“You have nice colorful socks.” said the GRE proctor. If you are wondering how she knew I had nice socks, before entering the exam room, you go through a series of protocols to make sure you are not bringing any extra materials into the room with you. She waves a metal detector wand around your body. You roll up your sleeves, roll up your pant legs, put your hands in your pockets turning them inside out. All to ensure you are not cheating. Then, you sign your name on the line and it has to exactly look like your driver’s license. I was asked to sign twice because the first time, the proctor did not feel my signature resembled my driver’s license closely enough. She said it needed to be more cursive. Then, you are asked to take a photo, no smiling allowed. There was a finger scan on the desk but apparently I was not asked to scan my fingerprints.
Finally, you enter the room and take your 4-5 hour exam. In the room, you are not allowed to take off any sweaters, you must keep all clothing on. You cannot drape it on a chair if you are hot. You cannot wear a watch and no food/drink/etc. is allowed. There was a 60 second break between each section and after the 3rd section, a 10 minute bathroom and snack break is allowed. But, you must go through the protocol again before entering the room. The girl next to me was disappointed she could not wear her scarf into the room, it was deemed as outerwear. There were about 20 testing computers and each person might be taking a different exam. I heard a few people talking about an engineering exam. They were allowed to bring calculators with them. The proctors walked through the room probably every 5 minutes to monitor the room, even though there was a camera recording us.
Everything about today was thought about days in advance. I thought about the temperature of the room, everything I would wear would need to be comfortable. I made sure to test some granola bars a few days in advance to make sure it would not upset my stomach. I prepared as best as I could given the hectic school schedule this week and next.
I didn’t prepare as much as I could overall, but I didn’t have enough in me to try harder. Nothing new can be learned at this point and if I can’t answer questions about probability and distance, so be it. Immediately after the exam, I received my score, in verbal, I’m in the 50th percentile and in math, a little below. The score basically says I’m average, which is fine by me. I am satisfied with my effort. I have to wait for the essays to be graded, but I’m sure they are fine too. Onward, more chemistry and anatomy exams await.