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Should I retake the GRE


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Hello everyone,


I took the general GRE today and got a score of 157 verbal and 150 quantitative. In my undergrad I have an average of 87% overall,  89% in Psychology, and 87% in five statistics classes. I have completed my honours degree and have a vast amount of research experience though data analyst, and RA jobs. I am looking to apply to experimental Social Psychology this year, and am wondering if I should re-take the GRE.





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H, and am wondering if I should re-take the GRE.



you sound competitive, although i guess this is contingent to the programs you're planning to apply?


for instance, UBC's website specifies:


All applicants should take both the General and the Subject components of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). The General GRE is required and the Psychology subject-test GRE is recommended but not required. Tests must have been taken within the last five years. Scores on this exam are considered in evaluating the acceptability of an applicant. Successful applicants will normally score better than the 80th percentile.


and you barely cracked the 40th percentile on the quantitative section. i guess if you're willing to be on the sure side (and if it's not too much of a hassle) giving it another try wouldn't hurt?

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Thanks for replying! I think I might wait to see what my AWA score is before I decide..


If I am applying to programs without specific GRE cutoffs, is it possible that my statistics grades (86 and 88 in second year, 90 in advanced states, and 89 in upper level psychometrics)  will balance out my quantitative score? I feel that I am very competent in the realm of statistics.. It just happens to be that geometric shapes aren't my forte...





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it could, potentially. i tend to see these things as gambles (maybe it's my training as a statistician, who knows). you have a certain probability of rejection regardless of what your application looks like and, ideally, you would aim at reducing that probability. an important thing to keep in mind is that GRE scores tend to be evaluated contingent BOTH on the rest of your application and the applications of other candidates. 
nevertheless, it does seem that many successful applicants tend to gravitate towards higher scores. 
for instance, take a look at SFU's admission statistics (the most recent year is 2012 but i guess it helps make the point):
their program doesn't have a strict cut-off in terms of GRE scores, but it seems like the 80% mark pops up again (well, 78% for the quantitative portion). at the end of the day this is a numbers game because 100s of applicants are competing for a limited number of seats (like in that SFU website, out of 164 applications only 14 got in. that's less than 10% of applicants. and SFU isn't even very highly ranked among universities). will your higher marks in research methods courses help you? well, it depends on what other applicants bring to the table. because so many people are trying to get in, trivial differences like GRE scores could be magnified 
i think your research experience (and not necessarily your grades) is your strongest suit. have you published anything? or maybe done at least a conference/poster presentation? that stands out because it speaks to your ability to conduct research. can you potentially meet up with some of the profs you would like to work with? when i applied to my program i didn't think i would be able to get in because there were lots of things working against me (like i don’t' have an undergrad degree in Psychology). so i made sure the person i wanted to work with knew who i was... i met up with him, i went to presentations he gave, i sat in some of his classes, i hustled and bustled  to make sure he would remember my name when he saw my application and it paid off. i knew my chances of acceptance were going to be hindered by my degree, inability to secure funding, etc. so i worked around with what i had to make sure i could compensate for it.
you're in a similar case. your GRE is not the best it could be, but you can work with other things to make your application compensates for that. i tend to feel iffy about the grades stuff because most graduate programs already require their applicants to have top-notch grades in their research methods/statistics courses, so i'm not sure how's that gonna help you stand-out when they compare you with other applicants. and if your application looks exactly like candidate X's but candidate X has a better GRE score, it's much more likely that candidate X will be accepted instead of you.
all in all i guess it really is up to you and how much of a gamble you're willing to make when you apply.
(OR you could choose schools that don't ask for GRE scores! :) hopefully it will become a trend that catches on )
Edited by spunky
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To be more specific I have worked as a data analyst for the Geography department at UBCO, as a RA at two separate labs (data analysis, literature reviews, writing portions of papers that were published, updating manuscripts ext.) I have one paper published and am currently editing another manuscript that is getting ready to be submitted for publication. I have also presented at two national conferences.


I will have to start contacting professors ASAP to get my name out there, I'm just not exactly sure how detailed the e-mails that I am going to be sending should be :wacko: ... Or how casual/formal they should be.. Yikes there's a lot to figure out.. 


Anyway, two of the five schools that I am applying to do not require my GRE scores (fingers crossed).


Thanks for all your input!! :)

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