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So, what does the distribution for GRE Quant look like specifically for biology applicants?

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  • 2 weeks later...

It really depends on the school and program.  I disagree with gentvenus in that I think while engineering programs generally require the GRE, most biology programs do not anymore.  This makes it rather difficult to see average GRE scores for biology students, as I am unsure what you mean: average accepted that sent their scores, average of accepted students (did or did not send scores), or average of all students applying to biology (accepted and not accepted).  ETS has data showing that prospective engineering PhD students have a higher average quantitative score, but a lower average verbal score and average AW score than prospective biology PhD students (https://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/gre_guide_table4.pdf).

That being said, I did see your previous post about what schools you are considering.  Most are GRE-optional or not reviewed, so  wouldn't worry too much about your GRE score.  I think for most schools that require GRE, having a 160+ in each category in combination with a 4.5+ AW score would be fine.  GRE is really only used by biology programs to do three things:

1. Collect data on students to see if the GRE is impactful in determining graduate success (despite decades of data collection, some institutions are still unsure)

2. Weed out those with suboptimal scores (doing below 65-70% percentile is likely to worry reviewers at top schools).  But this is by no means a definitive thing, as I know plenty of people who got into top programs in biology with suboptimal scores when programs required their submission.

3. A slight positive for admissions committees because they can see that you will be eligible to apply to certain fellowships if you choose to attend (some require GRE)

Hope this helps! :) 

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