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Krauge

How Important Is The GRE Quantitative Score?

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This was my first application season, and my GRE score on the verbal was 163, which I'm happy with, but my quantitative score was 145. If I don't get in this time, should I retake in an attempt to get a higher quantitative score, or how badly will that low score hurt me? My fields of interest, ancient and philosophy of religion, have nothing to do with math, and I come from a small state school so I'm not going to be getting into a top 15 program anyway. I don't even know if I could get much higher, and I'm not even sure I would match that verbal score again; it's a long, draining test, and I'm worried about blowing a decent verbal score if I take it again. We all know that the GRE sucks, so I'm not sure if its worth investing months into for a gamble, or if my verbal score is sufficient to get me looked at. If it helps, I'm wondering about how it would be for schools like:

Fordham, Vanderbilt, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Northwestern, Boston University, Washington University in St. Louis, Saint Louis University. I know some of those are a little higher up the list than others but that's what I mean.

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I don't study philosophy, but I had a frank conversation with a history professor from Cornell about GRE scores and he said that they flat out ignore the quantitative score. I can't imagine any philosophy program is going to care. If your verbal and AW are good - which they are - they'll just tick a box and move on to the real meat of the application. Your GRE score is definitely not worth further attention. Prose has the right of it.

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I'm sorry, Nicator, but you're wrong - philosophy programs do care about quantitative score, because it's taken to indicate something about logical ability. A high quantitative score doesn't help that much, but a low one can definitely hurt, especially for making the first cut. Krauge, if you don't make it this time, you may want to seriously consider putting the work in to get your quantitative score over 150. If you end up doing significantly worse on verbal, you can always send only your scores from the first time. But it really can make a difference to your chances.

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I think it depends on the department. I also didn't get a great quantitative score (156) so I'm a bit worried. From what I heard, especially in more continental/pluralist oriented programs, the GRE doesn't matter too too much. For analytic departments (and assuming you didn't say you wanted to do philosophy of science or logic), I heard it matters a little more, but still where getting above 50th/60th percentile would be okay-ish. However, it can matter a LOT for university wide fellowships, since it's seen as one of the only truly comparable measures across all disciplines. For example, I know at Ohio State, you have to have an 85th percentile average across the three sections to be considered for university wide fellowships. I can't really comment on too many of your schools, but what my (amazing) advisor did for me was reach out to people they knew at the schools I was interested and asked about the weight of the gre scores when I was deciding whether to retake it or not (I didn't.) 

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I got an abysmal GRE score by philosophy standards (310) and attend Fordham! I'm pretty sure my math score was 150 or 151 or something like that. Fordham seems like a school that doesn't care too much about GRE, though of course, take what I say with a grain of salt.

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I attend Fordham too. My GRE was 160 (76th percentile) quantitative and 164 (94th percentile) verbal. I wouldn't worry too much about your score. Definitely try to get good letters of rec, and definitely work on your writing sample. (Can I ask what it's on?) If your writing sample is logical and well reasoned, it's hard to imagine people saying "but that MATH score though..."

Pertinent to your interests, @Krauge, one advantage of Fordham is that due to our masters' programs (and the whole Jesuit track) there's a high concentration of courses that might interest you. In just the past few semesters, there have been lecture courses or seminars on Aquinas, Augustine, Aristotle, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics in particular, Plato, Plotinus, and the Presocratics. (Stay tuned for changes, as the masters' programs are going to be revamped soon.) We also have connections with the phil of religion people at Rutgers and can participate in their reading group.

Also, funding is guaranteed for six full years. :)

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On 2/1/2019 at 2:45 AM, Rose-Colored Beetle said:

Definitely try to get good letters of rec, and definitely work on your writing sample. (Can I ask what it's on?) If your writing sample is logical and well reasoned, it's hard to imagine people saying "but that MATH score though..."

My sample was on the intellectual children of Socrates in the Hellenistic world. It looked at the Cynics, Stoics, and Sceptics, how they stacked up in relation to Socrates, and who had the most legitimate claim to him as their inspiration or proto-founder. If I am accepted nowhere, I'll probably begin reworking another undergraduate paper on St. Bonaventure and his intellectual influences. My two big field of interest are Ancient and the Philosophy of Religion, so that would be able to tie the two together, and might be more attractive to a department like Fordham. Christopher Cullen at Fordham was a prime influence on that paper. At the time, I only had the opportunity to rework one old paper for the sample. Having more than one would be helpful.

 

I like the Fordham program. In researching it, I looked through previous course offerings and they looked exactly like what I want in a program, and each area has multiple professors with different emphases. It's one of the few programs that while researching, I actually got excited about. It's a buffet of opportunities for someone with my interests. 

Edited by Krauge

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I was admitted into Vanderbilt and waitlisted at Northwestern with 163V/149Q/5.0 AW. I've seen higher GRE scores denied at NW, so I would say that it's safe to assume that sample, letters, and undergraduate courses mean a lot more than GRE scores at pluralist/continental programs. Also, my AOI: critical race theory, 20th c. continental philosophy, political philosophy.

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On 12/30/2018 at 1:25 PM, Krauge said:

This was my first application season, and my GRE score on the verbal was 163, which I'm happy with, but my quantitative score was 145. If I don't get in this time, should I retake in an attempt to get a higher quantitative score, or how badly will that low score hurt me? My fields of interest, ancient and philosophy of religion, have nothing to do with math, and I come from a small state school so I'm not going to be getting into a top 15 program anyway. I don't even know if I could get much higher, and I'm not even sure I would match that verbal score again; it's a long, draining test, and I'm worried about blowing a decent verbal score if I take it again. We all know that the GRE sucks, so I'm not sure if its worth investing months into for a gamble, or if my verbal score is sufficient to get me looked at. If it helps, I'm wondering about how it would be for schools like:

Fordham, Vanderbilt, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Northwestern, Boston University, Washington Saint Louis, Saint Louis University. I know some of those are a little higher up the list than others (especially SLU), but that's what I mean.

A high GRE score is neither necessary nor sufficient for admittance. However, how much scores matter depends greatly on who is on an admissions committee. Some faculty give scores little credence, others take scores more seriously. I suspect that only an unusually high or low score makes any real difference for an applicant. Obviously, the verbal score is most important. However, I think it's worth putting in some time to get the other scores to a respectable level.

Just to be clear, a 145 quant is quite low. That's the 20th percentile. I know that someone else on these boards a while ago scored similarly on quant and got into some programs, so it won't preclude any possibility of getting in somewhere. Would, however, such a low score hurt a person's chances of admission? Very possibly. What I'd say is this: if you do end up reapplying, OP, I'd put in the time and try to get the quant score up to something closer to the 50th percentile. If you can't, you can't, but I do think it's worth trying since your quant score is so low.

On 2/1/2019 at 1:21 AM, soproperlybasic said:

I got an abysmal GRE score by philosophy standards (310) and attend Fordham! I'm pretty sure my math score was 150 or 151 or something like that. Fordham seems like a school that doesn't care too much about GRE, though of course, take what I say with a grain of salt.

I think I'd disagree a bit; 310 isn't an abysmal score. It's not exceptional either, but it is respectable. A 150 or 151 quant score is low, but it's still in the 38th and 42st percentiles respectively. That's 20 percentile points above the OP's score.

Edited by hector549

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