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buzz2009

GRE score

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Hello,

what kind of score I would need to get into the Top 5/10 schools?

I do understand that score is only one of the factors the admission committee considers.....but I just want to get a rough idea of where I might stand and where I should be applying.....

My score: V 620 Q 750 Writing 4.5

I am an international student so I am not good at verbal and writing. Should I retake the exam?

Thanks for your help in advance!!!

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Guys....I am seriously considering whether I should retake GRE or not.

I am not sure I could get a higher score if I prepare and sit for the exam within 2 months.......Should I give it a shot?

Again, I am targeting top 10 schools and I am an international student. 3.7 undergrad GPA and currently finishing up my Master's Degree (around 3.7 GPA).

I would love to hear your opinions. Please help!!!

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I don't really understand why you are talking about re-taking the test. If you are targeting the top five to ten schools (whatever that means), re-taking it is not going to help you. It is my understanding that the best programs take your score as more of an entry ticket to the application process. In other words, 800 and 800 is not going to get you accepted. And would you really want to go to a program that is going to consider the gres very important? I belive It doesn't stand for much once you have made it round two.

In addition to that, most of the professors I have consulted suggest that using student's gre score is especially problematic with international students because they typically score extremely high, but their impressive scores are often a result of many years of memorization and is not supported by language skills.

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Applying to graduate school is a crap-shoot. Sometimes, people who should get in, dont get into top places. Other times, the reverse is true. A discipline that's bases itself on methods, norms, and values is horribly disorganized and petty when it comes to applications (i have friends in several programs and you wouldnt believe the stuff that goes on and why who gets what).

I say that to say apply broadly (within reason) and dont be surprised........

Just remember the following....

1.) Most people will say look at the median GPA and GRE scores of previous classes and place yourself accordingly. I agree with that (to a point), but that's merely a baseline, meaning if a program has 2 weks to go over 200 apps, you want to make sure your app survives the first cut.

2.) The job market (from what I've been told), awarding of grants, publishing, and even entrance into graduate school is (largely) about networks. If you look at the top 10 schools, you may notice that some (though certainly not all) faculty derive from the same places/regions. Faculty in the Ivy's likely received their phd from the Ivys (or Chicago), Big 10 received their phd's in the big 10, so on and so forth. As much as we study stratification, we often replicate it. So, look at where your recommenders went to school, where their students went, and who they're respected by, and figure out where to apply.

3.) A graduate degree may help, and may not. People tend to value undergraduate degrees more than graduate. Here's why....in graduate school, the grade range is from 3.0 to 4.0. In undergraduate, the range is much different. But, if you have a graduate degree and show that you can be ready on day one (be able to run regressions, know the literature, etc.) then that could put you in a better position.

4.) Recommendations matter and people will throw you under the bus. Only ask faculty for letters if you earned an A or A- from their class (a- is stretching it) and those you trust. If you find yourself asking "I wonder if they would write me a good letter", dont ask. There's a reason why you're questioning if they would write you a good letter.

5.) If you have teachers who don't think the best of you, clear it up before you apply. Your transcript lets everyone know who knows you, though people will never admit it, people make phone calls and emails and everybody has friends.

6.) Apply in clusters. If you have top scores and a solid backup plan, apply within the top 30 only. And And apply wisely. send out 10-15 apps....and wait for what's coming.

Hope that helps,

Spaulding

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I think GRE scores matter as a filtering device. In the end, they do nothing to determine whether you get in or not, but poor GRE scores might result in your application thrown into the 'out' pile in the first instance, especially if you do not have a personal statement and/or research idea that interests faculty members.

Several profs I emailed from the top 10 sociology programs in the US have told me that GRE scores are important. This is probably because applications are so competitive that high scores are expected as a minimum baseline (although this is not explicitly stated in the program websites).

So I suggest you retake your GRE. Try especially to improve your analytical component.

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Since you are an interntional student, consider your command of English. A 620 is a pretty good verbal score that even a lot of native speakers can't achieve. And your quant score is very good for sociology. And deckard has apparently received different advice than I have, but I've heard the AW is considered the least important section. Plus, because of your stated difficulty with writing, it's going to be hard to improve your AW score all that much. Style matters quite a bit when you get into the 5-6 range, so a 4.5 might realistically be where you peak out (without an absurd amount of time spent preparing).

GRE scores matter. But I don't think they will matter enough to justify the amount of time you will need to spend studying GRE stuff in order to be confident you will do better next time. That time could be used more efficiently crafting your statement and reading books by faculty you want to work with.

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I received the same advice as deckard..... In addition, most schools take the mean GRE scores. So, even if you retake the GRE and score perfect on the writing sample (6.0), you're score will still be in the early 5's.

