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Taking the GRE early

archaic smile

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Hi guys,

Is anyone else taking the GRE early? I am afraid of the new version coming out in '11, so I am studying to take the exam in late January. I have about 2 to 2.5 years left as an undergrad, depending on course conflicts between my majors (Anthropology, Classics, and Geography--GIS). I have completed the last of my required math courses (my weakest subject) so I feel as though I have a lot to lose by waiting to take the GRE.

I know ETS retains GRE scores for 5 years, but I have heard rumors that colleges do not accept GRE scores over 2 years old. However, I have not found this limitation listed on any admissions website I've browsed. Has anyone heard anything about score longevity for early test-takers? I'm planning to call the programs I'm interested in now (UPenn and NYU) to ask.

So far my GPA is excellent, but I have not accomplished any significant undergraduate research projects. I participated in an archaeological field school and I will be presenting a paper at a conference this spring, but the paper is not directly related to my research interest (Etruscan art). Very concerned that my lack of research will be the kiss of death for admissions, even if I do score well enough on the GRE.

Thanks for any information that you have about this!

Edited by archaic smile
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Some of the programs I applied to would only consider scores from the last two years.

If you are willing to keep an open mind about it and you have the time, you could try taking the test. As long as you don't let a recent-GRE-requirement constrain your choice of where to apply (=you'll be willing to take the test again, if needed). Else, don't take the test now, because eliminating a potential school just because of old GRE scores is not very wise. Your interests may shift in the next two years (you can't be that far along into your program), so you may inquire about schools that interest you now--but there may be others that interest you later.

But really, you're probably over thinking this right now, it's a bit early to be worried about things like the GRE. Anyway, from all I hear, it should be better, not worse. And, as you say, research will count much more than your GPA or GRE scores.

Re: research, you have more than enough time to gain more experience. If you still have 2 more years ahead of you and you are already presenting at a conference, it sounds like you are doing very well. Besides, you're aware of what you need to do, so you won't let opportunities pass you by until it's too late. If anything, I would say you started worrying too early.

If you're going into classics, your time will probably be much better invested in mastering languages that will be required by your programs. That would be something to start early, if you are looking for ways of improving your application.

Edited by fuzzylogician
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I have a related question on taking the GRE early - mine won't be quite as early (spring of junior year) but it will still be some time between when the scores are sent out and when I actually submit my applications. Will schools hang on to a GRE score sent in Feb/Mar even though the rest of the application doesn't get in till Nov/Dec?

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