My bad quantitative GRE score

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twistor
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My bad quantitative GRE score

Postby twistor » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:45 pm

Got a 660 on the GRE quantative. F*** the ETS.

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fermiboy
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Postby fermiboy » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:48 pm

Did you run out of time? That can really damage your score.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:49 pm

As a matter of fact, yes, that's exactly what happened.

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fermiboy
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Postby fermiboy » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:52 pm

Same thing happened to me, I saw the clock ticking down and had to guess on the last 2. As far as your sentiments towards ETS, I agree 100%.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:57 pm

The question now is do I take it again or just apply with the scores I have. I'm quite confident that my letters of recommendation, 4.0 GPA, year of research, the publication I'm working on, and the conferences I've spoken at will all look great on my application.

I think these should be enough to get me in. I really don't want to pay the ETS another $140 for 4.5 hours of hell only to redo one section that I did poorly on.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:14 pm

So should I retake the test?

sirjetpackbob
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Postby sirjetpackbob » Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:25 pm

I took it today too and did well, but also ran out of time on the last question. I had like 3 seconds left and was trying to click my answer but the bubble wouldn't fill in! I think the computer was already processing the next section or something. So then I was pissed off as I went into the verbal section after it, and probably got a lower score because I wasn't thinking clearly.

By the way, I think it's bullshit that there are unscored experimental sections on the test. I had my two writing sections, then a verbal section, then math, then another verbal. By the time I got to the last verbal my brain was starting to get tired (and I was pissed at that last math question). I'm pretty sure that was the section that was scored too, as I did quite a bit lower than I had done on my two practice tests. So, because there was an experimental verbal section early on in the test, I feel my score was lower than it could have been.

The fact is, I paid $140 to take this damn test. I want to take my test and that is all. I didn't volunteer to do ETS's homework for them. Experimental sections should be optional and I think we should get a discount if we choose to do them a favor.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:57 pm

I was in a similar situation. After an hour and 15 minutes of analytical writing (not including the ridiculous mouse tutorial) I took a short break and then completed a verbal section, a math section, AND another verbal section. When doing the math section I got stuck on a question that was poorly worded and wasted my time trying to determine what they were after. By the time I got to the final verbal section I just wanted to leave because I could no longer concentrate. Ironically, I did suprisingly well on the verbal section and my overall score was over 1200.

I think we as test takers have a right to know if a section will not count in our score. I understand that this may affect their ability to analyze the results, but it is unethical. If we agree to this before the test then that is one thing, but requiring every test taker to participate is over the top.

mathlete
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Postby mathlete » Wed Nov 21, 2007 11:52 pm

Nobody really cares about the general GRE. Ideally you'd have a 700 quantitative but it certainly isn't a deal breaker or anything.

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Thu Nov 22, 2007 1:16 am

Um, it depends on what schools you are applying to. 660 doesn't look good when the average quantitative GRE scores of admitted students to most top 20 schools are 780-790.

For example, last year Yale (ranked #14) accepted someone with a verbal score of 330 (international students, no doubt), accepted someone with a physics scores of 590, but the lowest quantitative score accepted was a 690. 660 is really low.

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will
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Postby will » Thu Nov 22, 2007 1:38 am

Nobody really cares about the general GRE. Ideally you'd have a 700 quantitative but it certainly isn't a deal breaker or anything.

Actually you'd be surprised... This is one of those rare occasions where I have to say that score just isn't going to cut it.

An 800 on the quantitative hardly separates you from the pack, but a 660 does, unfortunately.

mathlete
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Postby mathlete » Thu Nov 22, 2007 2:56 am

Really? Everything I've seen says that the general GRE is the least important part of your app and as long as you have a decent score you're fine. Though I guess you could argue 660 isn't good enough for a top physics program, so meh.

And grae, your Yale example shows correlation but not necessarily causation. It could be that people with lower quantitative scores generally didn't have competitive applications, not the other way around. I mean, if you took one of the applicants they accepted and only changed their app by lowering their quantitative scores by 100 points would they really not be accepted?

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butsurigakusha
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Postby butsurigakusha » Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:21 am

Actually, I could imagine that happening quite easily. Top schools seem to accept about 10% of their applicants. And I would guess that the majority of those applicants have all the necessary credentials, such as top gre scores, research experience, excellent grades, etc.

If we assume that a third of the applicants have impeccable credentials, still only a third of those will be accepted. So considering that for each applicant who is accepted there are at least 2 almost equally qualified who are rejected, I would think that scoring 100 points lower on the quantitative gre could make the difference. I can't imagine there are too many applicants out there whose research, grades, etc. are so amazing that a school would consider them essential to their program.

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Thu Nov 22, 2007 4:07 am

mathlete: it IS the least important part, because the vast majority of the applicants have a quant. score within 30 points of 800. No one cares whether you got an 800 or a 790 (for the most part), but they DO care if you get a 660. It becomes important if you flunk it. As long as you do OK, it's fine, but IMO 660 is not OK.

