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About magmacore

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  • Application Season
    2013 Spring
  1. Thanks, that is helpful! Do you have any recommendations on how to phrase emails to these professors? In some cases it's been four years
  2. I've been out of college for a few years, and have decided to pursue a PhD in the field which I'm now working in. I didn't major in this, but I did the equivalent of a minor, and a lot of people with my undergraduate background pursue graduate studies in this field. A major concern I have though is getting letters of recommendation. I've done a lot of research projects (including one supervised by two senior academics in this field), however, I'm applying to non-US programs that require coursework professors to provide recommendations in a set template (including checking boxes). There's not even the option of professional or research referees. The classes in my current field were huge lectures and many academics have since left the university, so I would need to take professors from my major. However, I finished my coursework for my major four years ago, and even if professors remember me, I'm not sure they'll remember the nuances of my performance in their class. Has anyone requested references long after graduating? How did you go about this? Also, though most of my upper-division classes were As, how would it look to take a reference from a professor who gave me an A-? I had a stronger relationship with her than most others. I was a sophomore taking a class geared for PhD students, not sure if that would make a difference.
  3. I did a small amount of vocab prep, because as a STEM major, you don't really use that many words. I didn't really prepare for the math section or the essay. I ended up getting 170/170/5.5 - from my experience, math preparation doesn't help much if you're already in a quantitative major, but without doing some light vocab prep, I definitely wouldn't have gotten the verbal score that I did.
  4. Pending writing scores: Kaplan free test: 170Q/166V Two tests in ETS book: 169Q/168V, 169Q/169V Powerprep software timed test: 169Q/163V Actual: 170Q/170V (unless the unofficial scores differ from the official ones. Does that happen nowadays?)
  5. I'm taking the GRE soon and I've only taken three practice tests (most of my studying was vocab or questions which weren't in the test format). Before I did practice tests under test conditions, I thought I'd score < 165 on the verbal because of pretests, but that wasn't always the case on the practice tests. My scores were 170Q/166V, 169Q/169V and 169Q/163V in that order. I'm a little worried that my verbal dropped in the third case - are such drops unusual?
  6. Magoosh cards look great! Does anyone have any suggestions about how to improve on the reading comprehension questions? I haven't done a huge amount of reading in college so I'm very out of practice (I did very well on the verbal part of the SAT though, so part of it must be lost in the back of my mind...).
  7. For someone who's scoring about 160 on the verbal GRE pretests and who would like to score ~165, what sort of resources are most useful?
  8. Hi everyone, I'm a current junior who's hoping to apply for PhD programs next year. Some aspect of my application are fine: I have strong grades in a very difficult and well regarded undergraduate program, I'll graduate with six semesters and two summers of research, I've been president of relevant undergraduate organizations (not that it matters that much), I've gotten a range of fellowships and I've attended summer schools relevant to my field. I should also graduate with at least one (first or second author) publication in my intended graduate field (if it gets accepted somewhere). However, I'm going to struggle to get three relevant and strong letters of recommendation. My current research supervisor will give one, as will a professor I had for a difficult course. But I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to get the third. I really don't know if any of my former research professors will write a strong letter. I did good work the summer after my freshman year, but I've heard that the professor I worked with doesn't write great letters of recommendation, to the point where people get letters from other professors affiliated with the group. The summer after my sophomore year, the professor in the lab was overseas the whole time and barely ever spoke to me, so I worked mostly with PhD students (can't really get a letter of recommendation from them). I also did research last year, but I was working with a very demanding professor doing work that wasn't suited to my skills. I wasn't great at it to say the least, and I'm not sure if he'd be willing to write a strong letter of recommendation. I'm not sure what to do at this stage. I know I have time before I need to finalize this but I'm starting to get quite worried. I could easily ask non-research professors to write me letters, but after four research experiences I think that would look really bad. Does anyone have any suggestions? Would it be advisable to pick up an additional research project so I can work with another professor? I'd rather concentrate on my current research but I'd hate to throw away so much because I just can't get relevant letters of recommendation.