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Low quant GRE: successes and failures

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I am very interested in this thread. I was recently diagnosed with a learning disability in mathematics, which makes processing numbers very difficult for me on something like the GRE(even with accommodations, so suffice it say, my GRE scores are really low for that portion, but the rest of my application is good. Surprisingly, statistics themselves are not hard for me to comprehend from a conceptual standpoint, just the calculation and processing of the numbers themselves. I do believe that is why I am getting rejected from PhD programs.

This! I also have a Math LD. I feel your pain.

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I was giving myself hell for not trying to study more or even retake a simple math course (the only thing I've taken in the last 10 years is a stats course) but I actually feel a little bit better now that I know my quant score is basically "normal" for my demographic(s). I'm still annoyed by it but at least I know a lot of other people experience the same thing.

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I have a combined 313 (sub-50th percentile quant) GRE score. I am currently in a MA program in which I have excelled in my stats courses, was a TA for undergrad stats, and currently teach an SPSS lab. I have two poster presentations (1 national, 1 regional) and thought my performance in a graduate program along with strong LORs would offset my low quant score. However, a POI said that my quant score keeps me from being a top candidate. Another POI simply said said I wasn't on the short list. I have not received any official rejections, but I haven't been invited for campus interviews either.

 

My hope now is that I get a phone call on April 16th. 

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I applied to only one PsyD program.  On their website they stated what score they were hoping for candidates to have.  Let's just say I scored incredibly low!  Embarrassing low!  However, I decided to turn in my application.  They called me and asked me why I scored so low.  I explained that I did not want to give them excuses, but the GRE was not a reflection of who I am as a student and I highlighted different areas of my application.  I have been accepted for an interview for this program. 

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It seems to me that scores become significantly more important when it comes to funded programs - with more competition and needing to "justify" funding a particular applicant, a cut and dry score becomes an easy way to go about this. Based on my (anecdotal) experience, the first time I took the GRE I got a shockingly low Q score (28th percentile!) and was admitted to 6/7 unfunded masters programs (many of which were at prestigious/ivy institutions). Based on this logic, relatively unfunded PsyD's might not put as much weight into something like a low Q score.

 

Anyone else find this?  

Edited by Gvh

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I am relieved I am not the only one going through this. However, I'd sure like to see more "success stories" on this thread...

 

In any case, things aren't looking great for me at the moment. While I have no official rejections yet, I have not heard ANYTHING from ANYBODY. My advisor told me not to contact my POIs (so as not to bother them during this busy time), and I am also hesitant to contact admissions/administration, although it probably wouldn't be a problem to do that, right? 

 

I am really hoping to be waitlisted (anywhere) at this point. I had no idea how seriously these folks take the GRE. I have also taken several graduate-level statistics courses (all As), and I teach an upper-division statistics class to undergrads! I thought there would be no way they would hold that score (from 4 years ago) against me. Hopefully I won't have to drop some research/teaching to study for this test and reapply....

 

I'm not sure if anyone has posted this article yet, but it's from Nature last year. Check it out: http://www.nature.com/naturejobs/science/articles/10.1038/nj7504-303a

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I got a 160(V) and a 150(Q)    and was unofficial accepted to one of my top choice schools. (POI contacted me telling me I would be accepted, and the official letter would arrive in 10 days or so)

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Success story here! :) I took the GRE twice. Had high verbal and analytical but low quant scores (32nd and 48th percentile). I have already been admitted to 5/10 programs I applied to, and most are highly ranked (top 10) within their subfield. The faculty I've spoken with said that I was competitive because I had 3 excellent and detailed letters of rec, a great SOP, and excellent ft with the program. I'd focus on those components of your application the most. Please feel free to PM me if you have other questions. Good luck!

