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Readers Respond: Does A Good Score Even Matter?

Responses: 115


V: 155, Q: 154

In a book I have for graduate school in psychology it says the average minimum of each section should be 550 (156 for V and 146 for Q) with a combined score of 1200 for a PhD program. My combined score is is 1,220 despite my rather low verbal score. My GPA is 3.89 and I'll have research experience, as well as a few solid and personal recommendations from professors. Do you think I still have a shot at a PhD program with my verbal? Does the GPA and Q score make up for it? ANSWER: Sadly, you'll probably need to retake, unless you have written reassurance that their minimums are negotiable a few points. I would schedule an appointment to talk it over with an admissions advisor. Their minimums may be set in stone, and in that case, you're retaking it.
—Guest Smokey91

Retake or not?

Hey, I am a physics major at NC State. My overall GPA is 3.67/4.00 and physics GPA is 3.60/4.00. My general GRE scores are 157 in verbal (73 percentile), 156 in quantitative (68 percentile) and 4.5 in analytical writing (73 percentile). I am not too excited with my quantitative score because I guess I am expected to do better in math as a physics major, but I am not great at doing math on a computer screen. I have A- or better in all math classes in college. I want to get into a good graduate program for physics (eg, Harvard). I will also take the physics GRE and am currently working towards doing well on that. I have research experience. Do you think I need to retake the general GRE? ANSWER: I would if I were you. Harvard is a tough one to get into, even with all the stars aligned! I'd retake it because they WILL expect a higher Quant score from you. Get quite a number of practice tests under your belt, and head back to the testing center, so you can be sure you get the best score you possibly can. I'd reach for somewhere in the 70th percentile range at the very least.
—Guest scientist

Are these scores sufficient?

Hi Took the test today (!) and got provisional scores of 165 verbal and 153 quantitative. I'm looking to apply for courses such as the Film/Screen Cultures PhDs at Yale, Iowa and NYU Steinhardt - got to be these due to funding. Can you advise whether these provisional scores are looking good or may need boosting please? Thanks! ANSWER: It depends on your GPA and experience, along with your scores. Your Verbal is impressive and your Quantitative is slightly above average, so a retake is probably unnecessary if your GPA and experience are fantastic. Your Quantitative score won't resonate as loudly as that Verbal with your selected focus.
—Guest Tycol

Best universities for my score ?

Hi, I took the GRE a week back and got 162 in verbal and 167 in quant. Still awaiting the analytical writing scores (I believe I have done well on that as well). I have completed by B.Tech in India with a cumulative GPA of 9.9/10. Would I have any chance if I apply to Stanford or UC Berkeley ? Kindly help. ANSWER: Your scores are very high, and so is your GPA. I'd say you have a shot at a top-tier school like UC-Berkeley and Stanford. Make sure your recommendations and application essay are excellent, and go for it!
—Guest Varun

Ed Programs/Stanford

I am applying to PhD programs in Education this year. I recently took the GRE and scored 170 Verbal, 158 Quant, 5.0 writing. My undergraduate GPA was a 3.67, I have an MA from UC Berkeley in Education (4.0 GPA) and several years of interesting/relevant experience. I know it is tough to predict whether someone will get in to their preferred program, but my dream school is Stanford (which only accepts 6% of its applicants). When I took the GRE, I really felt that I could have scored higher on the Quantitative section. Much as I hate the idea of retaking it, do you think it's worth the time and energy to try and boost the quant score from the 79th percentile up to, say, the low 90's? Or should I just leave well enough alone and apply? ANSWER: That's a tough one. It depends on how much you want Stanford. If it's your end-all, be-all school, then I'd prep like mad for the Verbal portion, retake it, and select the Score Select "All" option when you report your scores in case your Quantitative score dips at all. That way, Stanford will see that you scored perfectly on the Quantitative prior to your most recent test. You could get in without the Verbal boost (you have a lot of good stuff going for you), but if I were you, I'd retake it to ensure that you've done everything possible you can on your end to secure a spot. No regrets!
—Guest Dom

Clinical/counseling psychology

I just took my gre. it's 151V and 169Q and I am not sure about AW yet. I would like to apply to clinical/counseling psychology phd programs. I was wondering if it's worth retaking it because of the verbal score. Thanks! ANSWER: Your Quantitative score is amazing. Congrats! As long as your GPA is in mid-upper 3 range and you have some work experience, your Verbal score won't drag you down that much. Great job on the Quantitative section. Sure you don't want a future in engineering? =) Good luck!
—Guest Robin


Do i still have a chance for a Phd program in anthro? I had a 4.0 in my undergraduate major classes, a 3.88 in my last graduate degree, I took extra classes in the subject I am interested in and got all A's... My overall combined GPA is/was 3.92 My GRE was 150Q 159V 5.0 writing. I studied for 6 months to get that horrid score (around 3 hours a day or more). I have been published in the field I am interested in, won several awards in college for academic achievement, graduated with departmental honors twice, wrote a lengthy original thesis for my MA, and presented my work on more than one occasion. I am also part of three academic honors societies. I feel dumb because of my scores, or that they may ruin my chances. My particular anthro field is rather niche-like and very few schools offer it except prestigious ones. 0_0...I find this whole test incredibly frustrating! ANSWER: Some people don't test particularly well, but it appears as though it probably won't matter in your case. You have enough "other" stuff to balance it out. (And you didn't bomb the test.) Your AW is very good, and your GPA, work experience, etc. will get you into doors that a few extra points on the GRE would not. I'd say you're in a very, very good position to apply to top schools. You've proven you're a diligent student. A top-ranking school would love to get their hands on you. Best of luck!

