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what's the biggest score increase?

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:15 pm
by mhazelm
So I'm curious: to those of you who have taken the PGRE more than once, by how much did your score increase (or decrease)? What's the biggest point gain anyone has gotten? Is it realistic to hope to gain 300 points with an extra year of studying, or is that just wishful thinking?

Re: what's the biggest score increase?

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:26 pm
by cato88
secander has a 200 point increase.

Re: what's the biggest score increase?

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:41 pm
by dlenmn
mhazelm wrote:Is it realistic to hope to gain 300 points with an extra year of studying, or is that just wishful thinking?


What's your starting point? Probably the lower it is, the easier it is to achieve a large improvement. If you're starting with a 700, then good luck with that...

Re: what's the biggest score increase?

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:51 am
by robertson
It probably depends on the effort you put the first time, what happened to you during the exam. But it is definitely posible to increase as much as you want that score. For example:

You studied for a week or so and you were nervous. There were parts of the exam that you have never heard of. -----> bad score

Now you study for a couple of months (no one would study for a whole year, unless you only have one our per week). You are confident and you do your best in the exam. You have covered all the syllabus.
----> good score

Fight agains the reasons that made you get a bad score and you'll get that 300 points increase!

Re: what's the biggest score increase?

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:51 am
by mhazelm
I'm starting from the low 500s, so actually, there's almost no way my score could actually get worse. I just want to maximize the increase - my goal is a score something like 840. At least, I'd like to hit 70th percentile. I have the summer off - I specifically am not working on anything new, I am just going to use the time to prepare for next year's GRE and applications. So it's good to know that it might be possible to raise my score this much!

Re: what's the biggest score increase?

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:04 pm
by grae313
mhazelm wrote:I'm starting from the low 500s, so actually, there's almost no way my score could actually get worse. I just want to maximize the increase - my goal is a score something like 840. At least, I'd like to hit 70th percentile. I have the summer off - I specifically am not working on anything new, I am just going to use the time to prepare for next year's GRE and applications. So it's good to know that it might be possible to raise my score this much!


If you have the summer off, you should do tons and tons of RESEARCH :)

Re: what's the biggest score increase?

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:57 pm
by nathan12343
I've heard that one of the best ways to improve your score is by TAing or tutoring freshman physics classes.

That said, I'd agree with Grae, if you really are doing nothing else, then get more research experience, since improved GRE scores and improved research will look much better than just improved GRE scores.

Re: what's the biggest score increase?

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 3:14 pm
by swepi
Given my current situation, I would definitely agree that research experience is the way to go.

Re: what's the biggest score increase?

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 7:13 pm
by mhazelm
I think then, that I'll plan to keep doing research with my current advisor (we might be able to get a paper out by August, but for sure sometime in the next year) and study. I am just so afraid that I'll screw up again and never get to go to grad. school. I think I would die in that case. I definitely screwed up this year. I hope it doesn't mean that I'm just not smart enough. :oops:

Re: what's the biggest score increase?

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 7:27 pm
by grae313
Well of course none of us can answer that, but I bet if you don't give it your best shot than you'll always wonder "what if." So if it is what you really want, take a year but don't take it "off." Admissions people want to see that you were productive. Do as much research as you possibly can, take grad classes if you can, and study for the GRE.

Re: what's the biggest score increase?

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:23 pm
by Unnatural Log
I had a 200 point increase, and I think I could have done better, closer to around a 250 point increase. So, yes, it's quite possible.

Re: what's the biggest score increase?

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:46 pm
by astrosona
mhazelm wrote:I'm starting from the low 500s, so actually, there's almost no way my score could actually get worse. I just want to maximize the increase - my goal is a score something like 840. At least, I'd like to hit 70th percentile. I have the summer off - I specifically am not working on anything new, I am just going to use the time to prepare for next year's GRE and applications. So it's good to know that it might be possible to raise my score this much!


can you give be a general picture of what score is realistic and good enough?! i am planning to take the test in a month and i am just starting to study....

Re: what's the biggest score increase?

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:30 pm
by cato88
astrosona wrote:can you give be a general picture of what score is realistic and good enough?! i am planning to take the test in a month and i am just starting to study....

Nobody can tell you this with certainty and even less so without knowing your recommendations, GPA, major GPA, general GRE, research experience and the programs youre applying to.

Re: what's the biggest score increase?

Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:29 am
by michaelB
I took the physics GRE almost 10 years ago and scored in the 45th percentile (not my best effort.) Recently, I began studying to take them again and I took a practice test and found that I scored in the 60th percentile (and I hadn't started reviwing yet.) In the past few years, I've been teaching physics (which has helped) but I think that one of the bigest factors was not being afraid to leave questions blank. That whole minus 0.25 points for every wrong answer can really kill your score. Supposedly the research shows that when a student does not understand the physics involved in a multiple choice question and they cross off answers that seem "obviously wrong" to them, they tend to eliminate the right answer. So, my suggestion is teaching or tutoring someone taking a calculus based physics class and don't be afraid to leave questions blank!

Re: what's the biggest score increase?

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:49 pm
by slugger
For what its worth, and although i never retook it, comparing my score on the actual test with the practice ones, i did about 100-150 pts WORSE...food for thought.

Re: what's the biggest score increase?

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:36 pm
by betelgeuse1
I'm starting with 720... hope I'll have some luck too... :oops: