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Should I retake the GRE?


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International applicant, already Ph.D student in my home country. Applying for top programs, hoping to focus on comparative politics

4.0 GPA in BA and MA, good letters, V159/Q157/A3. I'll be doing TOEFL again and I wonder if I should retake the GRE also

Or maybe the solution is to apply for schools that value GRE less? But I'm not sure to where...


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  • 3 weeks later...

Virtually all of the top programs value the GRE because there are so many otherwise qualified people applying. There usually is some informal cutoff where people with generally below a certain score will not get in save for other factors being absolutely exemplary (and even then, that may not be enough due to the sheer amount of competition). With that in mind, unless you think somehow you'll do worse next time, absolutely retake it.

Thankfully, it really doesn't take too much of a chunk out of your time. Just giving yourself enough time to work through the books (if you haven't already, I didn't on my first time around) and practice, practice, practice can go a long way. On my first GRE in July, I got 163V, 155Q, and 5.0AW. I took another three days ago after working through some prep books and practice GRE's semi-intensively for three weeks before the test and got 170V, 161Q (still waiting on 5.0AW).

Best of luck!

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I would say definitely.  It obviously depends on which programs you would like to attend, and your current scores probably won't exclude you from anywhere, but high scores would definitely help.  Being a foreign student, I would especially try and get your quant score up.  That is probably the most important sub-score, and being a foreign student it is expected that your verbal and AWA won't be as high as native speakers. 

I would also echo determinedandnervous.  Some focused studying can go a long way.  Even having taken the test once and knowing what you are in for may help you the next time.  Good luck.  

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I was told by top profs that for international students both GREs were very important (verbal too but A does not matter). Just because your home institution's grading scheme/ recommendations may not be as familiar to the admission committee as the domestic applicants', so they trust them less. unfair but there is nothing to do about it.

Edited by kaykaykay
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