The Night I Took the GREs

You did not know the GREs were sometimes held at night? Well, neither did I, until…

Having reached adulthood sometime in my fifties, I am now a fairly calm and boring individual in the evenings. But in my wild youth, of which I am not proud, that was not the case.

During that period, I scheduled myself to take the GREs. I didn't study: I figured I would take them once, see how I did, and only then see how much I needed to study. So I thought it was no big deal to head out to my favorite local bar the night before the test to play chess with my favorite bartender.

But our game that night dragged on for quite some time, and through a fair number of pints. It was probably about 3 AM that I realized that I might be better off not sleeping at all than sleeping a little bit before the test. So we kept playing until about 6 AM, at which point I went home, lay down on the floor for about 10 minutes with my eyes closed, and then got up and took a shower. I got dressed and went straight off to take the test, which started at 8 AM.

I made great efforts to keep myself awake, which included coffee and whatnot. I reached the end of the test, and the computer offered me the opportunity to abandon this attempt, or accept it and see my score. Since this was just my trial run, I thought "What the heck: accept the computer's verdict."

I clicked the button that made this attempt official, and my scores popped up on screen:

Verbal: 790 (out of 800)
Math: 800 (out of 800)

(My analytic score arrived later by mail, and was six out of six.)

To this day, I blame my terrible verbal score on having spent the entire night drinking before going straight in to take the test.


  1. Gene, for such a humble guy, this is the first time I am seeing you boast about your intelligence.

    1. I have sat on the story for 12 years. But it really did happen that way, so finally I thought, "What the heck: tell the story."

  2. The fact that you did well on this test without sleeping or preparing while other people do poorly clearly proves that the test means nothing and is horribly biased.


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