when to take gre's

larry burns
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:12 pm

when to take gre's

Postby larry burns » Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:18 pm

i'm currently a 4th-yr student at a school with trimester system. i have completed analytic mechanics, one quarter of E&M and a lab, but still need to take 2 more labs, 1 more quarter of E&M and a year-long sequence in quantum mech and 1 quarter of thermodynamics. i plan on graduating either winter or spring of my 5th year. i was thinking about taking the GREs in the spring of my 4th year or fall of my 5th year. is that a good idea?

also, is it true that physics grad schools dont care about your verbal scores at all?

also, i'm not completely sure if i want to go to grad school for physics, math, or engineering. also, i dont know if i even want to go to grad school and just get my B.S. in physics instead

User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: when to take gre's

Postby grae313 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:26 pm

larry burns wrote:i'm currently a 4th-yr student at a school with trimester system. i have completed analytic mechanics, one quarter of E&M and a lab, but still need to take 2 more labs, 1 more quarter of E&M and a year-long sequence in quantum mech and 1 quarter of thermodynamics. i plan on graduating either winter or spring of my 5th year. i was thinking about taking the GREs in the spring of my 4th year or fall of my 5th year. is that a good idea?

also, is it true that physics grad schools dont care about your verbal scores at all?

also, i'm not completely sure if i want to go to grad school for physics, math, or engineering. also, i dont know if i even want to go to grad school and just get my B.S. in physics instead


Can't help you with whether to go to grad school or not, but physics grad schools care about your verbal score. Of course, not as much a your physics GRE score and your physics grades, but you better believe it matters. The higher ranked the school, the more competitive the applicants, the more it matters.

You'll want to have thermo and quantum before taking the GRE, if possible.

larry burns
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:12 pm

Re: when to take gre's

Postby larry burns » Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:44 pm

so i should wait until fall 09 to take the GREs since i wont be done with quantum and thermo until the end of spring 09?

blueeverest
Posts: 38
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:09 pm

Re: when to take gre's

Postby blueeverest » Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:02 pm

FYI, I noticed that Thermo for PGRE doesn't include all the more complicated stuffs that we learn in a typical Thermo class. I don't know about you guys but we covered selected parts of thermo in our Physics I class. I think a thorough understanding of those topics covered in Physics I (Thermo part) will easily help one to tackle problems in the PGRE test.

The Physics GRE tests these topics under Thermodynamics:

THERMODYNAMICS AND STATISTICAL MECHANICS: 10%
(such as the laws of thermodynamics, thermodynamic processes, equations of state, ideal gases, kinetic theory, ensembles, statistical concepts and calculation of thermodynamic quantities, thermal expansion and heat transfer)

A lot of these can be done without a separate class in Thermodynamics (except for some Statistical concepts).

For quantum, you need to take the class. There is no way around.

larry burns
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:12 pm

Re: when to take gre's

Postby larry burns » Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:47 pm

when should i start preparing for the general gre's and the physics gre? when should i take the actual tests?

digital19
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:40 pm

Re: when to take gre's

Postby digital19 » Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:21 pm

When do you want to go to grad school?

If you want to start grad school Fall 09 you should strive to take the November Test.

larry burns
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:12 pm

Re: when to take gre's

Postby larry burns » Sun Jul 13, 2008 12:26 am

fall 2010

User avatar
quizivex
Posts: 1029
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:13 am

Re: when to take gre's

Postby quizivex » Sun Jul 13, 2008 4:43 am

I'd try to take the October test so that if something goes wrong, you could still take the November one. Since you'll be a 5th year student, you may even feel prepared enough to take the April test the spring before, which would be a good idea since there's a lot less other things competing for your time then.

larry burns
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:12 pm

Re: when to take gre's

Postby larry burns » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:48 pm

quizivex wrote:I'd try to take the October test so that if something goes wrong, you could still take the November one. Since you'll be a 5th year student, you may even feel prepared enough to take the April test the spring before, which would be a good idea since there's a lot less other things competing for your time then.


by october and november, you're referrring to my 5th year in undergrad, right? also, would it be wise to take the verbal gres this fall (my 4th yr) since i dont know whether to go to into phyiscs or math for grad school?

User avatar
quizivex
Posts: 1029
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:13 am

Re: when to take gre's

Postby quizivex » Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:52 pm

yes, I was referring to next fall (2009) for hte subject gre... by then you'll know whether you want to do math or physics, so you can take whichever subject test you need.

And yes, I'd be a good idea to take the general (verbal + quantitative + writing) gre's this fall since it's required for both math and physics phds, but preferably do it over winter break, since you'll be less busy and would have plenty of time to review prep materials and vocab words... remember you can take the general nearly any day of the year, so plan it at whatever time is best for you.

larry burns
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:12 pm

Re: when to take gre's

Postby larry burns » Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:08 pm

i emailed most of the top 10 grad schools in math and most said that they dont even have a minimum cutoff for the GENERAL gre

i've taken a few practive general gre's, and i've gotten in the range ~420 for the VERBAL. i assume that this is good enough?

should i take the general GRE asap then?

User avatar
quizivex
Posts: 1029
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:13 am

Re: when to take gre's

Postby quizivex » Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:53 pm

The normal distribution function does not prohibit values 50 standard deviations from the mean, and similarly most schools do not have official cutoffs for test scores, but that does not mean you can have a score drastically lower than the rest of the applicants and have a realistic chance of being admitted. I'm assuming you're a domestic applicant? If you check the profile thread, the majority of domestic students admitted to top programs had verbal scores in the 600s. I agree the verbal is not very important (and so do the committees), but scoring drastically lower than the rest of the applicants on a test can only hurt you. The choice is yours, but I think it'd be worth the effort put some time in memorizing vocab words and improving your verbal performance in any way possible. Try to get upto the 500s. Of course, if you're overwhelmed with other duties right now, then maybe the verbal isn't worth the relative effort, but if you have any time at all to try to improve (which you should since you aren't planning to start grad school until 2010), there's no reason to rush and take the GRE general right away. Do it this summer or this fall only if you can put some time into it beforehand. Otherwise it'd be best to wait until winter break or next summer.

User avatar
Unnatural Log
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 4:07 pm

Re: when to take gre's

Postby Unnatural Log » Fri Aug 15, 2008 4:19 pm

Not to scare you or anything, but I took the physics GRE before I was ready for it, and it was a disaster. I hadn't had a course in thermodynamics or intermediate mechanics yet, and I was only just barely beginning my courses in quantum and intermediate electromagnetism. Of course, I tried to learn the basics of these subjects on my own, but it was an uphill battle, and my score reflected it. It certainly didn't help that I took the test during the most difficult semester of my academic career.

The plus side is that I knew my score genuinely didn't reflect my ability at all, and now that I've had all those courses, I'm scoring extremely well on my practice exams and realistically expect a gigantic score improvement when I retake the test this fall.

Oh, and as far as the verbal GRE goes: get one of those lists of 300/500/whatever most common words and spend a couple weeks learning them. That single-handedly improved my score from around 500 on my practice tests to somewhere in the 600s on my actual test.

I guess my point is just to take the tests when you're ready to take them.

larry burns
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:12 pm

Re: when to take gre's

Postby larry burns » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:57 pm

i've memorized about 700 new words thus far, and my score hasnt changed much, as its been fluctuating from 400- 500s.

also, how hard is the essay section compared to the general verbal? since you can't self-grade your score, is it necessary to take a prep course, such as offered by the princeton review, for the essay section?

judging from the stats thread, it seems like 4.5 - 5 is the bare minimum score on the essay to get into the elite schools

User avatar
quizivex
Posts: 1029
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:13 am

Re: when to take gre's

Postby quizivex » Sun Aug 17, 2008 12:36 am

From personal experience, your score probably won't change dramatically unless you memorize a few thousand words. I'd estimate that if you memorize 700 words, maybe 10-20 of them will be on the test, many of which will be part of wrong answer choices and won't necessarily help you get more questions correct. Also, some students only memorize the primary definition (the first one listed in the dictionary) for each word they find... but ETS often uses the alternate meanings and booby traps answers to mess up students who only know the first one... Furthermore, memorizing words won't help as much on the reading comp questions.

larry burns wrote:judging from the stats thread, it seems like 4.5 - 5 is the bare minimum score on the essay to get into the elite schools

