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ok, Who got in with low GRE scores?


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42 replies to this topic

#1 LTee

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 11:42 PM

Simple question, has anyone gotten into any graduate programs with extremely low GRE scores? I must know.
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#2 Joel418

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 01:13 AM

I got in with mediocre+ scores (720Q, 670V, 4.0AW). What you need know is:

a) does the program only admit applicants they can fund?
B) does your program's funding come from a university-wide competition between the departments?

If the answer is yes to both questions, you will need excellent GRE scores (depending on the institution, 1400-1600 combined scores with an AW score 5.0 or above)

Best of luck!

Joel
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#3 gradcafegirl

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 06:40 AM

I got in with a combined 1300, both scores in the 600s. writing score = 5. verbal was high, quant was low for my field. I had a high major gpa but a mediocre cumulative gpa.
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#4 joro

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 06:47 AM

If you guys have low GRE scores, then I must have very low scores then. 1250, writing 4.5

I got into USC and UC Irvine, but reapplying this year and probably retaking GRE.

gradcafegirl: Are you by chance attending CMU + University of Pittsburgh program?
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#5 mims3382

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 07:13 AM

oh the false modesty!!!

nono, everyone knows that above a 600 on the verbal is very good while a 650 is excellent.
quant is of course more important in fields that use math

Extremely low GRE scores? like in the 300s? 400s? that might be a problem. above a 500 should be fine if everything else is strong.
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#6 brwneyez1983

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 06:15 PM

I got in grad school twice with a low GRE score. My first grad program i got in with an 850 GRE. My second masters i used that same 850 and got in to the two graduate programs I applied to. I think my experience and GPA helped a lot though.
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#7 newage2012

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 03:55 AM

I got in grad school twice with a low GRE score. My first grad program i got in with an 850 GRE. My second masters i used that same 850 and got in to the two graduate programs I applied to. I think my experience and GPA helped a lot though.


wow 850 composite that is rock bottom.

If you have a high GPA and some undergraduate research expereince, or if you already have a Master's in a related field, then GRE shouldn't matter much.

I keep having trouble breaking the 400 mark on verbal, but that was two and half years ago. I already got admitted to one PhD program for spring 2010 (as an internal transfer from the MS program), but I am going to apply to another two / three top programs for Fall 2010.
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#8 gradcafegirl

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 06:28 AM

joro: nope, I'm not attending that program you mentioned.

Both of my scores were in the 600s; however, while my verbal was high (94th percentile), my quant was low (58th percentile), especially for life science programs. Not rock-bottom, but considering many of the top programs I applied to had average quant scores in the mid 700s, it was quite low. Especially since my overall gpa was not great.
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#9 viavoice

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 03:47 PM

Some of these "low" GRE scores make me blush. My strong point has always been writing (it's how I pay the bills!)

My GRE scores were 610 Verbal, 630 Quant., 6 Analytical Writing.

I was accepted with full funding.

I do have a 3.9 GPA from an excellent undergrad school, as well as research and field experience. I think that that helped. I talked to a few admissions counselors who told me that my score didn't have a serious impact, either way. One person told me that 1200 was the cut-off, unless the applicant had something fantastic (like publications, near-perfect GPA from an undergrad institution that isn't known for grade inflation, research experience, applicable professional experience, etc.)

Hope that helps!
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#10 socialcomm

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 05:22 PM

It really depends on how the particular school treats the GRE score (do they have a cut off you need to meet?) and your other qualifications. As others said, if you have excellent SOP, recs, experience, writing sample, a low (and you can see that people define low in different ways) GRE score may not make or break your entrance into a program. Contact the schools and find out more information!
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#11 brwneyez1983

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 06:08 PM

I got in grad school twice with a low GRE score. My first grad program i got in with an 850 GRE. My second masters i used that same 850 and got in to the two graduate programs I applied to. I think my experience and GPA helped a lot though.


wow 850 composite that is rock bottom.

If you have a high GPA and some undergraduate research expereince, or if you already have a Master's in a related field, then GRE shouldn't matter much.

I keep having trouble breaking the 400 mark on verbal, but that was two and half years ago. I already got admitted to one PhD program for spring 2010 (as an internal transfer from the MS program), but I am going to apply to another two / three top programs for Fall 2010.


Rock bottom you said it :) Yeah I have never been good at taking standardized tests. In undergrad I had a 3.4 GPA and my graduate program I graduated with a 3.911 GPA. I think that is what really helped me.
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#12 newage2012

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 06:58 PM

Some of these "low" GRE scores make me blush. My strong point has always been writing (it's how I pay the bills!)

My GRE scores were 610 Verbal, 630 Quant., 6 Analytical Writing.

Hope that helps!


