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Should I retake the GRE?


That Rusty Monkey

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I took the GRE today and scored a 650V 590Q and a 5.5 AWA.

Other than that, here is what I have and what I am going for:

I graduated from the University of Washington with a 3.51 GPA. I have been doing research with professors/the city of Seattle for 2 years, and I have worked on 6 different project. I have worked for my old college for a year and a half in student leadership. I also have done a lot of event planning and running/working for the colleges I have been at.

I am trying to go for a PhD in political science or government.

Based on these scores, what kinds of schools am I looking at getting into? Should I consider retaking the GREs or are these scores fine? I studied for approximately 3 weeks. I improved a ton on my quantitative score, from a 450 to a 590 (at the start, I didn't know how to do basic multiplication/division, due to going to a public school in a ghetto-y area of Memphis). However, my verbal score stayed the same/dropped slightly. I memorized every word on the "Hit Parade" in the Princeton Review book, and memorized every word in the Kaplan book, and worked with people on how to do the verbal section.... My scores on my practice tests generally floated around 650, 670 and 690 (which was my first practice test).

Finally, I'm incredibly poor... As in my entire family of three people has about 160 dollars to our name currently, and I am looking to sell what I have online to pay for application fees/sending out GRE scores.

Is it worth it to save/take it again?

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Hi! I don't know much about political science application to offer retake advice. But your description has painted me a very impressive applicant. You have great grades and tons research/operational experiences. I am sure you have quite a story about how you accomplish all these, especially if you have had a lot of financial stress. If I were you, I would contact the faculty I want to work with now. I wouldn't imagine any academic (at least those I know) would see such an applicant with all the potential couldn't get in because of financial reasons. I have heard stories how faculties could convince the department to waive fee and test scores.

I also remember GRE has discount policy for certain people. Not sure about the details. A lot of schools have fee waiver policy as well. They are not applicable to non-US applicant. So I have never checked them out either.

Good luck!

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As has been mentioned before on this site, there is so much more than GPA and GRE that goes into applications so it is very hard to say where you are likely to get in. Your GPA is not at the top of the applicant field (but is respectable), so you will need very strong LORs and SOP to impress admissions committees. Also, your quant score is definitely lower than what many schools would consider competitive, and although your verbal score is in the right range, getting to around the 700 mark might make a big difference.

Given how tight money is, and assuming that you need to get a fully funded admissions offer, I think the cost benefit analysis would tell you to retake the GRE, but only after you are confident you can get a significantly higher score. I would think the extra cost of retaking the test is a relatively small short term trade off, if the probability of receiving a funded offer significantly increases. Best of luck!

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