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GRE Quantitative Score Too Low for Graduate Engineering Programs?


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I just took the new GRE today and received a score of 157 (560, 73rd percentile) for the verbal section and a 159 (750, 77th percentile) for the quantitative section. :( I know it's too late to retake them in time for upcoming application deadlines but am I overworrying? Is this too low for engineering? I understand that it's not an elite score but I'm just trying to put things in perspective. I guess my performance on the quantitative section looks better when using the older scale.

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Well, I'm not sure what the rest of your profile looks like. You also haven't said what type programs (e.g. elite, mid tier, unranked, MS-(non)/thesis, PhD) you're applying to. Not knowing anything else, I'd say your quant score is decidely low for any engineering program. But, maybe you've published 1-2 papers, given 2 talks/presentations, written a compelling SOP and have stellar LORs from all the right people. Info like that would change everything.

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1) First of all how is a 157 a 560 on the old score? It should be around a 730. This chart corroborates this:


2) I told some other kid this in a previous topic: but assuming the rest of your app is strong, stop worrying about the damn GRE! I got a 74% on quant on a 90% on verbal for my GRE and I got in to 3 top 10 BME MS programs (with academic scholarship for 1 of them). Now I don't know what kind of program you are applying for however, you just need to present the rest of your app as the right fit for your particular school. For example if your program is research based: if you show that you are someone who can do good research in your SOP, have solid grades and letters of rec, they aren't going to care about how quickly you do long division on a glorified SAT exam. I would only worry about your GRE if it was really low (like <700) because then you might reach some cut off limit. However, your score is simply average but not low to the point where you could be facing cut off issues. Just make sure the rest of your app paints the picture of someone who the university is looking for and your GRE will not matter.

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Thanks for the replies. sabdo, the 157 is for the verbal section. Your table (what I used for comparison as well) is for quantitative. Just as a background:

I am in the process of applying for admission into Fall 2013 mechanical engineering doctoral programs. I graduated from Boston University with a dual BS in biomedical engineering & mechanical engineering; my cumulative undergraduate GPA is not great (overall: 3.17, engineering: 3.08, the GPA factors in transfer coursework done at a state school prior to transferring to BU). I'm primarily looking to specialize in mechanical engineering for specialization in orthopedic biomechanics, polymeric biomaterials, and mechanics of soft tissue.

I am also in my 3rd year as a research technician for a leading orthopedic lab, doing full-time biomaterials research on polymers. I am in the process of writing two 1st authored papers. I already have one publication (although it's not 1st author). I am getting my recommendations from a BU professor with whom I've done well in an introductory course, as well as being the customer for my senior design course in ME; my PI/supervisor who has mentored me the past two years; and the co-director of the laboratory (among the top in his field).

My current list of programs:


2. Dartmouth

3. Drexel University

4. SUNY Buffalo

5. SUNY Stonybrook

6. Boston University

7. Columbia

8. Cornell

9. Duke

10. Georgia Institute of Technology

11. Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute

12. University of California, Berkeley

13. University of Michigan

14. University of Pennsylvania

15. University of Washington

Edited by uprobot
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You know what? I totally misread your scores. I was thinking that the 560 was your quant score. A 750 is fine. Seriously. I know the percentile might be too low for your taste, but the score itself is A-OK! A 750 is never grounds for a rejection.

Sorry about that.

Anyway, the rest of your app looks strong. Sounds like you'll have solid LORs and a strong SOP. I like your mix of schools- just make sure they're a good fit.

Good luck with those papers!

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i did my MEng from CCNY and i know for a sure you will be able to get in there. I know the PhD admission criteria is relatively easier when compared to other people.

Your profile looks decent enough mate. The main thing to remember here is, when considering your application your reco and SOP will be the make and break factor.. not your GRE you score allows them to filter you through initial screening...

anyways best of luck.. plus i know a grad student from columbia Mech Engg, he had to leave the prog cos after admitting him, they ran out of funds :P

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