Online Master of Arts in Counseling & Human Services Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Preparation Webcast

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Looking for ways to reduce fear/anxiety about taking the GRE exam? The Wake Forest team will provide all necessary information to understand the GRE, how to successfully prepare, and take the exam.

Video Transcription:

Adam Hanna: We’ll go ahead and get started with the Wake Forest GRE prep webinar. Good afternoon. My name is Adam, and I will be your moderator for today, and our host will be our senior advisor, Robin Shurbet. Before we get started, I do want to cover a few housekeeping items. In order to minimize background noise, the presentation is in broadcast only mode, so you can hear us, but we cannot hear you. I do also want to point out that we will take questions at any time in the Q&A box, which is located at the left of your screen. We will do our best to answer those questions at the end of the webcast, during the Q&A session.

If we are unable to answer your question today, a representative from our office will follow up with you to help address any questions you may have after the webinar. Finally, a recording of this webcast will be emailed to you once the presentation is ready and will also be added to our website. I’d now like to turn the presentation over to our senior advisor, Robin Shurbet.

Robin Shurbet: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome. I’m glad you can join us today. As Adam said, my name is Robin Shurbet. I’m a senior enrollment advisor in the admissions department and would like to help provide for you information to help you successfully prepare for the GRE exam. I’m gonna first start off by talking about what is the GRE. The graduate record exam, known as the GRE, is a standardized test used for graduate school admissions. The GRE demonstrates your academic ability and your commitment to succeed at the graduate level. The GRE features question types that closely reflect the kind of things and the kind of thinking you’ll be doing in graduate school.

The GRE will cover three areas, verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, which is math, and analytical writing. I’m gonna tell you a little bit about each section. The verbal reasoning. In this section, we will measure your ability to analyze written material and analyze relationships among parts of sentences by reckoning relationships among words and concepts. You will do this by analyzing and drawing conclusions from incomplete data, identify the author’s assumptions and/or perspective, understand multiple levels of meaning, such as literal, figurative, and the author’s intent. You will need to understand the meaning of words, sentences, and entire texts.

In the quantitative reasoning section, this will measure problem-solving ability by focusing on basic concepts of math, to include algebra, geometry, data analysis, and other basic concepts of math. The prep material will help you remember how to understand, interpret, and analyze quantitative information by solving problems using mathematical models, apply basic schools and elementary concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data interpretation. The good news is the quantitative reasoning section includes an on-screen calculator. If you are taking the paper-delivered test, a calculator will be provided at the test center. Finally, the analytical writing section.

This section measures your analytical writing skills, specifically your ability to articulate and support complex ideas clearly and effectively. The analytical writing section requires you to provide focused responses based on the tasks presented, so you can accurately demonstrate your skill in directly responding to a task. To be honest, I find this section to be the easiest, in that the prep materials will tell you exactly how to structure your writing sample. In the writing sample, there are two types of questions. The first question is you’re gonna analyze an issue task.

This task will assess your ability to think critically about a topic of general interest and to clearly express your thoughts about it in writing. Each issue statement makes a claim that you discuss from various perspectives and apply to many different situations or conditions. The issue statement is followed by a set of specific instructions. The other question they’ll ask is you will have the opportunity to analyze an argument task. This task will assess your ability to understand, analyze, and evaluate arguments and to clearly convey your evaluation in writing.

You are presented with a brief passage, in which the author makes a case for some course of action or interpretation of events by presenting claims backed by reasons and evidence. Your task is to discuss the logical soundness of the author’s case according to the specific instructions by critically examining the line of reasoning and the use of evidence. Now, I can’t stress enough that the information you need for the exam has been ingrained in you throughout your entire academic history, going back as far as grade school. What I just explained to you in those different sections might feel a little scary. It’s okay. It’s going to feel and seem unfamiliar to you, and it will feel challenging.

