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gre scores- advice needed


sweetfarthing
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in math I am in 74th percentile and in writing I am 73 percentile. In verbal, I am on 53 percentile. I don't know if this is troubling...should I take the gre again? i had done so much practice for a month before the exam and i don't know what else to do. i dont have time to take a class for the gre because now i am planning to study for the chem subject gre. 

 

I want to study organic chem and am planning to apply to wisconsin, michigan, emory, illinois, berkely, princeton, and harvard (and am aware the last two might be really tough) in fall 2013. my cumlative gpa is 3.8 and chem gpa is 3.9-4.0 and i have had 2 years of research experience and i think i will also be able to have at least 1 publication (although not first author) by the time i graduate. 

 

besides the gre, any other advice would be really helpful. thank you!

Edited by sweetfarthing
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I want to say those GRE scores are probably okay, you'd probably want around 80-85% in quant, and verbal/writing I'm not sure if they're really going to care nearly at all as long as you meet any minimums the school puts on applications.

 

You have a great amount of research (and you hopefully can get a good LOR from your advisor) and a good GPA, and a publication looks great. In my opinion, you would do better to put that time into studying for the chem GRE. 

 

Personally, I don't think it's necessary! Good luck! :)

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Welcome to the forum!

Last year I spoke with chemistry professors on the admissions committee of one of those schools you mentioned are tough to get into. Here is what they said:

1. Don't worry too much about the GRE because they don't see it as an accurate measure for how well one will do in grad school (especially the chem GRE). They just don't want to see red flags (super bad scores).

2. They DO like to see a higher verbal scores because they do want people who know how to write. Note that I mentioned "verbal" rather than "writing." They are very aware that the writing section of the GRE demonstrates nothing more than your ability to write about garbage within 30 min. Given that, what I did was buy those "GRE frequently used vocab" flash cards and memorized all 500 of them within 2 or 3 weeks. This noticeably helped my verbal GRE score. But if you ever feel stressed about this, refer back to point #1. You probably don't need to spend money on a class.

3. In your personal statement they're looking for a 'spark', something that genuinely shows your excitement/passion for doing research.

4. Certain professors will read your letters of rec, and if they are very strong (they confirm you have the ability to do research), they may end up only skimming the rest of you application for red flags. In other words, your letters will be by far the most important piece of your application.

Hope that helps! Keep in mind, this advice may be just for that particular school and not necessarily for all schools.

Good luck!

DTB

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in math I am in 74th percentile and in writing I am 73 percentile. In verbal, I am on 53 percentile. I don't know if this is troubling...should I take the gre again? 

 

I want to study organic chem and am planning to apply to wisconsin, michigan, emory, illinois, berkely, princeton, and harvard (and am aware the last two might be really tough) in fall 2013.

 

I'll be honest to you: better safe than sorry. Retake it if you can.  your writing is okay but Q and V aren't good. 

 

You are applying for top schools in the country, hence competing with the best applicants out there. I'd say polish every aspect of your application, as much as possible. You have time.

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Your scores are pretty good and you will have over two years of research before application time, so I wouldn't worry too much about it. Those scores shouldn't limit you on at least half of those schools, especially if your letter of recommendations are strong. However, if you have time and money to spare, retake the exam. I found the ETS official GRE guide to be most helpful in significantly increasing my scores - I answered and read all the review questions in addition to the practice exam questions.

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