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Readers Respond: Does A Good Score Even Matter?

Responses: 69


From the article: What's a Good GRE Score?

Does a good score on a standardized test even matter? We spend a lot of time prepping for things like the SAT, ACT and GRE, but is the score as important as everyone makes it out to be?

What about you? Did your SAT score matter? Did you miss getting into the school of your choice because of your ACT score? Did your GRE score make the difference between admittance to a community college and a university? Were you barred from law school because of your LSAT? Tell me your story! We'd all like to know.

Before you submit your response, check out the Revised Verbal and Quantitative scores to figure out your percentile!

Should I retake the revised gre??

Hello there, I took my gre on july 29th 2011 and got a score of 1270, 480 on verbal and 790 on quant, also I scored a 5 in the awa section. I have just finished my bachelors in chemical engineering from a very prestigious government university in India, with a cgpa of 3.7 on 4. I have a number of projects and have won many technical competitions during my bachelors. I want to pursue ms in petroleum engineering from a top school like University of Texas , or Texas a&m college station, or Oklohoma Univ, or any of the top five colleges. Should i re-take the gre in the new pattern again?? Are my previous scores sufficient?? ANSWER: Your scores are just fine, even though your Verbal isn't the best. I don't think you need to retake it at all! Your AWA is very high and your Quantitative score is 99th percentile. Since your scores are good for five years, you're all set. With your high GPA and other academic achievements, you're definitely a candidate for admissions to a top school. Best of luck!

my Score Q153 and V142

i am a Civil eng. with more than 3 years experience . my score on the recent GRE are V142 Q153. I would love to attend at the MPM program at Northwestern and they dont have a minimum gre score. my under grads avg was 2.56 i know is not good but i was kind of distracted lets say. another program i like is the northeaster eng. management wich has a minimum score of 660Q for the old GRE. what do you think i should do? ANSWER: A minimum 660 in the old format is your exact Quantitative score on the new exam (about the 61st percentile). If I were you, I'd retake the GRE and attempt to boost both scores since your GPA is low. You're going to want to show off in some way, and since your GPA isn't doing that (and it's set in stone!), then you need to do everything you can to impress with your GRE score.
—Guest Geovanny

GRE and GPA, and other experiences

I will be applying for a PhD in Molecular pharmacology at schools like Duke Uni, Cornell, Uni of Colorado, Uni of Kentucky, Columbia Uni, NYU, Emory, Yale Uni, Case Western. I had an Undergrad GPA of 3.5 in BS Biology and I have a 3.83 GPA in my Masters of public health (MPH) right now. I had a GRE score of Verbal - 150, Quantitative - 153, Writing - 4. I have a research publication in American Journal of Physiology. I was an author. I have over 2 years or research experience. i am from Nigeria, so English is my second language. I am pretty sure that I would have very good recommendations. I had A's in all my math classes as and undergrad. I took calculus also and had A's in them. What do you think my chances are in those Universities? Is there any advise you can give me? I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you! ANSWER: I'd advise a retake if you're interested in getting into one of the top schools in the country, even with your publications. Your GRE scores were average, and even though your GPA is pretty high, you'll be competing against others who have obtained a perfect 4.0. Go back, study smarter, and take the GRE one more time so you can submit scores that you know will give you the edge you need.
—Guest D Boy 1990

Educational/Clinical Psych PhD Hopeful

I will be an undergraduate in the Fall and have taken the GRE once already, with a combined score of 212 (152V, 159Q). I will be taking the GRE again in July. I have a 3.55 GPA and am doing an honors thesis at my college, with the head professor of the lab at which I have been a research assistant as my thesis advisor. Any idea as to how these scores compare to scores of other applicants at top 5, top 10, top 20, and top 50 graduate schools for either Clinical or Educational Psychology (need to decide which one I want to pursue)? ANSWER: In order to get those scores, you'll need to contact an admissions officer from the schools in which you're interested, or check out their websites. Some schools will publish the GRE scores of incoming students, but many schools do not have that information available. And, sadly, the information isn't published according to both school and major like it is for the SAT or ACT. So, it looks like you have some phone calls to make!

