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Everything posted by 2xM

  1. For U of T your GPA matters A LOT, at least from what I've been based on domestic applications (could be different for international students). I'll tell you a crazy story: an undergrad at U of T got rejected despite having a 1st author paper, apparently because said person didn't do so hot in a core 2nd year chem course. Also last year someone with 2 second author papers (one JACS, one Angewandte) was also rejected for similarly stupid reasons. Quite honestly I really don't like the way U of T does its admissions. That said, we have a very strong organic presence, and if you like asymmetric catalysis, you'll like what Vy Dong and Mark Lautens are doing.
  2. You get to choose whether you want to send general or subject scores, or both. The caveat is that your decision applies to ALL the schools you listed on that particular score report. So if you want to report your subject score to school A but not school B, then you have to order 2 different score reports.
  3. 2xM

    Terrible AW score

    AW does absolutely diddly squat for science engineering programs, unless you scored below 3.0, which you didn't. Don't worry about the AW score.
  4. You know, that was exactly what happened to me on test day, except it was for quant. Like you I was freewheeling and feeling so good about myself when doing the practice tests, blowing through with ease and getting the score I wanted. Come test day suddenly I'm all tense and overly cautious, second-guessing myself on EVERY SINGLE QUESTION, which eventually led to the ridiculous situation of having only 5 minutes to solve 8 questions. Rushed like mad and had literally 5 seconds to get my random guess in for the last question. This might've saved me from an otherwise abysmal score, as others have corroborated that leaving the last few questions blank is far worse than getting them wrong. In retrospect there was really nothing I could've done to prepare myself more for the quant section. Not sure how applicable this is for verbal, but I'll say this: as long as you're well prepared, the only thing that stands between you and a good score, is how well you can manage your time while fatigued and under high stress.
  5. 2xM

    Terrible AW score

    That's exactly how I felt about the two writing tasks. By virtue of being a chemistry major and being analytical in nature, the Issue task was very dreadful for me, if only for the reason I had to double check every idea I generated to make sure it was logically consistent or at least realistic. Not to mention I was already slow in generating ideas in the first place. I felt much at ease with the Argument essay though, the "analytical" theme was much more prominent, and in line with my thought process. It was also a lot more focused since you all you had to do was deconstruct the argument, and pick out all the logical fallacies. I'd say in terms of testing analytical capacity, the Argument task does a far better job.
  6. 2xM

    AW Issue task

    It starts as soon as you hit the "Dismiss Directions" button ie BEFORE you pick the topic.
  7. The chem dept at UChicago only accepts GRE scores less than 3 years old.
  8. Yep, my school used to go by the 4.3 scale but it got scraped after 1998.
  9. It all depends on your background, if your starting point is high, a bit of studying will likely raise your scores quickly, but I imagine you'll start seeing diminishing returns after a threshold period. I took a diagnostic test in Powerprep before any studying and managed 1300. I then slacked off and didn't take it very seriously, leading me to a grand total study time of 5-6 hours for 5 days. I scored 1390 on the real thing, but I feel I definitely could've hit 1430 had nerves not gotten the better of me.
  10. Hey Eigen thanks again. At this point pretty much the only motivations left for me to retake is that a) some fellowships take GRE scores into consideration b ) don't my app to be filtered out simply because of a dumb score For a), I'm not sure how much weight is given to these scores and whether they might serve as some kind of "tie-breaker" or whatever, but I'd have to strangle someone if my GRE scores prevented me from getting certain fellowships. For b ) I've heard rumors that MIT engineering doesn't even bother looking at those who don't have 800Q. Then again it's MIT, and it's just hearsay. And I guess I really dislike the idea of my app not making it into the first round simply because of the GRE. I mean I think the rest of my app is pretty strong, is pains me to think they'll toss mine into the B pile simply because ETS said I didn't deserve the A pile. Yeah I guess I'm being narcissistic...
  11. All scores are finally in: Verbal: 630, 91 percentile Quant: 760, 84 percentile AW: 5.0, 84 percentile I'm leaning towards not retaking this now, I just think it'll give the impression I'm obsessed with the GRE and rub adcoms the wrong way. That said I would like to improve my quant score especially since 760 is not representative of my true ability at all.
  12. I think 3 is typical, since there's a limit on how many RC questions they can throw in there. I had 3 for mine, 2 short pieces with 2 questions each, and 1 long piece with 4 questions (coincidentally it was about the history of chemistry, and being a chemist myself I actually rather enjoyed the read).
  13. 2xM

