What is a good Physics GRE score?

a bucket
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:02 am

What is a good Physics GRE score?

Postby a bucket » Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:51 am

Well. I'm a little unfamiliar with the paradigm of standardized tests and a couple of days ago I spotted this forum so here I am. First off an introduction... I'm an insomniac programmer at UofM (Ann Arbor). On a more relevant note, this fall I'll be a senior physics major. Unsurprisingly, it's time for grad school applications and the physics GRE... which brings me to my next point... what do all those GRE scores mean???

Yesterday I took my first practice test from a booklet labeled GR9277 and after converting the raw score I get 840. Now this has me a baffled since, from my understanding the GRE is scored out of 800. Unfortunately the booklet seems to be missing a few pages which probably explain what 840 means. Is this score good or bad for where I'm applying to (which I'll post in a moment)?

Where I'm applying to:
University of Colorado (Boulder)
Harvard
MIT
University of Maryland (College Park)
maybe University of Rochester

Now I'm aware that the physics GRE scores will be less of a problem if you have other stuff to bolster your application. In this area, I have about 3 years worth of research experience in a cold atoms lab and one paper in Phys. Rev. Letters (where I'm second author). I'm currently writing another one hopefully for Review of Scientific Instruments. Is this a good support for my application or am I applying to places out of my league? Oh yes... and my GPA is 3.7something (4.0 in computer science, physics and math courses.... crap in everything else) and I'm not sure about how much the GPA matters either...

In summary, my questions are:
1) What the hell does 840 mean???
2) Am I being to ambitious in where I apply?
3) Does GPA matter?

I'm clueless about grad school applications so I'm hoping someone here can help me out. Sorry for the verbosity of this post and if there are answers to my questions posted elsewhere feel free to just post a link.

Thanks,
A. Bucket.

a bucket
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:02 am

Re: What is a good Physics GRE score?

Postby a bucket » Sat Aug 09, 2008 12:49 pm

bump... anyone?

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

Re: What is a good Physics GRE score?

Postby quizivex » Sat Aug 09, 2008 1:20 pm

Welcome to the forum

a bucket wrote:what do all those GRE scores mean???

1) What the hell does 840 mean???

???

The booklet isn't going to tell you "what the score means." It would say something like, "Your Subject GRE score is one factor that admission committees can use to compare candidates to their programs." Your score will be judged in comparison to the other applicants' scores.

a bucket wrote:Yesterday I took my first practice test from a booklet labeled GR9277 and after converting the raw score I get 840. Now this has me a baffled since, from my understanding the GRE is scored out of 800. Unfortunately the booklet seems to be missing a few pages which probably explain what 840 means. Is this score good or bad for where I'm applying to (which I'll post in a moment)?

Clearly the physics subject is not scored out of 800 like the sections on the general test and the SAT. When you looked up your score, you probably noticed that the maximum score is 990. Next to the 840 should be a percentile, probably around 83 or 84%. You need to look through the old threads on this forum to get a better idea what types of scores get people into what types of schools. Keep in mind that foreign students make up the majority of the highest scores and schools are much harder on them. Plenty of students with scores in the 840 range go to the top 5 schools, though of course they tend to have a lot of accomplishments besides the GRE. If you keep Rochester on your list and add one school of comparable reptuation to it, you'll have a good list.
Check the 2008 profile thread first:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=975
And then the (less organized) 2007 thread:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=459&hilit=phd+applicants+post+here

a bucket wrote:2) Am I being to ambitious in where I apply?

Well that's usually too hard to answer, except in extreme cases. From what I know about your profile so far, you're certainly in the running.

a bucket wrote:3) Does GPA matter?

haha. your questions have been discussed extensively elsewhere, just do some browsing on the forum.

a bucket
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:02 am

Re: What is a good Physics GRE score?

Postby a bucket » Sat Aug 09, 2008 3:07 pm

Hey,
Thanks for the reply. Those threads seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. :D

FortranMan
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:42 am

Re: What is a good Physics GRE score?

Postby FortranMan » Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:30 pm

if your not from china and you get above 50 percentile, your good to go. 20 percentile is usually the bare minimum some reputable programs will dare to take.

lokai
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:07 am

Re: What is a good Physics GRE score?

Postby lokai » Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:13 am

if your not from china and you get above 50 percentile, your good to go. 20 percentile is usually the bare minimum some reputable programs will dare to take.


I've heard this before, but I'm not sure how true it is.

What's your source?


(I'm assuming 'dare to take' means they won't immediately throw your application into the reject pile)




Return to “Scores and Score Reporting”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest