Well I'm kind of in limbo waiting for the November 4th GRE results, but reading most of the posts on this site, I'm a little nervous that my application won't be competitive.
I am an astrophysics and mathematics major from a big 10 university. I have a pretty high GPA of 3.95 and I think my GPA in my major is actually a little higher. I've had one REU experience and I've worked for one of my professors here. I plan on getting great recommendations, and I've had one minor publication.
My dilemma is test scores. I am not a very good test taker. In fact I think test taking nerves should be a legitimate disability. I did alright on my regular GRE's 760 on my math and 640 on my verbal. My major concern is the physics subject test:
The night before the november 4th test I couldn't fall asleep, so I ended up taking the test on 1.5 hours of sleep, though I wasn't at all tired during the test (nerves and all). I finished about 70 questions, but I know a made a lot of
educated guesses. I'm guessing I could have gotten anything from a 50% to a 75%.
If I score on the lower end of around 50%, can I still apply to the top programs (Berkelely, Chicago,Santa Cruz, etc)? Do I even stand a chance? Where should I apply?
I also noticed a lot of the people applying for astrophysics grad programs are physics majors? Am I at a supreme disadvantage applying as an astro major? If I do around 50% on the GRE and I want to go to a competitive program, would anyone suggest staying another year at college to complete a physics major and retake the subject GRE?
I'm signed up for the physics GRE in december as well. I don't know if I need to take it or not, and unfortunately I wont get my november scores back in time to decide. Naturally, due to my bad test taking nerves and the trauma of the last GRE I really REALLY don't want to go through that again. I only have two weeks anyway to study, and I'm not sure any drastic improvement will follow. Plus I don't want to do even worse. Do people generally do better on the december test?
I started as a bio major so the last 2.5 years I've been taking 20 credit math and physics semesters to catch up, I really don't want all my hard work to be worth nothing because of these stupid tests! Does anyone have any advise on where I can apply? Do top schools ignore poor physics gre scores if the rest of the application is good? Plus, I'm a girl, as much as I am ashamed to ask this, does that fact lower the standards?
Sorry for the onslaught of questions. I just really need some advice. I thought I was doing well, but based on the posts on this site I feel so inadequate. Help desperately needed.....