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Should I retake the GRE? ("Meh" Quant. scores)


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Hi All --

I took the GRE yesterday, and didn't score as highly as I would've liked on the quant. section (this after taking a GRE prep course here in DC, and studying a fair amount...i.e., re-learning high school math I haven't taken in over a decade...).

My target schools are international relations/security studies MA programs, including:

1) Georgetown SSP

2) GWU Elliot SIS

3) American SIS

I'm not applying to SAIS since it isn't offered part-time.

I have about 7 years of related work experience (either in a terrorism-focused think-tank or working on homeland security issues for a major DC-based defense consulting firm). I also have some fairly "unique" "extracurricular" activities, namely I've been a volunteer firefighter and deputy fire chief for around 6 years now, I'm on my dept's Board of Directors, etc, etc. My undergrad GPA (majored in IR) isn't as high as I'd like, at only 3.34 (but my major GPA is 3.6).

My GRE scores were as follows, and I'm wondering whether my quant. score is low enough to warrant a retake:

Quant: 150

Verbal: 162

AR: Not yet graded

Of the prorgams listed above, their published "successful applicant" GRE scores are:

1) Georgetown SSP: Q/V: 155-160

2) GWU Elliot SIS: Q: 152 / V: 160

3) American SIS: Q: 153 / V: 160

Given my relatively low Quant. score, but my somewhat longer (than some applicants') employment history, would you advise retaking it in November to try to improve my quant. scores? In other words, is the 150 sufficiently low enough to automatically knock me out of the running?

Any opinions or advice are welcome!

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I was actually just about to ask if you had anything else in your record that would make up for the low quant score, but I take it from your GPA you don't. I'm sure you will get into a great program with all that experience, but you may get rejected from a few top schools unless you have high grades in some math classes that may shed some light on your overall quant abilities.

I am actually in a similar boat, I got the exact same quant score and 163 on verbal. However I'm not as concerned because I got an A+ in stats last year, have a 3.94 at my degree granting institution, a 3.7 overall and a 3.9 major GPA.

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Hi folks,

Thanks for the advice. I'm already scheduled to retake the exam on Nov. 15, so I'm definitely going to try to raise my quant score. As far as my math abilities in general go, they're definitely not spectacular, and I certainly don't have the GPA or high math scores in my transcript to offset the GRE score.

I also realize I might have a leg up on "wet-behind-the-ears" applicants who apply to programs right out of undergrad (for which I realize really high GRE and GPA's are necessary) given my work experience (since, at least according to a few Georgetown SSP alumni reports, several graduates end up employed by my firm, so I'm good there...).

I've also considered the possibility of holding off until the Spring 2014 application cycle for the above programs (since they all offer Spring admissions for part-time folks) and instead taking an Intelligence Studies certificate program offered at a discount to employees of my firm by the University of Maryland (the evening classes are taught at one of our offices in DC). I don't need GRE scores to get in, and was wondering if taking this type of certificate might improve my chances at admission to a full masters program? Anyone have any experience with that? (and I realize I should probably ask this in a different thread, but figured I'd throw it out there...)


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