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J456

61% GRE Math Subject Test for PhD in Statistics

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Hi,

I took the GRE Subject Test and got 61% (710). I’m disappointed as I was aiming for a high 700’s, which would have gotten me around 75%-80%, and the difference between that is only 7-8 problems (the curve is very steep in this range). I definitely could have cracked the 70% on this version of the test, but this test, by its nature, isn't meant for someone like me.

Do you think this is a respectable score for the Statistics PhD programs? I know only top programs either require or recommend it. I’m going to sit for the test again in a couple of weeks though and see if I can take it up to 70%. Only top schools like Columbia, Chicago etc. recommend it, and all no one but Stanford requires it. I have a 4 top 20 schools in my list.

Here's my profile:
 

 

Schools on my list:

Berkeley
UChicago

Columbia
UNC Chapel Hill
Minnesota
UC Davis/Purdue

Ohio State
Boston University

Michigan State
UConn
UPitt
Texas A&M
University of Iowa
Colorado State
UMass Amherest

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From my experience during the application cycle, I was not encouraged to submit my math GRE subject score unless it was above 70% (or even 75%). I think I was in the mid 60's.

Most of my advisors and participants here, on the forum, (from things that I have read) said that as it is not required, it should only be included if it will significantly aid your application, hence the slightly higher "cutoff." I think that the schools that postdoc recommended on your last profile post still stand. Unfortunately, I don't think that the MGRE score will aid in your application unless you can bump it well in the 70%ile range. 

Hope this was of some help and best of luck on your retake!

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Hi, 

Thanks for your response. Based on your experience of applying last year (I believe), do you think the list of schools mentioned in the post above seem all right? I definitely want to not have any regrets so I will be applying to the first 4 schools. Other than that, what do you think, based on your experience of going through the process? Also any suggestions for schools it may be worthwhile for me to consider?

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Also, what about schools that strongly recommend the MGRE? Columbia and UChicago. I know my chances over there are little, but I’ll still apply as I don’t want to have any regrets. The MGRE won’t aid my app but I sure hope it doesn’t hurt it. Your thoughts? Should I submit it there? I assume strongly recommended means you better submit it, especially for international students.

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The schools you mentioned are very theoretical and admitted applicants usually have very high mGRE score. You can check the grad cafe results section to verify this. With that said, I think your score may be too low for schools like Chicago/Columbia and I wouldn't submit it if I were you. I think you need at least an 80% to be competitive in top programs. 

Edited by Casorati

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@Casorati True. I'm not hedging by bets on the first 3 schools, but I sure do hope my application gets considered at UNC Chapel Hill. In any case, the first 4 schools on my list are dream schools, so yes, I agree with you. I think they're good matches as far as my interests are concerned, so I'll take my chances.

I know the competition is fierce, but I thought having a decent (but not great) score of 61% would at least not disqualify me, but I guess, as you're saying, that's not true. The confounding factor here is that only the top, top schools require/recommend the test so one does really need a top score for them; otherwise, I think a 60-70% score can be good enough for middle tier applied math/statistics schools, but most statistics schools don't required it so, meh.

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If you have an exceptional application on everything else, i.e strong math background, publication, amazing letters, I think it is possible to get in with that score. However, I don't think submitting this score will help you, even at middle tier programs.

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@Casorati Makes sense, but will this score *hurt* my application. 61% is supposed to be all right. Respectable but not great. 80% is considered good enough for pure math applicants to top 25 schools. Of course, top 15 schools are very, very selective. So it can't hurt, right? At least I think it shouldn't. 😕 But yes, I agree, it's an all right, and not exceptional score, so it probably wouldn't add any additional value, which is why I won't submit it to schools that don't request it, even Berkeley and UNC.

Edited by J456

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I must add that I guess my impression is colored by the fact that math departments seem to have varying opinion about GRE Math Subject Tests. For example, almost top 20 schools use it as a filter to develop the first short list of applicants. On the other hand, some schools don’t put too much emphasis on this test. For example, I was tentatively recommended for admission by a professor at Minnesota, a top 20-25 school, with a sub, sub par score. Also, a 60% score is considered all right for middle tier math programs (25-50) but I agree that things are just stacked against international students. For example, see Pete Clark’s response to a query here: 

https://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/32171/should-i-report-a-48th-percentile-math-gre-subject-exam-score-for-programs-where

 

In any case, since not the top, too recommend it, you really, really need a top score to make it count, but I was under the impression that at least sending it won’t hurt one’s application.

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Hey everyone,

I got my updated score on the GRE Subject Test, and it's 760 (71%). I'm both glad and sad. The difference between 71% and 80% is just 3-4 problems, and I should have had this score. Someone like just can't do damage control on stupid exams. 😕 Do you think I should submit this score? Again, only schools like Chicago, Columbia, Washington etc. require/recommend it. I'm going to submit it to applied math schools that require it, though.

I know cracking the top 20 is going to be difficult for an international student like me, but I don't want to have any regrets so I think I'll still apply to around 3-4 top 20 schools and take my chances. But my main problem is that most applied probability faculty seems to be only concentrated in top stats/math departments.  Any last minute suggestions for schools that have good applied probability people below top 20. Except for the usual culprits like MSU, Ohio State (mostly in math) etc. For example, I liked the program at JHU but then again I'm not so sure if I should apply there due to the competition. I'm freaking out these days trying to finalize my list. I don't want to settle for a super low school but at the same time I want to take my chances and apply broadly. 

My complete list of schools as of yet:

https://imgur.com/a/n8NCKwd

Sorry for the long post. I'm just starting to get super nervous now.

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Admission committees in top schools receive a lot of >80% GRE scores from international students every year... so I'd say only submit it if they require it. 71% is pretty good for top 25~50 schools, but your profile is already competitive for those schools even without the score.

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If a program does not require GRE subject, then there is selection bias in the scores they do receive. In an application you should obviously show your strength but at the same time hide the parts that are relatively weaker. My suggestion is not send it to schools that are top 30 (basically almost half of your list). Do send it to your safer choices because you are giving them more information about you. 

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9 hours ago, Bayequentist said:

Admission committees in top schools receive a lot of >80% GRE scores from international students every year... so I'd say only submit it if they require it. 71% is pretty good for top 25~50 schools, but your profile is already competitive for those schools even without the score.

I'm still a bit confused about whether I'd like to submit it to Chicago, and Columbia. I know my chances there are slim, but I'll still take my chances. You're right. I'm not surprised these schools get a lot of applicants who get >80%. What about middle tier schools like Ohio State, Minnesota that don't even recommend it? I'm not so sure whether a Stats program would really like to see a score on the MGRE exam in the first place. Right now, I'm thinking of not sending it to Stats schools that don't even recommend it, and I can send it to 2/4 schools that do. I'll have to send it to math schools, even the middle tier one's.

Any last minute suggestions for schools I can consider above the top 25 and below the top 25 range to optimize my list? I'm just freaking out now I guess.

Edited by J456

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7 hours ago, MR C00L said:

If a program does not require GRE subject, then there is selection bias in the scores they do receive. In an application you should obviously show your strength but at the same time hide the parts that are relatively weaker. My suggestion is not send it to schools that are top 30 (basically almost half of your list). Do send it to your safer choices because you are giving them more information about you. 

See above.

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