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A Programmer Takes the GRE

I am currently applying to graduate school (Aerospace Engineering) and need to take (and do well on) the GRE. I took it without preparation and did fairly well, well enough to meet requirements. However, I never like to 'meet requirements'. So back to the GRE for me, and this time I have to study!

The most room for improvement was as expected on my verbal. This means studying vocab (oh no!). I talked to a few folks and did some research and found the common knowledge was to use flash cards and the study books. I found a few lists, but they had thousands of words… I have been programming too long to find myself in a foreach loop making flash cards by hand. That's how it started.

Approximately one month later I had developed a GRE vocabulary study tool ( The project started small, grab the words and snatch some definitions to make flash cards. Then I become victim of feature creep. It went something like this.

  1. Track my progress
  2. Dynamically add words
  3. Parse a whole dictionary (unabridged)
  4. Add a thesaurus to track synonyms and antonyms
  5. Expand it for friends (they showed interest)
  6. Add scoring
  7. Redesign the database for robustness
  8. Add a small library.
  9. Add in use context.
  10. Adding new quiz types word-definition, definition-word and complete the sentence.
  11. Countless small additions and fixes.

Some small flash card app, doh!

Some good things however, I finally used MVC and SQL 2008 in a robust start to finish application along with SQLMetal and LINQ.

Check it out,, for those familiar with MVC I'm sure you will recognize the design :-)

Print | posted on Thursday, September 25, 2008 8:51 PM | Filed Under [ Technical Computing School ]

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