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Is a 157V enough for English MAs?


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Just got back from the testing center with157V and 146Q. I'm not worried about quant at all, but I just barely wedged myself into the 75th percentile for verbal, which is a little worrying. 

To get the full picture, I'm applying to 5 MAs and 1 MA/PhD (noting in my SOP that I'd like to be considered for both tracks). Only one of my programs says they expect applicants to have a 156, so I skated by with an extra point. All the other programs, like most, don't determine a range or publicize scores of past applicants. One program in Canada doesn't even want scores, and another doesn't need them if your GPA is a 3.6, which I'm healthily above. 

If/when I get serious about applying to more PhDs, I know I'll probably want to study more vocab and retake it altogether (my top PhD gives extra funding to those with a combined 313, and I'm at 303). For past/current MA applicants--is a 157 okay for now? I

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It completely depends on the program. I'm sure you know that each school takes different factors into consideration, but I think that having a higher score definitely gives you a leg up. Also, having a higher score means that you don't have to wonder what could have been if you'd just had a higher score. I will say, that when I took the GRE the first time I also got a 157 and then I went to visit a bunch of PhD programs and got the general sense that they wanted you to be at least in the 90th percentile (these were all top 20 schools though). One of them actually read me the scores of everyone that got in to their program for that semester and the person with the lowest score had a 157. Those were PhD programs, so take it with a grain of salt. But, I would say it won't completely take you out of the running. You'll just want to make sure the rest of your application is great, because other applicants will almost definitely have a higher GRE score.

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I got a 156V and 151Q, if it makes you feel any better (still waiting on writing scores). I'm only applying to MA programs, and I did email a few because I was worried. One of the programs essentially told me it's the last thing they consider and to not worry much about it Another very good program told me they're just looking for people in the 50+ percentile, and yet another said 70+ percentile. So, while I, too, would like my score to be better, I wouldn't worry about it too much unless you're applying to Columbia or something. :)

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...

I got very similar scores.  I didn't rake in a million acceptance letters by any means, but I tried not to stress about it too much.  I know it's late in the game and there's nothing left to do but wait... but I think your attitude seems pretty reasonable.  I plan to retake it before reapplying to PhDs--I'm in a masters right now.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

What about a PhD applicant with a 157 verbal and a 4 writing? I have a relatively strong application (2 publications, 6 conference presentations, 5+ years of teaching college composition/ESL, 4.0 MA gpa, high undergrad gpa), but I'm worried that my low GRE scores will tank my application. I was so busy teaching a full load of classes in the fall that I didn't study for the test. Also, I could only find time to take it once. 

I know that schools say they look at applications as a whole, but do they really? They have to use some aspect as a gate keeper when they receive hundreds of applications, don't they? How do they even narrow it down to a manageable amount that they can talk about?

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On 1/23/2018 at 3:06 PM, Wooshkuh said:

What about a PhD applicant with a 157 verbal and a 4 writing? I have a relatively strong application (2 publications, 6 conference presentations, 5+ years of teaching college composition/ESL, 4.0 MA gpa, high undergrad gpa), but I'm worried that my low GRE scores will tank my application. I was so busy teaching a full load of classes in the fall that I didn't study for the test. Also, I could only find time to take it once. 

I know that schools say they look at applications as a whole, but do they really? They have to use some aspect as a gate keeper when they receive hundreds of applications, don't they? How do they even narrow it down to a manageable amount that they can talk about?

I think it's safe to believe they look at the application as a whole.

For instance, you're applying to Tennessee-Knoxville. According to the Results board, they accepted a 156v in 2015, and rejected a 162. Madison-Wisconsin accepted a 158v and rejected 163 the same cycle. I did my undergrad at UC Riverside and am still close with a number of faculty, and I can tell you they don't give a single bent penny about the GRE when it really comes down to it. I'm sure your other accomplishments + GPA will overshadow a few points, if you're a good fit for a program.

Someone said the gradcafe GRE scores are skewed higher than average, which is probably true, so I'm sure it often looks like everyone who gets in is 166, but it's really just that everyone here is obsessive and reporting reflects community :D

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I just wanted to find this thread to say this (I didn't post earlier because I didn't want to jinx myself lolol):

I never retook the GRE for PhD applications. I just received an acceptances to UT-Austin, who list 90% on their admissions page. I was in 75%. Last night I was reading old GRE threads panicking about my scores, but it's totally possible. 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Add me to the "GRE DOES NOT NECESSARILY MATTER" list: got a 151 verbal (50th percentile!!!!) and am 5 for 5 so far. All but one required the GRE, and a couple schools listed that "admitted applicants score in the 98th percentile."

The GRE does not define you. I honestly am opposed to standardized testing, and I think most people in comp/rhet would agree, so there's that. 

Edited by klader
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