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Another failed attempt at the GRE


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Hey Everyone,

I'm down in the dumps currently. I was able to take the GRE for the third time & my scores did not improve (150 v, 151 Q). I honestly feel like my goal to get into a counseling or clinical program is slipping. I have a masters in Clinical psychology with a focus in research. I have multiple poster presentations, a 4.0 GPA, and a finished thesis in Masculine Depression. I am looking for any advice on what to use to improve my GRE or what routes are available for me besides PH.D. Thank you for taking the time for responding.

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Would it be possible for you to turn any of those posters into an actual publication in a peer-reviewed journal? That would definitely improve your profile as an applicant and, if you have a poster,  I'd assume at least some of the research has already been conducted, rite?

Edited by spunky
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1 hour ago, spunky said:

Would it be possible for you to turn any of those posters into an actual publication in a peer-reviewed journal? That would definitely improve your profile as an applicant and, if you have a poster,  I'd assume at least some of the research has already been conducted, rite?

I don't think I would be able to do that unfortunately. 

 

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Options wise it kind of depends on what you actually want to do. If you want to do research, not practice then you can always pursue a PhD in general psychology and focus on clinical topics. These programs aren't quite as competitive and could be a good option. In addition, some health psychology programs could achieve this end as well. As far as practicing, there are Masters programs that prepare people to be counselors/clinicians rather than researchers.

As far as improvement on the GRE, I had great success with Magoosh. I firmly believe that if you review all the math videos and take their practice tests you can see improvements in your quantitative scores. I'm less knowledgeable on improving verbal scores. How much time have you put studying in? Have you improved your scores at all since your first time?

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5 hours ago, Itzik said:

Hey Everyone,

I'm down in the dumps currently. I was able to take the GRE for the third time & my scores did not improve (150 v, 151 Q). I honestly feel like my goal to get into a counseling or clinical program is slipping. I have a masters in Clinical psychology with a focus in research. I have multiple poster presentations, a 4.0 GPA, and a finished thesis in Masculine Depression. I am looking for any advice on what to use to improve my GRE or what routes are available for me besides PH.D. Thank you for taking the time for responding.

Keep in mind, GRE scores for most programs only play a small part in whether you get in to the program or not. Most adcoms will give you the same BS about taking a "holistic" approach to reviewing applications, but they aren't necessarily lying to you. I don't know much about psychology, or how adcoms gauge who is a good candidate or not, but your numbers don't seem all that bad. I got a 158 V, and 140 Q and am stressing about my quant scores. I think the quantitative stuff is a bit easier to prepare for than verbal questions, because you have a general idea of what you'll be tested on, and there's formulas you can memorize to solve those problems. Verbal Q's are pretty much just testing your knowledge of words that no one uses in the real world and how they are used in sentences. I got the Manhattan prep book, and do quant questions on it, and I got a copy of Barron's verbal guide. 

Edited by Nico Corr
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16 minutes ago, Quant_Psych_2018 said:

Options wise it kind of depends on what you actually want to do. If you want to do research, not practice then you can always pursue a PhD in general psychology and focus on clinical topics. These programs aren't quite as competitive and could be a good option. In addition, some health psychology programs could achieve this end as well. As far as practicing, there are Masters programs that prepare people to be counselors/clinicians rather than researchers.

As far as improvement on the GRE, I had great success with Magoosh. I firmly believe that if you review all the math videos and take their practice tests you can see improvements in your quantitative scores. I'm less knowledgeable on improving verbal scores. How much time have you put studying in? Have you improved your scores at all since your first time?

I am leaning towards practicing, but I love working on the research side as well. Maybe looking into Psy.D's.

 

I am a huge supporter of magoosh, I just don't know what happened. I typically score high in the quant sections overall (161-164) and was shocked to see my unofficial math score. I studied for 3 full months at 15-16 hrs per week during that timeframe.

