GRE Essay Questions

I’ve noticed a pattern in how I am answering the argument questions compared to the issue questions. I can start writing about the issues right from the start, but I have to spend quite a bit of time dissecting the language of the argument questions. I am spending a too much time thinking through the arguments instead of writing.

My longest argument essay is five hundred words and my shortest is four hundred and twenty five words. All of my issue essays are over five hundred and fifty words. The next part of the pattern is that I have only ever finished my conclusion in the argument essay once out of three attempts, but I have always finished my issue essays and have had time to review my writing for obvious mistakes.

This blows and logic sucks.

It is a really good thing I have started practicing this stuff now instead of later or even worse: right before the test.


Spring Break: Whatever

Spring break started yesterday right after I left my French conversation class. Yeah right. My spring break has nothing to do with doing the fun stuff normally associated with “spring break.” First of all, I’m too old for that crap. I’m 49. It would be way creepy for me to show up to a beach some place and party with all the young-uns running around doing stupid stuff even if I probably would rock a wet t-shirt contest.

Nope. None of that. I’ve got way too much homework.

  • I have an outline for a philosophy term paper to create (I already turned in the abstract and annotated bibliography, so I’ve already done a bunch of the leg work).
  • I have an outline for a rhetoric term paper to create (this one is based on three smaller papers I already wrote for this class, so not hard either).
  • I have a paper to write for my French class that has to be in French.
  • I have to write a movie review of a French movie to write for my French conversation class that also has to be in French.
  • I have to write a presentation for my French class and memorize it, because the presentation must be in French with no notes.
  • I have to write a paper about a religious studies conference I attended last month for the philosophy class.
  • I have to write a paper about the eight novels we covered in my English Genres class.
  • I have to write a small reading response about Chaim Perelman for my Rhetoric class (due tonight).
  • I have to read Toni Morrison’s Beloved for English Genres.
  • I have to do a bunch of online French homework so it won’t interfere with the rest of the semester.
  • I have to write a French journal entry for every day of spring break which will be pretty repetitive since I’m not going any where.

Oh yeah, I’m gonna have a great spring break. Maybe I’ll eat some cake to celebrate spring break. Maybe a candy bar or something.

GRE Prep: Essay Practice

Yesterday, I started doing timed essay practice for the GRE. ETS, the monkeys who write and administer the GRE, has a bunch of sample issue and argument essay questions on theirĀ website. Yesterday, I did an argument essay and today I did an issue essay. I practiced writing the essays in notepad so I would not have the spell check or grammar check options running just like what happens on the GRE.

I actually love writing in notepad. I do most of my first drafts in notepad so I don’t get hung up on formatting or hung up when word starts judging me. The reason to go this way is simple: the GRE makes most of the test takers type out their essays in a neutered program that tries to take away as many word-processing functions as possible because it would not otherwise be fair to the other test takers who have to hand write out their essays. Personally? I say screw ’em, but that’s only because I am the worst speller I know.

In high-school, I was the kid failing English because every other word on a test, paper, story, poem, or journal entry was misspelled. Sure, I’ve gotten better, but even in this blog entry, I’ve spelled a number of things wrong and I am going to have to go through and correct my punctuation. The only English class I passed in high school was with a teacher who actually read what I was writing and didn’t get pissed off at my spelling handicap. I got a ‘B.’ He said I was the best writer in class and that if I went into writing for a living, an editor would help clean up all my horrible screw ups.

So, yeah. When I went back and pasted my essays in word, I noticed I only spelled a few words incorrectly and that each essay was a little over 600 words. I’m not going to get too worked up over the spelling. The words I am misspelling are still recognizable. What I am going to work on is writing faster. I want to be able to submit a 750 word essay.

The other thing I need to work on is writing in a less personable style. I know in English as an industry, we don’t mind first person personal in academic writing, but I am not completely convinced other academic fields feel the same way (boy, what would they think of first person unreliable?). My philosophy teachers complain about it and also are constantly complaining that humor in a philosophy paper is inappropriate, but then they keep giving me ‘As.’ Maybe knowing they are wasting their breath on me, since I’m an English major, they’ve given up as a collective. I am just not sure about the essay test graders.

I have a friend who was one for a long time. Maybe he still is. We never talk about work, just basketball. He has pretty severe OCDs and I bet he would be pretty unforgiving. I don’t even think he uses first person in conversation. I’ll let you know what he says.


family reunions

. . . blank, wan corridors,

roaming, fearing white noise &

kindred), Star Trek’s long . . .