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2nd GRE attempt. Did worse than the first attempt. Now what?


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It was on the evening of July 27th when I made a topic on how to go about my re take after abysmal scores of Q-151, V-152. I paid heed to some advice here and avoided a total bookish approach. Since my main concern was Quant, Only followed the Manhattan 5lb book and went through each and every topic of Manhattan 5lb book this time and did all the corrections carefully understanding the mistakes. I have never been really bad at Maths but never been top of my class as well.I was able to do the Easy/Medium?Hard sections at the end of the book with ease getting 18 to 19 right on each under timed conditions. The GRE concepts were not new to me so I did not have to learn all the concepts from scratch. I went through the greenlight prep's quantitative strategies and picked up a skill or two for sure. I was able to do all the 5lb topics well and then gave 3 mocks - Manhattan free mock and 2 Power Prep Mocks with 1 mock per week leading up to the test day.

1. Manhattan Free Mock - V:156, Q;!57

2. PP Mock 1: V:150, Q:159

3. PP Mock 2: V:151, Q:159

Last time, I did my final mock a day before the exam but this time I totally relaxed as I felt confident in my preparation and thought I could get close to 160 on Quant this time around. However just like last time, I had an insomnia again. Its something I have encountered numerous times before and has affected my exams before as well. Although I was able to catch 3 hour of sleep this time. I wasn't as nervous this time like last time but as the Quant sections unfolded I soon realized I wasn't able to grasp a few questions like I was back in home or during my mock exams but still though overall I did better than my 151 on Quant last time. As it turns out, I got 152 on Quant and 147 on Verbal meaning a total of 299 as compared to my previous 303. Both horrible results, prepared for both with everything I had and genuinely felt I would do better this time but turned out to be opposite. Feeling extremely sad right now, feeling angry and most of all...not feeling confident in my ability in general. From an Engineering background trying for MS in Petroleum a 160 on Quant was a must.

So what now? I do not think I have in it me now to go for a 3rd attempt as I've been indulged in the GRE for the past 6 months in total. I do not think even a 310 or 315 is good enough for TAMU or UTA. Is it possible I only report my first GRE score (303)? Should I go ahead and apply to Universities like U Houston or LSU? Do I have a chance in them? I can only try to write a great SOP now and the LORs are good in my opinion.

Advice would be helpful.




Edited by Fahad.Baloch
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You dont say much about your other stats and whether they balance you out, but if for example you have a letter of rec from a math professor or you had a very high GPA that shows you did well in math and English classes, I think you could just mention somewhere in your app that you have standardized test anxiety and hope that other parts of the app make up for the low scores.

You can also contact programs/check their websites to see whether they have admissions cutoffs - some places do, while others have "suggested scores" but no minimum, and other places will tell you it's not weighed heavily. Obviously you don't want to apply if your app will be thrown out for not meeting a stated minimum score, but you may find that a lot of places consider it the least important part of your app. 

I'd also say, if you DO choose to take the test again, it sounds like practicing test-taking strategies and anxiety management would be the most helpful for improving your score. Mediation is great for anxiety/stress, for example. 

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Hey Brown_Eyed_Girl. Right so here's my profile:

-Undergraduate in BSc Chemical Engineering with 76% (3.0 CGPA)

- 6 months of research project.

- Around 6 months of work experience pertinent of Petroleum industry (all internships)

I know my CGPA is also not stellar and I agree with your point regarding standardized test day anxiety. Is it a smart move if I mention that in my SOP or would it sound like an excuse? LSU for example stated they need a minimum of 300 overall, UHouston does not have a minimum score but from what I read through the US News website where I subscribed to get an insight of the average GRE scores for MS I saw that for engineering the average was around 157 to 161 which I am short of. Other schools such as TAMU, UTA and CSM are out as I don't meet their criteria as even though they do not mention the minimum but the profiles of the applicants admitted show that you more or less should be around 320 minimum.

 If I want I can go for a 3rd attempt but in doing so I might not meet some of the deadlines and just the mere possibility of messing it up again would literally demolish whatever little confidence I have in my application right now. So personally I don't think I have enough motivation or strength left to go through it all again. Can only hope for U Houston, LSU or University of Lafayette now with these scores in my opinion. 






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