Sunday, September 03, 2006

GRE and test anxiety

I've been consistent with my waffling concerning taking the GRE to begin PhD work either in library science (not easy to do in Ohio) or Education. Ideally, I would like a combination of both and have spent years, yes years, researching and deciding if this is a step I want to take. It seems like a no-brainer, but I have serious test anxiety issues, especially with standardized tests such as the GRE.

The graduate school decision for my MLIS was not difficult. I needed the degree to move on and/or up in my career. At the time I was living outside of Pittsburgh and had two university's offering the MLIS, Clarion University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh. No offense to Clarion, but since I already had a BS in Education (dual majors of Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education) it was an easy choice to decide on Pitt and take the school library route. Imagine my surprise and joy when the GRE was not needed for acceptance in either program. I did not get away scott free, I had to take the PRAXIS for School Librarians with the tract of study chosen.

Fast forward five years and I am at another crossroads; make strides in the position I currently have or take another road towards the PhD. After teaching as an adjunct the last couple of years I was reminded how much I enjoyed being in the classroom. If I have any hope of continuing the teaching aspect of my career, the PhD is necessary. I am also very lucky and have had encouragement for this path from different sources. My boss has always been supportive (I am very lucky) of my furthering my education. Last spring, the Associate Dean of the College of Education questioned me as to why I had not already started the work and offered support.

So, what's the hold up?

As mentioned in the first paragraph, I hate standardized tests. Ask me to write a paper, create a poster, or give a presentation ... just back away from the tests. I bought a GRE practice book a couple of years ago and have never opened it. My New Year's resolution is to take this test. It's now September, the applications for the program I would like to enter have a December deadline, and I need to fish or cut bait. Fate has stepped in to aid my quandry in the form of Learning Express Library and OhioLINK. On July 7th, the following post appeared on the OhioLINK What's New, Taking the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT? Open to all OhioLINK member libraries, it offers the following:

"Practice makes perfect! Take a GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT or many other practice
tests anytime, anywhere using LearningExpress Library. LearningExpress’ online, interactive practice tests offer instant scoring, detailed answer explanations, and a personalized analysis that identifies your strengths and weaknesses in each major content area so you’ll know how to prepare." - OhioLINK What's New 7-7-06

My goal for this Labor Day is to take one of the practice tests, in both areas offered, and see what the score may tell. Obviously, I have procrastinated yet again on this goal as it is closing in on 11 pm Sunday evening. I have all day tomorrow (after shopping, I have coupons) to complete this mission. I probably should not have spent two hours working on the new collaborative blog this afternoon while doing laundry. I added all sorts of cool widgets to the site as well as our newly minted email address for the blog.

Hindsight is indeed 20/20.

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