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770 PGRE : Send score to schools that say 'recommended'?

  1. Jan 13, 2016 #1
    I got a 770 (65%) on the PGRE. I am an international student with a US master's degree in engineering, with no quantum mechanics or electromagnetism courses on my transcripts. I was wondering if I should send PGRE scores to schools that say it's recommended. The schools I had in mind are Brown and Stony Brook and I'm applying for experiment. Do you think the PGRE would help or hamper my case?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 14, 2016 #2
    I think it would help. I would think Brown and Stony Brook both require, or at least recommend the PGRE. Not supplying the PGRE might suggest you did below 65%. I think 65% is around an average score for these (very good) schools.
     
  4. Jan 15, 2016 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Since your major isn't in physics, if you don't send the GRE scores, they will guess about your physics knowledge. It's your application - only you can decide whether you want that. Since roughly twice as many people take the GRE than are admitted to grad school - any grad school - a 65% means you're somewhere in the bottom third of admitted students. For the schools you mention, that's probably not a high score.

    I think I said it before, but if you are interested in string theory, you should not apply for experiment. It's one thing to be uncertain; it's another to try and game the system. This won't fool anyone. Departments are not stupid, and they have seen orders of magnitude more applications than you have. You will far, far better off if you tell the truth.
     
  5. Jan 15, 2016 #4

    radium

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    770 is not a good score. You can get into those schools with that score, however, you must have something in your application that really stands out to compensate for the low score. Like having a good publication or other impressive research experience.
     
  6. Jan 15, 2016 #5
    A few years ago someone posted the plot of average GRE acceptance vs school in the physics grad school forums (I think it was 2008-2010). 760 was higher than either Brown or Stony Brook's average. I grant you both these schools are selective and probably put more emphasis on GRE, and LOR, but I would not say 760 would hurt you in either of these schools. The only qualification is admission committees usually have international applicants with higher PGRE's than domestic applicants.
    The fact that without E and M or quantum mech you could get this score is quite good. However, I do not know if admission committees would consider this. They may be even more inclined to overlook this good score because you have no EM or QM. Physics grad schools prefer applicants to be well prepared in coursework.
     
  7. Jan 16, 2016 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    I think you might mean this: http://www.physicsgre.com/viewtopic.php?t=5004

    It's interesting, although one needs to realize we are dealing with small statistics and non-random sampling. It's unlikely that Oregon State is more competitive than Columbia, for example.
     
  8. Jan 16, 2016 #7
    Would you consider 850 a bad score for domestic?
     
  9. Jan 16, 2016 #8
  10. Jan 16, 2016 #9
    I had not seen that list of gre vs school. The one I saw was earlier.
    There are interesting biases. For example, several schools rejected applicants that collectively had mean scores exceeded the students whose collective mean scores they accepted. Assuming they made good decisions (this is likely), it shows the committees realize GRE scores are not everything.
    In the meantime I saw a listing from Grad school shopper from Brown University. They say in the listing, that GRE is recommended but not required, and it carries little weight. (Interesting). The GRE vs school link you cite, has a higher mean GRE for Brown than the older link I looked at.
    It is also humbling that the grad school I graduated from had a higher GRE these days, than when I applied I fear I might not be admitted today, although I was significantly higher than the minimum they accepted.
     
  11. Jan 17, 2016 #10

    radium

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    The schools who care the most about the PGRE are the ones with rigorous quals like Princeton and MIT (although MIT got rid of part I this year and only one part of part II is required, you can replace the others with classes). Many other schools have phased out quals completely like Chicago and Stanford (Stanford actually wrote this on the acceptance letter two years ago).

    For the most part, the PGRE does sometimes correlate to how you will do on the qual, but not as much in general for above a reasonable school which may only be ~750. The head of the department at Chicago said they recently plotted professor ratings of applicants against PGRE scores and basically found little to no correlation.

    Even so, you should really try to do well on the PGRE, it will make things less stressful. You don't know how every department weighs it so you should just try to do the best you can. However, it's not the end of the world if you get a bad score if you have other strengths.
     
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