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Should I re-take the GRE?


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I was adamantly against this idea when my girlfriend suggested it the day of the test, but now I'm reconsidering a week later. I took the test last week and scored 590V 750M, I'm relatively confident I got a 6 on AW (by far my strong suit). I expected to get ~670V, 750M, 6AW. I was sick the day of the test (threw up afterward), though I'm not sure that was the reason for my score.

I'm applying to political science PhD programs, a few in the top 10, a few in the 10-20 range and a couple outside of the top 20 as "safety schools" (though I'd be relatively happy going to them because they're in nice places). My GRE scores are a bit more important than for most applicants, because my GPA is relatively low. I have a 3.40, but it's on the upswing (~3.85 last 3-4 semesters, ~2.9 before that). My letters are good but not anything particularly special. My application in general has nothing special about it.

My scores put me a full 60 points below the "average admitted student" profile at the top schools, and 10-20 points below the mid-range schools. I'll be right in the mix or a bit above the average at my "safety schools."

My scores put me at 83% V and 87% Quant overall, and within Poli Sci PhD applicants, 66% V and 91% Q overall.

I don't think that the verbal score really represents my ability, especially since that type of stuff is usually my strong suit (800 on SAT verbal, I know it was years ago and easier, but still). However, re-taking is not a simple matter of "will you score higher?" when you factor in cost, and stress. I've got my back against the wall with application deadlines anyway and will be relatively lucky to finish them all in time. Also, the scores would only reach 4/9 of the PhD programs I'm applying to in time and all 4 of the MPA/MPP programs I am applying to (which I am slightly less concerned about admission to, but would still like to be safe).

So....what would you do? I can retake immediately because it's a new calendar month. Should I?

Edited by cake268
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