Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Richard Malott

Second Advisor

Dr. Dale Brethower

Third Advisor

Dr. Alan Poling

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Howard Poole


This research consisted of an evaluation of a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) preparation course and two ancillary studies. Eighteen students enrolled in one of three courses (spring, summer, or fall) during which they spent approximately 140 hours preparing for the GRE using self-instructional texts and supplementary materials. Two sets of fluency practice drills with both accuracy and speed criteria were developed to improve students' performance on the quantitative portion of the GRE. The first set of four drills used in the spring and summer courses covered basic skills (basic math, fractions, decimals, and percentages). The second set of 42 drills, used in the fall course and subsequent studies, covered more complex skills (algebra and geometry) in addition to the basic skills. Standard self-instructional texts, were also used in all three structured, self-paced courses. In the same courses, students prepared for the verbal portion of the GRE by using a computerized flashcard program in addition to a self-instructional text.

Students in the three courses combined (n=18) had a mean improvement of 39 points on the verbal portion of the GRE, going from 417 (pretest mean) to 456 (posttest mean), and a mean improvement of 76 points on the quantitative portion of the GRE, going from 461 (pretest mean) to 537 (posttest mean). The mean improvement for the verbal and quantitative portions of the GRE combined was 116 points, going from 877 (pretest mean) to 993 (posttest mean). Based on results from the GRE-preparation courses and the ancillary studies, there were no clear differences in the effects o f the two sets of fluency drills on performance as measured by the GRE.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access