Mmm that is sky-high for me. I have 360V/650Q/4.5AW and that was two and a half years ago, with 2 cans of Red Bull fully loaded before the test. :lol:

Lucky the student recreation unit need IT people, so I start work for them even before I got my bachelors. Once I got my BS in EE they switch me into a 2/3 full time staff position, and that comes with a part-time tuition waiver.

I am planning to retake the GRE again in November for the NSF GRFP thingy. This time I should have enough firepower to break the 400 mark on verbal :twisted:
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#13 RiverRunner

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 07:09 PM

GRE scores matter, and will continue to matter more and more over the next couple of years as applicant pools are flooded in response to the down economy. I had decent scores, 640V 610Q 5.5W, and I was rejected from every single PhD program I applied to (granted, this had more to do with my SOP than anything else, in hindsight). I was accepted to a couple of excellent MA programs, thankfully. Do not underestimate the importance of any single piece of your application. Strive to make every piece a high selling point.
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#14 kmicinski

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 02:00 AM

I was too freaked out about GRE scores when I applied (Sorry to resurrect an old topic.) But I wanted to throw out there that I got a 640 Q and 580 V GRE score in Computer Science and got in everywhere I wanted to go (even Wisconsin and UMD). But I feel like the most important part of the process was an extremely focused letter of intent along with dropping individual researchers a line before application to let them know I was applying. I didn't do anything along the lines of "please let me in" but would suggest dropping your potential advisors candid notes telling them why you chose to apply to their program. (The flip side of this is that you probably don't want to work someone that completely blows off a potential applicant, which happened just once to me.)
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#15 Mal83

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 04:30 PM

Even though this is an old topic I just love the use of subjective words like "mediocre" and "low." It makes me chuckle inside when someone shamefully admits that they got a 'mediocre' 1300. "My quant score of 720 is 'low' might retake it." "My 1250 is pathetic, surprised I got in anywhere." It's a little absurd if you think about it. I mean OK I know certain programs and areas of study rely on the GRE more than others and phD programs have a higher requirement than MAs, but when you start throwing around words like "mediocre" to describe a score that's actually really good it just makes me want to say..."seriously? are you really serious?" I hated the idea of the GRE, like admissions committees really need one more number aside from an already large application package? But once I accepted it I embraced and got very into the studying. I actually kind of liked studying for the verbal section, that's something that's useful, but for me, relearning 4 years of high school math in a matter of months was a nightmare. I still ended up with an "OK" 1120, V570 Q550 W4.5. Luckily for me my area of study isn't so concerned with the GRE which is the way it should be. But even with that score I got into a top MA program in my field...off of the waitlist that is, but still got in. I doubt that my GRE score was a deciding factor. And I don't have any problems revealing my score so that others can see that it might not matter as much as they think, depending on the field of course. I was always relieved to see a post with a declaration of acceptance despite a GRE score on the lower end of the spectrum.
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#16 Erin G

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 04:53 PM

Hi mal83,

I see you are going to GWU! I am in DC and applying to GWU and Gallaudet myself.

Your post is exactly what I was thinking as I was reading through these messages this morning! "Mediocre" or "low"? Come on. This is why I hesitate to come on these boards despite how helpful some threads have been. I took my GRE on Saturday and it's a good thing I didn't read these posts before going. I would have been terrified! Any one who got 600-750 on any section of that test did VERY WELL, and should really try to refrain from acting like a anything other than a perfect score is mediocre. I don't know if you all are over-achievers or simply obsessed with perfection, but take a breather. People like myself, who are bad test takers but excellent essay writers, are looking for legit advice on here as to how our scores may help or hinder our grad school chances. Reading these messages in particular make me want to just give up, but I know these opinions are subjective, so I will continue to have faith in myself and my abilities. My GRE definitely isn't the best, but everything else in my application is. Fingers crossed!





Even though this is an old topic I just love the use of subjective words like "mediocre" and "low." It makes me chuckle inside when someone shamefully admits that they got a 'mediocre' 1300. "My quant score of 720 is 'low' might retake it." "My 1250 is pathetic, surprised I got in anywhere." It's a little absurd if you think about it. I mean OK I know certain programs and areas of study rely on the GRE more than others and phD programs have a higher requirement than MAs, but when you start throwing around words like "mediocre" to describe a score that's actually really good it just makes me want to say..."seriously? are you really serious?" I hated the idea of the GRE, like admissions committees really need one more number aside from an already large application package? But once I accepted it I embraced and got very into the studying. I actually kind of liked studying for the verbal section, that's something that's useful, but for me, relearning 4 years of high school math in a matter of months was a nightmare. I still ended up with an "OK" 1120, V570 Q550 W4.5. Luckily for me my area of study isn't so concerned with the GRE which is the way it should be. But even with that score I got into a top MA program in my field...off of the waitlist that is, but still got in. I doubt that my GRE score was a deciding factor. And I don't have any problems revealing my score so that others can see that it might not matter as much as they think, depending on the field of course. I was always relieved to see a post with a declaration of acceptance despite a GRE score on the lower end of the spectrum.


