- Hi, I've recently done a GRE practice exam (timed and under exam conditions) but didn't do very well, averaging in the mid- 150s in both Verbal and Quantitative sections. I am planning on improving (this is my first time looking at a full test), but having never been one to do well on standardized tests, I'm worried, and also wondering if my scores would be enough to get me into a top History PhD program. I graduated summa cum laude from a prestigious university, and also have some good additions to my applications (research, languages, student clubs etc...), and will also have some excellent recommendations. How do you think I would hold up against other applicants? ANSWER: A well-rounded application is what most universities are looking for, first and foremost. However, if you're wondering whether or not you can get into the best of the best schools, then I'd retake it. Focus on the strategies that will help you improve the most - diagnose your strengths and weaknesses on the exam (i.e. analyze which types of questions you're consistently getting incorrect and figure out strategies to help you correct those mistakes). If many other students have a good GPA and great references, then you have to set yourself apart by something else. Often, your GRE score can do it. If you retake the exam, and find that you still are earning in the mediocre percentiles, then strive for publication or experience in your field to help balance you out even more. Good luck to you!
Business School Ivies?
- I just recently took the GRE and got a 163 Verbal, a 162 Quantitative, and a 5.0 Writing. My majors are Economics and International Business with a minor in Chinese. I go to a large state school, so it's not very prestigious, but I have a 4.0 gpa. What do you think my chances are of making it in to an Ivy League MBA program (I'm specifically interested in Harvard and Columbia)? Should I retake the GRE if I think I might be able to improve my score? Then again, it's just as likely that my score might go down a bit. I know that experience is also very important to MBA programs, so do you think I should wait a couple years and build up my resume before applying? By the time I graduate I will have finished two internships, one summer internship with a company in China and one semester-long internship with an entrepreneurship program on campus. Do you think the Chinese minor and experience will impress them (I'm white, so I'm not by any means bilingual)? Thank you! ANSWER: Life experience is always a bonus when you're going for your MBA. There are just certain things you can't learn in a classroom; you have to get in there and get your hands dirty sometimes. Harvard and Columbia DO, however, accept students into their MBA programs without it, but if I were you, I'd work for a couple years and learn the business in which you're interested, get a very solid command of Chinese, and apply. Bilingualism is a huge, huge bonus, especially in Chinese!! If you're itching to apply, though, then I'd recommend a GRE retake to see if you can get that score up just a tiny bit. (Your Quant score puts you in the upper 80's as far as percentiles go.) Since the GRE has Score Select, you can choose which GRE scores to send, so don't worry about your scores going down; even if they do, you can send the first batch. Make sure you have some stellar recommendations from the managers with whom you've interned, and nail the admissions essay. Best of luck to you!
- —Guest Andrew
Good gre score...now what??
- Hello, I intend on pursuing a graduate program in mechanical engineering in the US. My undergraduate institute is one of the best in India (at around 9th in the country). My cgpa is 8.14 (on a scale of 10). My gre score on the revised scale are 167-quant and 167-verbal. AWA scores haven't been sent yet. I have done 2 research projects with one more coming up. Publishing a paper in an international conference later this year and another one later. I have sent my scores to Ohio state, Penn state, Virginia tech and UT Austin. Can i aim higher (UCL Berkley, Caltech, UMich Ann Arbor??)...any comments about my chances for funding too would be appreciated. ANSWER: I can't comment on funding, but with GRE scores like that, I'd certainly aim as high as you'd like. Your GPA and extracurriculars are fantastic, too! Go big or go home. Your chance at getting accepted is exactly zero if you don't apply. Those top-ranking schools would be glad to have you! Good luck!
Should I Retake the GRE?
- I got quant 161 and verbal 136. Is it good or should I retake the exam: ANSWER: Shirisha, your Verbal score is incredibly low. I'm not sure to which program you're interested in applying, but I'd definitely retake it if you'd like any chance of getting in. A 136 is a score ranking around the 5th percentile, which means that 95% of the people who took the test scored higher than you on it! Sorry!
- —Guest SHIRISHA
Good GRE, bad GPA
- Hi Kelly. It's great that you're taking the time to respond to our questions. I took my GRE yesterday, and got 164 Verbal, and 170 Quant. However, my GPA is 7.4/10, which when converted to US standards, falls below 3/4 (most schools require this cutoff). While my GPA is considered above average in my college, due to stringent grading, it ends up looking very low. I'm looking to graduate in electronics. Do you think I can get into, say, the top 20 schools? In other words, how much will the GRE score offset my average CGPA. ANSWER: The admissions officers for every major school will be well aware of grading standards in other countries and can accommodate your grading scale. Never fear! Your GPA is just fine, by the way. When you say "most schools require this cutoff," you're not speaking from experience. Most schools take the entire package into consideration for admission, and rarely have a "cut-off" GPA in the upper range. And Wow! on that 170. Great job!
