Recommended but not required

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PhysicsOutkast
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 2:03 am

Recommended but not required

Postby PhysicsOutkast » Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:30 am

First let me say that I searched the forum and I found only one post on this, which wasn't answered. Now to the context....

I'm a domestic planning on taking the PGRE this fall, as about half of the programs I plan to apply to require it. However most of the others either say it is recommended but not required, or don't even mention it (I know they don't require it). For these schools that state it is optional, from whatever knowledge you might have, would it make a difference either way? I mean if I take it and bomb, will they assume that's the reason I didn't send it? Obviously if I nail it I'll send it in, but if not I won't. I'm just worried that "optional" or "recommended" is code for "It's not required, but, if you don't send in a PGRE score your chances will go way down". I'm have a decent app I would say, not exceptional compared to the profiles here. I started out badly, and have a very very ugly early transcript (3.2~3.4 CGPA because of it), but have a Major gpa of ~3.6, and a upper div gpa of 3.91 (3.85 if you count it out of the the last 60 creds). I also have decent research experience I think, especially considering the tiny unknown program I’m in. I don't have a chance at top uni's which is fine with me, all the schools and profs I like, that are doing research I like are ranked from 40 to 110+. So at that level, would it really matter if I don't send in a score?

Thanks everybody, and sorry if this breaks some rule around here. I've tried not to make it into one of those questions people just post links to, but I'm still new here so I might have missed something.

~Outkast~

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WhoaNonstop
Posts: 851
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:31 am

Re: Recommended but not required

Postby WhoaNonstop » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:50 am

When you sign up for the PGRE, use the 4 free scores to send to schools that require the PGRE. If your scores is roughly ~600 or greater send it to the optional schools, if it is less than 500, don't send it to the optional schools and if it is between 500-600, just make a judgement call of what you think is best. I highly doubt schools will hold it against you. In fact, a friend of mine had a 410 on the PGRE and didn't submit it to a specific school and still got in. However, it is worth your time to try to get your PGRE score up so you can send it in, as having it may be beneficial.

-Riley

PhysicsOutkast
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 2:03 am

Re: Recommended but not required

Postby PhysicsOutkast » Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:09 am

I've thought about that, and it is definitely 1 of the 2 options I'm considering. The other is taking the PGRE in October without selecting schools at the time of examination. That would allow me to get my results in November, see where I stand, and then either move forward with my list or remove the PGRE requiring schools and insert some others that don't require it that I've compiled as sort of a back up. That way I don't waste LOR's on schools that are all but bound to reject me. This idea might cost me more money, but I feel better about spending a few extra dollars than asking for 10+ rec letters. I may be overanalyzing the situation, as I've already started prep for the test and may perform very well on it. Still, given its reputation I can't help but be nervous about the possible thorn in my side that it could become.

Thanks for the example about your friend, that's encouraging. I hope schools aren't just baiting people with the recommended or optional statement, but I guess all I can really do is try to make sure that I don't have to find out. :)

~Outkast~

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WhoaNonstop
Posts: 851
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:31 am

Re: Recommended but not required

Postby WhoaNonstop » Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:34 pm

PhysicsOutkast wrote:without selecting schools at the time of examination


Dude, regardless if you apply to schools that require this or not, at least pick 4 schools that DO require it and put it on the PGRE forms. Even if you don't end up applying to these schools you have nothing to lose. If you end up getting a good score, then you can follow through in applying to those schools if you wish.

Plus, it is healthy to examine your own results in the PGRE to determine how "capable" you are. Now, I'm not saying that the PGRE will tell how well you will perform in graduate school, but it is an indicator. If you are scoring in the 400s or even 500s, there should be red flags going up in your own mind, not just in an admission committees mind. With that being said, there have been plenty of people who have made it through graduate school with a low PGRE, but remember, graduate school in physics isn't suppose to be easy and if you come from a lacking physics background like I did, you'll want to make sure you're ready to some extent.

-Riley

PhysicsOutkast
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 2:03 am

Re: Recommended but not required

Postby PhysicsOutkast » Sat Mar 26, 2011 4:42 pm

Yeah, I guess I wasn't thinking that way, it's free so why wouldn't I since it can't hurt. Thanks for the insight, total brain freeze on my part there.

As for the test and its indications, I'm probably just suffering from a little bit of imposter syndrome. I may not get a 990, but given my current knowledge and the time I'm allotting for practice I think I can hit 700+. I was just thinking in the worst case scenario, I always tend to over think things and plan to extremes. I already know where I'm lacking, and am working to change that.

Thanks for the insights

~OutKast~

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midwestphysics
Posts: 444
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:37 am

Re: Recommended but not required

Postby midwestphysics » Sat Mar 26, 2011 4:48 pm

Riley's right, send them anyway, if you do bad you won't apply as it is so who cares if they get your scores or not. Relax, look over your intro book doing all the problems, then the practice test, and you'll be fine. The test is not the end of the world, even if you bomb.




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