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Should I retake the GRE just for the AWA?


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I just took the GRE and scored an 800 quant (94%) 710 Verbal (98%) and 4.0 AWA (37%).

I have just applied for Columbia's QMSS program and plan on applying to PHD Polisci/IR programs for next year. As all of these applications require a statement of proposal, is there any reason to retake the AWA? Seems like a risk since I already have a very strong quant/verb score.

I appreciate your thoughts.


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Congrats on the great scores! I think that you don't need to retake the GRE. There's such a discrepancy between your other scores and the AWA score, that there's no way that it alone will be what sinks you acceptance chances. Everyone has weak points in their application, and if this is yours, then you should do just fine :).

A while back there was a whole thread full of people who got ridiculously low scores on the AWA, maybe you can look it up and commiserate. If you're an international and taking the TOEFL, concentrate on getting a good grade in the writing section there. Otherwise just concentrate on writing a good SOP and writing sample, which will attest to your writing abilities much better than any computerized test ever could. Schools know that the GRE predictions are limited, especially in the writing section, and take your own submitted writing to be much more indicative of your abilities than the AWA score.

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