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Can I make it for the 2013 application? 
7th-Jul-2013 05:46 pm
MU ID
Hi all. I only decided to go for ph. D in English this June. I've done nothing for the application besides asking my MA teachers for help and registered for a GRE test on Aug 31. Yesterday, I did the practice test of GRE in English Lit and found that I am disastrously under-prepared for the test. Originally, my plan is to apply this December and start next September, but now it seems unlikely that with this rushed schedule, I'll end with excellent scores on both GRE tests and other required documents needed in the application. Understanding this situation, would you suggest that I still this December or use the year to prepare myself better for the 2014 application?
Comments 
7th-Jul-2013 06:16 pm (UTC)
As far as the GRE goes, you have a fair amount of time to prepare if you work at it regularly, and possibly enough time for a rewrite if you bomb it. You also have enough time to gather the other documents you need, including letters and SOP and writing sample. So this is really unrelated to having 'enough time' it's a question of whether you're ready or not to begin preparing now, or if you'd prefer to wait a year.
7th-Jul-2013 06:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this, bud I am really wondering why you would say so. I talked to a friend who had taken GRE. She said she spent 3 months preparing. Then, for the GRE in English, every website I've visited says that regular studying for at least 3 months is also needed. From what I understand, these two exams put together would need 6 months already. Why would you think I still have a shot with the 2013 application? Please advise because if possible, I do not want to wait for another year.
7th-Jul-2013 07:59 pm (UTC)
Rather than talking in terms of 'months' preparing, I think it's more useful to speak in terms of hours actually spent preparing since obviously nobody spends those months solely preparing for the GRE and doing nothing else. I, too, could say that I spent 'months' preparing for the GRE, but at the time that I was preparing for it, I either had a full-time job doing field work in addition to doing other research part-time, or was a full-time student while doing TAing and other research projects. So how much time realistically in that three month period did I actually spend preparing for these tests? Probably 2 to 5 hours per week on average. Obviously, I worked on it more in the few weeks prior to the test, and worked on it for fewer hours when it was several months away. I don't know what your personal responsibilities are right now. Obviously, if you have two jobs and/or children to raise or other comparable demands, getting the requisite 10-15 hours or so in per week to be adequately prepared may be impossible. But on spec, assuming you have the time per week to devote to it, then I don't see why you can't be prepared.

Basically, all things being equal, early July is not the time to panic that you've missed your shot to apply.
8th-Jul-2013 07:24 am (UTC)
Yes, you were right on when you pointed that I was panicking when considering postponing the application to next year. I guess I freaked out after taking the practice test. Thanks for steering me back to reality.
7th-Jul-2013 08:26 pm (UTC)
This isn't a question we can answer for you, because it varies a lot. I got my applications done in a couple of weeks. I know other people that have spent months preparing. There have been plenty of people who pass through here that start prepping the summer before, and others that decide to wait for the next round. Do you feel, if you start prepping (and prep SMART) now, that you will have enough time to get the GRE score you need? Have you targeted programs, and do you know what you will study there and how you'll approach the SoP requirements? How organized are you, how motivated? How sure is your desire to go to grad school? There are a lot of variables that need to be accounted for. What your friend did won't necessarily apply to what you do. The good news is, if you think you're ready, apply, and don't get in, you can always try again next year, having worked to improve your application or adjust your expectations. Plenty of people do that, too.
8th-Jul-2013 07:22 am (UTC)
Thank you for this. Your "good news" perspective is something I didn't consider while panicking. Applying this year also means that if things don't work out, I can adjust one year earlier. That's very helpful.
7th-Jul-2013 10:03 pm (UTC)
I think you should be fine, my GRE schedule was kind of weird because I took it and the subject test during my senior year but then decided to work for a couple of years before applying but the time it took me to write my essays/fill out my applications/get letters of recommendation was approximately a month and a half. I spent maybe a month studying for the regular GRE and less than that studying for the subject test (I was TAing a related class at the time so I didn't feel the need to spend more time on it). There's no harm in trying to get things ready now and if you realize that you don't have enough time to complete your applications to your satisfaction you can apply next year- GRE scores are good for 5 years and you can use something like interfolio if you're worried that you'll lose touch with your letter writers.
8th-Jul-2013 07:14 am (UTC)
Thank you so so so much! I didn't know at all about Interfolio. I doubt if my professors use it either, but since most universities now require online submission of LORs, they may as well build an online file. Thank you again. This is really helpful.
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