Studying for the GRE

This isn't necessarily a post about music, but as I am taking the Graduate Record Examine(GRE) next Monday in order to complete my application to Yale I thought I'd include some of my thoughts about the study process here.

The GRE is a test of analytical and verbal skills. As I have been writing term papers for university, posts on this blog and various other articles, I'm not particularly concerned about the verbal side of the exam. I have gone over some of the topics for the Analysis portion (analysing a short statement). It's the analytical portion of the test (maths) that has me concerned.

I understand all the math necessary for the test, but a good portion of it I've not used since I was in high school (nearly 30 years ago). The biggest concern for me is the quadradic equation. I remember working with the quadradic equation back in Algebra 2, but until I was reviewing the study guide for the GRE, I hadn't thought about it since then. If you'd asked me the formula for solving a quadratic equation I wouldn't have been able to tell you. I'm sure, at some point in class, we went through the process of solving quadratic equations, and proving the formula works, but going back over the information now, it is amazing to me that anyone ever thought of it in the first place.

Not limiting my research to the study guide, I took some time to look up quadratic equations on the internet and was stunned to find mathmeticians have been solving these problems for thousands of years. This is hardly new math. The Babylonians were working algebra back in 1800BC, with Sulba Sutras in India solving more difficult quadratic equations in 800BC.

I have no idea how well I'll do on the text next week, but I am enjoying the relearning of some of the stuff I learned in high school. I don't know how relevant it will be to my musical education, but perhaps taking a second look at it will mean I will retain it better this time.


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