Cornell Site Grading Workshop

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    Christopher Scott

    Has anyone attended Cornell’s Site Grading Workshop offered in May-June? Did this workshop prepare you well for Section E? Any feedback would be great.



    I took the CGW last year (June 08). I felt it was a really great course…prior to taking it, I felt like I had no clue about grading at all, and afterwards I felt I had a good handle on it. Marv Adleman and his TAs spend quality time with you explaining and working thorugh the problems, and explaining tips and shortcuts that increase your speed. Essentially, the course condenses an entire semester’s basic grading class (the one every LA took in undergrad) into 10 days. I think it works better in the condensed form, because you’re immediately building on each concept, so you understand how it all works together, faster. The course uses vignettes that Marv had designed or had graded in past years for the LARE. During the last 5 days, you will daily do a timed vignette exercise, to mimic the LARE.

    All that said, it’s not cheap, especially if you’re coming from out-of-state. Tuition, + room, +meals, +transportation. Cornell is a beautiful campus though and late May-early June is the ideal time to be visiting Ithaca.

    I haven’t taken Section E yet myself, so I can’t yet say how well it prepared me. Check back with me in July 09.
    If you have other specific Qs on the CGW, let me know. –Tath

    Christopher Scott


    Thanks for the reply. I have taken Section E twice. My first time was was June 2006. I actually didn’t think this exam was too bad. I was not prepared very well for it. I took the test again in Dec 2008 and it was a much more difficult test I will definetly be taking this again!

    The PPI books are not up-to-date for this latest version of the exam. I’m hoping this class will give me enough skills to get the section done. It’s the only section left for me!

    What would you estimate the total cost at? Tution is 1,700 + ________

    Thanks, Chris


    Hi Chris,

    Sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you – I don’t check in here too often. The total cost is really dependent on how far you are coming from, where you plan to stay, and how much you spend on food.

    The housing that Cornell offers is dorm rooms, and I think it was around $500 for the 10 days. Cheaper than a hotel, but still a fair chunk of change. I heard from one of the other students that they do have fridge space in the dorms, so you can buy some basics for breakfast, lunch, dinner even. I recommend surfing Craigslist Ithaca; I found a local homeowner who rents out rooms short-term and I ended up paying only $150 for the 10 days – and had a much nicer space and experience. But I had a longer straight uphill walk to class daily. Trade-off. A student in my class rented a space in a frat house, which he said was a fully furnished comfortable room and run of the whole house, including hot tub. May be something to look into if you have or can make fraternity connections. The class is timed just after Cornell’s spring semester is over but just before summer classes get fully underway, so there are lots of open spaces, you just have to find them.

    Food, again it depends how extravagant you want to be. Some people simply ate out daily; even on the cheap side figure for take-out $7 breakfast, $10 lunch, $15 dinner – so $32/day = $320. Some folks pitched in for a “lunch club” and bought sandwich stuff in bulk at the supermarket, and then everyone ate the same sandwiches for lunch. There are some really excellent restaurants in Ithaca, so be sure to have space in your budget to go out a few times (say, $30 – $35) for dinner. Also have some extra cash available to go out for drinks with classmates a few times, the class camaraderie was quite good.

    Transportation around Ithaca is not a huge issue but it does take some planning. Ithaca is REALLY hilly so I don’t recommend a bicycle unless you’re a champion cyclist. There is very limited parking on-campus so renting a car for the full 10 days may not be useful. Several students drove in to the class from various parts of the northeast so you can bum rides to get around if you need to. And considering the small size of Ithaca, its bus system is excellent and cheap ($1 per trip).

    Marv will send you a materials list once you register – you probably have most of the drafting stuff at home or in the office; if you don’t you can grab it at the Cornell bookstore – say $60 or so to kit out. There is no text; all handouts and study vignettes are photocopies given out. Grab extra vignettes, or do all your solutions on trace so you can re-do the vignettes later for more practice. You’ll be issued at least 20 vignettes through the course.

    So let’s see: $1700 tuition + $500 lodging + $320 basic food +$100 dinner/drinking +$60 materials = $2680
    and then you’d have to add transportation costs to / from Ithaca.

    Hope this helps – Tath

    Christopher Scott

    Thanks for the insite!


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