Materials PhD help: Low GRE score spooks physics major

In summary, The speaker is worried about their low score on the Quant section of the general GRE and how it may affect their chances of getting into Materials Engineering PhD programs. They share their scores and mention that they did well on the verbal and writing sections but have been told that these scores are not as important for STEM programs. They also mention their studying methods and their struggles with pacing on test day. They cannot afford to retake the GRE and are concerned about their chances. They have a good GPA, research experience, and positive letters of recommendation, but are unsure about their chances of getting into their desired schools. They ask for recommendations and inquire about websites similar to physicsgre.com for engineering programs.
  • #1
Naytile
1
0
Hi.
So, I took the general GRE the other day and did crappy on the Quant. This worries me.
I'm applying to Materials Engineering PhD programs soon. I'd like to get some opinions of how deep of a ditch I've dug for grad school, or how much this retracts from the rest of my credentials. Do I stand a chance?

My scores ended up being:
164 V / 158 Q // Combined: 322

That's a low quant score! (~70th percentile!) By contrast, I stand out on the verbal and writing sections with barely any effort. I've been told STEM programs don't give a rat's arse about strong verbal and writing scores, so I can't celebrate.
I found that the average Q score for physics AND materials engineering majors is 161... I studied for the GRE about a week ahead of time. I used the Kaplan GRE book, but on test day, I found that what I studied wasn't very helpful. I scored 165V/161Q on one of the ETS PowerPrep practice tests, and lower on the other, so 161Q or higher was definitely what I wanted.
In the end, the time limit slaughtered me on test day. I've always had to be meticulous and thoughtful in math in order to do well. My pacing ended up being the worst on test day rather than in the practice tests.

I won't be able to retake the GRE. It's far too expensive for me on top of applying to grad school and I don't even have the time to take it again in my application plans. I'm afraid of being cut off.

I'm a female physics major from a small department, Florida Atlantic University. My GPA is 3.65, major GPA is 3.70. At my home institution, I've been an undergraduate TA for over a year and earned a merit-based award in physics.
I have research experience from a materials engineering REU. I was accepted to 3 REUs last summer, but I chose Boise State University's site due to my interest in the project. This work is an ongoing project there, I participated in its beginning stages over the summer. The project got an article in the campus magazine and it generated interest outside of campus as well. It was stated that my work will somehow contribute to a publication in a journal, but as of right now, I have nothing concrete to show. I was also selected to present this research at a national REU conference.

For my grad school apps, my LORs come from my REU mentor, a professor that knows me very well, and another professor that wrote an LOR for my REU applications. They'll likely be positive as well as specific.

Schools I planned to apply to in MatEng before the GRE crushed my soul:
UCSB, UF, UCLA, Carnegie Mellon
Lehigh, UCF, Penn State, UC Boulder, Stony Brook, UM College-Park, USC, UCSD
What do you think? Any recommendations are appreciated!
 
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  • #2
Does anybody know if there's anything like physicsgre.com for engineering? They have people list their credentials, where they applied, and where they got in. Without hard evidence I can't be sure but I doubt a 70th percentile will matter much, the GRE is not very important to engineering schools from what I have heard.
 
  • #3
Crass_Oscillator said:
Does anybody know if there's anything like physicsgre.com for engineering? They have people list their credentials, where they applied, and where they got in. Without hard evidence I can't be sure but I doubt a 70th percentile will matter much, the GRE is not very important to engineering schools from what I have heard.

Closest you're going to get for engineering is probably the grad cafe.

http://forum.thegradcafe.com/
 
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Related to Materials PhD help: Low GRE score spooks physics major

1. What is a Materials PhD program?

A Materials PhD program is a graduate-level program that focuses on the study of materials science and engineering. It combines principles from physics, chemistry, and engineering to understand the properties and behavior of materials at a microscopic and macroscopic level. This program typically involves coursework, research, and a dissertation project in a specific area of materials science.

2. Can I get into a Materials PhD program with a low GRE score?

While a low GRE score may make it more challenging to get into a Materials PhD program, it is not necessarily a barrier. Admissions committees will also consider other factors such as undergraduate grades, research experience, and letters of recommendation. It is important to highlight your strengths and experiences in your application to compensate for a lower GRE score.

3. Will a low GRE score affect my chances of getting funding for a Materials PhD program?

A low GRE score may affect your chances of receiving funding for a Materials PhD program, but it is not the only factor that is considered. Other aspects, such as research experience and potential, are also important for funding decisions. Additionally, there may be alternative sources of funding available, such as scholarships and assistantships, that do not place as much emphasis on GRE scores.

4. Is it possible to improve my GRE score before applying to a Materials PhD program?

Yes, it is possible to improve your GRE score before applying to a Materials PhD program. You can retake the exam to try and achieve a higher score, or you can focus on strengthening other aspects of your application such as research experience and letters of recommendation. It is important to carefully consider the timing of when you retake the GRE, as it may affect your application timeline.

5. Are there any alternative ways to demonstrate my potential for a Materials PhD program besides the GRE?

Yes, there are alternative ways to demonstrate your potential for a Materials PhD program besides the GRE. Some programs may accept other standardized test scores, such as the GMAT or MCAT, in place of the GRE. Additionally, strong research experience, publications, and letters of recommendation can also demonstrate your potential for success in a Materials PhD program.

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