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So, I bombed the writing section. Should I give up now?


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ETS finally release my scores today and I made an embarrassing 3.5 of my writing section (30%). There's no time to retake before apps are due this year. I knew I'd screwed up because my nerves got the best of me and I ran out of time on the second essay, not even able to proof read. I scored 161/86% in Verbal, and 159/77% in Quant. Based on GRE scores alone, how screwed am I? I'm applying to PhD programs in Neuroscience.

Any input or experiences would be greatly appreciated

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No! Definitely don't give up! The feeling I've gotten from people 'round here is that AW matters least of all the scores, especially since your application is full of examples of your writing. Just make sure you have a super strong SoP and other supplementals. Also, remember the party line that applications are looked at holistically, and it is unlikely that a single aspect of your application will make or break your application. Good luck!

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Just as Allouette suggested, show them you're a writer with a strong SoP. Get someone with a degree in Fine Arts (etc) to read it, I have a friend who is a novelist, and another friend who got his undergrad in journalism. They can help you improve grammar and style.

Then get some academic minded people to read it for content, and give you suggestions on that route.

I went back and forth between academics and seasoned writers. I'm also applying to a few MS programs as 'safety schools' in case I get rejected by all the PhD programs I'm applying to.

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I am applying to some of the schools you are, and have the same scores (well, I have a 4.0 and v165, but that doesn't make much of a difference).

Actually I am more worried about the Q(159), because for Duke and Emory the average is usually higher (for Duke, for example, is 164).

I doubt they care about AWA, but it seems to me that for Neuroscience Q is quite important... what do you think?

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Thanks all. I was hoping that was the case. I think that all the little things here and there in my application that are less than stellar are starting to add up in my head and this one sent me over the edge. My PI read my SoP and said it was easily one of the best she'd ever read (which was because I had some really great help with it), so hopefully it'll take some weight out of my low analytical score. I wish I'd thought to get someone with a fine arts background to read it, but most of my apps are due in the next couple days.

Azarashi, yes, I agree that Quant score seems most important. I was really bummed with mine because I was scoring much higher on my practice tests, but I guess that's what I get for taking the GRE too late for a redo. I thought I had seen somewhere that Duke's average admitted applicant to the Neuro PhD last year was in the 77% for Q. I can't find it now, so maybe I've gotten my schools confused. It seemed to good to be true.

Really, all of my schools are "reach" schools for the most part. I'm just hoping that research experience, LORs and recent coursework help me stand out. I made sure I was ok with the possibility of having to reapply next year before I shot this high. Although, I would still be super bummed.

What an emotional rollercoaster! I'm starting to think we're all out of our minds for pursuing this

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