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Do I Have a Chance?

  1. Mar 7, 2009 #1
    So I just finished taking the general GRE test and I totally bombed it. I think I did well on my writing, but my verbal and quantitative were 520 and 530, respectively. I scored around 580 and 710 on the practice test provided by ETS, but I guess the stress of the real test got to me.

    I have a good GPA (3.65), strong letters of recommendation and lots of research experience (up to two publications on the way, but they won't be ready by the application deadline). (I am a physics major).

    So here's my question: Do I have a chance of getting into SUNY Albany for a PhD in nanoscience? I'm going to apply either way, but I want to establish some proper expectations. Also, should I try to explain why I didn't perform very well, or would that just make me sound pathetic?

    Retaking the GRE is not an option, since you can only take it once monthly and applications for Albany are due by the first of April.

    Any input would be fabulous. Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2009 #2
    What about the physics GRE?
     
  4. Mar 7, 2009 #3
    Since the nanoscale science program is interdisciplinary, the physics GRE is not required. I won't be taking it.
     
  5. Mar 7, 2009 #4
    That Quantitative score is pretty bad for a science student it might be tough to overcome it. I think with a good one you would have had a good shot. There is always next year....
     
  6. Mar 7, 2009 #5
    Do you really think they put that much stock in the GRE? Everyone knows it doesn't mean jack...
     
  7. Mar 7, 2009 #6
    For the math part I sort of think it does, I mean I've taken a look at that it is all high school level stuff, I'm sure as a physics major you've taken much more advanced math you should have been able to get through it pretty easily.

    For the verbal I agree it doesn't apply much to a science program.
     
  8. Mar 7, 2009 #7
    Hrrrmmm... I wouldn't say everyone knows it's worthless. If that were the case, there would be no reason for this thread.
     
  9. Mar 7, 2009 #8
    Of course the questions are easy, but you have to admit that testing one's ability to do long division without a calculator is not a good indicator of how well you can do quantum mechanics. :-)

    Any other opinions on this?
     
  10. Mar 7, 2009 #9
    Good point brilliant. :-) I obviously think it's important enough to worry about it...
     
  11. Mar 7, 2009 #10
    So should I even bother applying?
     
  12. Mar 7, 2009 #11
    Of course you should. Why wouldn't you? On the website, there are no specifics on GRE scores, just that you have to have taken it ( http://apps.albany.edu/graduate/deg...ee=15&Degree2=&Credentials=&liststyle=summary ).

    The question you have to ask yourself is: Are my GRE scores an indication of my ability? If they are, and you apply and get in, you better work your butt off to patch up the holes in your ability before you start.
     
  13. Mar 7, 2009 #12
    Of course you should apply. But if your quant GRE is 530, there will be some questions whether the program at your university is a suitable preparation for graduate work in science.

    But this shouldn't discourage you. Just keep in mind that GRE is something that is easy to fix, if you give it another year or so.
     
  14. Mar 7, 2009 #13
    Thanks. Those last to comments were reassuring. Well, I'm going try to explain myself to the selection committee. Hopefully they will go easy on my if I tell them that I got a 700 and then a 710 on the practice tests (for whatever that's worth). I definitely don't think the GRE is representing my ability, I just bombed it for whatever reason (maybe nerves?).
     
  15. Mar 7, 2009 #14
    If you ask your professors (well, not all of them, but just one or two) to write the letters of recommendation mention the score and evidence contrary saying that you demonstrated aptitude for scientific thinking in the classroom, it will help.
     
  16. Mar 7, 2009 #15
    excellent idea
     
  17. Mar 7, 2009 #16
    Note: Just because the deadline for the application is April doesn't mean you cant sign up for a new GRE and have it sent in after the fact and put pending for your scores along with your previous one.

    Just an Idea.
     
  18. Mar 8, 2009 #17
    You could probably get into a masters program, but the Ph.D might be a little tricky. Most doctoral programs seem to be looking for a 700+ quantitative GRE. Then again, some schools don't give a damn.
     
  19. Mar 8, 2009 #18

    Vanadium 50

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    I would not mention that.

    I can't see it having a positive effect. Do you really think that they would change the decision from "reject" to "admit" based on self-reported practice test scores? It can, however, have a negative effect: it draws even more attention to the weak scores. I would agree - take them again. I would also suggest you take the subject test in your major as well, even though it's not required, as it demonstrates what you've learned as an undergrad which can serve as a powerful counterweight to the general scores.

    By the way, I am a little confused about your practice test scores. Are you saying you got a 580 and 710 on the practice scores but want to tell the admissions committee you got a 700 and 710? If that's the case, I would not recommend this.
     
  20. Mar 8, 2009 #19

    Choppy

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    It sounds like you have every reason to apply. Your chances, to my understanding, would come down to how heavily the GRE is weighted in the evaluation process and where that places you in relation to the other applicants. And I don't see why you couldn't retake it later if that's an option and forward more recent scores on to the school after you have submitted the application. You may want to contact the department about whether or not they will accept this.

    I also agree with Vanadium about not reporting practice test results. In a personal statement it would be best to highlight the positives about yourself. Explain what you've gotten out of your research experiences.
     
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