I think that's just a correlation, top students tend to write well ... I doubt the WGRE scores actually were a factor in the committees' decisions. . Note that getting a decent writing score (5+)is not hard, it's way easier than the verbal. A 4.5 was only 52nd percentile, and many of the students takign the test are foreign, and many of those can barely write a complete sentence. I would not recommend a prep course for the WGRE... the commentary you find in a prep book should be sufficient... but ETS does offer to score sample essays you write for a fee, so you could try that.

excel
Posts: 257
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:33 am

Re: when to take gre's

Postby excel » Sun Aug 17, 2008 12:12 pm

larry, I can confidently say that there is much more to GRE Verbal than vocabulary. The test involves quite a bit of systemetic reasoning. You may want to go through a book like Barron's GRE prep--you will understand what I mean.

larry burns
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:12 pm

Re: when to take gre's

Postby larry burns » Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:28 pm

i've taken the GRE general test twice within the past month
1st try: 710 Quant, 490 Verbal
2nd: 800 Q, 410 V

is my drastic drop in the verbal that harmful? do i need to retake it AGAIN??

physics_auth
Posts: 160
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 7:24 pm

Re: when to take gre's

Postby physics_auth » Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:33 pm

larry burns wrote:i've taken the GRE general test twice within the past month
1st try: 710 Quant, 490 Verbal
2nd: 800 Q, 410 V

is my drastic drop in the verbal that harmful? do i need to retake it AGAIN??


I don't think so. You are fortunate, when I tried a 2nd time it damaged my math score and improved my verbal. Fortunately my 1st trial in math was very good and that saves me from a third trial. I wouldn't like ETS to make a fortune out of me (or others that think like me). The best situation is to see your 490 score and the worst to get the mean value which is 450. (However, Grae is better informed in such topics, therefore await her/his response for more certainty).

User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: when to take gre's

Postby grae313 » Sun Sep 06, 2009 4:16 pm

Ha! I'm not more informed on these matters. Most of the answers I give people are just my guesses that, to me at least, seem commonsensical. Imagine you're an admissions committee member and you see an applicant with two general GRE attempts a month apart, the scores are Q: 710/800 V: 490/410. What would you think? I'd think the applicant was fine in math--capable of getting an 800 and so nothing to worry about there, and somewhere in the 400-level in verbal. These tests seem to have a wide standard deviation, if the same applicant can get two scores separated by ~100 points within a month of each other. And what if the applicant had a third score that was, say, Q:800 V:490? I'd think the applicant was a nit for taking it so many times. Unless you expect a verbal score 550+ because you've studied the hell out of it and taken practice exams that indicate this, I'd say a third attempt is a waste of your time and money. Only do it if you're sure to do better--enough better that it's clearly outside the statistical range of your first two scores. Otherwise you just look desperate and in denial.

pqortic
Posts: 398
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:24 am

Re: when to take gre's

Postby pqortic » Sun Sep 06, 2009 7:17 pm

I suggest you don't take it again. you score in verbal is fine for an int. student. put the main effort on PGRE which is more important than everything. I believe that admission committees usually consider the higher score in cumulative report. so you can count on your 490 verbal score.

larry burns
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:12 pm

Re: when to take gre's

Postby larry burns » Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:57 pm

i'm not an international student, which is why i'm very worried about my low verbal scores. anyways, the general consensus here is that i shouldnt retake it. the thing is, i may apply for engineering phD programs, which dont require the PGRE, so i think my low verbal score will stick out even more

physics_auth
Posts: 160
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 7:24 pm

Re: when to take gre's

Postby physics_auth » Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:31 am

larry burns wrote:i'm not an international student, which is why i'm very worried about my low verbal scores. anyways, the general consensus here is that i shouldnt retake it. the thing is, i may apply for engineering phD programs, which dont require the PGRE, so i think my low verbal score will stick out even more


What a relief to hear this! Till now, I thought -according to this forum- that all engineers want to turn to physics ... you are an exception to the rule. :) To dismiss any doubts about this issue, try to send an e-mail to one of the schools that you plan to apply to and ask them if your GRE scores are satisfactory or not. Of course, their positive response doesn't ensure your admission there but it can "alleviate" your state of confusion, I think.




Return to “Registration and Test Preparation”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest