbal and quantitative reasoning. I took it on a Saturday morning after a Friday evening that was longer and more boisterous than planned. I passed the requirement comfortably but don’t remember the scores, IIRC I may have done slightly better on the quantitative than I had imagined I would and a little worse on the verbal than I thought I would.
            As a test of general aptitude for graduate school (basically pass/fail) it makes sense, but not for anything more.


      2. I can’t stand the writing GRE. You didn’t have math or analytical reasoning? I’ve taken English, writing, analytical reasoning, math and Spanish. Hated: writing (stupid questions), analytical reasoning (I don’t like games with diagrams), Spanish (stupid questions) but was in 99th percentile in verbal ability (“English”) and math. People say the test is not a good predictor of success and perhaps not but those super-high scores DO in fact indicate an incisive mind. On the LSAT I can’t seem to break above the 80th percentile and it’s the visual logic games that kill me, as well as my outright disagreement with some of their interpretations of text for reading comprehension. But I think I’d make a great lawyer, so this experience with the LSAT makes me more anti-test than my GRE experience does.


  3. The baseline score in many places I’ve worked is low enough to be fairly meaningless. In my program we all had very high scores in math and English and it yes, that did weed people out, I mean, I was in the 98th or 99th percentile for both and so was everyone else, it seemed. But people who say math doesn’t matter for humanities would have said it was silly, etc.


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