How important is Verbal GRE???

JackSkellington
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How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby JackSkellington » Sun Nov 12, 2006 5:15 am

So I just took the general GRE- and bombed it completely. I got a 680 in math (ok) and a 490 in verbal (...not so ok).

I think i did ok on the Physics on Nov 4 since i spent all my time studying for it (im hoping for a 900+), and my GPA is just shy of a 4.0. I have two summers and a semester of research in AMO theory, an REU at UWash in nuclear theory, and a Phys Rev paper on which im first author. Im American.

Has my 490 completely screwed up my shot at a top school (CU, Harvard, etc...)?
How important is the verbal???

Quantum
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Postby Quantum » Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:19 am

Most grad physics applicants underestimate the importance of their verbal and writing GRE scores. Without question, admission committees will put more emphasis on both your physics subject and math GRE scores. However, the verbal/writing scores are much more than meaningless for many reasons.

Most importantly, in grad school you will be doing research, and with that, writing papers and giving presentations to professors that discuss your research projects. It's highly important to be an efficient and effective communicator and have strong written and oral abilities. If you can "do" the research, but not very well organize, explain, and present it to others, then sadly, you're not worth a great deal to the school.

Also, admission committees are fascinated by students that are well-rounded. Those who not only excel at the subject they wish to pursue, but who are also well-versed in a wide variety of disciplines, seem to spark their interest. And hey, it makes sense because it's impressive. It shows to the committee that you're not only competent at physics, but you excel at everything you do. It shows determination and intelligence in who you are and demonstrates your potential capabilities.

Your GPA and previous research are compelling. But if you're planning on applying to top-tier physics schools, keep in mind such is true of many other applicants as well. You want to stand out from the crowd. Raising your GRE general score certainly isn't the only (or perhaps even the best) way to do so, but at least it's a step in the right direction. To be safe, I would spend a considerable amount of time studying to boost your score (especially, of course, the verbal) and retake the test. I would say for top schools, you want to aim for a verbal score of 650+ and a math score of 750+. Hey, it's tough, but once you attain it, it's yours forever. (Or well, at least for 5 years in the mind of ETS.)

Hope this helps. =)
Don't get discouraged; just push yourself to do the most you can. ^_^
Last edited by Quantum on Sun Nov 26, 2006 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JackSkellington
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Postby JackSkellington » Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:27 pm

Thanks! I guess i'd better get studying vocab.....

Daharoni
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Postby Daharoni » Mon Nov 13, 2006 4:34 am

A 490 on verbal might cut you out of the top few schools but not many. I think if you have a strong enough application you just need to be worried that your GRE scores will be above any cut off the school has.

My friend who is a math major got a 380 on verbal and go into a few schools in the top 10 of math graduate programs (and he didnt even do too well on the subject GRE).

The schools know that the GREs are not a great judge of your abilities so don't sweat it.

rjharris
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Postby rjharris » Mon Nov 13, 2006 10:25 am

yeah... i think that someone on another post (replying to mine) said it best...

english majors average something like 545. i mean, frickin' english majors don't get too terribly high on the exam. so, a 490 doesn't seem too bad for a physics major.

artist
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Postby artist » Mon Dec 04, 2006 10:40 pm

I just got a 450 on verbal and 770 on quantitative. I had no idea I was so verbally deficient.

astrophysics chica
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Postby astrophysics chica » Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:15 pm

Maybe I should have been an English major.....720 Verbal, 710 Math (which is kinda pathetic, I just was too leisurely in answering the questions and didn't finish the last several, ugh)

Well, glad to know the verbal counts for something (clearly the physics test is the most relevant...just took it sat. so we will see)

blueplanet
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby blueplanet » Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:26 pm

I got a 520 on Verbal and 800 on Quantitative. Hopefully the 520 isn't too low for a good program.

ankit
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby ankit » Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:52 am

Hi. I have a 3.08 GPA, with a 3.54 in Economics, 3.63 in Mathematics. I scored a 650 in Verbal and 800 in Math. Also, 5.5 in writing. What are my chances for a top school for quant programs? Carnegie Melon, Columbia, NYU etc. Any resourceful comment will be appreciated.

kroner
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby kroner » Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:12 am

if you're worried about your GRE score, you're fine.

mobytish
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby mobytish » Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:00 am

Yea, seriously. Physics people don't need a huge vocabulary. Every school I've talked to says they really just focus on the Quant. score.

highbounce
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby highbounce » Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:01 pm

mobytish wrote:Yea, seriously. Physics people don't need a huge vocabulary. Every school I've talked to says they really just focus on the Quant. score.


A low verbal score doesn't hurt much, but a relatively high verbal score (like 690) can help an application a little bit too right? Especially for an international student? :wink:

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noojens
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby noojens » Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:11 pm

There was a (relatively unsubstantiated) rumor going around a couple years back that pass rates for qualifying exams were more closely correlated with verbal GRE score than physics GRE score. I doubt that's given much credence on admissions committees though.

