Writing a justification for lower PGRE score--- good idea?

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poel5279
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:36 am

Writing a justification for lower PGRE score--- good idea?

Postby poel5279 » Tue Dec 03, 2013 3:19 pm

Hi, thank you so much for reading my post!
I know that many of you are always trying to take your time to help people applying! We are all extremely grateful.

So, here is my concern.
I am planning on applying to many top 10s.
(for more detailed profile, viewtopic.php?f=21&t=5264)

(BTW, I lived in US since 2001, but I am an international student by status)

I just took my general GRE yesterday, and I got Q: 169/170, V: 159/170, W: don't know yet, which I think is okay(?) for Top 10s.

I have 3.98 GPA, and have a great letter of recommendations and research experience.

The only thing that is definitely lower than the average compared to those applying to HEP-Theory in the top 10 is my PGRE score, 810 (73%).

I sincerely hope I do not sound arrogant, but I genuinely think PGRE questions are low-level, and I have no doubt that I can perform much better on the exam with a bit more studying. (of course taking a year is an option, but I really don't want to just for one exam.) I think I may have a valid justification for my lower score, and I was wondering if it would be a good idea to express this to grad schools.

I am currently taking 'E&M' (landau), 'Statistical Mechanics' (landau), and 'Quantum Mechanics' (Griffith) for the first time (of course, I took lower level general physics.). I am learning a great deal from those classes, but at the time of the exam, the only thing I was able to do was skim over some materials indepently (with very limited time). Do you guys think it would be advisable to tell the graduate schools that I did not take the relevant courses in a timely manner, and thus had a lower than average gre scores?

Thank you once again. Please give me your honest and harsh(if need be) opinions, they will come most useful.
Last edited by poel5279 on Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TakeruK
Posts: 814
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Writing a justification for lower PGRE score--- good idea?

Postby TakeruK » Tue Dec 03, 2013 3:54 pm

I wouldn't include any justification. It's not like you can say "X happened, so my score really should be increased by Y points" and prove it. So, it's not like the committee can get any useful information out of your justification, in my opinion! This is why admissions are done holistically, so if one aspect is abnormally low, it will seen as an outlier when compared with the rest of your profile.

That is, the PGRE score is required not because the grad schools specifically want applicants with a certain PGRE score. Instead, the PGRE score is required because it is one of many metrics used to determine whether or not an applicant will be successful in their program and beyond. So, if the rest of your profile strongly indicates this (I think so), then I would not worry about the PGRE score.

poel5279
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:36 am

Re: Writing a justification for lower PGRE score--- good idea?

Postby poel5279 » Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:13 pm

Thank you. I hope you are right.
IT's just that judging from the profiles of other international students, it seems like you really need to have high PGRE score on top of everything else. Thank you for your opinion!


Any other thoughts?

User avatar
WhoaNonstop
Posts: 851
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:31 am

Re: Writing a justification for lower PGRE score--- good idea?

Postby WhoaNonstop » Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:39 pm

poel5279 wrote:I am planning on applying to many top 10s.


poel5279 wrote:my PGRE score, 810 (73%).


Have you looked through the profile threads and counted how many international students get into top 10 schools with sub-900 scores? It's either very low or non-existent.

Don't include any justification on why you did poorly on the PGRE. If you did excellent on the PGRE, would you have said: "I did well even though they taught me poorly at my school" I'm afraid you don't get any bonus points either way. Self-study is especially important in graduate school.

-Riley

poel5279
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:36 am

Re: Writing a justification for lower PGRE score--- good idea?

Postby poel5279 » Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:59 pm

Thank you. I think what you are saying is right.




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