Expert Knowledge Base

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BA in 4 Weeks

Unauthorized reproduction prohibited


Copyright   Lawrie Miller  1997 - 2004















I was checking into the "BA in 4 weeks" at the request of my son who will be in Federal Prison for up to 10 years ...




Take it you've checked the Ohio U. link, "Program for the Incarcerated", see “Critical Resorces. No harm in mentioning it again for the benefit of others who may have missed it. Quote from the Ohio University relevant web page:-

"Since 1974, Ohio University's College Program for the Incarcerated (CPI) has provided an opportunity for incarcerated students to work for college credit and degrees by correspondence. CPI makes available to incarcerated students academic advising, degree planning, linkage to other University offices and personnel, and package fees to make these services more accessible to the incarcerated."

Link is in the online and distance learning resources section.












 I was first drawn to researching Excelsior (and finding your site) by their BS/CIS program which allows computer certifications to be used as credit. Since I have many . . .. I also hold a B.A. in Business from a State University. I also really liked the GRE Psychology information you presented as well. Now for my questions:

1. Will my B.A. degree transfer as a bachelor and only require me to take the major courses from Excelsior or will they review it course-by-course?

2. With my current B.A., will Excelsior award me a B.S. in CIS and a bachelor in Psychology, providing I meet the requirements, or will they only issue me one degree at maximum.





1. As I recall, in the case of the Psych degree, your existing credential will transfer as a BA degree. That is, there is no requirement that you meet Excelsior-specific general ed. Requirements. You will only be required to earn those credits related to your major of choice.

Note that in some cases this may include prerequisites – for example, in the case of a second degree in Business, you would be required to posses or acquire passes in Macro Economics and Micro Economics in addition to those credits normally considered part of a Business major.

2. No, I think they will award you only one degree. The reason is that the award of a second or subsequent degree must be based upon new credit earned AFTER the conferral of any prior degree. Since you can enroll in only one degree program at a time (note I say "program"), any degrees you earned would necessarily be awarded consecutively rather than simultaneously.

The bottom line:-

In general, with respect to second degree – > after first degree –> earn NEW credit –> apply to Excelsior second degree major. If you intend to use existing credit - requirement is that credit is unused credit earned AFTER conferral of any prior bachelor’s degree.

You can only enroll in a program to earn a third bachelor’s degree after receiving special dispensation from the dean of that degree program. Write to the Dean explaining your rationale.








 looked all over Excelsior's site, this site, and GRE's site, and could not find the answer to something I've been wondering. For the GRE subject exams, approximately what percentage of answers need you get correct to achieve the 80th percentile?




Vis-à-vis the required raw percentage score for a pass above the 80th percentile in a GRE subject exam,

the bottom line answer is –


First, let’s recap that a raw score in this exam is the number of correct answers minus one quarter of the number of incorrect answers. So if you answer all 100 questions in an exam, and answer 60 out of the 100 questions correct and 40 out of the hundred, incorrect, your raw score would be 60 – (0.25x40) = 50 points, and your raw percentage score would be 50%.

That is; sixty points for sixty correct answers minus one-quarter point for each of the forty incorrect answers, which is to say sixty take-away ten, yielding fifty points or fifty percent raw score.

Raw score percentage required in the GRE subject exam for a percentile score above 80th percentile, varies between exam subjects.

For example:
Look at the ETS publication, "PRACTICING TO TAKE THE: GRE Psychology Test - 3rd Edition"

Based on prior real Psych exams containing 220 questions, a raw score band 126-128 is required. This is a raw percentage score of approximately 57% and yields a standard score of 630, which represents a percentile score above the 82nd percentile.

Other Example:
In the (alas, now defunct) GRE Political Science subject exam, where total number of questions were typically around 170:


Based on prior Pol Sci exams containing 168 questions, a raw score band 94-97 is required. This is a raw percentage score of 56%, and yields a standard score of 540, which represents a percentile score above the 83rd percentile.

Yet another Example:
GRE subject examination in Physics, where typically 100 questions are asked.

Look at the ETS publication, "PRACTICING TO TAKE THE: GRE Physics Test – 3rd Edition"

Based on prior GRE Physics exam papers containing 100 questions, a raw score of 55. This is a raw percentage score of 55% and yields a standard score of 740, which represents a percentile score above the 80th percentile.

When I sat the first two subject exams cited above, I found I had insufficient time to answer anything like all of the questions. I failed to answer (or even read) about 18% to 20% of the total in each exam. That is, I answered about 178 out of 220 questions in the Psych exam and about 135 out of 168 in the Political Science exam. Time pressure was onerous. Nevertheless, these truncated efforts still yielded results handily above the ninetieth percentile.

Above meant to illustrate that there is more than one way to skin this cat. This strategy might suit you, or alternatively, YOU may better balance reflection and decision – I think there may be much to be gained by doing so. Better management of time allotted for consideration of individual questions and determining when it is time to move on. You could have a lower hit-ratio (questions answered correct/questions attempted), yet perform equally well, overall, in percentile terms, by knowing where to cut your losses, and, if necessary, make an informed guess.





Web site copyright © Lawrie Miller 2004