I do think it behooves a department to have TAs that speak clear English, and later on when you start publishing, the ability to string coherent sentences together on paper becomes valued. I doubt any advisor wants to spend their time correcting their student's grammar. ;)

But yeah, the verbal GRE is probably pretty near the bottom of the list of things they consider.

blueplanet
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby blueplanet » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:44 pm

I have to say the physics programs don't really care about verbal score. I knew a person who was a domestic student do so bad on the Verbal that Stanford made him take the TOEFL, but he passed that and they still let him in. If you get rejected and it came down to the verbal, you probably didn't deserve to get in anyways.

geshi
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby geshi » Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:00 pm

blueplanet wrote:I have to say the physics programs don't really care about verbal score.


Simply not true. It largely depends on the program.

Exhibit A:
http://pages.physics.cornell.edu/~larri ... chool.html

Exhibit B:
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmi ... te-school/

It matters to some degree (not to a HUGE degree, but some), depending on the program. The general GRE is less important then the PGRE, but success on the GGRE should still be given some thought.

P.S. This thread was started a couple (3.5ish) years ago. I don't think the OP cares that much about how their verbal GRE affects their grad school chances anymore.

llorgehthset
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby llorgehthset » Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:51 pm

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Last edited by llorgehthset on Tue May 25, 2010 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Quantum Triviality
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby Quantum Triviality » Wed May 19, 2010 11:14 pm

There was a (relatively unsubstantiated) rumor going around a couple years back that pass rates for qualifying exams were more closely correlated with verbal GRE score than physics GRE score. I doubt that's given much credence on admissions committees though.


This is definitely not true. I know that several admission committee members (including a longtime chair) not only heard this but actually did a study with the dept's grad students and thought it was true.

So the Verbal GRE should not be underestimated.

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InquilineKea
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby InquilineKea » Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:54 pm

One thing to ask though: A low GRE Verbal is certainly a red flag. So the difference between 500 and 600 will definitely matter.

But does the difference between a 700 and 800 really matter?

vttd
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby vttd » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:04 pm

http://www.testmasters.net/gre/informat ... scale.aspx

In the verbal section, an 800 is a 99% while a 700 is a 97%. So no I don't think that makes a difference. Think anything in the 90% will reflect highly on your verbal abilities

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InquilineKea
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby InquilineKea » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:17 pm

Ah, thanks for the reply! So do they look at percentile more than they look at the raw score? (maybe because the percentile for the raw score varies from year to year on the PGRE?)

Opticks
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby Opticks » Mon May 16, 2011 1:23 am

so it sounds like the verbal score isn't that important as long as you don't embarrass yourself. Well, I think I did embarass myself. I didn't get accepted into some of the programs I applied to, and two schools told me my low verbal scores stood out. I'm domestic and took the test twice, both times scoring in the 400s.

Since I plan to apply for the NSF and other fellowships, and might even try to transfer out of the school I plan to attend if things don't work out, is it worth taking it a THIRD time? I could spend this summer trying to memorize thousands of words.

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InquilineKea
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby InquilineKea » Mon May 16, 2011 1:25 am

It does sound like some departments do care about Verbal GRE though (the astronomy department at Washington cares, and many earth science departments also care)

michael
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby michael » Mon May 16, 2011 12:07 pm

If you do decide to do it again, you should use this: http://www.mnemosyne-proj.org/

It is an incredible (free) program for memorizing large numbers of facts. I have been using it to learn Spanish vocabulary, but it would also be ideal for GRE vocab.

TheBeast
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby TheBeast » Mon May 16, 2011 1:38 pm

In addition to the limitations from the department, there may be hard limits set by the university School of Graduate studies concerning the minimum acceptable score. If you have less than this score, the department may have to jump through hoops to get you admitted, which they may or may not be inclined to do.

Opticks wrote:Since I plan to apply for the NSF and other fellowships, and might even try to transfer out of the school I plan to attend if things don't work out, is it worth taking it a THIRD time? I could spend this summer trying to memorize thousands of words.

I think that getting a good score on the GRE verbal can be done with a lot of practice with the CATs from ETS as well as the exercises from a GRE General study book like Barron's. I wouldn't recommend memorizing thousands of words, but I know that most study books typically have a list of a couple hundred or so most commonly used GRE words. Memorizing the definitions of those will really boost your score.

Opticks
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby Opticks » Mon May 16, 2011 6:00 pm

TheBeast wrote:I think that getting a good score on the GRE verbal can be done with a lot of practice with the CATs from ETS as well as the exercises from a GRE General study book like Barron's. I wouldn't recommend memorizing thousands of words, but I know that most study books typically have a list of a couple hundred or so most commonly used GRE words. Memorizing the definitions of those will really boost your score.


