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Engineering and the General GRE

  1. Jun 16, 2011 #1
    I am beginning to get ready to apply to graduate schools and I had a question.
    I just took the general GRE and scored 660 Quant, and 530 Verbal. Now, I have been told that engineering programs (I'm applying to Mat Sci) expect near perfect Quant scores. So should I retake it? A little background:
    Undergraduate degree: Materials Science and Physics (double major)
    6 semesters of research experience
    6 publications
    3.7 GPA
    I should have pretty good letters of rec. from my research advisers over the past few years.

    Should I retake it or will my other qualifications help? I mismanaged my time and had to guess on the last 5 quant questions because I only had 1 min left. I didnt take time because I didnt know how to do the problems, I was just too careful I think.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 16, 2011 #2
    Its a tough call because different universities/departments weigh it differently. My department doesn't even look at the verbal section because it is useless. They don't care too much about the quant either but they do prefer you to have at least a 700. But that is just the department I am in. The department I was in for undergrad cared a lot about the GRE. I don't know why but they did.

    Retaking it certainly wouldn't hurt anything. You don't want to be in the situation of not retaking it then not getting into the program you wanted and wondering if was your GRE.
  4. Jun 17, 2011 #3
    Thanks, I think I will retake it. I really just need to budget my time- I got 660 and I didn't even finish about 20% of the test (the tough thing is I spent my time checking and rechecking my answers- I just need to trust myself a little more). Thankfully, I didn't send my scores anywhere once I got the; so nobody will ever see those scores.
  5. Jun 17, 2011 #4
    Um, the last 5 questions don't even matter. It's the first 10-15 that really determine your score. If you screw those up, the computer gives you easier problems and you can't expect to do decently.
  6. Jun 17, 2011 #5
    I believe you have to send all of your scores no matter what. So they will see your other scores. But if you do better then 2nd time they won't care. It only will matter if you take the test a ridiculous number of times.
  7. Jun 17, 2011 #6
    Meh. I got a 670 quant on the GRE the first time (or was it a 660, I can't remember) I took it (had to guess on a lot of questions at the end) and still got into some decent schools with funding. The rest of your stats look good despite your gre score so I think you still have a chance at some good schools.

    I would however retake it. I retook it a couple years later and got a 760 quant and did not even really study for it, but my verbal score went down. Go figure. I still had to guess on the 10 10 because I ran out of time and I still got a 760. The first questions have a far larger effect on your score than the later questions, so make sure you take your time on the first questions.

    GRE quant isn't really too bad if you just relax when taking it, especially for a physics major. GRE verbal is brutal though, imo. That's what you really need to study for.

    However, one think to consider is I applied to engineering grad programs, which are less competitive than physics grad programs, generally. But for physics grad programs the subject GRE is more important than the general GRE.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  8. Jun 18, 2011 #7
    I was under the impression the GRE verbal isn't weighed heavily at all by grad schools in STEM fields -- quite the contrary. Am I mistaken?
  9. Jun 18, 2011 #8
    I dont think you are mistaken. While you certainly don't want to just blow it off I don't think the verbal part is really worth studying for. The most you should do is take a few practice tests so you are aware of what it is like.
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