On Monday I went to take the GRE. If you' ve ever taken the GRE, this story will probably sound familiar. I paid ETS $99.00 for this joyous privilege, and I was determined to enjoy it. I got my two photo IDs ready and drove to the testing center. When I got there, the nice lady behind the counter handed me a clipboard with two sheets of legalese, two sheets of instructions, and what essentially boiled down to an affadavit to swear out. The document she wanted me to fill out was a statement swearing that I would never release the contents of the exam to anyone. I felt like I was signing a EULA, stating that I was only leasing the information they were about to pump into my brain, and they expected it back when I left the premises. I understand why ETS wants to keep their test questions "secret", but this was a bit much. There would probably be agents busting down my door if I told you that the test contained the words 'of', 'the', and 'discommode'. That's why I won't tell you these things. On with the node.    The test was a CAT, Computer Adaptive Test. Since dead trees are so passé, they feel the need to use "modern technology" to "improve testing standards". So I plop myself down in front of the monitor, after having confirmed my identity to the (now 2) nice ladies at the counter. This is when the thought first struck:  Taking the GRE on a 60Hz vertical refresh rate monitor might not be such a good idea...   I decided to go ahead and take the "tutorial". Boy was that interesting. It was essentially a step-by-step guide on How to Use a Mouse to Click On Stuff. I've never felt like such a reject from the Apple® House of Incompetent Mouse Users. After 20 minutes of instructions on how to navigate through their menus, I got down to work. I worked through their seemingly endless, banal test questions, and the minutes crept by. Two hours into the test, my headache starts raging. I tend to work on a 21" monitor, at a resolution of 1600x1200 at about a 100Hz refresh rate. 85Hz isn't bad either. Oftentimes, I'll use 14" monitors at 60 Hz for web browsing or whatnot. What I never quite realized was the excruciating pain induced by reading badly worded test questions off a 60 Hz refresh rate monitor for three hours.   By the time I finished, I was so despondent over how my headache was really starting to get in the way of the overall joyousness of the exam, I was tempted to have my scores canceled. At the end, there are two choices: have your score reported to ETS, or cancel your scores and pretend like none of this ever happened. I realized that this $99.00 per installment plan would be bad for my checkbook, and really, how badly could I have done? So I took the scores, headache and all. I did pretty well, considering. What I took from this adventure and would like to now share with you kind folks is this:

The GRE at 60 Hz is a Bad Idea

  Not that you have much choice in the matter, of course.

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