Low AWA - better ask for a rescore?

terrence
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:59 pm

Low AWA - better ask for a rescore?

Postby terrence » Sat Aug 01, 2009 2:05 pm

Hi everybody,

I have just received my General GRE scores:
Math 800
Verbal 620
AWA 4.0 , 41st percentile (...)

I feel my AWA score is low, I expected 5.0 more or less. Do you think such a score
can hurt my application? Is it worth it to ask for a rescore? I am not English mother tongue.
Thanks in advance for any opinions on this.
terrence

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

Re: Low AWA - better ask for a rescore?

Postby grae313 » Sat Aug 01, 2009 2:58 pm

terrence wrote:Hi everybody,

I have just received my General GRE scores:
Math 800
Verbal 620
AWA 4.0 , 41st percentile (...)

I feel my AWA score is low, I expected 5.0 more or less. Do you think such a score
can hurt my application? Is it worth it to ask for a rescore? I am not English mother tongue.
Thanks in advance for any opinions on this.
terrence


620 is a great verbal score for anyone, and very impressive from someone who speaks English as a second language. The writing score does seem a bit incongruous, but small grammatical mistakes that come from being a non-native speaker can have a larger effect here. For example, you wrote, "I am not English mother tongue" when the correct way to write it would be, "English is not my mother tongue." Something like that wouldn't effect your reading comprehension/vocabulary score in the verbal section, but could account for your lower score in the writing section.

I think your scores show a pretty solid grasp of the English language, which is what people are looking for from non-native speakers, so you should be OK.

However, if you are aiming for top 10 schools, then I think almost everything you can do to help your application is a good idea. Remember that it's possible for you to get a lower score if you request a rescore. If you really adamantly believe that you wrote a much better essay than you were given credit for and you're really aiming for top schools, then you might consider a rescore. Also, I don't know how often the GREs are offered where you are from, but consider whether you will have time before applications are due to retake the general GREs in case you get a lowered score from the rescore. Again, this is only if you really, really think you should have gotten higher and you are aiming for the top schools. If not, I think you are fine with those scores.

blackcat007
Posts: 378
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:14 am

Re: Low AWA - better ask for a rescore?

Postby blackcat007 » Sun Aug 02, 2009 4:36 am

terrence wrote:Hi everybody,

I have just received my General GRE scores:
Math 800
Verbal 620
AWA 4.0 , 41st percentile (...)

I feel my AWA score is low, I expected 5.0 more or less. Do you think such a score
can hurt my application? Is it worth it to ask for a rescore? I am not English mother tongue.
Thanks in advance for any opinions on this.
terrence

may be this will succor you viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2100&p=18853&hilit=horrible+awa#p18853

terrence
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:59 pm

Re: Low AWA - better ask for a rescore?

Postby terrence » Sun Aug 02, 2009 5:14 am

@ blackcat007 : thank you, the thread was helpful!

@grae313 : thank you for the response and the correction :)
Yes, I am sure there are some mistakes in my essays, but I thought
the grading criteria for awa were more focused on content than on
pure language. And yes, I am aiming at the top schools, that's why I
was wondering if I should ask for a rescore...i'll think about it.
Thank you for your suggestions!

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

Re: Low AWA - better ask for a rescore?

Postby quizivex » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:29 am

I'd suggest not rescoring the writing section, cuz I had an awful experience with it. Besides, 4.0 is not bad for an international student. And since the scores are only in increments of 0.5, a 41%-ile is probably not even in the lower half of scores. Further, your excellent verbal score certainly shows competence with the language, and (I don't have numbers) but it's probably above the international averages at top schools. Here's my old story.
quizivex wrote:oh geez, it depresses me to see someone else is worried about his 4.5 on the writing section. When I took the test, I too smashed the math/verbal 800/770 and I was really hoping for a 6 on the writing and I was very confident with my essays. When I got my 5.5/82% in the mail I was disappointed, so I requested a rescore, figuring someone else would grade it and maybe I'd get lucky, or if not I'd get the same 5.5 score back and lose $45, no big deal...

