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Retaking the GRE?


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Hey everybody, 

first time posting and I am doing so on behalf of my girlfriend. Most of her time these days is taken up by preparing for the subject test for English. What she wants to know, and wants me to ask, is should she re-take the GRE? In her own words, "can you just ask other people if I'm delusional?"

She wants to get a PhD in postmodern and contemporary fiction, and is eyeing WUSTL, Cornell and Harvard (as well as a few others.) She went to Fordham for undergrad with a 3.70 in-major GPA. Her GRE scores are a 165 on the verbal part, 147 quantitative, and a 4.5 on the analytical writing. Her extra-curriculars include two different publishing internships, and a number of freelance reviews and critical analyses published by a bunch of different places.

I've been lurking for the last few days trying to get a feel for the way posts here typically go, and I wanted to make sure that this wasn't just another "what are my chances" thread. The advice that I'm really looking for is, should my girlfriend retake the GRE since she's got her sights set so high? She seemed really disappointed that she didn't break at least a 5 on the writing.

Let me know if there's any additional info that would be helpful. I'm not an academic myself, so I am very much out of my depth here and there's a fair chance that I left something out.


EDIT: should have posted this in the specific GRE section, sorry everyone!

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The GRE is not the most important thing on her application. Odds are, it won't matter to much if she's proved she's qualified for the programs with eher course grades and any relevant experience.

Another thing to consider is if she'll even do better the second time. I've heard that to really improve your score you have to drastically improve your study methods. If she already studied well the first time and can't improve upon it that much, is there any point? Especially for the AW, considering how well you do is partially dependent on which prompt you get, it's kind of hard to know how much you'll improve.

If she can afford it and thinks she'll really improve this time, then sure.

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