hiiiii ..help me out

verbal - 165 , quant - 169 , awa - 5.5 , electrical engineer , work exp - 2 years , worked in machine improvement , got an award from CEO for best employee of the year , but my only problem is my gpa - 2.7 its so poor that its worries , will i be able to make into top 20 forget top 20 , atleast top 50 , provided if i also do projects in my intended field of research with a reputed professor , i am confused :S plz help me ANSWER: Everything but your GPA is stellar, but unfortunately, some of the top schools won't even take a peek at you unless you've graduated at the top of your class. The only thing you can do is to give it a shot. If I were you, I'd get some recommendations from professors who really thought highly of you. They may be able to explain or at least mitigate the damage from a GPA that doesn't show you in the best light.
—Guest cpi troubles me

GRE good enough for PhD?

Hey, I took the Revised GRE this morning and got a 162 Verbal and 164 Quantitative, no score yet on AW. I'm looking to go to a really great grad school for Chemistry. My undergrad GPA is a 3.95 (4.0 in my major, chemistry). I'm concerned that I won't be recognized because my undergrad university isn't very prestigious. Do you think that my GRE and GPA (and some undergrad research experience) will be good enough to get me into a really good PhD program? ANSWER: Hi Liz! Your scores are awesome - congrats! Your GPA is stellar, too. Despite attending a school without a lot of prestige, you may still be able to get into your first choice with those scores and GPA. I'd recommend applying where you'd like to go. You never know - they may give you a shot!
—Guest Liz

UT San Antonio

Hello I am applying to UT San Antonio MS Psychology program. My GPA is a 3.5. My GRE scores were a 149v and 143 q still waiting for aw. I've done an internship and have research experience. What are my chances do you think? ANSWER: I'd retake it, Emilee. That Quantitative score is very low - in the 22nd percentile. Study for a solid 2 months, mastering the strategies and content of the Quantitative section (with lots and lots of practice questions), and retake it. You'll have a much better chance at acceptance!
—Guest emilee

157Q, 163V aerospace or engineering

Ok. I took the score and looked at percentiles. I think I did well overall, but I am a little concerned that my Quantitative wasn't higher. I was especially surprised I did much higher on the verbal as a percentile than the math 93rd vs 77th respectively. I'm still waiting for the writing section. I am hoping to get into an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program at UND that just opened up. They will only take 1-3 applicants (80 have already started the online application process based on the directors conversation) and it is an online program. Its is an outgrowth of their space studies program. It's technically in the engineering department but has different concentrations of focus and is more geared towards management of aerospace related departments. As a back up I am looking at ME in systems engineering online at Iowa State or Southern Polytechnic which I can complete between 12-18 months due to transfer for credits. At that point, I would reapply into the Ph.D. program after completion. ANSWER: Hi Roy - in order to be competitive in a program like that, you're going to need to slaughter the GRE and have a stellar GPA. In addition, they'll be looking for someone with experience or a proven interest in the field. I'd apply to your first choice (and your 2nd and 3rd), but don't feel discouraged if you aren't accepted. An elite program is looking for the best of the best!
—Guest Roy

University of Memphis for teaching

I took the revised GRE test today and scored a 148 on Verbal and a 139 on Quantitative. Not sure of the writing part yet. Where do I stand as far as getting into a local State University program? I am really worried because I studied for two months and I had a hard time completing one section of the math portion. What scores should I shoot for? BTW I'm looking to get into Teaching ESL program @ University of Memphis. ANSWER: You're probably going to need to schedule a retake, Hollie! Your Quantitative score is very low - 10th percentile - and your Verbal doesn't cross the 50th percentile mark either. The length of time you study is less important than the type of studying you do; master GRE strategies with a great test prep book or a test prep program, and take many practice tests until you can answer a Quantitative question in your sleep. Best of luck to you!
—Guest Hollie

Revitalized student making up for GPA

So I am dreaming of getting into a Phd or Masters neuroscience program but I need to make up for my poor undergraduate GPA of a 2.9. I was told that would completely eliminate me from any type of program but I took the GRE anyway and got a 161 on the Verbal and 159 on the quantitative sections. I am retaking some classes to make up for my grades but realistically do I have a chance at my dream schools? Applying at University of Buffalo, University of Washington, UIC at Chicago, and Northwestern. If not, is there any advice you can give to make up for poor grades due to a case of senioritis during your undergrad years? Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you. ANSWER: My best advice is to get some experience in neuroscience in some way (internship/entry level position) to bolster your resume, then reapply after you complete the experience. Elite schools are looking for the best of the best. If you can prove that you're 100 per cent interested in the field, then you'll have a better shot at acceptance. While you're gaining experience, you could retake the GRE and shoot for the 90th percentile or higher, especially in the Quantitative section. That will go a long way toward showing that you can manage a neuroscience program. Good luck to you!
—Guest Dlo Brown

Are they good enough?