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#17 Mal83

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 07:55 PM

Hi Erin! Man, can't wait to get started at GW, it's my dream school in my dream city. You're lucky you're already there. Are you applying for spring admissions?

You know the GRE thing is just hard all around for those of us who aren't the best standardized test takers, we have to study extra hard just to get an OK score and then worry that that number is going to bring down our applications. But like most of us know already, it's totally dependent on the field and program...thank god for that. And I'm not knocking the overachiever or those that strive for perfection, I'm like that in other areas, but standardized testing isn't one of them. I'm not a math person, the last time I did algebra was back in high school, I was good at it then but that was 10 years ago! Then I bought all of the study books and it was literally like learning 4 years of high school math all over again, I just couldn't grasp it all again in that time frame, and quite frankly it seemed really pointless...I'm going into International Development, I need economics not algebra and geometry. But sure I can see the other side of the coin too, if you're going into the sciences or mathematics you should have a very high quant score, but generally speaking to say that a score in the 700's is mediocre just makes me cringe. While I was in the frenzy of the application process I was constantly surfing the web for gre score advice sites and basically the only thing I got out of doing that was that everyone has a different word to describe every possible score. Ok, let's face it though, there is a point where you have to call a score low, my interpretation of all that I've come across is that below a combined score of 1000, is well, low. But again, it's field dependent. See, the one bit of information that I had going into this whole thing is really the one thing that made feel better every time I thought my stupid GRE score would get in the way, and that is that my friend's boyfriend, who also served with me in the Peace Corps got into GW's Elliott School with a GRE score in 1000s. That's a good 200 points below their average. So he and I had the same international experience, he got a lower GRE score and got in. I didn't know what his other stats were but it still made me feel better at the time. But at any rate, this is just my interpretation of the whole GRE experience, I'm glad it's over and I won't ever do it again.

The very high GRE can boost a lower undergrad GPA but if that's not an issue then I don't think you have to worry. I've come across programs that just don't even require the test at all, but they're very specific areas of study and they are professional degrees such as International Conflict Resolution at George Mason University, which I considered briefly. Then there are programs that don't consider the quant section or they don't care about the verbal section. But really the bottom line is that if you're application is very strong otherwise then I don't feel like there's cause for great concern, but my advice is to have a backup school, not necessarily because you definitely won't get into a top choice with a "lower" GRE score, but just in general. I only applied to 3 programs, my backup at George Mason was the only one to accept me first round, it just made my life easier knowing at least I had somewhere to go despite being rejected by my 2nd choice and waitlisted by my first. I'm still shocked that got into GW, but they didn't let me know that until May 20th after the original waitlist decision came out in mid-March. I can't imagine what state I'd be in if I didn't definitely get into one school and had to wait up until last week to know if I was going somewhere, can't even think about that.

Good luck on your apps!

Hi mal83,

I see you are going to GWU! I am in DC and applying to GWU and Gallaudet myself.

Your post is exactly what I was thinking as I was reading through these messages this morning! "Mediocre" or "low"? Come on. This is why I hesitate to come on these boards despite how helpful some threads have been. I took my GRE on Saturday and it's a good thing I didn't read these posts before going. I would have been terrified! Any one who got 600-750 on any section of that test did VERY WELL, and should really try to refrain from acting like a anything other than a perfect score is mediocre. I don't know if you all are over-achievers or simply obsessed with perfection, but take a breather. People like myself, who are bad test takers but excellent essay writers, are looking for legit advice on here as to how our scores may help or hinder our grad school chances. Reading these messages in particular make me want to just give up, but I know these opinions are subjective, so I will continue to have faith in myself and my abilities. My GRE definitely isn't the best, but everything else in my application is. Fingers crossed!







Edited by Mal83, 30 May 2011 - 08:40 PM.

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#18 eklavya

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 11:26 PM

my verbal score was god-awful (430) and aw was mediocre (4.5). however, quant score is given priority in my field. i got 780 (~92nd percentile i think). although, i doubt my gre scores had anything to do with my admissions.

Edited by bhikhaari, 31 May 2011 - 11:28 PM.

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#19 Mal83

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 02:45 AM

See at least in the study books for the writing score we have score ranges with descriptions, in Kaplan anyway, 4.5 is labeled as above average or something like that...certainly not "mediocre." I'm starting to hate that word.
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#20 natsteel

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 03:01 AM

4.5 is above average in the sense that it's slightly better than 50th percentile. I scored 1220 overall (which isn't mediocre, but isn't anything to write home about in comparison with the top candidates at top 10 programs in my field) with a 4.0AW (45th percentile) and got into my top choice. I've never talked to anyone (including professors at top 10 programs) who said that schools actually care about the AW score.
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***All statements above pertaining to the application process are specific to the field of History and my own experience.





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