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6 minutes ago, Nico Corr said:

Keep in mind, GRE scores for most programs only play a small part in whether you get in to the program or not. Most adcoms will give you the same BS about taking a "holistic" approach to reviewing applications, but they aren't necessarily lying to you. I don't know much about psychology, or how adcoms gauge who is a good candidate or not, but your numbers don't seem all that bad. I got a 158 V, and 140 Q and am stressing about my quant scores. I think the quantitative stuff is a bit easier to prepare for than verbal questions, because you have a generally idea of what you'll be tested on, and there's formulas you can memorize to solve those problems. Verbal Q's are pretty much just testing your knowledge of words that no one uses in the real world and how they are used in sentences. I got the Manhattan prep book, and do quant questions on it, and I got a copy of Barron's verbal guide. 

Im totally agree that the verbal section is harder to get through than quant. I see people take practice tests before studying and score in 90th percentile to start off. I guess my environment didn't use GRE words in their Vocabulary lol.

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13 minutes ago, Itzik said:

I am a huge supporter of magoosh, I just don't know what happened. I typically score high in the quant sections overall (161-164) and was shocked to see my unofficial math score. I studied for 3 full months at 15-16 hrs per week during that timeframe.

1

If you typically do that much better on practice tests, I can't help but wonder if it is some kind of testing anxiety. When you took the GRE, how did you feel during it? Did you know how to answer the questions? Or were you really anxious and lost? Did your score surprise you at the end or had you known the test was going badly?

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39 minutes ago, Quant_Psych_2018 said:

If you typically do that much better on practice tests, I can't help but wonder if it is some kind of testing anxiety. When you took the GRE, how did you feel during it? Did you know how to answer the questions? Or were you really anxious and lost? Did your score surprise you at the end or had you known the test was going badly?

The verbal I felt I struggled in speed and retention of my studying. The math I didn't feel like I struggled. I was quick and was getting the answers I wanted. I can only assume it was test anxiety or I had horrible luck that day. After going through these forums, I can see that students give their entire lives to prepping for the GRE. I could study more I guess and quit my job...

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2 minutes ago, Itzik said:

The verbal I felt I struggled in speed and retention of my studying. The math I didn't feel like I struggled. I was quick and was getting the answers I wanted. I can only assume it was test anxiety or I had horrible luck that day. After going through these forums, I can see that students give their entire lives to prepping for the GRE. I could study more I guess and quit my job...

I'll admit I did study more than 15-16 hours a week. I was probably topping 30-40 hours a week, but I only did that for about 6 weeks or so. It is certainly a consideration to make another attempt in which you dedicate larger chunks of time towards studying. It just depends on whether you think it will be effective for you or not. You could also just try to take it again very soon and see if maybe it was anxiety or a bad day.

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2 minutes ago, Quant_Psych_2018 said:

I'll admit I did study more than 15-16 hours a week. I was probably topping 30-40 hours a week, but I only did that for about 6 weeks or so. It is certainly a consideration to make another attempt in which you dedicate larger chunks of time towards studying. It just depends on whether you think it will be effective for you or not. You could also just try to take it again very soon and see if maybe it was anxiety or a bad day.

I think if I was to take it again, I would need to study again because I just lost my confidence. Can I ask what were your scores?

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3 minutes ago, Itzik said:

I think if I was to take it again, I would need to study again because I just lost my confidence. Can I ask what were your scores?

Yeah sure. I originally had (V155, Q154) and the second time I had (V157, Q161). Between the first time and the second time, I did Magoosh and only focused on the quant section.

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4 minutes ago, Quant_Psych_2018 said:

Yeah sure. I originally had (V155, Q154) and the second time I had (V157, Q161). Between the first time and the second time, I did Magoosh and only focused on the quant section.

That a big bump up. are those scores good enough for you?

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1 minute ago, Itzik said:

That a big bump up. are those scores good enough for you?

Yeah, they should be fine. I could go for higher, but I don't really think it will make a big difference for my application. I'm focusing my time on other stuff like research and publications instead of studying for the GRE.

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I'm not in psych, but I do know many social science programs use a 300 cutoff for GRE scores, which you are above, so you wouldn't be automatically rejected from these programs. Do you have access to recent admitted stats for the programs to which you're applying? How is your writing, LoRs, academic history (in addition to the 4.0 GPA, courses/other academics directly related to your program interests)? If the rest of your application is strong, you may be able to offset low GRE scores. 

