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high verbal, low math, retake question


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I took the GRE recently and got a 640 V 410 Q. I was fine with the verbal score, but obviously the math score is quite low. I also took the GRE two years ago and I got a 480 Q and a lower verbal score. I started contacting some schools and a few told me they will take the highest of the two test scores. So my highest scores for the two tests would be 640 V 480 Q, which is a 1120 and meets most of the (published) cut offs for schools.

My questions is do you think I must re-take the test because of my low math score or is it possible that I could get into a PhD program with what I have. I am applying in Political Science and I have a 3.5 GPA. I have traveled a significant amount and I am in IR. I have teaching experience and good LORs...plus two master's degrees.

I am reluctant to take the GRE again because I doubt my math score will improve much. I am not that great at math, but feel that the GRE math questions are a rare breed and it would require me to take a long course to really get the hang of it ...and I don't really have that much time.

Thanks for any help!!

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Well if you don't think you can improve, and you also meet your potential schools' cutoffs, than no - don't retake the GRE. In most cases all you want to do is get past the initial cutoff and be considered by the department--because as the saying goes, test scores can only keep you out of school, not get you in. There is one caveat though: some schools determine funding on the basis of test scores, and then you would be at a disadvantage. So you might want to find out how funding is decided on at your schools. But again, if you don't feel like you can make a significant improvement, there's really no point in sending another set of not-so-great scores.

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Thanks for the feedback. I am actually okay with having around a 1100 (with the two highest scores). I don't know who these people are that are getting 1400s. I read that around 1100 is average for a PhD candidate...with that number being a bit less for master's applicants. I'm not applying to any Ivy League type schools. I'm just applying to schools where my research matches theirs. But I'm just kind of worried that I might be gambling too much with my scores. But that's true that as long as I meet the school's cutoff then I should technically be okay as long as the other stuff in my file is good. I'll ask about funding then also. Thanks!

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