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GRE retake (with low chances of much difference?)

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#1
Hey all,

I just took the GRE a couple of days back. I did 160V and 140Q. Clearly, that quant score is a joke. I had been studying for a while but obviously I was quite lost in the end.

The rest of my grad school package is solid - undergrad cum laude, 3.54 GPA, GIS certificate last year, currently in AmeriCorps for a NY state agency, got an A in a statistics course after undergrad because I knew it was important in the long run.

... but I'm not convinced that without going into full time, GRE study mode, with a tutor, for a month and a half, that I could bring my score up meaningfully.

I've seen some average scores for the schools I want to apply to, and the low ends are like 151 in quant. I spoke to a serious admissions player at Cornell, which is my reach school, and she conveyed that GRE mattered least in the end. But, wow, 140 is bad! I've never seen anyone on these forums at least with that poor a score.

Let me know what you guys think. Thanks!
 
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#2
I mean...better to be low on quant than verbal for planning/policy school. If your verbal score was 140, I'd consider a retake but I don't know how much it's worth a retake without like you mentioned, a considerable investment in time and money. Your time would probably be better spent writing and editing multiple drafts of essays and preparing other aspects of your application. Your verbal score is above average so it might make up?
 
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#3
Thanks for your reply, Ashkali,

If you remember Cornell is my reach. I felt like the program was a great fit, but I'm worried this score will really stain my application package. Curious if anyone else here had atrocious scores but could get in to the schools high on there list.

There is a grad school fair near me next week and several schools i'm interested in will be there. I'll ask flat out about bad scores I'm thinkin.
 
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#4
If you do retake, find out from both the GRE and the school if you can combine your best Verbal score with your best Quant score.
 

gtpeach

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#5
I mean...better to be low on quant than verbal for planning/policy school. If your verbal score was 140, I'd consider a retake but I don't know how much it's worth a retake without like you mentioned, a considerable investment in time and money. Your time would probably be better spent writing and editing multiple drafts of essays and preparing other aspects of your application. Your verbal score is above average so it might make up?
LOL. When I took the GRE back in the dark ages, the scoring system was different. My quantitative score was 750 (out of 800)... my verbal score was 470!!!! I still got into grad school for policy, though. And I was probably the best student in my class. I also did not have a stellar GPA. It was around 2.8. (Engineering school is hard!)

For the record, at that time, most programs required a minimum score of 500 in both portions. So... if you have your heart set on somewhere really competitive, maybe it's worth it to try to take it again. If you're okay if you don't go to the most prestigious school ever, there are programs you'll be able to qualify for, especially with the other criteria going for you! :)
 

mercdude

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#6
There is some value in retaking, especially if it's a competitive program.The first time I took the GRE I had an okay score but not good enough to get into my grad program. Ironically I spent a lot of time preparing for that GRE exam (like 6 months and painstakingly going through a GRE-prep book). I decided to take the GRE again; because, I had almost nothing to loose. That time I increased my score by 200, which was a substantial improvement. My strategy was to do zero preparatory studying and only spend 30 minutes on practice exams. I guess what I'm saying is, it's more important to understand how the exams operate than to have actual knowledge; because, the GRE doesn't test knowledge, it tests aptitude/learning ability.

And, honestly, you don't need grad school to be successful anyways. Keep that in mind.
 
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#7
There is some value in retaking, especially if it's a competitive program.The first time I took the GRE I had an okay score but not good enough to get into my grad program. Ironically I spent a lot of time preparing for that GRE exam (like 6 months and painstakingly going through a GRE-prep book). I decided to take the GRE again; because, I had almost nothing to loose. That time I increased my score by 200, which was a substantial improvement. My strategy was to do zero preparatory studying and only spend 30 minutes on practice exams. I guess what I'm saying is, it's more important to understand how the exams operate than to have actual knowledge; because, the GRE doesn't test knowledge, it tests aptitude/learning ability.

And, honestly, you don't need grad school to be successful anyways. Keep that in mind.
I had a very similar experience. Studied for months on end. Maybe I will retake it - I like that nothing to lose attitude. If I do better, I'll resend the scores and the schools will see the bit of improvement (did I mention I sent the scores in that day?) Otherwise I won't. I'm waiting now for my essay scores and then I should really decide I guess.
 
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#8
I'm not sure the essay scores matter - it's the math/verbal scores that matter. And, what will happen is that your first (and second) GRE scores will show up on your transcripts. I don't think anyone even cares outside of entrance. I mean really, how many times have they changed the SAT/GRE scoring system? At this point (8 years out), I doubt I could have a meaningful comparison of my scores to today's GRE score due to the changes. So I guess what I'm saying is, it's just a hoop to get in. After that, no one cares. Just like, no one cares about your GPA after graduation.
 

kjel

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#9
I got into 5 out of 6 schools with an 1150 combined GRE score with a 5.5 in writing in 2006. That's about where the OP scored. Your application will be evaluated as a whole-grades, prior work experience, statement of purpose etc. FWIW I graduated from Rutgers with a two masters degrees.
 
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