    GRE Retake

    OP: My goodness we have very similar qualifications and are in the exact same situation -- we even have the same total GRE score! (630V 760Q for me). Only difference is I'm in chemistry, and just getting my BSc in 2011. You know, this is the most sensible thing I've read so far. I guess you're right in that if I were to retake my GRE, part of the reason would be to show that I can indeed score 800Q (actually that's what I've been getting in Powerprep all along), and that I'm worth more than just 1390. But then again at the top places applicants regularly score over 1400, so it sort of makes sense to think the adcoms expect nothing less than 1400-calibre, and anything below that would just be "unacceptable".
  14. Hey guys, I've been lurking here a bit, but never really had anything to contribute or ask. Now that I've finished the GRE I finally have something to ask, so please bear with me. (this is pretty long, just read my scores and then skip to the last paragraph if you want) Anyways, I took the GRE last Thursday, and I basically blew it: 630V 760Q don't have my writing score yet, but I don't predict it to be very pretty -- bad time management means I couldn't even write a conclusion for my Issue essay! I'll be happy with a 4... I'll be honest: I didn't prepare much for it at all. In fact my study time probably came around to a grand total of 5 days. I didn't take it too seriously, and I got burned. That said, I don't believe the quant score is representative of what I'm capable of. I did both Powerprep tests the day before my test, and I managed 800 on both of them. During the test however, I was too careful on the first 1/3 of questions, and went way too slow. I lagged behind so bad by the time I got to question 20 I had only 5 minutes left! I had to guess the last 3 questions, so I guess in a way it's almost a blessing I somehow managed 760. I'll be going into my 5th and final year as a chem major this upcoming September (biochem--->chem switch held me back a year) at the University of Toronto. GRE aside, all my other credentials are pretty good: -3.9+ GPA (3.99 in major) -UROP for a summer, NSERC (Canadian equivalent of REU) for 2 summers, although one summer was doing biochem stuff, and 1 semester of volunteer work. I'll also be doing a senior project for my last year in undergrad -Should be able to get good references, as long as I don't screw up my senior project I'm mainly looking at the top 10-30 schools and a few top 10 schools for a PhD in synthesis/catalysis. Right now the list looks something like this: -Ann Arbor -Chicago -Columbia -Cornell (actually might cross this one off since Paul Chirik is moving to Princeton) -Duke -Princeton -Purdue -UIUC -UW-Madison -UPenn My plan is to get some relevant industrial experience for a year or two before I head off to grad school. I still need to take the chem GRE, but that can wait considering I have at least 2 years ahead of me. But I guarantee I'll bust my ass for this one and try to get >95 percentile. Being an international applicant (Asian-Canadian), my GRE scores really worry me, especially when you have statements like "Note: Successful international applicants in the past typically have had a total score of at least 1400 for the quantitative and verbal tests, at least 4.0 in the analytical writing test, and a score of at least 850 for the advanced test in chemistry" on Cornell's website. I've been told "it doesn't really matter as long as you have good reference letters and research", but the last thing I want is for my app to be filtered out because of my GRE score. Considering how much more competitive it is for international applicants (especially when it comes to funding), I dunno if I should trust that statement. Then again it seems almost childish to toss out someone's app just because it didn't meet an arbitrary cutoff. Some of those schools say they'll take the best score from each section if I retake the GRE, and I'm hoping as long as I show significant improvement (eg 700V 800Q 6AW) they wouldn't hold it against me. I'm also slightly worried they might see my GRE score and think my GPA is inflated, but I can assure you where I'm studying, grade DEflation is the norm -- most of my 3rd year chem courses still had C/C+ averages, with only one or two in the B/B+ range. It'd be a terrible insult if they just wrote off my GPA as being inflated. Anyway, assuming I manage >95 percentile on the chem GRE, maintain a 3.9+ GPA and get good reference letters, would it still be worth my time and money to retake the GRE? I mean, I've taken 2 classes in logic and managed A/A+ in both of them, so clearly I'm capable of "thinking critically and analytically" if the adcoms care to read my transcript. Oh but one thing's for sure, if I get below 4 on writing, I'm retaking it for sure. Thanks so much for your patience.
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