How important is the GRE?

There’s a discussion of interest on Leiter Reports here.

It depends on the school, but a good rule of thumb is to treat every portion of the application like it’s important. There is a lot of disagreement about how useful the GRE is, but without knowing exactly who takes it seriously and who doesn’t, and who will be on an admissions committee in a given year and who won’t, as an applicant, it’s probably wise to treat it seriously any way. Much of what you read in other sources will tell you that poor GRE scores can be made up for with a particularly fantastic writing sample. This is probably true of many programs, and some schools like MIT and Cornell don’t require you to submit your scores at all, but for example, in talking with the other prospective students at one of the programs I was admitted to, I learned that none of us had a combined verbal and quantitative score below 1300. When it comes to funding that is sometimes offered by graduate schools, rather than the individual departments, I suspect GRE scores play an even larger role since this is the easiest way to compare students across disciplines.

If you want to study for the GRE, there are several resources available free on-line:

Study tools, here.
More study tools, here.
Practice tests, here.  
More practice tests, here.
Sample questions from ETS, here.
Test preparation tips from ETS, here.

Some people may know all the material you’re tested on during the GRE, but still do poorly on the exam. The best thing I did was to treat the whole thing like a game. It helped me stay calm, which helped my score.


~ by humeisapotato on March 11, 2011.

One Response to “How important is the GRE?”

  1. Thank you!

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