Well, maybe I don't have to study for this as much as I thought. I took two practice CATs today, and got in the mid 500s for both! When I took the practice tests in the past, my scores varied wildly, from low 400s to low 500s. And I have since forgot hundreds of the words I had memorized. Maybe I just got test anxiety

OTOH, I took some practice written tests in the Barrons book, and scored in the low 400s! Are the scores for that really accurate? I got about the same number of antonym and analogy questions correct for both the CATs and written tests, but the reading comp was much easier for the CATs than the Barrons

I don't think just memorizing the commonly used words helps that much. I memorized all of them in the past, and still scored in the 400s

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InquilineKea
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby InquilineKea » Mon May 16, 2011 6:15 pm

Barron's is notorious for assigning practice tests that are harder than the original versions (at least that was how it was like for APs and SATs)

leibnuts
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby leibnuts » Wed May 18, 2011 5:25 am

How important is the Verbal GRE for internationals, compared to the TOEFL/IELTS results? I got a 480, which is not that great, but I'm hoping to get a decent TOEFL score.
Which of these tests would you say is more important?

cesascencio
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby cesascencio » Tue Jun 28, 2011 8:43 pm

JackSkellington wrote:So I just took the general GRE- and bombed it completely. I got a 680 in math (ok) and a 490 in verbal (...not so ok).

I think i did ok on the Physics on Nov 4 since i spent all my time studying for it (im hoping for a 900+), and my GPA is just shy of a 4.0. I have two summers and a semester of research in AMO theory, an REU at UWash in nuclear theory, and a Phys Rev paper on which im first author. Im American.

Has my 490 completely screwed up my shot at a top school (CU, Harvard, etc...)?
How important is the verbal???

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wow, that General GRE score is pretty low, but if you did very well on the Physics GRE, then I wouldn't worry too much about the General GRE score, especially not the verbal portion. You did above average on the Quantitative right, maybe 80 percentile?

I am a graduate student in physics about to finish up my MS in Physics and will be applying for admission to a PhD in Physics in condensed matter this Fall. Something very important:

I am also American. My GPA in my MS Physics (the courses are PhD level) is 3.95 (I need only to complete my research and Thesis, i.e. I'm done with all coursework). My General GRE scores are much higher than yours. I am shooting for a score close to perfect on the Physics GRE (pretty sure I will achieve this). I am doing research in condensed matter at Princeton University right now. BUT GUESS WHAT? You have a better shot than me to get into a better program (university). You want to know why? You have publications! That is more important than anything else on a Physics PhD application! It will certainly give you a HUGE advantage over applicants like me that will not have any publications before submitting admission applications. With your undergraduate GPA, good physics GRE score, and ESPECIALLY publication, you shouldn't worry too much about NOT being admitted to a good program because of a insignificant verbal score.

Goodluck!

bernetta66
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby bernetta66 » Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:12 am

I believe GRE verbal score isnt as imp as it is made out to be. If u gotta rest of ur appln material set up properly then don even think abr verbal. Ya just keep it above average level, tat shd do. Onarimcilar

nik
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby nik » Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:53 pm

This was exactly the thread I was looking for and lastly I found this 8-years-old thread. Unfortunately, after reading all the posts from all people, I'm really confused how important Verbal is. Some said it's important, some says not so much, some said not at all...

No, I'm not asking repeatedly whether I should flip burger in McD or make Sub-sandwich with my verbal score. What I am asking is, whether I should proactively put more time on Verbal or Q for my next test. Would someone knowledgeable be kind enough to write down some advices after reading my info below? Thanks.

nik wrote:Last year, my GRE scores were: Q: 164(88%), V: 142(16%), AW: 3.0(15%), Phy: 860(80%) and my admission results were... catastrophic.

A good reason of the catastrophe was, I didn't have my Classical, Quantum and Statistical Mechanics courses completed when I applied last year (more info: I am doing BS in Physics in Germany and I didn't have many Physics courses complete at the end of 2nd year of a 3-years degree). Now I have those courses done with good grades. But I don't know whether my V-GRE was also responsible or not.

I registered again for GRE, but can't really exceed 150 in verbal in practice tests. I have around 11 days in hand.

My target universities are 18-36 in US news. If my Q improves and verbal remains <150, and AWA=3.0, do I have chances there? Should I put more time on Q to get a full 170 or try to improve Verbal and AWA?

TakeruK
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Re: How important is Verbal GRE???

Postby TakeruK » Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:24 pm

Your verbal score of 16% is definitely something you should improve. To answer your direct question: yes, take all the time you would have spent on Q and spend it on the V. 88% on Q is a great score -- no need for improvement. 16% on V is something that might not get you past the GRE cutoffs at some schools. I would say aim for about 50% (which is currently 151/170).




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