We don’t want you to worry about that. You will feel more and more prepared as you read over the preparation materials and you take practice tests. The information is there, I promise you. You have acquired it over a long period of time. The study materials will bring this information back to the surface by refreshing your memory, providing shortcuts, formulas, and tips to help you learn how to take the exam, as opposed to cramming in any new information. How do we get started? First and foremost, I understand your fear and anxiety about taking a standardized test. I have taken the test myself, and I understand your fear regarding it.

We don’t wake up any morning and say today I’m excited to take the GRE exam. It is not a pleasant experience if you are not prepared. You just need to take a breath, lean into the anxiety or fear you are worried about or may be experiencing when thinking about taking a standardized test. I promise you, it’s very normal. We all experience it. That said, preparing for the test is more than just reading through the materials. It is a mindset. What do I mean by this? The more positive you remain, the better the results. I often suggest using a vision board to help you focus and create positive thoughts. Identify your vision and give it clarity. Use daily affirmations that you can and will score well on this.

It will help you to keep your attention on your intentions, which is to obtain a score that will help you get into Wake Forest University. To get started, where do we start? Where do we begin? We’d like you to visit the ETS website. It is the company that administers the graduate record exam. You just need to go to your Google page and type in ETS GRE. You can sign up for a test date here, as well as learn everything you need to know about the GRE, like how and where to study. Additionally, they have a short, 13-minute webinar, which will help students understand the scoring system. I highly recommend you spend some time reviewing this site and all the information it provides.

Trust me, the more information you have, the better prepared you will be. The second step you will need to do in order to prepare for the graduate record exam is to visit the Princeton review website. We would like you to download their full-length, free, online practice test. The practice test will provide several things. First, it is almost a replica of the GRE itself. The questions are very similar to the ones found on the GRE. The layout, the format, and the structure is exactly the same as you’ll find on the graduate record exam. It takes two to three hours to take the practice test, as it does the graduate record exam. I’d like you to carve out some time, get into a quiet space, and actually time yourself.

Don’t forget to bring a calculator, as you will be provided one for the exam. Again, I don’t want to scare you, but I want to just remind you it’s going to feel difficult. It will feel challenging, and that’s okay. The whole idea is to expose you to the test, let yourself experience the feelings associated, both good and bad, and just to get through it. I promise you, you will feel much better once you do so. I’d like you to answer all of the questions to the best of your abilities. Right or wrong, please answer them. The exciting news is at the end of this test, you will actually be given a verbal and a math score, as well as feedback on your writing samples.

This is really great because you’ll have an understanding of where you stand at this point, prior to doing any preparation. Additionally, this will serve as a baseline score from which we can create a two to four-week study preparation plan. I realize that we all have unique styles of preparation. Your advisor can create a plan that works for you. It’s really important to know that it’s not the quantity, but the quality of studying, as well as your positive attitude, which will contribute to your success. Now, I’d like to talk about scoring. What does Wake Forest look for? Before I tell you that, I’m gonna tell you that the verbal and math section have a top score of 170.

If you combine the two, it comes out to 340. In the writing section, there are two samples. The writing is scored on a 0 to 6, and it’s one score between 0 and 6. What Wake looks for is a combined verbal and math score of 300. However, we will consider scores that fall below, but it is imperative that you contact your enrollment advisor to discuss this if you do score below. We also require a writing score of at least 3, on a scale of 0 to 6. The nice thing about a combined math and verbal score is that many have strengths in the verbal area, as opposed to the math area. So scoring better in one area can help the end combined score.

Adam Hanna: Before we get started with some of the preparation material, I would like to point out the resource document that is located to the left of your screen. It contains all necessary documents that Robin will cover today, with some additionals, as well. So you can download that document following the presentation to help create your study plan.

