1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Testing To focus on general GRE Writing?

  1. Jul 19, 2017 #1
    Hi all,

    Maybe most people would say that physics grad schools (PhD) programs don't care about your GRE writing score, but I have a sort of quick question: how much effort should I put into the Writing sections.

    I took my first GRE earlier this month, but messed up both of my writing sections, because I had significantly less sleep the night earlier, did not have enough coffee, tested early morning, and did not realize the writing section was an hour at the beginning (I really didn't prepare a lot for the test = =...). For both sections my time was up when my essay was literally half done and half an itemized draft. So let's say I would only get a ~2 for my writing.

    My question: I am already registered for another General GRE test in early August. Of course I don't expect to be a shipwreck again during my writing sections, and I do plan to spend time on the writing sections. However, I am doing a summer research that may take up a lot of time, so I was wondering, should I be sure to pay extra effort for the writing section to practice for some prompts, etc.?

    I got a 166 for V and a 167 for Q iirc, so I am much less worried about these two. However, I am not sure what would be a good score for a competitive PhD program. I see some schools list 3.5 as the minimum, but wasn't sure if such a score would be seen as a good one. As a rising senior my GPA is overall 0.4~0.5 worse than I would like due to life reasons beyond my control, so I am a bit more worried about GREs right now.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 19, 2017 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    From my observations, schools don't care about the general GRE unless you did so poorly that it raises questions about your abilities in basic math, and reading/writing. Your math and verbal scores are fine, but you definitely need to bring up your writing score so it as at least acceptable (definitely above the 50th percentile, probably more like 60th). However, it's hard to say how much you should prepare since it's different for everyone. Some people can do very well on the GRE (including the writing) with very little to no preparation, others need to study a good amount. I think the best thing you could do is to look at several sample prompts and examples of scored essays to see what they are looking for.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted