28 September 2010

Taking the GRE in Seoul - UPDATED

I am taking the GRE in October. I was already irritated by the fact that graduate programs even require such hogwash, but the whole registration process has got me resenting the whole ETS institution. I spit on you, ETS!* May you be afflicted with the itch, and have no nails to scratch with.**

I'm ever so grateful that I can take the GRE in Seoul, but can I just ask, how do all those ESL GRE test takers manage to register for the test? I, for one, found the process a bit mind boggling. It hurts my head just thinking about it.

It's very likely that I'm just a big moron, but I'm sure that there are other people out there who have had/will have a difficult time registering for the GRE in South Korea. Thus, I've decided to put together some tips and info. You are very welcome.

First of all, forget registering online. Thanks to bunch of dastardly, cheating fiends, test-takers in China, Hong Kong, and South Korea must take the Split-Test. This I have no problem with because (a) I got to do the Writing Section on the computer (b) I get to complete the Verbal/Qualitative using good ol' paper and pencil (c) I have a nice long break between the Writing and Multiple Choice sections.

People say that the new-fangled test, all done on a fancy little machine called the "computer", is preferable because the questions are adjusted as you go along. I for one, will sacrifice adjustments in exchange for the ability to underline and cross out words on paper.

I digress. Back to helpful tips...

STEP 1: Register for the Split-Test.

In order to register for the Split-Test you must register through the Prometric Regional Registration Center. Allegedly, you can register online, but when I clicked on the provided link for the Korean center, I got some error message about the site being hacked. I highly recommend that you simply call up the Korean Prometric office.

Prometric Regional Registration Center
Registration Phone:1566-0990
(Mon-Fri 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM)
E-mail: rrc@egios.com

The Prometric folks will send you an email asking you to provide your info: name, address, DOB, etc. After they've received your info, they will call you to confirm and ask for your payment information. (I provided my credit card information over the phone).

For some reason, I was hesitant to provide all of this info over email/phone, but there was just no getting around this process.

STEP 2: Complete the Analytical Writing Section.
If you are in Seoul, you must complete the Writing Section (aka the computer part of the Split-Test) at the Fulbright Building in Mapo-gu.

Fulbright Building, 168-15 Yomni-dong,
Seoul NONE 121-874
Phone: 82 2 3211 1233

Prometric provided me with the following directions to the Fulbright Building.


At first glance, the directions seemed helpful. That is, until I got to number three, "Look for National Health Insurance Building." Firstly, you will not be able to spot the National Health Insurance Building from Gongdeok Station Exit 1. Secondly, even if you could fly or see through buildings, you would not recognize the National Health Insurance Building because its name will be written in Hangul.
There's probably a more efficient route (like this one), but here's how I managed to find the Fulbright Building.

3. Once you head out of Exit 1, follow the signs pointing towards the Seoul Digital University. I never found the Seoul Digital University, but I did find that the signs pointed me in towards the direction of my destination. You will find yourself walking past a large construction area (This will likely be a Tom 'n' Toms or a Paris Baguette by the time you read this) for about 7 minutes until you find yourself on the main road. I veered right and walked up this main road. If you spot ZuZu Bar (across the street), you know you're headed in the right direction.

4. Look out for a large building (there will be a guard stand out front) called 국민건강보험 (aka "National Health Insurance). Don't get too excited though. Remember, you are actually looking for the Fulbright Building.
5. Fortunately, the Fulbright Building really is next door, only the building is small, so it's easy to miss. Look out for a small alleyway immediately following the National Health Insurance Building.

Head up to the 2nd Floor of the building. Look at the posting on the bulletin board for instructions (in English) on how to proceed.

I ended up arriving at the Test Center more than a hour before my schedule time, but the Test Room Administrator let me go ahead and take the test early. It was quite nice to work in an empty room.
You are not allowed to take anything into the computer room, including a watch or a jacket.
The administrator will provide you with scratch paper and two pencils.
STEP 3: The Multiple Choice Section
I have yet to take the verbal/quantitative sections (the paper part of the test). The website simply states that the Seoul location for this part of the test is at Duksung Women's University.
Duksung University has a couple of locations, but after calling Prometric, I confirmed that the test will be at the Anguk location near Unhyun Palace. Thankfully, I know where this is.
Take the orange line (line 3) to Anguk. Take exit 4. Walk straight ahead for about 3 minutes (you'll pass Unhyun Palace). Turn left at the large entrance to Unhyun Elementary School.
Once you go through the entrance gates, follow the path until you reach a fork in the road. You want to take the path veering right. Follow this path until you see two light green telephone booths. I was told that the room number for the test will be posted on the glass doors.
- Room assignments will be posted on the bulletin boards just outside the entrance to the building.
- Make sure you bring your own watch. Your classroom may or may not have a clock. The test admin in my room moved the clock (originally positioned at the back of the classroom) onto the rail beneath the chalkboard. Unfortunately, my view of the clock was obscured by the tall test-taker in front of me. Fortunately, I had my own watch.
- Please be on time (if not early). It was so annoying (and a bit nerve-racking) to have to sit 30 minutes past the scheduled start time due to unapologetic late-comers. If you are bad with directions, allot yourself time to get lost. If you have a tendency to oversleep, set 4 alarms or get someone to wake you up. Please be considerate of others!
- Lastly, now that the GREs and grad school apps are far behind me, I can safely, and somewhat confidently say that the GREs are not as big of a deal as we are made to feel. I did fairly well on the reading,but average on the quantitative, and not as well as I should have on the writing section. The test doesn't say much in terms of what we have to offer as students, but in my estimation, merely reassures grad schools that we aren't imbeciles.
Not sure if this is at all comforting, but you can rest assured that personal statements, transcripts, resume, and recommendations are far more important. :)
So if it's a choice between cramming your brain with arcane vocab or reading books/papers relevant to your research interests, do the latter. This is what I did, and I got into all the programs I applied to. ***

*I really hope that I do well. Please do not invalidate my test scores.
**More curses here.
*** Pardon me. I don't mean to sound like a self-satisfied know-it-all.


marisa said...

Hi there total stranger

I just stumbled across this in my search for GRE info in Korea (I'm writing the second section a couple of weeks from now). Anyway, I was wondering whether you maybe know what building we're supposed to go to when we get to Duksung university? I've never been to Duksung, but in my experience universities usually have more than one room, so ETS's instructions to go to "duksung university" are a little worrying

annalog said...

You'll want to go to the Uni-dong campus (Graduate School of Education).


Take the orange line (line 3) to Anguk. Take exit 4. Walk straight ahead for about 3 minutes (you'll pass Unhyun Palace). Turn right at the large entrance to Unhyun Elementary School.

marisa said...


^^ said...

After passing the palace you should make a left not a right and enter the gates.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing the legwork on this! I didn't expect to find this answer through Google. This whole process has been somewhat of a headache.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information-- I was wondering where in tarnation I'd be going on Saturday! Good luck on the test:)

Anonymous said...

wow, you're taking the GRE - or already took it??...congrats - where will you be going to school? - so your 2nd masters will be in ESL?


Anonymous said...

Good luck on the GRE but I'm sure you won't need it.

pro said...

Thanks for your share! I think this information is helpful for everyone. I'm doing practice GRE in masteryourgre.com . I hope it's useful for GRE test takers.

ssica said...

THANK YOU! FOR THIS INFO! I called the korea prometric center a gazillion times and they do not pick up!!! it's sooo annoying!!! and the automated message tell us to register online BUT U CAN'T! reallly annoying... ETS is wack! I've decided to visit the center and register in person... thank again for the info... i thought i was the only one who was having problems registering

annalog said...

ssica: Glad I could help. You may want to try emailing Prometrics before you trek over to their offices. I exchanged emails with an actual human being (at least I think it was a human). Not sure what you find at their offices, if they even have an office, that is.

Cinnamingirl said...

Wow!! Thank you so much for this information! I'm looking to take the GRE this autumn here in Seoul... unfortunately ETS hasn't updated their website with test dates for 11-12 year yet... argh.

Anyway, best of luck in grad school and thank you again!

scoregetter said...

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stranger said...

Thank you for this because I had no idea how to get to the Fulbright building.

WC said...

Yo Thanks!

nancy john said...

thanks for sharing information really it is very useful

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