Robin Shurbet: Now, we’re gonna talk about some of the GRE preparation materials. I do want to emphasize for some of you who we’ve already spoken with, this is outside of the free GRE prep course that I will be addressing in a short time. We have a number of successful tools to assist you. We have tools for either independent preparation, which I’m gonna go into, or we can provide for you a more structured approach, utilizing an online prep course free of charge, which I will discuss in a few moments. The links you will need for independent study will be found to the left of your screen. One of the first important places you need to go is ETS.

It is the website that administers the GRE. What it has is called the Power Prep 2. The Power Prep 2 is a complete free study guide, quite useful. You can also download free apps for your phone, either in iPhone or Android. These free apps include Magoosh, Bench Prep and Quizlet. We are on our phones constantly throughout the day. Why not have a couple of apps that you can tap into, learn some additional vocabulary words, refresh your memory on some math concepts, and you can do this throughout the day. There’s also the Princeton review website.

In addition to the practice tests, this website offers a multitude of exam preparation options, including one-to-one tutoring, online sessions, study guides, and more. We also would suggest you visit the Kaplan website, as they have excellent free study guides. They also have free webinars on math and verbal and free practice tests. The Khan Academy is a terrific website that takes you step by step through solving math problems. It is very user friendly. It will start you with the basic concepts of math and build your knowledge base by familiarizing yourself with stuff that you haven’t seen in a while, but trust me, you know. It’s stored there in your brain.

You just haven’t used it. Once you start refreshing your basic concepts of math, you’ll feel this experience where things will start flooding back, as you continue to prepare and prepare. The library can be an excellent choice for supporting you while you prepare, as well, as they provide plenty of study guides. Then you can take it one step further with virtual classes, as well as tutoring on and offline. Finally, we are now offering a GRE free preparation course. This is designed for those of you who prefer a little more help with preparation. We can offer to you, free of charge, a $900 value online prep course. This is a four to six week live course.

Students will receive, ahead of time, all the necessary materials, via mail, and will have the opportunity to take at least eight practice tests over the course of the class, in addition to class presentations, which are live. I do need to let you know the classes are recorded, so if you have to miss a class, which I do not recommend, but life happens, you can watch it at another time. Students who qualify for this prep class will receive a code to schedule the online course, once the following steps are completed. You need to start the application. That would mean submit your unofficial transcripts, enter your recommenders and your personal statement, if completed.

The personal statement is something we take very seriously, and it’s not something we’d like you to rush through. If your personal statement isn’t completed, that’s okay. You need to complete a practice exam and email your advisor a screenshot of your score. Now, this doesn’t have to be the full length Princeton review practice exam. It can be a number of smaller, shorter practice exams, which we can send to you. You want to submit the application fee, and then with the help of your advisor, you can schedule your GRE exam. I highly suggest that you schedule the GRE exam no more than three to four days outside of the ending of your prep course.

Once you’ve completed the above steps of eligibility, please contact your advisor immediately, so we can provide you the code for the GRE prep course. I can’t tell you how excited we are to assist you through this process. I have provided numerous tools and resources to help you successfully prepare for the GRE. Remember, preparing for the exam, like I said earlier, is not only reviewing and practicing the materials, but your thoughts and your attitude will play a huge part in your success. I wish you much success on your journey through the preparation of the GRE Wake Forest prep materials and will be happy to answer some of your questions.

Adam Hanna: Thank you, Robin. As Robin said, we’re gonna go ahead and start taking some questions, so we will hold off for just a moment, provide you some contact information here for our advisors, and we’ll go ahead and start taking those questions, and we’ll start answering those here in just a moment.

Adam Hanna: We’re gonna go ahead and get started with some of our initial questions, here. Our first question is can I apply or start the application prior to taking the GRE?

Robin Shurbet: Yes, you can. We suggest that you start the application process once you’ve spoken with an advisor. If you started the application without speaking with an advisor, that’s okay. You do need to speak with one of us. You can take the GRE exam. We often suggest that you take the GRE exam prior to or as you’re working on the application. You can have an application finished and submitted while waiting on your GRE test results.

