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GRE testing for theologians :)


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I know I could post this on the GRE board, but I'm interested specifically in GRE scores etc for our academic area.

How did you do on the GRE test?

Did you want or need to retake?

Where your scores high enough for your program?

And how did you prep?

Any tips for someone planning on taking the GRE this summer?

Thanks for any info!

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No retake


I went to law school. It taught me how to read critically and carefully.

Study vocabulary lists; you can find them at bookstores. Create your own vocabulary list. Always look up words you don't know. Practice reading different genres. Buy a used casebook (the kind used in law school), and practice reading and analyzing the arguments. Used casebooks can be found cheap, since you don't need the most up to date. Casebooks are great because you don't actually have to read entire cases, the editors have condensed the arguments for you, so all you need to do is break the argument down and see if it actually does what it says it does and how the other side responds; it's a great exercise. That's how I did it.

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My verbal and writing percentiles were in the mid 90s. The upper 90s is the place to be, though, and I'm planning on retaking if this application season doesn't pan out. My best piece of advice would be to use the writing scorer on the ETS website. When you take the actual test, it is scored once electronically and once by a human being. These scores almost always concur, so having practice essays electronically scored is a great option. I had a lot of trouble figuring out what kind of writing was considered "good" by the GRE. I am still somewhat baffled!

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V 170, Q 152, W 5.5


No retake. No prep. I'm really bad at math, and I found the test prep's math stuff a bit over my head because I'm dumb with numbers. So I didn't do it. I do not yet know if I got into my top choice programs, so we'll see how that fares, but BC told me my GREs were excellent, so presumably they like them.

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Took the test a 3 or so years ago, score was very average. Studying now to get a high(er) score for doctoral admissions. I may have to take a year off if I don't score well enough in the next coming months. If it comes to that then I will do what I must do...but man I hope I don't have to waste a year of my life studying for a test like that....

The good thing about the new test is you can take it as many times as need be without having schools know the number of times you took it. So, if I have to take the damn thing 5 times, so be it. I just signed up to retake it next month and I will continue, once a month, to take the test that many times until I score well enough (as my finances allow me!). 

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That's about 89th percentile in verbal, which almost certainly eliminated me from consideration for some programs I applied to. I'm a horrible test taker, so I didn't think retaking was going to improve my scores much. I studied 500 vocab words over and over whenever I could for about 3 months. I also took as many practice tests as I could. Vocabulary really is the key to the verbal section.


In the end, it was my writing sample (according to my advisor) and interdisciplinary background that got me into Northwestern. Who the faculty are at a given program and how much they weigh the GRE obviously matters a great deal.

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