Postsecondary Education

MD, the GRE and request for advice.

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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
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Posted Jun 29, 2002 at 1:32:51 PM
Subject: MD, the GRE and request for advice.

I have somewhat of a mathamatics learning disability, (I am actually a very slow learner), which I feel I have had all my life. However, with accomidation and understanding, I was able to get a college degree.While I was in junior college, I was discovered to have a math learning disability. At the time, I was taking college algbera in a self pace, self study course. I finished the course with a "B" and went on to Florida State and received my degree in criminology with about a 3.4 GPA (without extensive mathamatics, of course). However, I was allowed to waive the "stats" and research methods course, eventhough I took the research methods course and got a "D" in it.

I would now like to get a graduate degree in international relations and political science, two fields that ARE NOT dominated by mathamatics. I am now faced with having to take the GRE, and that there are NO accomadations for my disability.

At one time I was attempting electronics, but the math in that field was a real problem with me. While I was tested for learning disabilities, it was also discovered that I am very good in writing and logic functions, which are more of a plus for international relations than are mathamatics. I am concidering talking to the state educations department and finding a school that does not demand that a post-graduate student take the GRE. Attending an out-of-state school would be a bit too costly for me. . .

I would like to get some advice as to what I should do. I am not making excuses, trying to get a "free ride," nor am I trying to "get out of " taking the GRE. However, that is the way, unfair and ignorant as it is, a math learning disability is viewed for grad school and the GRE. I can contiune to go to school as a "non-enrolled" student, but that will not get me to where I want to go in the field. I feel that there should be some accomadation and concideration given to my MD! Just as there would be accodation and concideration given to the a student with a physical disability whom had trouble getting through the physical door of the university, so should there be concideration given to the learning disabilities that also block the entrance!

ES LaPorte
Milwaukee, WI

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Joined Dec 07, 2021
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Posted:Jun 30, 2002 9:46:19 AM

If you're good at logic, the math GRE might not be the nightmare you think it is, though if anxiety is a big part of it then that's a tougher issue to deal with. I found that getting the commercial books htat have practice tests and figuring out how some of the tricks and things to look for (and figuring out that I'm a *lousy* guesser) really boosted my score. HOwever, nobody bothered to tell me that I should't be good at math and I had good teachers.
You may also find that yes, you have to *take* the GRE - but what exactly do they require you to achieve on it? YOu're far from the first person who doesn't do well on those things.

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Posted:Jul 09, 2002 6:46:29 PM

Hi Erin,
As someone who is just finishing their PhD in political science and has been identified with dyscalculia and dysgraphia since kindergarten, perhaps I can offer some observations? First, I’m surprised to hear that you can’t get accommodations on the GREs. When I took them – admittedly in 1996 – I had lengthy extended time accommodations. Furthermore, whilst having a big gap between your math scores and those on the verbal and logic (or whatever the part with puzzles is called) sections isn’t helpful, it’s not the kiss of death, either. The gap on mine was about 50 and 70 points and I got funded offers of admission from schools. That math is also not all that different from SAT math, so if you did well enough on that to get into an undergrad program, you might well scoot by fine. (And you might have improved since the SATs! The gap between my verbal and math on *that* was about 150 points.)
Now, with regard to the curriculum in graduate programs in political science: unfortunately those in the US are pretty quantitative, at the moment. At a minimum, I think you’d be faced with the same stats and methods classes that were part of your undergrad program. IR is a bit more soft and squishy, but even they have core curriculum requirements. And I’d be awfully surprised to hear about schools being willing to do course waivers at the graduate level. Were you to firmly stick to political theory, it might be OK, but it’s really worth looking into. It does vary by school, though – I wouldn’t apply to say, U. of Rochester, hoping for a happy, math-free existence, but other programs might be different. Good luck, though – I’m having more fun doing research than at any other point in my education and am immensely glad that I stuck with school to get this far!
Meg M

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Posted:Jul 14, 2009 8:45:21 PM



I’m a student with learning disabilities who had an absolutely horrific experience with trying to write the GREs (seriously- it was like something out of the 50’s). I’ve since decided to take some action, and am asking for other students with disabilities who had bad experiences with ETS to forward me their personal stories. I’ll be putting them together and then sending them to ETS, the APA, CPA, and any other professional organization I can get (we may also consult with a lawyer).

I will also be circulating a petition for disabled and non-disabled persons to sign, demanding an inquiry into the testing situation and reforms to how they provide/facilitate accommodations.

If you’re interested in taking part in any way (to sign the petition when it’s officially up and running or to share your story), feel free to e-mail me at anna_webster80@hotmail.com

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Joined Oct 24, 2009
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Posted:Nov 05, 2009 7:11:54 PM

I have had trouble with the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the company that makes the PSAT,GRE, SAT,ect. They demanded more educational testing even though my testing was less than a year old and then took months to get back to me about my accommodations. The problem of most concern; however, is that they refuse to give me an assessable copy of study materials. Below I wrote a more detailed account of my experience. I would like to know if anyone else has shared my experience. Also, I welcome any ideas or suggestions that you may have for getting assistive technology compatible study guides.

ETS Disabilities Services refused to provide or create accessible study materials or practice tests for test takers with disabilities. They provide Braille and large print study guides, but not practice exams, and Braille and large print are only accommodations for certain types of visual or processing impairment. I tried repeatedly to explain my situation and the reason why study guides they provide are inadequate for many people with disabilities.
I am a student with a traumatic brain injury, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, a non-verbal learning disability and ADD. Because of these conditions, I require assistance to read and write. Working with assistive technology and the Academic Services office at my college, I have been a successful college student and have a 3.72 GPA. Based on my academic record, I expect to continue to do well on the Graduate level, however, ETS impedes my ability to progress by not providing adequate accommodations for students like me.

ETS was unwilling to answer my e-mails or give me a direct answer to any of my questions by phone. When the Director of Academic Services e-mailed them about attaining a screen reader compatible version they e-mailed back saying “she [meaning me] can have someone read the study guide to her [me]”

I would like to know if anyone else is having any problems with ETS. If yes, please contact me by e-mail at: larissa.mccormick@gmail.com or just respond to this post.

I am putting together a binder with interviews I have conducted about the lack of accessible information and the problems that it causes for students and test takers with disabilities. I am also collecting statistics and information about the rights of people with disabilities. I will send my finished product to government agencies and any other organization that may be able to help. Again, if you or anyone that you know wants to answer some questions about their experiences with ETS and accessibility please e-mail me.

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