Adam Hanna: Our next question is where do I go to get information on scheduling locations, dates, and times for the GRE?

Robin Shurbet: Excellent question. You’re going to go to the GRE website. It is called ETS. You just need to Google ETS GRE into your Google search. It’ll bring up the ETS website. On that website, you will find a link that will take you to the test centers. You will type in your zip code, and it will show you where the test centers are located. You will be taking the GRE at a test center, on a computer, not from your own computer at home, but actually at a test center. You can find a list of all those test centers in your neighboring area on the ETS website.

Adam Hanna: Thank you, Robin. Our next question is after I take the GRE, when will I receive my scores?

Robin Shurbet: Great question, thank you. The great news about this is you will receive your scores immediately following submission of your GRE. When you complete the exam, you’ll be sitting there at your desk with the computer in front of you. You’ll hit submit after completing the GRE. Within 30 seconds, your verbal and your math score will appear, which is really nice. It takes out some of that anxiety, having to wait for those scores. You’ll know immediately your verbal and your math score. Then generally, the writing score – because the sample needs to be looked at – will be scored within seven to ten days following the day you took the graduate record exam.

We will advise you to start logging in to the GRE website, the ETS website, and looking for your writing score or your complete printout seven or eight days after you’ve taken that. Once you see your verbal, math, and writing scores, seven to ten days later, you can take a screenshot and send that over to your advisor.

Adam Hanna: Thank you, Robin. Our next question is I’ve already taken the GRE. Are my scores valid?

Robin Shurbet: Great. You’ve already taken the GRE. I can tell you that your scores are valid for five full years. If you scored a 285 or better, a 3 or better on the writing, then simply contact your advisor or contact or admissions office, and we can take it from there. The GRE scores are valid for five full years.

Adam Hanna: Thank you, Robin. We’re just gonna take one moment. We do have a few more questions coming in. We’re gonna take a look at those, and then jump back in. We’ve got a few more questions here. I know we’ve got several that we haven’t been able to get to, and we will have an advisor follow up, as they are a little bit more specific to the individual. Our next question is how soon can I request that the scores be sent as official scores?

Robin Shurbet: As soon as your scores are posted at the ETS web center, you can have them sent to Wake Forest. We do have a GRE code that you can obtain from your advisor prior to taking the test. Either when you register for the test online or the day you go in to take the test, you can provide that code needed, and it will send directly to Wake Forest University. The short answer is you can have those scores sent over immediately following the conclusion of – scoring of your writing score.

Adam Hanna: Our last question for today is are there any resources that help with planning a daily study schedule?

Robin Shurbet: That’s a great question. There are a lot of resources. Because we all have unique styles, in terms of how we study, there’s not one specific style of how to study or how to create a schedule. I strongly advise you to reach out to your advisor and, with your advisor, come up with a schedule that fits your needs and the needs of your family and your strengths and so forth. We will definitely be able to help you out with planning and daily study schedule.

Adam Hanna: Thank you, Robin, and thank everyone for joining us today. We appreciate your questions and, as I said, if we weren’t able to get to you today, one of our representatives and advisors from the office will follow up to answer those. Do want to point out just a few important dates as we look towards the spring 2018 term, which does begin in January. Our application deadline, along with the GRE deadline, which would mean it’s the last day you can take the GRE for that spring term, is November 1st. We’ve still got plenty of time to help you create that study plan, but again, the final day to take the GRE and submit the rest of your application materials is November 1st.

Do also want to point out some important contact information. Our online admissions office line, you can reach us at the general line there. You can see the advisors below. If you do know who your specific advisor is, please go ahead and follow up with any additional questions you may have. If you’re unsure of who your advisor is, please feel free to give me a call. Again, my name is Adam. I am the coordinator, and I work with all of our advisors. My contact information is there, as well. Again, thank you, everyone, for joining us today, and we look forward to working with you on your applications and studying and creating a plan for the GRE.

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