I agree with you completely about the data from Yale. However, Yale sees a lot of applications, but they had no problems filling up their admits with people who scores a 690 or above. Does that not suggest something? Do you think there weren't any applications that were sound everywhere except one of the GRE tests? To boot, Yale puts much less emphasis on GRE scores, their averages are way low compared to other programs of similar prestige.

Twistor, did you take the practice exams ETS sent you when you registered? They should give you a good idea of what pace you have to have. If you score/scored way higher than 660, I think you should seriously consider retaking it.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:24 am

I got a 760 on the practice exam. As I said, I got hung up on the semantics of a particular question and ran out of time with 4 or 5 questions left.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:26 am

BTW, I'm not applying to Yale. The biggest two I'm applying to are NW and Chicago, but those aren't even my top picks (U. Wisconsin is...) I know they accepted someone with a 650......

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twistor
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Keep this in mind the next time you hand the ETS your money

Postby twistor » Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:33 am

"In 2003, for example, ETS flexed its power and won a three-year, $175 million contract to oversee California's testing. "

"Testing Companies Mine for Gold "

http://www.rethinkingschools.org/specia ... t192.shtml

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:35 am

Sorry for the multiple posts, I just want to point out one more important highlight of the article:

"Invariably, the private testing companies that control standardized testing operate behind closed doors with little to no public accountability. They function as subsections of multinational conglomerates that view the U.S. testing industry as just one tentacle of publishing and entertainment empires that span the globe. "

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:43 am

So it doesn't look bad if I retake the test?

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:32 pm

Plenty of people retake the test. If the admissions see a 660, then on a test date one month later, they see a 760, I don't think it looks bad at all.

With most people I tell them not to worry, but 100 points is a huge difference. That's got to be a difference of at least 30 percentile points. A 760 means they won't even think about your quant score, a 660 is reason to question your quantitative abilities.

Again, just my opinion.

schmit.paul
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Postby schmit.paul » Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:11 am

just my two cents- if your Physics GRE score was really good (let's say, above 800), then I wouldn't worry too much, as it will outshine your general GRE scores without a doubt. Perhaps it wasn't, but I've seen plenty of people posting physics scores in the high 800's to 900's to make it worth mentioning this caveat. I would hate to have had to retake the general GRE last year, and while I cannot say with confidence that grae's prognosis is absolutely the case (though her logic is surely reasonable), I would hate to risk getting rejected over what really should be a minor detail on your application, which in every other respect looks to be a strong one. In fact, it sounds like it will be strong enough that your general GRE score shouldn't raise much of an unnecessary red flag with admissions committees that actually take the time to examine the substance of every application beyond just a superficial reading of test scores. If you don't mind gambling a little bit over procedural admissions formalities, then don't bother retaking the exam. However, if you have the stamina to go through it again and do significantly better on the quantitative without scoring lower on the other sections, then go ahead, as it surely won't hurt your chances should you have a positive outcome.

MSU_fizz
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Postby MSU_fizz » Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:16 pm

A poor verbal score won't hurt you nearly as much as a poor math score. Most 'good' applicants will be above 90th percentile for math. If the rest of your application is superb, you may be ok, depending on which schools you're applying to. If you're relying on your good GPA and some research, you should retake the GRE.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Mon Nov 26, 2007 8:52 am

Thanks to all who offered their opinions.

What's with the censorship?

ipercher
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Now, how bad is a 700 in quantitative to all of you?

Postby ipercher » Tue Nov 27, 2007 11:24 pm

I did the exact same thing as twistor--I ran out of time and missed a few questions at the end. When I prepared for the GRE general, I only took a couple of days out of my physics GRE studies and crammed a bunch of vocabulary words. The stars aligned on this section, and I got a 690, which is high. My luck ran out on the quantitative, which I'd prepared for very lightly. Somehow I lost my test poise over a word problem about oranges and grapefruit--I guess I just wasn't used to that sort of question, and that kind of stupid-simple approach to math.

Anyway, there's no time now to retake the GRE. The rest of the numbers on my application aren't going to delight, with a ho-hum GPA, physics GRE, and all those score-type stuff. The non-number stuff is better. I went to a good school (Oberlin) and expect my recommendations to be good, especially if I can corner the flaky physicist that employed me after I graduated college. My personal statement should be interesting--I run with a pack of working visual artists. I'm applying to U Penn and NYU, UW Madison and U Minnesota. I want to study soft condensed matter.

Am I crazy?If it doesn't work out, I'll test again and go it again next year; still, I'm 25, and not getting any younger. Is there hope for the test-score underdog?

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will
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Postby will » Tue Nov 27, 2007 11:34 pm

If you gave your actual scores we'd be in a better position to assess your chances, but without them I can say that the schools you're applying to are all excellent programs, but certainly less exclusive. It's at least partially a numbers game at all schools, but less so at these ones. I'm applying to U.Penn and Wisconsin too, so best of luck!

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:47 pm

Just found out:

Unanswered questions count against you TWICE AS MUCH as normal wrong answers. Just thought I would let everyone know in case timing is an issue for anyone else.




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