Have you had test anxiety before? If there's a noted history you may want to reach out to program coordinators and explain your testing struggles. They may be able to help with what to do. 

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I'm sorry to hear that, @Itzik. I had also struggled with standardized exams including the General GRE. Your Quantitative and Verbal scores are honestly above the average cutoff for most graduate school disciplines. Instead of re-taking the GRE again, perhaps you can show your strengths in math and reading in other ways? For example, if you had taken college-level courses in high level math/statistics classes (ex. Calculus, Advanced Statistics), highlight those classes on your CV especially if you made A's in those classes. That's what I had to do when I kept getting around a 151 Q and 156 V, and that strategy worked well with me.

Edited by JoePianist
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As with everyone else, I would also encourage you to not be distracted by your expectations of the GRE scores and not consider your other wealth of experiences and strengths. The GRE is probably the most draining part of the application process, because it is the only area you can quantify. As a student, that's the only way we've known how to determine our success. If you can show that you are articulate (through your SOI) and have produced work that can describe your quantitative aptitude, then you may want to consider focusing on the remaining parts of your application package. I also did my GRE test multiple times, only to end up using my first set of scores to apply. Unless your preferred schools have a hard emphasis on GRE cutoffs (something you would want to reach out to their graduate department/faculty and learn about), it may be better to use the time, money, and cognitive energy elsewhere.

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On 10/7/2017 at 6:41 AM, JoePianist said:

I'm sorry to hear that, @Itzik. I had also struggled with standardized exams including the General GRE. Your Quantitative and Verbal scores are honestly above the average cutoff for most graduate school disciplines. Instead of re-taking the GRE again, perhaps you can show your strengths in math and reading in other ways? For example, if you had taken college-level courses in high level math/statistics classes (ex. Calculus, Advanced Statistics), highlight those classes on your CV especially if you made A's in those classes. That's what I had to do when I kept getting around a 151 Q and 156 V, and that strategy worked well with me.

That is a great option! thank you so much for the information

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Itzik,

I am a Chinese person and I got 156 V and 165 Q (I'm not saying my verbal score is high but this was my fourth attempt and I tried my best). If a non-English speaker can do it, you can do it! I don't know if you are a native English speaker but if you are, you can definitely get a better score in each section. Do you know how many Chinese students got 155+ score in the Verbal section? And many even got perfect scores! You'll be shocked! How did they do that? It's a combination of hard work, memorizing useless words, and developing superb test taking techniques (Yeah, Chinese are really good at developing those kinds of techniques! And they work!). I wish you could speak Chinese so I could tell you how many techniques you could learn! I would recommend that you find a tutor because I am getting a feeling that you are just not good at taking the test and finding a good tutor is the best way to enhance your techniques. As long as the Q section, I just did a ton of practice problems. Even though Chinese students are notoriously good at math, if they don't prepare for it, they can't get a high score, either. 

Edited by wnk4242
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my two cents - be more holistic in your thinking. Let's say you're and admission committee - what do you look at? It's not only GRE scores, rather they evaluate a LOT of things. Just like people with a less than amazing GPA can get in, people with a less than amazing GRE can get in. 

Also consider your LORs to help you out here. Im a non-native English speaker so expect my verbals not to be very amazing. Yet I have two native speakers who are profs at my uni address my English abilities (plus I got a A+ for writing and presenting grad level class - so obviously I can communicate). I got my other LOR to highlight my stats skills such that I independently did a meta-anlysis with him and I got an A+ for advanced data analysis and my more high level stats classes (my first year grade sucks, but got B+ and A's for my undergrad stats classes after that, A+ for my grad level stats class) and I asked my other LOR to also comment how I'm doing all my analysis independent - including some more advanced ones. So I'm trying to show them - regardless of my GRE score - I'm actually cool with these things. I'm taking the test in 10 days and am freaking out though. I aim at getting in the 150s for verbal (powerprep ranges me between 154 - 157) and 160s for quant, but am mainly struggling with the last one (scoring around 153 now... :/ But will be studying fulltime now). 

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