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Thinking of waiting an extra semester to apply due to low gre practice scores


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I'm interested in geology masters programs that are roughly within the rankings of 10-20.


My gre practice test scores (averages of 3 practice tests) are 157 Verbal, 157 Quant.

I know these test scores are not terrible, they are also not outstanding.

I'm thinking of taking the fall semester next year to study for the GRE, work on writing a great SOP, and maybe take a class or two?


I'm so busy with classes and work this semester I don't have much time to put into studying for the GRE.


I guess my question is, are there any obvious downsides?


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Honestly, I would just take the GRE and see what happens.  I don't know what it's like in your field specifically, but from what I've seen and heard, the GRE is more to weed out people who are clearly not prepared than anything else.  Most places I've looked at don't even have a minimum score listed, just the requirement that you take it, and those that do list a minimum score have it right around 150.  I'm sure some of the more competitive programs will care more, but it's worth a shot anyway.  I didn't study for the GRE at all--just did a couple practice tests and took it--and had no issues.


In short, if you have other strengths--good coursework, research experience, good recommendations--your GRE score may not matter too much beyond an initial cutoff.

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