The writing section isnt a deal breaker, and any concerns about writing can be answered by the personal statement and writing sample. Reading books by faculty is good, but you dont want to run into the mistake of doing this too much. The classic first year student mistake is thinking you know a profs work when in fact, you dont understand the argument.

I'd spend the rest of my time making contact with major faculty members, applying for fellowships, etc.

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I received the same advice as deckard..... In addition, most schools take the mean GRE scores. So, even if you retake the GRE and score perfect on the writing sample (6.0), you're score will still be in the early 5's.

FYI, I recently called a few "top" departments (including Stanford and Michigan), and found out that they actually take the best scores you have from each section (V/Q/A) across any number of exams.

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Though schools take the best of all scores, they still look at all scores. So, if you slip on one section, it may do more damage than help.

Your scores seem fine. Any question about your writing ability can be answered by your letter writers, statement of purpose, and writing sample.

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Take them again. Try to get in the 90th percentile in verbal. This is often used as a cut off in top schools.

Hope you don't mind me asking- where did you hear that?

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From a professor at UPenn.

I approached a number of professors about their take on the value of the GRE's recently. One of them is from UPenn. He said "You just need to prove you are not a trained monkey." I guess it really depends on what he considers a trained monkey capable of doing.. 90 percentile is pretty harsh, especially considering how quantitative certain departments are. Naturally, I never sat on any admission committee. In my opinion, V620 is a great result for an international student.

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The comments here are generally good. To reiterate: GRE scores are typically used as a sort of filter to wade through the the first round of applicants, and that's it (although they may play a role in funding, once admitted).

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Sorry to bring up an old topic, but I would love to hear from people who are currently in programs and also what GRE scores they had--especially if they applied to a Top 20 school.

I got my scores today for my Analytical and it was troubling. 4.5, which is in the 63rd percentile. My Verbal was a 710 and my Quant was a 760, so I'm not worried about those. But everywhere I look it seems most departments settle around a 5.3 average for the Analytical.

What sucks even more is that unlike if I had found out my Verbal or Quant scores sucked (three weeks ago when I took the exam), now I can't go back and reschedule a new exam since its so close to the deadlines.

Anyway, if people on here could give up their schools and where they got in/rejected in the last round it would be very much appreciated.

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Bleh, now I have depressed myself with my own posting. My scores are so much lower than those top program averages. :(

I have already taken the test twice and don't want to take it again.

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Bleh, now I have depressed myself with my own posting. My scores are so much lower than those top program averages. :(

I have already taken the test twice and don't want to take it again.

I got into every top ten program I applied to, and my scores were 620V 720M and 6.0W. If your analytic writing score is what is worrying you then send in a stellar writing sample.

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No my AW is actually fine. It is mostly my quant:

V 600/ Q 590

:(

I know two people in a top five school--quantitative sociologists, no less--who scored lower. I think we all know by now that the GRE is one factor among many that determines admission, and not a very important one at that. There are also factors beyond our control at play (which doesn't make admission a crapshoot, just harder to predict). One of the quant people I mentioned, for instance, had a regional focus on Russia and project proposal that appealed to one of the adcomm members, a Russia specialist. Had that professor not been on the committee that year, my friend says she doesn't think she would have gotten in.

If it makes you feel any better, my Q score was a 430 (V 700, AW 5.0), and I'm applying to top 10 schools. As per the advice of past professors, I'm not even going to mention mine.

Edited by pip

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As per the advice of past professors, I'm not even going to mention mine.

Similar boat. Prof. in my top 10 grad school (MA) program advised the same. They don't need to be reminded of "discrepancies" once they've already moved past it from any cuts they might make

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Because my husband is currently attending UT Austin it is the only program I have researched and applied to but they do not count to AW section at all. I guess they simply consider your writing sample. However, I assume they still look at it and that may still effect their overall opinion.

From UT Soc Dept website admissions faqs page:

Do you count the Analytical section of the GRE?

No.

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Im not entirely sure why everyone worries about the GRE so much. It depends on the school youre applying to. Some are informally waiving the GRE requirement (asking for the test but putting little to no weight on it). Dont worry about your score. Its fine. And multiple retakes can smack of desperation.

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Because my husband is currently attending UT Austin it is the only program I have researched and applied to but they do not count to AW section at all. I guess they simply consider your writing sample. However, I assume they still look at it and that may still effect their overall opinion.

From UT Soc Dept website admissions faqs page:

Do you count the Analytical section of the GRE?

No.

I'm pretty sure this refers not to the analytical writing section, but to the old analytical (reasoning) section that was dropped several years ago.

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