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Getting In - Scores good enough or worth retaking?


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So I recently took the new GRE Test and here are my scores. I'm ok with my verbal and analytical, but my quant seems to be sagging a bit. I'm a marine bio major and am applying to 15 masters/PhD programs. Here's my stats:

GPA: 3.651

GRE: A: 4.5 (72%)

V: 155 (69%)

Q: 148 (44%)

I've got a good amount of research experience, I did an independent study with a professor last semester, and I'm doing an departmental Honors project study with the same professor over the next semester (which means I'll graduate with Departmental Honors). And I also was awarded a Research Experience for Undergraduates internship through the National Science Foundation over the summer and worked very closely with a professor who's done a lot in my field, and knows many of the professors personally that I'm applying to work with. I'm looking into studying marine mammal diving physiology, and I'm extremely familiar with mammalian anatomy since the study I did over the summer required me to have a very large N (hence me dissecting A TON). I've done presentations before, and I'll be presenting at a conference in January, and we're currently trying to get the my research published. I've been very active academically and in extracurriculars and am considered part of the top 1% student leaders on my campus. I've been an RA for 3 years, so I have extensive knowledge on working as a team, conflict and time management, etc. I also have my advanced scuba certification, which might help (?).

Is this enough? Realistically, is this good enough to get in? I'm thinking about retaking my GRE to get better scores... any thoughts, suggestions, or comments are definitely appreciated =)

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Yeah, for marine science, I think you should retake. Your scores may work for a Master's program, but maybe not PhD. It depends on what programs you are applying to. In my opinion, math scores should be at the very minimum above the 50%, but perhaps closer to 65%. Anything above 75% is usually considered "good" unless your program is math heavy (physics, engineering, economics etc.), then its got to be above 90% really.

The verbal's alright and the AW is fine, and the GPA is good. Your experience is good, you research experience and scholarships are good and you'll definitely want to highlight that. Focus more on your work and academic achievements, and be sure to be clear what your research goals are. Its highly recommended that you contact the professors in the departments who are interested in working in to see if they are available and to put your foot in the door so to speak.

Good luck!

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If you are applying to/hoping ot get into a top program with decent funding and placement records, I would say definitely re-take. Not only that, I would respectfully, but honestly, suggest that you appraise your math score for what it is: Poor...and well below where it needs to be. The cold hard reality is that for many top programs, your present GRE will land your application on the "dont read" pile. This is not say that no adcomm from a top program will consider your (generally impressive) overall resume, but that many look at the GRE as the first, impersonal way to whittle down a stack of 200 apps to the 30 or 40 they will thoroughly review. Given your record of acheivement, I am assuming that you are ambitious and are looking forward to a successful and rewarding career in marine biology. If this is in fact the case, why limit your opportunities with the inferior GRE score...if there is time (based on your app. deadlines) to schedule a re-test 4-5 weeks out, I would DEFINITELY do it...

I'm not trying to preach, and I don't know it all, but I am pretty familiar with this process and (since you solicited advice from strangers) I just want to make sure that are looking at the question realistically...

Good luck and I'm curious to know what others think and what you decide to do...

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  • 9 months later...

I want to add my situation on to this thread as it is similar.

I am looking to apply to clinical/community psychology ph.d. programs this year. I have a 3.5 GPA from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Psychology. I have 3 years research experience, with my current position as a project coordinator/clinical research associate at Seattle Children's Hospital. Though my job I have published 3 posters at ATA (American Telemedicine Association) and AACAP (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry) conferences one of which I was first author on, and with one presentation at AACAP. I have clinical experience interviewing and consenting, as well as volunteering on a 24-Hour crisis line weekly and past experience tutoring refugee children.

My GRE Scores:

156 V (69%)

154 Q (60%)

4.5 AWA (73%)

Are my scores good enough or should I retake the test? I was incredibly flustered during the test because I had an issue with my ID and had to race home and back in 30 minutes. So, I'm not sure these scores are representative of my true potential, but on the other hand I have never tested well on standardized tests so I may not improve.

Thank you for your consideration.


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I'm from India and am planning to apply for a graduate course in communication and advertising.

Appeared for my GRE today and received a score of 316, the following being the break-up:

160 - V

156 - Q

My GPA is approximately 3.5 and beyond academics I have been thoroughly involved with cultural activities during my undergrads. As a part of the managing committee I had been responsible for organising and hosting various inter-college and intra-college events. I held the position of vice-president of my college's theatrical society and have garnered awards and accolades for various stage productions. I had also recently interned at an advertising agency(Rediffusion- Young and Rubicam) as a copy-writer and worked with a number of regional as well as national clients. I am currently working for a UNICEF backed NGO as a part of it's campaigning team to spread awareness of its respective missions.

Just wanted to know what are my chances of getting accepted in Universities such as Syracuse, University of Southern California, Pennsylvania State University and CUNY? Or am I being impractical with my choice of universities?

Thank you!


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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm applying to philosophy phd programs and I'm happy with my verbal (162) and writing (5.5), but my math is not as good as I hoped (149). I have a 4.0 GPA and have published, should I be concerned about my quantitative?

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