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Testing Bombed the Physics GRE...Now What?

  1. Oct 29, 2016 #1
    So I thought I was prepared for the GRE, I studied on and off for about 2 months with intensive study for the past 3 weeks, completed all practice tests, know most of the equations. I don't know if I can attribute this poor test performance to anxiety or just lack of preparation ( I know many students prepare for 5+ months). I know many of you will say that I'm jumping the gun without seeing my score, but based on how I felt on practice exams and my inability to solve the basic problems on the test, I'm almost sure my score is less than 600. That being said what should I do? I can apply to a school in Canada that doesn't require the GRE (thinking of University of Toronto but I don't know how selective they are), or set myself a year back and repeat the exam. I honestly don't know what I'd do differently this time. I feel like I was prepared. I am a decent student 3.5 overall, 3.9 in Physics, I did well on the general GRE but I feel this exam is very important for admission committees, especially since I want to do theory. I feel that a < 600 score will result in across to board rejections. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 29, 2016 #2
    In reality, a physics GRE is only one part of your application. Where do you stand on research experience? A student with a pGRE of 600 but with several first-author publications and with excellent letters of recommendation from different research groups is quite different than the student with the same pGRE score but who has never done research.
     
  4. Oct 29, 2016 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Very.
     
  5. Oct 29, 2016 #4
    My advice is to wait to re-take it! In all honesty, if you want to get into competitive schools then re-take it in April. Do more research in the meantime and study hard for the next test.


    I'm speaking from life experience. My chances were not that good with a 650! So I think it's good to aim for 700+
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2016
  6. Oct 29, 2016 #5
    I know quite a few people that were only a year away from a math degree, so when they bombed the physics GRE they took an extra year and went for the math degree and studied hard for the pGRE. Is that an option?
     
  7. Nov 2, 2016 #6

    eri

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    I bombed it as well. In fact, my score went DOWN after I took another year of courses. Fortunately, many grad schools are either de-emphasizing the physics GRE or not requiring it any more (UT Austin, Clemson, and a few others). Studies show that the best test of whether you'll finish a PhD in physics is actually the writing section of the regular GRE. The physics GRE has no predictive power. (I finished my PhD in physics, did a postdoc at NASA, and now I'm a professor.)
     
  8. Nov 2, 2016 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    No predictive power? Are you saying someone who gets every question right is no more likely to do well in graduate school that someone who gets none of them right? If so, I'd like to see that study.
     
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