- —Guest saksham
PhD in Wildlife Conservation?
- Hello, I have a 3.5 GPA and scored 157 in Verbal and 158 in Quantitative (1300 in old scale). In the past system I saw applications for PhD in Wildlife Conservation only asking 1200. Are my GRE scores good enough for this field? I am disinclined to retake the GRE. I have a masters degree, but no history of publications. ANSWER: They could be! It depends on the school to which you're thinking of applying. Some programs will list minimum requirements, but most programs will look at the applicant as a whole. Your GPA is pretty good and your GRE scores are above average, so I'd say to apply to the schools of your choice (except for the Ivies), especially those without GRE caps.
- —Guest Cataclysmic Camaro
Chances at Education Grad Schools in MD?
- Hi! So, I took my GRE today and did so much better on the real thing than on the couple I took practice tests: 167 - Verbal, 153 - Quant. AW = ? for now. My GPA is 3.76, and I'm an Honors student majoring in Poltical Science. I have lots of tutoring and miscellaneous experience with kids, but no experience actually teaching. I was wondering if you know whether these scores are good enough to get into the Education graduate schools in MD like John Hopkins, UMD college park, or Towson? Thanks so much! ANSWER: Your Verbal score is great, but your Quantitative score is average. To really be a competitive candidate, you'll need to set yourself apart a bit more. If I were you, I'd try to substitute teach at your local school district in order to gain some teaching experience before applying. The universities you've listed are very competitive and if an admissions advisor sees that you have a history in education, he or she will be more likely to let you in, even with a mediocre Quantitative score.
- —Guest Aspiring Teacher
Is this good enough?
- Hi, I'm applying for Neurosciences and Cell and Molecular Biology programs at Cornell and Columbia University. I don't have a GPA score as such as I graduated from a university in United Kingdom, but I have a professional medical degree with distinctions in some subjects and a bachelor of science degree in neurosciences. My scores were 162 for verbal reasoning, 154 for quantitative reasoning and 5.5 for analytical writing. Should I retake the GRE to increase my chances of acceptance, as my quantitative results are just above average? Thanks. ANSWER: If you were in the top 1-2% of your class in undergrad, then I'd say it's really up to you. Your Analytical Writing score is stellar and your Verbal is 89th percentile. If, however, your scores in undergrad were just mediocre, the I'd say retake it after prepping for the Quantitative section quite a bit. Your Quantitative score is going to be very important in a graduate science field, so I'd make sure it was top-notch!
Harvard and Duke
- I will be applying to top graduate programs (duke, harvard, uc berkley) to get my doctorate in Evolutionary Anthropology. I go to a top university (johns hopkins) and am wondering if I should retake my GREs. I have a 164 on quantitative and a 165 on verbal. I have an undergraduate GPA of 3.92 in behavioral biology. I have a TA position, fantastic lab experience (and working on getting out a publication I am primary author on) along with an internship at the smithsonian - i think everything is fine other than my GRE scores and am just wondering if I should retake them... ANSWER: Absolutely not. You are ready to apply right now. Your GRE scores are above the 90th percentile in both sections, and with your experience and GPA, you're a very good candidate for any program you'd like to choose. Great work!
- —Guest Hannah
Ecology and Evolution?
- I am looking to get into a PhD program in EEB at a top tier university. My GRE scores are V:154 and Q:155. My undergraduate GPA was a 3.4. I have undergraduate research experience. I graduated from a competitive state school. Do you think I have any chance of getting into a top tier university such as Harvard or Dartmouth? ANSWER: I honestly don't think so, unless you retake the GRE and knock it out of the park. Your GPA is better than average, but not shockingly good. Your scores put you in the 61st and 64th percentiles respectively. Ivy League schools are looking for the best, and if not the best, then certainly those students who stand out in some way. If you have an unusual passion, can speak multiple languages, have interesting life experiences, etc. then you're going to set yourself apart enough to apply. If not, then your scores have to set you apart in some way, so you really need to give the GRE another shot. Practice for a few months and retake.
