Should I take the Physics GRE subject test?

Logic
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:51 pm

Should I take the Physics GRE subject test?

Postby Logic » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:19 pm

I plan on applying to PhD's in computational neuroscience this Fall. They're all very heavily based in math and physics.

Grades:
+ 3.3 GPA undergrad Physics Major (including the standard physics and math courses. Also 30 credits of philosophy. I was actually a physics-philosophy double-major, but, during my senior year, I was told one of my philosophy electives wouldn't count. So I graduated with only a physics degree.)
+ 4.0 GPA postbac (NIH IRTA) (including courses in math, computer science, biology, and neuroscience)

Research:
+ 4 years undergrad in bioinformatics lab (one summer in comp neuro REU and one summer bioinfo REU).
+ One research award from a national conference.
+ One first-author pub and one second-author pub
+ 2 years post-bac research (NIH IRTA): one year in bioinfo and one year in comp neuro.
+ For what it's worth, thousands of GitHub commits and dozens of repositories across math, physics, computer science, biology, neuroscience, and philosophy (logic, epistemology, and heuristics in science).

My grad school list is Wash U in St. Louis, Boston U, U Chicago, Caltech, U Washington, UCSD, USC, and UT-Austin. U Washington and CalTech are the only schools on my list that recommend applicants to take a GRE subject test of their field of study.

I understand my undergrad GPA is less than stellar. That's why I'm looking for anything I can do in any way possible to improve my chances. I want to do whatever it takes to prove as best as I can to graduate programs that I'm skilled in math and physics skills.

My question: Should I take the Physics GRE?

jabennett2194
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:54 pm

Re: Should I take the Physics GRE subject test?

Postby jabennett2194 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:00 pm

What the physics gre do for your profile?? Do ANY comp neuro PhD programs reuqire/recommend that??

Logic
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:51 pm

Re: Should I take the Physics GRE subject test?

Postby Logic » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:20 am

jabennett2194 wrote:What the physics gre do for your profile?? Do ANY comp neuro PhD programs reuqire/recommend that??


The only two that recommend are U Wash and Caltech. None of them require.

I am also considering it because, if it were to help my application (particularly my low undergraduate GPA), I'd be interested in taking it.

jabennett2194
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:54 pm

Re: Should I take the Physics GRE subject test?

Postby jabennett2194 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:58 am

By only two that recommend it, do you mean nationally? or do you mean of those that you are interested in? Unfortunately, USNEWS only lists a few top schools, https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-sc ... s-rankings, but I would read the application info on these schools.
I am just rather confused what this would offer to your profile. You would need to get a 60/70/80th percentile (depending on prestige of program) or above anyway for this to be something that you would want to include in your application
To be candid (and I am trying to speak solely to give you the most help possible) unless you were working, dealing with mental illness, playing a sport, or something else in college that explains your low physics gpa, I do not think (unless you are great at standardized tests) you would be able to get that high of a percentile without months of studying. Plus you have had a year off of physics it seems.
I simply think that since this is comp. neuro, there are much better things you could be doing to increase your chance of acceptance, such as research.

Logic
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:51 pm

Re: Should I take the Physics GRE subject test?

Postby Logic » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:25 pm

jabennett2194 wrote:By only two that recommend it, do you mean nationally? or do you mean of those that you are interested in? Unfortunately, USNEWS only lists a few top schools, https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-sc ... s-rankings, but I would read the application info on these schools.
I am just rather confused what this would offer to your profile. You would need to get a 60/70/80th percentile (depending on prestige of program) or above anyway for this to be something that you would want to include in your application
To be candid (and I am trying to speak solely to give you the most help possible) unless you were working, dealing with mental illness, playing a sport, or something else in college that explains your low physics gpa, I do not think (unless you are great at standardized tests) you would be able to get that high of a percentile without months of studying. Plus you have had a year off of physics it seems.
I simply think that since this is comp. neuro, there are much better things you could be doing to increase your chance of acceptance, such as research.


Ok, ty for the response. Yea, I was definitely worried that, since I've been out of school for two years and haven't studied physics formally since then, I wouldn't do well.

In that case I wont' take it.




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