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Low(ish) GRE Verbal score - end of the world?

  1. Aug 26, 2007 #1
    I'm applying to grad school in the fall (a mix of materials science and applied physics programs), and I took the general GRE a month or so ago. I got an 800 for the quantitative but a 550 on the verbal (and a 5.5 on the writing, for what that's worth). I'm otherwise well-qualified (3.8-ish GPA at an Ivy League school, research experience, etc.), but I'm applying to the top programs where everyone is well-qualified and don't want my application thrown out due to a low GRE score. For schools that do specify a cutoff or minimum "competitive" score, that minimum is right around 550 for verbal. Even worse, Berkeley (one of my top choices) says that all scores need to be 85th percentile or above to be "competitive," but a 550 verbal is closer to a 75th percentile score. But then again, a lot of other schools don't seem to care that much.

    So...should I shell out another $100+ to take the test again, or should I save my energy and money? I'd like to be able to focus on preparing applications and studying for the GRE physics. However, I consistently got 50 points higher on the verbal sections of the computed-based practice tests I took, so I'm pretty confident that I could bring my score up with some preparation. Do schools really look at the verbal score, though?

    This is all kind of embarrassing...I've never had much trouble with standardized tests before, and I can write well, but I'm horrible at memorizing vocabulary. Any study tips?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 28, 2007 #2
    the best way to learn vocab is to read it. unfortunately that's a tough way to prepare for a test. take it again if for nothing else than the comfort that if you don't get in you know it's not over a silly thing like a retake
  4. Jun 22, 2009 #3
    i emailed all of the top pure math phD schools. most of them said that they dont even care about verbal scores and they dont have the average scores with them. the only exception is Michigan, which said that the avg verbal score of their accepted students is 540
  5. Jun 23, 2009 #4


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    You decide for yourself
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