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Its seems like the general consensus for psych majors is that we're crappy at the quant section of the GRE, luckily for me, I scored a 163 on my recent test. Trust me, I was completely shocked when the test displayed my score on the screen. I've never been a "good" math student, I failed algebra 2 in high school and had to retake it over the summer, the highest math I took in college was intermediate algebra in community college and I got a C in that class. I took the GRE last year and scored a 155 on the quant section and studied for the GRE for about 3 months before I retook it this year. If anyone is having a hard time with the quant section of the GRE, I highly suggest you purchase Manhattan's GRE guide. It goes over everything I learned in high school and is a huge contributing factor to my most recent score. If I can do it, I'm sure everyone here can too!

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This! I also have a Math LD. I feel your pain.

 

 

It is annoying for sure... my brain just sort of shuts down when I see numbers.  :unsure:

 

It seems to me that scores become significantly more important when it comes to funded programs - with more competition and needing to "justify" funding a particular applicant, a cut and dry score becomes an easy way to go about this. Based on my (anecdotal) experience, the first time I took the GRE I got a shockingly low Q score (28th percentile!) and was admitted to 6/7 unfunded masters programs (many of which were at prestigious/ivy institutions). Based on this logic, relatively unfunded PsyD's might not put as much weight into something like a low Q score.

 

Anyone else find this?  

 

This is interesting and I have not thought of it before, but it makes sense. Maybe someone has data on this.

 

I am relieved I am not the only one going through this. However, I'd sure like to see more "success stories" on this thread...

 

In any case, things aren't looking great for me at the moment. While I have no official rejections yet, I have not heard ANYTHING from ANYBODY. My advisor told me not to contact my POIs (so as not to bother them during this busy time), and I am also hesitant to contact admissions/administration, although it probably wouldn't be a problem to do that, right? 

 

I am really hoping to be waitlisted (anywhere) at this point. I had no idea how seriously these folks take the GRE. I have also taken several graduate-level statistics courses (all As), and I teach an upper-division statistics class to undergrads! I thought there would be no way they would hold that score (from 4 years ago) against me. Hopefully I won't have to drop some research/teaching to study for this test and reapply....

 

I'm not sure if anyone has posted this article yet, but it's from Nature last year. Check it out: http://www.nature.com/naturejobs/science/articles/10.1038/nj7504-303a

 

For the record, I have contacted 2 POIs about whether or not I was rejected and they have both been nice about it. I just simply say that I have heard a lot of people have received invites and I have not heard anything, and I am curious about where I stand.  One of the POIs told me that decisions were still being made at that time, and the other told me that I was ruled out as a candidate already. 

 

I cannot really tell you what to do, but I think it all depends on who the POI is. If you had a good rapport prior to applying to the program(such as you've emailed back-and-forth about the possibly of working with him/her), then chances are they will not be mad about it. However, that is just my experience; I think others have horror stories regarding this. 

Edited by JLS912

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I  can say that Quant scores are used and sometimes schools will reject based on them out of concern that the candidate will not do well with statistics. Statistics are huge. 

 

That being said, I received a 151 on my quant score and am currently attending my top choice program (not sure what percentile that is anymore). However, I had other things to compensate for that. 

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This might be helpful. I scored under 50% (Q), over 70% (V) and over 90% (A). I was sortof informally accepted into my top choice program. By that I mean, I met my POI the day before I interviewed and he told me that he is hoping I will join his lab in the fall. I should also mention that in this particular program I was interviewing specifically for a position in this POI's lab, and although he was interviewing another student, he told me via email we were not competing. I am assuming my good grades in stats and programming courses helped me out!

 

With that being said, I haven't been told I'm actually admitted yet, so who knows. Regardless of my GRE scores I felt pretty good about my applications. Some programs have told me that it is just a formality, while others have told me they are used as cut-offs. I guess it really depends.

 

Does anyone know if GRE scores are used as cut-offs post-interview?

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Does anyone know if GRE scores are used as cut-offs post-interview?

 

I've been told GRE scores are mostly just a way to filter out people before applications go to the department. I can't imagine they would take the time to interview you if they were going to reject you based on something they already knew, but who knows.

