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How important is verbal section in GRE?


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How important is the verbal section on the GRE? My first language isn't english (but I am a citizen), so the verbal section score is really low (50% range), although my quant is high. I have great GPA (3.8), currently have 2.5 years of research (ongoing) with 1 poster presentation but no publications, TA for gen chem for several semesters, and great LOR. It's just my verbal section of the GRE that I'm worried about. Would it help if I mention that english isn't my first language? If so, where would I say it? Probably in SOP? Also, what top programs do not require the GRE? The only that I could find is berkeley. Additionally, despite my low verbal score, will I be competitive for top tier programs? 

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Honestly I don’t think mentioning that English is your second language will be a huge benefit. It’s also not really an excuse either, and programs aren’t likely to give you as pass for a low V score because in truth there will be plenty of international applicants whose second/third language is English who have great V scores. A 50% is about a 150, low but not necessarily lethal especially because many schools are deemphasizing the GRE. Your other stats are great, and your research experience is good. Focus your app on that and you’ll be fine. 

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A "low" (technically average) verbal GRE score especially if it's 150 is not going to put you out. You are not going to be filling in blanks to sentences in grad school. I made 149 on Verbal (because I messed up filling in blank in vocab. never good with vocab questions.), but my Analytical Writing is 4.5 and Quan is 155. And I have a very strong research experience with 3 publications, national conference presentation, and master's thesis to defend next semester. GRE scores are becoming the least important factor in applications anyway, so I wouldn't worry. If I were on the admissions committee, I care about your research experience and how you prepared for grad school in the sciences. I don't care about GRE score. Research experience > GRE. You're fine. Focus your essays and SOPs on your research experience and motivation to go to graduate school. Don't waste time wasting characters or words on explaining low verbal score. Your SOPs are much more valuable bringing out your research experience and achievements like a jewel instead. 

Edited by ChallengerSwimmer23
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