Hi! I've got an Electrical Engineering bachelor's degree, and recently took the revised GRE. My scores are Quantitative 160, Verbal 161, AW 4.0. I also took the TOEFL iBT and got 119/120. I was honestly shocked at my AW score since most of my professors consider me a good writer, and my TOEFL scores seem to support that. Will this hurt my application? My CGPA is 3.3/4.0. I'm trying to get into an engineering school, the average for their GRE Quant is 155. What do you think my overall chances are? Thank you! ANSWER: I think your chances are good, especially if your Quant score exceeds their average. Your Verbal score is awesome, and your GPA is pretty good, too. Your AW score isn't nearly as important as the other two, so don't sweat it, especially because English isn't your first language. You have a great shot!
—Guest Hopeful


I received a 155 in Verbal and 144 in Quantitative on the GRE. What are my chances of veterinarian school? ANSWER: Your Verbal is around the 69th percentile, but your Quantitative score is pretty low: 26th percentile. I am not sure what your GPA or experience is, but I'd definitely recommend a retake!
—Guest flyfin

wide range of scores

Hi, I have a wide range of scores on the GRE. 145 in quant which puts me in the 32th percentile, and a 157 in verbal which puts me in the 77th percentile. As a non-native English speaker, I am super happy with my verbal score, but the quant puts a knot in my stomach. I got to skip my math subjects in my undergrad, because of the credits I did before I came to the US, and I really don't feel that score reflects my ability to reason at all. It only reflects my poor standardized test taking abilities. Combined, I got a 302, am graduating with a 3.8 GPA, and received numerous academic awards and honors. I have also co-authored a paper that is being published. Am I going to be okay? I want to pursue my Ph.D. in the US, and I'm worried my low quant score is going to put a damper on those aspirations. Can a good resume make up for such a low score? ANSWER: It really depends on the field in which you're interested. If you're interested in Engineering, then you'd better retake the GRE! If you're heading into a field that doesn't really use math very often, like English Literature, then I'd suggest applying to wherever you feel comfortable with the scores you have. Your GPA is solid and a good resume can certainly help bolster your chances of acceptance although it can't exclusively make up for a GRE score. Best to you!
—Guest horst87atzeproll

GPA and GRE are competitive?

I scored in GRE: Verbal 151, Quanti 168, AWA 4.0. Undergrad GPA: 3.97/4.0 from Portland state University, major: Electrical engineer Work history: 1 year at Intel. I'm gonna apply for PHD program in electrical engineer. Could you please give me a quick judgment of how competitive my profile is. top 20 engineering schools ( stanford, Caltech,..) (how competitive: very high, high, medium, low) top 21-50th? top 51-80th? really appreciate your ideas! ANSWER: Your Verbal score puts you in the 51st percentile, but that Quantitative score is in the 99th. Wow! With your GPA and experience, I'd give a top 20 engineering school a go. If your Verbal score were a touch higher, I'd put you in the "very highly competitive" range, but I think you have a good shot either way. Congrats!
—Guest James

need advise on my new GRE score for psyc

I just got a V153, Q154, and a 4 on writing. My undergraduate's overall GPA is 3.44 and I'm planning on applying for clinical or other psychology programs (PhD/PsycD) in schools such as USC, Boston University, University of Illinios, etc., but don't know what my chances are... or if it's even worth trying. I do wish to re-take GRE and do better on my math but I'm running out of time and math has always been an challenge to me. Any advise would be helpful! Thank you very much!! ANSWER: You'll definitely be encountering math courses in one of those programs, so my advice is to retake if you're shooting for a prestigious school like Boston or USC, especially because although your GPA is really good, those programs are ultra-competitive. A few points in either direction could be the difference between your acceptance or rejection. Put yourself in the very best position to apply, and then go for it!
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