English GRE Subject Test Score - Literature, and Rhetoric and Composition - The GradCafe Forums
Jump to content

English GRE Subject Test Score


Recommended Posts

Can anyone advise me whether my low score will hurt my chances? I just got the scores and I knew they would be mediocre, but I wasn't expecting a 540 (48th percentile). The rest of my application is strong and my verbal was 93 percentile, but I guess I'm wondering whether this poor score will affect my chances? Four out of the eight schools I applied to asked for the subject test.

Thank you very much for your help and time!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't worry about it too much--remember, EVERY SINGLE PERSON who took that test is applying to grad programs for lit, so that's a much narrower field than everyone who takes the general GRE, and the adcoms know that. I can offer an example from another subject test: my fiance scored somewhere around the 35th percentile on the chemistry subject GRE, and got into 3 top 10 programs (and also something like 5 computer science programs without even taking that subject exam, including MIT, so...yeah. Bloody brilliant, it's disgusting.) I talked to the profs at my school while I was in the GRE process, and most of them (including the ones on the adcom for that year) said they know the GRE lit exam is pretty much a crapshoot. Try not to worry about it too much, English is so much more than a numbers game!! Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

540 really isn't that bad. it's something like 140/230 raw score? think about that, this is a test cover the entire history of english literature. with the deduction for wrong answers you still ended up at like 60% - that's a considerable knowledge base.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know A LOT of people who scored just about what you did, or even lower and they still got into top 20 programs.

Don't sweat it. That score is nothing to be embarrassed about! I'd worry if you didn't break 500, but you did that and then some. Your verbal score is good and that is MUCH more important. They're not going to weed out your app based on that one test, as far as I understand.

Try not to stress and best of luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I doubt seriously it would keep you out of any program if they otherwise wanted you. That said, it is not a positive addition to your application and you should only report the score to the schools that require the test.

I am frustrated by that test because I think the self-contained interpretation questions--where you are given a passage and tested on how well you understand it--are a good measure of the kind of skills you need in graduate school. (I have a Master's in English.) The surface identification questions, which form the bulk of the test, are useless and have nothing to do with graduate school at all. It could be a good, useful test if they just changed that emphasis.

You have to study for the test in a certain way. Basically an outline with the key authors from each time period, their main works, and key words or terms associated with them. I spent two whole days cramming this kind of information into about a 20 page outline, and ended up making a 730. I got the information from Literature for Dummies books, wikipedia and spark notes online. I also made sure I knew everything in the Princeton Review outline. I think it was exactly the right thing to do--I felt good during the test, knew at least 160 questions for sure and there wasn't a single one I couldn't narrow down to two choices. I feel like if I'd given myself more time to do the outline, I could have gotten a perfect score.

Of course, in the end it was a complete waste of time, as I've decided to apply to grad programs in a different field. I wish I could give my score to someone who could use it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.