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Scared...Need Advice!


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So basically I waited until late Oct to take the GRE, and I know that wasn't the best of ideas to begin with. When GRE time came around, I was extremely ill with what the Student Health Center at my university called H1N1 (although they didn't test for it?). I rolled out of bed, drank some Theraflu and went to the testing center. In hindsight, I should've coughed up the extra 50 bucks to reschedule until I was better, but I was already late and in the brain fog of flu, decided to take it.

I had worked hard and taken many practice tests with my average hanging around V 650-700, Q 750-800. Took the test. Scores were V 460 (ouch!) and Q 700 (not horrible, but still ouch!) AW 4.5.

So what I would like to know is, should I make some mention of this in my SOP for the schools that are due in early Dec? (I am retaking it for my later due dates).

I am applying to some top-tier schools, so now I'm pretty scared. I don't doubt my ability to score well when I retake, because I would literally read a portion of the V section and forget what I just read when I took it sick...and I generally do well with standardized tests (near perfect SAT).

The rest of my app is great: GPA=3.91, plenty of research, 1st author pub, TA experience, glowing recommendations, research awards, fully funded my education, bla bla bla....

Oh yeah, my degree will be in Biochemistry and Zoology with a minor in Genetics from NCSU.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated (at least something to ease my nerves!).

The main application I'm concerned with is UC Berkeley.

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First of all make sure you have taken advantage of the GRE fee-redaction waiver. It gives you 50% off the testing fee.

You definitely want to make mention of this in your SOP, as the test score is probably way-off from your other credentials (most adcomm will spot this and raise hell).

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I'm not sure I'd mention it in the SOP because it might seem like you are just trying to make excuses for your performance, you know? Maybe ask your advisor or another trusted professor how to handle the GRE thing?

Good luck on your retake!

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Yeah that is what I was afraid of. How about having recommenders mention it in their letter? Would that be a better approach? I know that if I asked, they would be obliged to include something about how my score isn't reflective of my abilities, and that I was sick when I took it, etc.


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I'm not sure I'd mention it in the SOP because it might seem like you are just trying to make excuses for your performance, you know?

During Fall semester of 2008 UIC has undergoing a serious budget cut. The unit I was working in was threatened to laid off some of the staff. I was so damned worried that I decided to stay office a little bit longer than usual. Because if I got fired means no tuition waiver. For that semester alone I rolled in THREE 4-Graduate credit hour 'C's. I ask my recommenders and they all said it is beneficial to put this on the SOP because it was so obvious on the transcript. All other terms I was rolling in A's.

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