This is really an awesome site.
Hmmm how should I try to explain this???
Ok as most people do, I plan to take the GRE (for the first time) in November.
I know how important the GRE is (and I agree, it should be important), but I can't picture me or anyone being able to decide where to apply without knowing what they scored on the darn test.
There are plenty of decent students, who have the grades and research background to have a chance at top schools, but end up bombing the GRE for one reason or another (such as poor time management and missing the last 40 questions, or not having memorized enough equations etc...) And since it's too late to take the test again, they are really screwed. Stupid things like an uncomfortably hot room or a lawnmower outside can mess people up too.
I'm not worried about bombing it, but coming from a mediocre school and having had some bad luck on the research front and elsewhere, I really need to smash the GRE to have a chance.
So basically, I wonder if it's ok to have a rough idea where I want to apply, and from now until November, put most of my effort into the GRE (meaning, reviewing basic physics rather than thinking about the test itself). And then after I get the scores by phone as early as possible, start filling out apps hardcore day and night?
That may sound silly, but as long as I alert the profs early on this summer who I plan to get recs from that I do need a rec, and knowing I can send my transcripts overnight for an extra fee, and the app itself can be done online, it seems to me that there would in fact be plenty of time for the schools who have deadlines as early as January 1.
I know most people start the application process as early as the summer. But in short, I don't want to even think about the schools I want to go to until after the test. Looking into dream schools would only be depressing and distracting.
Does anyone have any input on this? In other words, for those of you who already went through this process, do you think it would've been possible to wait until late Nov to throw together apps? Thanks