I was stunned when I got a 4.5 back in the mail, for all the obvious reasons. I was given tons of inaccurate and contradictory information by ETS operators (they originally told me I could rescore upto twice, but once I sent my second request, it was sent back saying I couldn't do that...).

While a higher score would be nice, the potential stress of getting a lower score isn't worth the risk, IMO, especially since I think their "rescore procedure" is suspicious... from 5.5 to 4.5 sounds so drastic it may have been sabotage, or they always grade it harder the second time. I've heard of one other user on here say a friend was given a lower score too. Finally, it takes forever to get it back too.

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

Re: Low AWA - better ask for a rescore?

Postby pqortic » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:42 am

i don't have rescoring experience for GRE but have heard many things about it in iBT. it seems that the usual trend goes like people get lower score after rescoring and ETS wants to show (impose) that professional readers there don't make mistake!

terrence
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:59 pm

Re: Low AWA - better ask for a rescore?

Postby terrence » Sun Aug 02, 2009 2:58 pm

Thank you quizivex, your story is helpful and I
share your doubts about the fairness of the
rescoring process. Given this kind of experiences,
I don't know how schools can trust the awa scores.

Now that I have taken all the standardized tests,
the summary is:

TOEFL 114
V 620
Q 800
W 4.0
PGRE 860

Given that I am Western-European, that I could (I hope to) have a publication by the
time I apply, and that I want to work in hep-ph (theory), could I have a chance at the
very top schools?
I feel that I need to improve my PGRE score, I am confident I can get
> 900. In your opinion, would my present PGRE score keep me out of the top schools?
Any opinions would be appreciated.

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

Re: Low AWA - better ask for a rescore?

Postby grae313 » Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:58 am

terrence wrote:Thank you quizivex, your story is helpful and I
share your doubts about the fairness of the
rescoring process. Given this kind of experiences,
I don't know how schools can trust the awa scores.

Now that I have taken all the standardized tests,
the summary is:

TOEFL 114
V 620
Q 800
W 4.0
PGRE 860

Given that I am Western-European, that I could (I hope to) have a publication by the
time I apply, and that I want to work in hep-ph (theory), could I have a chance at the
very top schools?
I feel that I need to improve my PGRE score, I am confident I can get
> 900. In your opinion, would my present PGRE score keep me out of the top schools?
Any opinions would be appreciated.


Are you applying to theory or experiment? With a publication and strong letters of recommendation I think you have a good shot at top 10 schools if you are applying in experiment.

terrence
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:59 pm

Re: Low AWA - better ask for a rescore?

Postby terrence » Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:33 pm

I definitely want to work in theory unfortunately :)
Given this, do you think my PGRE score would be
a serious problem?

User avatar
noojens
Posts: 187
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:59 pm

Re: Low AWA - better ask for a rescore?

Postby noojens » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:20 pm

Did you read the profiles threads?

shouravv
Posts: 84
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 1:20 pm

Re: Low AWA - better ask for a rescore?

Postby shouravv » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:51 pm

114 in iBT and 620 in verbal will far outweigh the 4.0 in AWA, so don't worry about it. Just write a good SOP and you'll be fine.

terrence
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:59 pm

Re: Low AWA - better ask for a rescore?

Postby terrence » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:25 am

@ noojens: yes I did, in fact I have found some profiles
comparable to mine in the 2009 thread:

Imperate
ffalieri
michael
volcano

The closest profile is that of michael - roughly, just to get an idea. He got into Penn,
an excellent school; however having an external scholarship probably helped him.
It looks like I had better focus on getting a higher score on the PGRE rather than
on research...this sounds completely crazy to me.

In the 2008 profiles I found pp who was admitted to Cornell with a 820 PGRE (I think
the 2008 cycle was easier than 2009 though), but applied to 11 top schools in HEP - that's
a huge amount of work!




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