Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page
Standardized tests may be your forte or your weakest link but they will be part of any application for graduate school. I know after taking the SAT for admission to college that I had hoped to never see another standardized test again. Unfortunately, that simply was not possible.
The GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, is basically a grown up version of the SAT. The test includes the same sections: Verbal, Analytical and Writing. As before, expanding your vocabulary can only help you with the verbal section. I know that many people often use flashcards to learn hundreds of the most frequently used words. For me, it was more useful to learn to recognize word roots because I have a hard time with rote memorization. This test will require you to brush off those rusty math skills that you likely have not used for years. I didn’t find anything too complicated, but preparing for the test will allow you to be comfortable on test day.
I found the biggest adjustment was becoming accustomed to a computer-administered test. You can’t make notes beside the reading passages. Knowing the computer actually increases the difficulty of each test item following every correct answer until you miss an answer. I personally think this is ETS’ way of playing mind games with test takers. The key to avoiding a whirlwind of worry about the correctness of your answers is learning how to pace yourself before taking the real test. While practice tests will not exactly capture the testing experience, you can follow the same rules as the real exam.
Keep in mind that your test scores are valid for five years. Even if you are not sure that you want to go to grad school soon, you can save yourself some trouble by taking the GRE sooner rather than later. Because you can schedule the test on your own schedule, you can choose how much time you will need to prepare even if you are working fulltime. For those still in college, the summer months are perfect for preparing and then taking the GRE since there is more free time. While it’s no picnic, The GRE may be as close as you can get to having a stress-free testing experience.
I realize that I have been relatively absent from my blog lately. I would have to say that my grad school applications are the culprit. Frustrated my lack of progress in both activities, I vented via Twitter about my desire to finish my essays so that I would feel like blogging again. Fortuitously, a Twitter friend @RocchiJulia suggested that I crowd source my essay writing. I thought that was a genius idea, so I am asking for your input and constructive criticism. I will be sure to blog about the results as part of the Idealist.org Grad School Project.
I would like to study the global health track in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences so that I may learn the theories behind the practice of behavior change communication in developing countries. Behavioral intervention facilitate the power of individual changes to cause collective actions, improving the health of populations and remedying inequalities. I would like to learn about theoretical frameworks and gain greater research experience by pursuing a master of public health to learn about the intersection of global health and social sciences.
While at the Academy for Educational Development, I worked on health communication projects concerning domestic health issues. My principal project involved supporting a community-based childhood obesity prevention program. I provided technical assistance for participating community-based organizations and coordinated community outreach to potential participating organizations. That experience introduced me to implementation of behavioral interventions and health communication. I hope to learn more about planning, designing, and evaluating programs by earning a master of public health at [X University].
I chose to volunteer in Mozambique to become more familiar with the challenges of global health. By volunteering with a capacity building program for Mozambican NGOs working in HIV/AIDS, I learned about how public health functions in the field and how programs have to adapt in resource-limited settings. I contributed to a training to equip participating NGOs with strategies and tactics to counter stigma and discrimination. I drafted a manual in Portuguese to guide NGOs to establish administrative and financial policies. I interned at the Centro de Salud para Referencia de VIH/SIDA, a community health center serving patients living with HIV and other STDs in greater La Plata, Argentina. Through this internship, I coordinated patient outreach, establishing the foundation for the creation of an advisory council of patients.
I look forward to learning about behavior change theories that underlie the practice of global health. I can combine my interests in psychology and public health through studying sociomedical sciences with a focus in global health. Eventually, I would like to lead program development for behavior change communications programming. Behavior change communications focuses on increasing access to information in combination with resources that imbue people with the ability to make changes that improves health in their lives.
I plan to work with marginalized populations, such as ethnic minorities because these populations often have the least access to the information and resources that allow individuals to stay healthy. My primary interest is in resolving the effects of health inequalities that often plague these populations. Earning a master’s of public health from [X University] offers the chance to learn more about audience research and communication strategies through research projects and case studies to better understand how my previous community outreach experience fits in with planning, designing, and evaluating programs.