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I really hate to be the one to say this but I honestly doubt that anyone who dedicates 2-3 hours each day,  for say a 3 month period to studying and prepping for the quantitative section of the GRE will get anything below 70%.  Unless of course you truly do have a learning deficiency in mathematics, in which case I have no idea what would be needed to improve your score. 

Edited by TenaciousBushLeaper

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I really hate to be the one to say this but I honestly doubt that anyone who dedicates 2-3 hours each day, for say a 3 month period to studying and prepping for the quantitative section of the GRE will get anything below 70%. Unless of course you truly do have a learning deficiency in mathematics, in which case I have no idea what would be needed to improve your score.

:raises hand meekly:

I had to literally reteach myself everything.

Everything.

I work in research. I get paid to calculate Cohen's d, eta squared, and Bayesian probabilities by hand. I use R and SPSS to do everything else from CFAs and binary logistic regressions to ANOVAs.

I haven't had a math class with exception to stat since... 2008.

I don't know wtf the square root of -54 divided by 72 to the 5th exponet plus Z cubed is.

Sorry everybody.

Edited by TheMercySeat

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:raises hand meekly:

I had to literally reteach myself everything.

Everything.

I work in research. I get paid to calculate Cohen's d, eta squared, and Bayesian probabilities by hand. I use R and SPSS to do everything else from CFAs and binary logistic regressions to ANOVAs.

I haven't had a math class with exception to stat since... 2008.

I don't know wtf the square root of -54 divided by 72 to the 5th exponet plus Z cubed is.

Sorry everybody.

Sameish, except last non-stats math class was in 2005. It's difficult to cram a bunch of essentially useless math back into your head after 10-15 years. I studied, I'm actually really good at math & had great ACT/SAT scores pre-college, and I'm disappointed in my quant score.

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well, i had to memorize a few hundred obscure English words to make sure i could get a decent mark on the verbal section of the GRE. ask me what any of those words mean now and i'm clueless.. so i do empathize with people's pain when it comes to cramming stuff for the sake of the GRE

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Sameish, except last non-stats math class was in 2005. It's difficult to cram a bunch of essentially useless math back into your head after 10-15 years. I studied, I'm actually really good at math & had great ACT/SAT scores pre-college, and I'm disappointed in my quant score.

Agreed!

I'm also a female over the age of 25. According to the means ETS posts for my demographic, I did a spectacular job.

(Q particularly deteriorates with age, and females score lower on Q and V). According to the expectations of PhD programs, I bombed it :x.

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Agreed!

I'm also a female over the age of 25. According to the means ETS posts for my demographic, I did a spectacular job.

(Q particularly deteriorates with age, and females score lower on Q and V). According to the expectations of PhD programs, I bombed it :x.

Are those means posted on the GRE site?

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I really hate to be the one to say this but I honestly doubt that anyone who dedicates 2-3 hours each day, for say a 3 month period to studying and prepping for the quantitative section of the GRE will get anything below 70%. Unless of course you truly do have a learning deficiency in mathematics, in which case I have no idea what would be needed to improve your score.

I agree that may be a good general guideline, but I wouldn't be so definitive. It is funny that you mention 70% and 2-3 hrs/day for 3 months because that was exactly my situation.

I took the GRE twice and used that exact study schedule with absolutely no improvement on my Quant score of 158 (71%).

By contrast, I did a lackadaisical 1-month prep in HS and jumped from approximately the 60th to the 85th percentile on the SAT. So, I doubt my study skills were lacking this time around or that I have some kind of math disability. I am aware that I'm probably an outlier, but it doesn't make my (lack of) results an impossible outcome.

Edited by TXInstrument11

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At first I was a little upset by my Q score (155, 60th percentile). However, when I compared it to only psych it was much better and I was happy with that. Why don't schools focus more on that? I mean, my competition is not anyone but other people going into psychology, so why am I being compared to them? It doesn't make sense to me at all.

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