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Minimum GRE scores for competitive grad school

  1. Jun 16, 2009 #1
    Hey everyone,

    I have heard over and over again that GRE scores are used by most engineering grad schools as a cut off; everyone above a certain score makes the first cut, and everyone below a certain score doesn't. I want to go to engineering grad school (specialize in biomedical). I took the GRE recently and these are my scores:


    I am thinking about whether I should retake it, because I wanted to get a higher quant score, and I think I could do better on verbal and writing. Anyway, my question is do you think these scores are high enough to be considered for competitive grad schools?

    Thank you,
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 16, 2009 #2


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    Retaking for higher quant isnt going to be useful.
  4. Jun 16, 2009 #3
    Decent scores. I'd say you're cool.
  5. Jun 16, 2009 #4
    My scores were:


    Physics GRE-620

    I got into physics grad school wih that. I don't know if engineering the same, but in physics they don't give a rip about your general GRE. Heck, I doubt that anyone even looked at my general GRE.
  6. Jun 16, 2009 #5
    Something like 10-20% of all engineering grad school hopefuls get 800's. The OP is way down the list on that one. He needs to take the test again and score higher on quant. The verbal is fine though.
  7. Jun 16, 2009 #6
    I just want to say that posts like this aren't useful. Not only does it fail to explain itself in any constructive way, the tone is offensive in its nonchalance. I asked a question that warranted an answer and an explanation. I think you should know that this post negatively affected me, even though I didn't take its content into account at all. Please don't respond to my threads or posts anymore. Thanks.
  8. Jun 16, 2009 #7
    I do not plan on getting into grad school on my GRE's alone (obviously). My question is "do you think a 760 Quant will get me past a first cut in the admissions process." Phrased differently, do you think competitive grad schools look at applications with scores as low as 760 quant? My impression is that there is a magic score that schools consider all applicants with scores above the magic score and throw out all applicants with scores below the magic score. Phrased yet another way, is 760 above the magic score?
  9. Jun 16, 2009 #8


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    My GRE scores are


    I got accepted in UIUC, GATech, UMN-Twin Cities, UW-Madison, RPI, Penn State, and Virginia Tech.

    Those are all the schools I applied to.

    For Grad School in Transportation Engineering.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2009
  10. Jun 16, 2009 #9


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    My impression is that that is patently false. I can't imagine any grad school rejecting you for having a less-than-ideal GRE score if your record is otherwise fantastic.

    I guess it's possible that admissions committees might reject someone with an exceptionally low GRE score, but only because it's extremely unlikely that someone with such a low score is able to do other good work. But "extremely low" in this situation, I would imagine, probably means something like 400. I highly doubt that you could be rejected based solely on a 760.
  11. Jun 17, 2009 #10


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    Your respond is a big part why not much more than my previous post should be said. It is obvious that you are convinced that 20 points is going to change your life when it will not matter and I doubt there is any way I nor anyone can convince you otherwise but as a life lesson you should know that if there was a magical line in the sand for GRE scores a university would post it and even then it is probable exceptions would be made.
  12. Jun 17, 2009 #11
    Since when is a 760 quantitative a bad score? You got almost a perfect freaking score on it, dude. If 760 isn't enough to get into a good grad school, what is? 780? 800?


    If a school has a magical cut-off line, it will be lower... probably at or below the average for all intended engineering majors. I'm going to guess that this figure is somewhere between 600 and 650, but you can look it up (maybe).

    There's no reason to get upset.
  13. Jun 17, 2009 #12

    Vanadium 50

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    First, if you are that sensitive that a post that gave you advice you didn't like "negatively affected you", you are not cut out for graduate school. You should find some other vocation where you don't have to worry about your feelings being hurt: grad school will be a lot, lot worse than this.

    Second, j93 is absolutely right. 20 points will not affect your life. If you post a message on the internet, you should expect a wide variety of perspectives, and often the best advice is what challenges your perspective. Telling people who do that to go away is not an attitude that will serve you will in grad school.
  14. Jun 17, 2009 #13
    Thanks for anyone who answered the question. It seems like 760 is good enough. Sorry for not appreciating blunt posts with no explanation. A lot of you guys were really helpful though, and I really appreciate it.
  15. Jun 17, 2009 #14


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    Yes, it is good enough. GRE scores are just for cut off, and the cut off is usually set at 700 at the top institutions. Universities committee will definitely look MORE at your other parts of the application (Rec Letters, Transcripts, and CV) rather than your GRE.

    The GRE exam is not a predictor of success in Grad School.

    Good luck with your applications.
  16. Jun 17, 2009 #15
    Just as a side note...

    in my experience on an admissions committee, GRE general and subject scores were both taken into account, and there wasn't a "cutoff" per say on any of these aspects. What there was instead was a ranking technique -- weighting scores from GRE's, GPA's, scores from committee members' evaluations (of recommendation letters, personal statements, research record etc). The cutoff occurred at a certain point in our internal ranking.

    So the use of different parts of the GRE depends on the school you're applying to... But like Vanadium, I don't think improving your score by 20 points is going to change things. And doesn't the GRE send all your scores? In which case it would also be up to the department about how to interpret that (use the highest score, the average, etc).
  17. Sep 5, 2009 #16
    well on the first try, i got 710 Quant and 490 verbal. the second try, I got 800 Quant and 410 Verbal. Do the top physics grad schools care about my drastic decrease in the verbal?
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