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So So awa score. Should i even bother to apply to TT programs?

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I was going to apply to TT  new testament Ph.D. programs this cycle. 
I contacted POIs, and so far all POIs i contacted seemed to be interested in my potential research topic. 

Everything was going well until I checked my GRE score today. 

My verbal and math scores are not bad. I scored 165 V, 159 Q, and 4.5 AWA. 
I am worried if my so-so awa score would disqualify me from TT programs like Duke, PTS, and Baylor. 

I got the impression that the TT programs expect candidates to score at least 5 on awa. 

What do you guys think? Would it be worth it for me to retake GRE to score at least 5 on awa? or Should I have peace with it and focus on other things? 

 

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Hi there,

 

The good news is that you have plenty of time to take it again before applications are due, so don’t panic. You can either be content with the scores you have (which honestly seem fine for the three programs you listed) or try to set aside a few hours each week, take one week off to study hard, then take it again sometime in November. If cost is an issue, I wouldn’t do anything crazy to get the funds; it’d be better for you to use the $100 or so it takes to pay for the test and use it to apply to another school. If money isn’t an issue, you can certainly find the time to take it again.

 

In general, the GRE will rarely get you in to schools but it can keep you out of some. With those scores, I think you’d have a hard time with Harvard, Yale, Princeton U, Chicago, and maybe some others, but you would be fine for plenty of other schools (PTS, Emory, BC, BU, UT Austin, Notre Dame, UNC, etc).

 

There are current PhD’s from Duke GPR active in this forum, so I’ll defer to them on that question, though I assume those scores are fine for Duke’s ThD, if not the PhD.

 

One final note: I took the GRE twice, mostly to get a higher verbal score. On the first attempt I got a 5.0, which I felt was good enough, so on the second time through I didn’t attempt a single practice essay but my score went up to a 5.5 despite thinking my essays were worse when taking it for the second time. This is to say that the GRE is more or less arbitrary bull shit, but the writing section in particular is just ridiculous.

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I wouldn't worry too much (don't retake it). Those scores are perfectly fine (edit: very good). Put your efforts into your writing sample and statement. 

Edited by sacklunch

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I'm also applying to NT programs!

My advice would be that it might be worth trying for a higher AWA score. Baylor's website says they're looking for applications in the 90th percentile for verbal and writing. That would mean a 5 for AWA. I've heard that GRE scores are pretty important for Duke, but I'm not sure exactly how high the AWA needs to be. Maybe @sacklunch is right that your score is good and you should work on other elements.

If you do decide to retake, I would strongly suggest using the services of AWA Professor. You have to spend $20, but they give very detailed feedback. I would say they're the main reason I was able to improve from 4.5 to 5.

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2 hours ago, exegete said:

I'm also applying to NT programs!

My advice would be that it might be worth trying for a higher AWA score. Baylor's website says they're looking for applications in the 90th percentile for verbal and writing. That would mean a 5 for AWA. I've heard that GRE scores are pretty important for Duke, but I'm not sure exactly how high the AWA needs to be. Maybe @sacklunch is right that your score is good and you should work on other elements.

If you do decide to retake, I would strongly suggest using the services of AWA Professor. You have to spend $20, but they give very detailed feedback. I would say they're the main reason I was able to improve from 4.5 to 5.

Thank you. I will look into the service. 

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The problem with trying to improve the AWA is that it's completely subjective. The very first time I took the GRE, prior to any graduate school and with no studying, I scored a 5.5 on the AWA. The next two times I took it, including after two MA programs and teaching argumentative writing for two years, I could never get higher than a 5. Now, clearly I didn't have to worry with that score. But your verbal score is relatively high and because of that, I'd think that a 4.5 AWA score--at worst--puts you on the fence for some adcoms. Plus the AWA is naturally supplemented by your writing sample. The adcoms will be able to see for themselves whether you can write or not. I agree with sacklunch; don't worry about retaking it. Put your time and energy into your SOP and writing sample.

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Totally anecdotal (and History of Christianity areas have different ways of approaching apps than NT folks), but I got into multiple schools with a 4.5. A strong statement of purpose and recommendations will put you solidly in the "we'll take a close look at you" pile, from what I've discovered. 

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