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Peanut

How important is the GRE to PhD programs?

19 posts in this topic

How should I value it in comparison to what I've done in and outside of the classroom?

 

I've sure it varies from program to program...

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GREs are not too terribly important once you've met the cut off scores, which I believe are generally 300 combined, though I may be wrong about that.

 

Where GREs become more important is LATER. After you've gotten in to a program and are slogging your way through, you're going to continually be applying for grants, scholarships, TA positions, etc., and often your GREs are taken into consideration for those. 

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As Faulty said, not terribly important but you do want to try and hit the 70th percentile, at least for verbal.  Also, from what I've heard/read/seen the analytical writing portion is not nearly as important as verbal and quant.

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Try to get at least a 150Q and 160V and you should be fine.  Nobody cares about the AW. 

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Nobody cares about the AW. 

 

I would add a caveat to this: nobody cares about the AW as long as you get a 3.0 or higher.  It might be a red flag if you get below a 3, since you basically have to write less than the two sentences or go completely off topic to score a 1 or 2.  But yeah, I hit the 98th percentile in AW and got super excited for about 5 minutes before I realized that it wouldn't actually help me get in anywhere :rolleyes:

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^dang. And they're gonna get a writing sample in the application anyway, right?

Edited by CostaRita

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If I scored below average on all sections, would that significantly reduce my chances of being admitted somewhere? Honestly I'd rather go somewhere that values my hard work and research experience/interests over a few numbers.

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Yes, your writing sample and SOP/personal statement are infinitely more important than your AW score.  No one cares about the AW score because it's indicative of your ability to follow a simple writing formula rather than a barometer of your actual writing skill.

 

As for your scores, it really depends on how far below average they were.  A lot of places won't consider your application if you hit at least 150 on both quant and verbal.  If you hit the 150/150 mark then it's possible that your writing sample, CV, LoRs, research, work/internship experience, etc can overcome low scores. 

 

I think NOWAYNOHOW has a good target, though.  150 on quant and 160 on verbal is pretty much what you should aim for.  I hit the 92nd percentile in verbal and 40th percentile in quant and got some good offers, so the 150/160 mark seems about right.

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You should try and do as well as you can reasonably expect yourself to do. Don't kill yourself, pay a ton for GRE prep, or stop yourself from applying because of the GRE. You should, however, study, practice taking the test (because so much of it is just test taking skills), and work to brush up on your high school math and vocab. I know that lots of people have test taking anxiety, and also a hard time with these types of high stakes exams, but for most individuals looking to go to grad school, it's highly learnable. 

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I've got a question along these lines...

 

I didn't take the GRE. I've accepted admission into an MA program already. When I go to apply for the PhD in 2017, will I need to take the GRE or will my graduate degree grant me a GRE waiver? I really don't want to have to worry about taking the GRE while working on my thesis...

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Hate to break this to you...but yeah, you will have to take the GRE. At least you've got plenty of time to prep!

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Ok, so the fact of the matter is that my verbal score will probably be higher than my quant score. I'm predicting that my math score will be in the 140's and that my V will be in 150's.

 

Since I will be going into cultural anthro, should I spend more time on V or Q? Do I need to spend any time on Q?

Edited by CostaRita

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Its worth practicing a little bit. Try a run through of the free ETS practice tests. If your quant is going to be in the 140s you should shoot for a verbal in the 160s.  Their the least important part of your application but not unimportant. 

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Ok, so the fact of the matter is that my verbal score will probably be higher than my quant score. I'm predicting that my math score will be in the 140's and that my V will be in 150's.

 

Since I will be going into cultural anthro, should I spend more time on V or Q? Do I need to spend any time on Q?

 You should shoot for above 150 in both sections. The math is not conceptually difficult, just practice, practice, practice. I would think a 140 Q could be an avoidable red flag that you don't want unless you have seriously tried and can't improve it. 

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A certain portion of labor should be put on basic statistics, which consists of the hardest of Q. Most of other tasks are just comparing numbers in various ways.

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I work for Princeton Review (when they can be bothered to give me any classes that is...grumble) so I'm a little biased towards their methods. If you have the time and money I would go ahead and take a prep class. BUT....if you're a self-starter and generally "get" things quickly and easily on your own, you'd probably do just as well to buy yourself a retail prep book (i.e. a book you can buy on Amazon, without buying the course itself) and just practice on your own schedule. You're missing the in-person explanation, the regularity of a schedule and, if you're in my class, the corny jokes and swearing, but that's pretty much it.

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^ have a Princeton Review book in the States (I'm abroad this semester). I've used it a little. I brought some Magoosh stuff with me and I'm enrolled in a Cambridge thing online.

 

*Doing* it is the problem :P I've kind of given up tbh because I couldn't get the practice scores that I wanted.

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