- —Guest Jack
GRE scores vs. GPA
- Hey. I have the old set-up of scores for the GRE with and overall of 1290 (V-520, Q-770) and 4.5 in AW. However, my GPA isn't that great being 7.1/10. I want to do my post-grad in Psychology and this will be a change from the Bachelors in Biotechnology that I'm doing right now. Is it enough to get into a good post-grad program in Psych? ANSWER: Your Quantitative score is pretty good - about the 83rd percentile - and your Verbal score is above average at the 61st percentile. If you're hoping for a top-rate school like the Ivies, then I'd say you're probably not going to get in. If, however, you're interested in a mid-good state school and have a great internship, publication, recommendations, etc. then I'd say to give it a shot. You may not have met the prerequisite undergrad classes to get into a grad Psychology program, though, so I'd check those before applying anywhere.
- —Guest AJ
Apply or Retake?
- My verbal score is 159 and quant score 153, AWA 3.5. GPA 3.2.......confused. Should i apply to universities to get admission in mph or retake GRE? I have family in New York, so I want to get admission to a school in NY only. ANSWER: It really depends on the school and program in which you're interested. Your Verbal score is pretty good - 80th percentile - but your Quantitative score is mediocre: 56th percentile. If you're hoping for a very competitive school (NYU, for instance) you're going to have to have a better GRE score than that, or an amazing internship, publication, etc. in order to set yourself apart enough to get in.
- —Guest confused101
Worried about GRE scores
- I just recently took the GRE and got a 154 in Verbal and a 149 in Quantitative. I graduated two years ago with a 3.9 GPA in Anthropology. I really want to apply to a Phd program at some top schools for Middle Eastern studies (Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, to be specific). I have knowledge of a Middle Eastern language (Turkish) and as an undergrad, I created a minor in Turkish Studies (my major was Anthropology). Should I retake the GRE? ANSWER: In a word, "Yes!" Your Quantitative score only puts you in the 39th percentile and your Verbal isn't much better: 61st percentile. The schools you're thinking about are very selective - the Ivy Leagues are the MOST selective - so your chances of getting in without nailing the GRE are pretty slim. If I were you, I'd also boost that "knowledge" of a language to at least an intermediate usage status. Being able to speak Turkish will truly set you apart even more than raising your GRE score a few points will. Good luck!
- —Guest Leyla
- Hello, I am a biochemistry major and planning on applying to graduate schools such as Vanderbilt, University NC, University of TN, and Duke. I just recieved a 154 in verbal and 156 in quantitative on my GRE. I'm still waiting for writing scores. I have a 4.0 GPA and have had three internship positions for experience. In addition I have taken national subject exams in organic and biochemistry with scores ranking in the 98th and 99th percentile. I am concerned my GRE scores will interfere with my acceptance. I am horrible with timed tests and on untimed practice tests I score 166V and 168Q so I am worried that retaking the timed version will possibly not help increase my score. I did practice timed tests for two weeks before taking mine and I still choked. What is your opinion? Any advice? ANSWER: Hi Ashley. Give yourself two months of practice and retake the GRE. You're competing for a spot in very selective programs, and although your GPA and internships will definitely give you an edge, you're going to need to set yourself as far apart from your competition as you possibly can. Your biggest problem with timed tests is your belief in yourself. The only difference between a timed test and an untimed test is a ticking clock. Had you timed yourself, you probably would've only taken just a few more minutes on the untimed version than you did when you were timed. It's true! You choked because you believed you would. You said, "I'm horrible with timed tests." This phrase is negative. Try telling yourself for two months straight that you're an awesome timed tester and you're fabulous under pressure. Truthfully, you HAVE to be good under pressure to get that 4.0 GPA. Then, get yourself one of the best GRE prep books (http://testprep.about.com/od/besttestprepresources/tp/Best_GRE_Books.htm) and practice time-improving strategies like only reading passages once and relying on your intuition when you're stuck. Then, without timing yourself even once, take as many practice tests as you can fit in prior to test day. You won't know whether or not you go over the time limit, so you won't beat yourself up if you do. You'll increase your confidence and your score. Good luck to you. I know you can do it!!!
- —Guest Ashley
How are my scores?
- I have a 158 verbal, 153 quantitative, and 4 writing. I have a publication and graduated b.s. In biology with a 3 .1 . Am I a competitive candidate for a Ph.D.? ANSWER: Hi Eric! It depends on the program in which you're interested. Both your GRE scores and GPA are fairly mediocre. Your Quantitative score only puts you in the 56th percentile. Your Verbal score is better - 76th percentile - but your GPA doesn't really give your scores the added boost. If you had a 3.8 - 4.0 GPA and slightly above average GRE scores, then I'd say you were a shoo-in for the Ph.D. especially with your publication. However, if you're aiming for a very selective school, then you're going to encounter some difficulty, especially if you don't have a strong internship, too.
- —Guest Eric k