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Is the GRE going to be my downfall?? (Psych masters programs)

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Hi everyone! I applied to master's programs because I went to a small liberal arts college and my professors said I was probably not prepared well enough for a PhD. All of the programs I applied to are research-based, with the intent to prepare one for a doctoral program. My goal is to obtain a PhD and teach at an undergraduate institution. I will likely end up studying social psych for a PhD, but the master's programs tend to be labelled either general or experimental. Because I applied to master's programs rather than PhD's, the deadlines are not until Feb/Mar, which is why my GRE test date is tomorrow. That being said:

I'm currently freaking the heck out because I take the GRE tomorrow and I know I'm going to do awful. Just absolutely abysmal. For one, I have absolutely no skill when it comes to math! I've always been bad at it and in studying for this test I've had to re-teach myself basic math going all the way back to about second grade. That's how much I don't know math. The other problem is that I have horrible test anxiety and I know the GRE is designed to confuse and trick you. I've been studying diligently but still my estimated scores (according to my practice sessions on Magoosh) are 145-150 for Quantitative and 148-153 for Verbal. :( I know that this doesn't reflect my abilities as a student, though!

The rest of my application is, in my own opinion, decent. I have a very good personal statement, 3 strong LOR's, a 3.9 overall GPA (with only one B in all my psych classes), 2 years experience as a TA for Statistics for the Social Sciences, an REU program from this summer, one research award from my school (at which I presented my paper), and 3 posters (two secondary data analysis and one experimental social psychology study of my own design), which were all presented on campus during research symposiums, with one poster presented at a regional conference as well. In addition to those factors, I'm also a member of the honors college, Psi Chi, Alpha Chi (honors society for top 10% of the class) and I'm president of Sigma Tau Delta (the English honorary society).

I guess my question is... even if the rest of my application is decent, which I think it is, will my inevitably awful GRE score totally do me dirty on this one? I just want to get into a master's program so bad. A PhD has always been my dream and if I can't even get a master's then I feel like there's no hope for me. :(

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Hi there! I just graduated from a top ranked clinical psychology master’s program (I know not social or experimental but still psychology) with some pretty awful GRE scores. I got a 151 on Verbal, 156 on Quantitive, and a 3.5 for the writing section. I was admitted with no mention of my GRE scores. I had a 3.94 GPA, 3 years of research experience that included various poster and oral presentations, and pretty strong LORs in addition to professional experience. I am now applying to PhD programs and have received an interview invite despite these scores as well.

Wishing you the best on your exam!

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21 minutes ago, ClinicalPsychApp2020 said:

Hi there! I just graduated from a top ranked clinical psychology master’s program (I know not social or experimental but still psychology) with some pretty awful GRE scores. I got a 151 on Verbal, 156 on Quantitive, and a 3.5 for the writing section. I was admitted with no mention of my GRE scores. I had a 3.94 GPA, 3 years of research experience that included various poster and oral presentations, and pretty strong LORs in addition to professional experience. I am now applying to PhD programs and have received an interview invite despite these scores as well.

Wishing you the best on your exam!

I literally got into my first choice PhD Clinical Psychology program (which is APA-accredited and provides guaranteed five years of tuition remission and monthly stipends) with those scores, lol

Edited by JoePianist

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I think you'll be perfectly fine, especially since you're applying to Masters programs! I had an abysmal Quant score myself (147) due to the same test anxiety you're talking about and I got several PhD interviews, one acceptance after waitlist (I turned it down for lack of funding), and acceptances from all the Masters I applied to as a backup! I'm currently in a Clinical masters program at Sam Houston State. Good luck!

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On 12/27/2019 at 1:18 PM, Katie B said:

I think you'll be perfectly fine, especially since you're applying to Masters programs! I had an abysmal Quant score myself (147) due to the same test anxiety you're talking about and I got several PhD interviews, one acceptance after waitlist (I turned it down for lack of funding), and acceptances from all the Masters I applied to as a backup! I'm currently in a Clinical masters program at Sam Houston State. Good luck!

How were the funding options for your masters programs? 50%?

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Is this your first time taking the GRE? The "practice" scores that you received on the practice tests are not bad at all for what master's programs are looking for, honestly. I was accepted into eight master's programs my last application cycle with similar scores. I also had the same GPA as you applying to master's programs. I think you have a decent chance at receiving an acceptance into a psychology master's program. 

That being said, I saw that you said you eventually want to study Social Psychology. I just graduated from a master's program that had a Social Psychology emphasis. It was a great program for people eventually wanting to pursue a PhD in Social Psych. Message me if you're interested in knowing where I went (Don't want to post publicly, as it can obviously be potentially identifiable information about me). 

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7 hours ago, CatastrophizingNerd said:

How were the funding options for your masters programs? 50%?

The majority of the programs I applied to (Masters-wise) were unfunded. It's very rare to find a Masters that has funding, plus I was geographically limited to where I could apply at that level since my partner lived in Texas. I wasn't going to separate us for 2+ more years for anything less than a doctorate. Where I'm currently at offers several scholarships and TA/RA positions, but the debt is real, I won't lie about that.

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Hey guys! I know this is an old(ish) thread, but I just wanted to update and say... I got my first acceptance today! I got into the MS in Psychology at Villanova University! I won't hear about Graduate Assistantships or financial aid until mid-March, but I think this is a good sign for me. I just wanted to let you all know that I'm not doomed. 🥰

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