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English Lit Subject test


shenbot

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So, I got tired of waiting and rang up for my score this morning. I got 560 and I'm really unhappy!

Bit of background: I'm applying to English lit PhD programmes, coming from the Irish education system, I have a BA (Hons), two MAs (one in American Literature, another in American Studies), got 2.1s in all of them (have no idea what that converts to in GPA but it's a good degree!), and a certificate in Spanish. I've been out of school for about 4 years now for family reasons (sick parent - they're so inconsiderate sometimes! *sarcasm*) and am only just this year in a position to go back. I took the GRE General test and got 690V, 600Q and 5.5 AW, but this subject test score has thrown me for a loop. I'm not in a position to take the test again because I'll have to travel to England for it (again) which means time off work coming up to Christmas. Someone reassure me that I'm not wasting my time!

P.S. I hate standardised tests. :angry:

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So, I got tired of waiting and rang up for my score this morning. I got 560 and I'm really unhappy!

Bit of background: I'm applying to English lit PhD programmes, coming from the Irish education system, I have a BA (Hons), two MAs (one in American Literature, another in American Studies), got 2.1s in all of them (have no idea what that converts to in GPA but it's a good degree!), and a certificate in Spanish. I've been out of school for about 4 years now for family reasons (sick parent - they're so inconsiderate sometimes! *sarcasm*) and am only just this year in a position to go back. I took the GRE General test and got 690V, 600Q and 5.5 AW, but this subject test score has thrown me for a loop. I'm not in a position to take the test again because I'll have to travel to England for it (again) which means time off work coming up to Christmas. Someone reassure me that I'm not wasting my time!

P.S. I hate standardised tests. :angry:

I feel your pain. I'm taking it Saturday and have already convinced myself I'm going to fail it. Where are you applying? I think 560, while below the average at some places (like Harvard), should be high enough to keep you in the pile at most places (even top 10 programs) if the rest of your application is impressive. Someone on another board said she was accepted to a top 10 program without them even looking at her GRE scores; she said the school contacted her later to get the scores for their records, or something like that? I dunno. I've heard that the Lit GRE is the least important part of your app, behind the General GRE. You sound like a strong candidate and your score is not actually low, just about average for most applicants, which means it doesn't put you ahead of the pack. But considering how stupid and worthless everyone knows that test is, I don't think I'd worry too much.

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I'm taking the beast on Saturday, so have yet to share your pain, but I wouldn't worry too much about it. For one, your percentile ranking is out of people interested in pursuing a PhD in Literature - not the general population, as with the GRE general test. So, while it's certainly expected that we score at the top in the Verbal section, the subject test is a little bit of a gray area. And, as the poster above noted, it's one of the least important aspects of your application.

Focus on the things you can control - your writing sample and SOP - and don't stress about the things that are out of your hands. Good luck!

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