V154 Q 156 PhD hopeful

I would like to apply to top schools for a phd in health administration or public health. My masters is from missouri and gpa is 3.4. I have 4 years of progressive work experience in the healthcare industry. How do my chances look for admission to this program? Should I aim for average schools or top schools would be okay. Also please tell me how much emphasis do schools realistically put on recommendation letters. ANSWER: Schools put more weight on GPA and test scores than they do on recommendation letters, but they do matter. An admissions counselor tries to see the applicant as a whole person, one who will be successful in their program and beyond. Your scores and GPA are in the "good" range. They're better than average, but not incredibly high. What's definitely in your favor is that work experience! It can help balance out your less than perfect scores. I'd shoot for a mid-upper range school, or a top school if you have a particular "in." Perhaps your work experience took you to the area in which the school resides, or you have experience in a field that is highly valuable at a particular school. Best of luck to you!

Need some advice. Please help!!

I have a 151 for verbal, a 165 for quantitative and a 3.5 in the AW section of the test. My gpa is 3.40... I will be applying to the schools like yale, cmu, tufts, boston uni....Most probably I will either apply to bioE or materials science programs, Ph.D. for both majors. Do you think that this is good enough to get into these schools? From what I've heard engineering programs mostly focus on the Q score of the test and I feel like my score is where it needs to be. ANSWER: Your Quantitative score is awesome! Congrats! But, I'd wonder about your GPA in your math/science fields in undergrad if you're applying to an Ivy League or top-ranking school. As long as you got excellent marks in your major and have some experience or publications or amazing references, I'd say to go ahead and apply. Your Quant score sets you apart, but your GPA could hold you back a little bit if you don't have something else to boost your application. Good luck!
—Guest ec11

Low gre quant score!

I have a gre score of 1380 with quant score of 720, verbal-660 and AWA 4.0. How will my low quantitative score affect my acceptance rate? How bad is it? Also which ivy league universities give less priority to quantitative scores? I have applied for masters in chemical engineering for the spring semester. ANSWER: Please keep in mind that your former GRE scores are only good for five years after you've taken them, so since you're using the old format, you only have a couple years left to apply with those scores. With that being said, I can't give you advice about your question. Which program accepts you depends on what you're choosing to study. Some Ivy League schools have minimum GRE requirements based on the program (and they can vary widely). You need to do some narrowing down yourself before you apply!
—Guest niyatee


Hi, i want to apply to an Economics masters at Boston University. It says that the minimum GRE Quant required is the 80th percentile, and I got the 83th. I don't know if that's enough because that's the minimum required, not the median of the alumni (I don't know how high are the scores of the people in the program). Is it enough? Or do i need to retake it? In the second case, what should I do? I've already studied Barron's and Kaplan's guide. ANSWER: I'd apply. If they post a minimum score, then that's what you need to go by. That means they'll consider your GPA, references and experience to help them make the decision, but your GRE score will qualify you for consideration. It doesn't guarantee acceptance, obviously, but you'll know that you at least have a shot at it.

MS in Electrical Engineering

hi i got 158-quants 157-verbal which is a combined total of 315 i am looking at colleges like Arizona State University,University of Texas Dallas and University of Florida what are the other colleges that i can apply to? I have a cgpa of 3.3/4 should i consider taking the test again or should i go ahead applying to the universities for sept. 2013 intake thanks in advance ANSWER: Your scores are pretty good - in the 70th percentile range. I'd take a shot at applying. If you were any lower, I'd recommend a retake, but your GPA is fairly good and your scores are fairly good, as well. As long as you have some great references and some higher scores in your major, you may get in! Good luck!
—Guest Arjun

First Try GRE for NYU Part Time

I just took the GRE on a whim and was pretty unprepared. I came out with a 153 in both Quant and Verbal. I am hoping to get into NYU Stern's Part-Time program for Spring 2013. Should I even try with these scores or do I have to take the test again? I think my percentages are at 57% in Verbal and 56% in Quant. There are no average GRE scores posted on NYU Stern's website so I have no baseline for myself. My undergrad GPA is 3.6 from a small, no-name private University but I was in the Honors program there. I am hoping to specialize in Stern's Luxury Marketing for my MBA. ANSWER: Retake, retake, retake. NYU is prestigious, and the program is selective. A mid-range score with a less than perfect GPA is not going to be noteworthy enough to set you apart unless you have some publications, a lot of relevant experience, and persuasive references!

masters in public health

i have 136 in verbal and 147 in quantitative in the GRE. can i get admitted for a master in public health course? tell me the universities i should apply for? ANSWER: I can't tell you the universities to consider, but I can tell you that both your Quantitative score and Verbal score are very low. If you want any shot at all of getting into grad school, you'll need to practice strategy and technique for several months and retake the exam. Hopefully, your GPA and experience are high!!
—Guest aparajita jha

Low Verbal Score

hi , I have scored 152 in quants and 143 in verbal. My gpa is 8.0 without converting. I want to apply for carolina,north eastern and california. Am i eligible? or should i retake the exam? ANSWER: Yes! Your Verbal score is in the 20th percentile. If you want any shot of getting into a mid-range grad program, I'd retake it, especially if you have limited experience!
—Guest lavanya
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