GRE Success Is From Being "Rich, Male, and White"??


Why I Think The Recent Atlantic GRE Article Is Bullshit

An article pillorying the GRE was published in The Atlantic a few days ago, basically saying that the GRE doesn't fulfill its intended purpose (predicting graduate school success), that it's biased, unfair, silly, etc.

My two cents:

As a GRE tutor, I've worked with hundreds of students, most of them female, from many different ethnicities (but mostly white). Students who make the most progress / score the highest tend to:

1. Have strong reading skills
2. Have strong math conceptual knowledge
3. Have thinking and reasoning ability
4. Have the willingness to work hard, practice extensively, and think critically about how the test is written and the rules it plays by.

There's a pervasive belief out there that "if I got good grades in college, I must have the skills I need for graduate school". If that were always true, the need for the GRE would be lessened. However, due to grade inflation and good old subjectivity, high grades sometimes mask serious skill deficiencies.

Also watch out for this belief: "I studied for the GRE / took a GRE class, so I'll definitely do well." Unfortunately, a lot of GRE books, video courses, and classes aren't very good, so a lot of people don't study the right things in the right ways.

I interact on various online forums with many students from other countries who do well on the GRE, students who are certainly not white or rich. These students often do very well, despite knowing English as a second language, because they work extremely hard.

The article is basically a rehash of many SAT-criticizing articles I've seen over the years, complete with a clickbait subtitle. Pandering to people who believe it's the all the GRE's fault does nothing to encourage hard work, self-responsibility, or success. Better to tell people the truth - that college might not have prepared them for the GRE, and if they want to make sure they do well on the test, they should strengthen the above skills, and prepare intelligently.


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