Who gets the really low scores?

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Robespierre
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:22 pm

Who gets the really low scores?

Postby Robespierre » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:39 am

Somewhere on the Internet I saw someone saying that he got a 5% on the PGRE (percent below; not that he got only 5 questions right), and everyone was astonished to hear that. But obviously, 5% of the people get 5% or below, and 50% of the people get 50% or below. What would be the makeup of the population with these low scores? Astronomy applicants? People taking it for practice, without much preparation (but for the November test at least I don't think that many people would take it unprepared)? People who had really bad luck that day? Non-applicants who just took it for fun? People who are just bad at this multiple-choice time-constrained big test (like the person I've mentioned above - since he had decent GPA)? People who just don't have aptitude for physics (- but still like it enough to want to go to graduate school)?

photonic
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:36 pm

Re: Who gets the really low scores?

Postby photonic » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:33 am


bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Who gets the really low scores?

Postby bfollinprm » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:29 pm

Some schools require the PGRE as an exit exam; students with barely passing grades from such institutions would tend to score on the lower end, having likely not studied for a test that doesn't really matter for them.

Cosmojo
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:33 pm

Re: Who gets the really low scores?

Postby Cosmojo » Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:26 pm

I'll be honest, I got a low score, felt really sick that day, crap happens.

I know a lot of people who didn't do well, and you don't hear from them because frankly who wants to tell someone who got a 930 that they got a 570? Makes you feel like an idiot when you are posting in forums where everyone got a good score and you are the only bad one.
I also know schools who do statistically bad on the PGRE because they are taught to derive all equations so recalling them in a short time isn't that easy for them, they are better at the actual math behind it.
Moral of the story- one test does not test how well you know physics as a whole.

blighter
Posts: 256
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:30 pm

Re: Who gets the really low scores?

Postby blighter » Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:25 pm

Cosmojo wrote:I'll be honest, I got a low score, felt really sick that day, crap happens.

I know a lot of people who didn't do well, and you don't hear from them because frankly who wants to tell someone who got a 930 that they got a 570? Makes you feel like an idiot when you are posting in forums where everyone got a good score and you are the only bad one.
I also know schools who do statistically bad on the PGRE because they are taught to derive all equations so recalling them in a short time isn't that easy for them, they are better at the actual math behind it.
Moral of the story- one test does not test how well you know physics as a whole.


I agree. But they do get in somewhere, don't they? They could post their profiles after they've been admitted, because once you're in grad school, who cares about some silly test. You should post your profile too, once you get admits. I'd say you have a pretty good shot at getting into a top 40 (top 20 even) despite your score.

tweetie_brid
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 7:59 pm

Re: Who gets the really low scores?

Postby tweetie_brid » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:41 pm

Hello,

Good post.

I received my BS in physics in 1995 almost 20 years ago. I am now 40 years old

I have been working as a computer programmer, with no physics in between.


I am getting bored with programming. I talked to a grad school admission person,

who told me I could get admitted with a PGRE of about 600.

I did take the general and recieved 159Quant 155Verbal AWA 4.0.

With my time gap , I will be happy with a 600 PGRE.


This was a nice school with NCAA Top 25 sports. I wont name the school.

With work and stuff I am taking about 9 months to review my Physics undergrad stuff.


But I will be happy with a 600 PGRE..

It has been my dream since a little kid to do astrophysics, but I was a little nervous pursuing it after I graduated 20 years ago.

walczyk
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:47 pm

Re: Who gets the really low scores?

Postby walczyk » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:16 pm

Robespierre wrote:Somewhere on the Internet I saw someone saying that he got a 5% on the PGRE (percent below; not that he got only 5 questions right), and everyone was astonished to hear that. But obviously, 5% of the people get 5% or below, and 50% of the people get 50% or below. What would be the makeup of the population with these low scores? Astronomy applicants? People taking it for practice, without much preparation (but for the November test at least I don't think that many people would take it unprepared)? People who had really bad luck that day? Non-applicants who just took it for fun? People who are just bad at this multiple-choice time-constrained big test (like the person I've mentioned above - since he had decent GPA)? People who just don't have aptitude for physics (- but still like it enough to want to go to graduate school)?


He probably didn't study at all, and went to a school that didn't teach him very much physics.

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Andromeda
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:17 pm

Re: Who gets the really low scores?

Postby Andromeda » Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:23 am

I did the PGRE test twice and only barely cracked the double digits the second time around IRC because I am really shitty at standardized tests (I don't remember the numbers exactly, I posted them on my profile back in the day if anyone really cares). But then I had a solid enough GPA and passed my physics qualifying exam after the first year of grad school, and doing decent research now, so I don't think this translates into my being an awful scientist (though I do astronomy, your mileage may vary).

I do think a large part of it is it's beyond intimidating to post your scores when they're so awful compared to some of the crowd who comes here- I certainly didn't post a profile until after I was accepted to grad school, because I thought it would help others who were in a similar position to me. Beyond that I do recall more than a few students who took the PGRE just because they were on the lines of "not sure if grad school is for me, but I'll take the PGRE and see what happens" then when the scores came back they decided against applying. So that certainly skews up your eventual pool of applicants a bit.

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InquilineKea
Posts: 301
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:07 pm

Re: Who gets the really low scores?

Postby InquilineKea » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:26 pm

Cosmojo wrote:I'll be honest, I got a low score, felt really sick that day, crap happens.

I know a lot of people who didn't do well, and you don't hear from them because frankly who wants to tell someone who got a 930 that they got a 570? Makes you feel like an idiot when you are posting in forums where everyone got a good score and you are the only bad one.
I also know schools who do statistically bad on the PGRE because they are taught to derive all equations so recalling them in a short time isn't that easy for them, they are better at the actual math behind it.
Moral of the story- one test does not test how well you know physics as a whole.


Yeah - I know amazing physics students from Caltech who get surprisingly low PGRE scores..

janisper116
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:06 pm

Re: Who gets the really low scores?

Postby janisper116 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:06 am

photonic wrote:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gutCFMc5khY


rofl. I agree completely




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