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Should I take it early?

CantabilenApathyCantabilenApathy Registered User Posts: 304 Member
Right now I'm a CCC student, hoping to transfer to UCB Fall 2011 as a philosophy major. I plan to graduate either Spring or Fall 2013. During my time at UCB, I want to really focus on my phil classes and prepping for grad school- I plan to write a senior honors thesis and take a grad seminar, spend a lot of time perfecting my writing sample, and take elective classes that will benefit me (like in rhetoric, linguistics, poly sci, etc). Obviously I will be very busy.

This fall and next spring semester I will mainly be working. I have one more GE to do and I may take another class or 2 in the fall for personal enrichment and GPA boost, but I'm essentially taking the year off. I'm also going to use that year to prep for when I transfer- reading and rereading philosophy classics and beginning pre-preliminary (haha) research for my thesis so I can be at the top of my class.

Now I'm thinking that I should plan to take the GRE at the end of Spring 2011. I'll have the entire year to prepare. Obviously my analytical writing will be so much better a few years later (especially being a philosophy major). But since I am a phil major, wouldn't the fact that I've spent the past 2 years studying and doing analysis (however basic) already put me at an advantage over the chem/engineering type majors?

I know that the GRE is generally thought of as not an important factor, unless your scores are unusually high or low (I find the "unusually high" part odd, considering that phil majors have the highest average score, and that the average applicant to highly selective grad departments would already have "unusually high" quantitative and verbal skills). I obviously want my application to stand out, and I think that taking it early will give me ample time to prepare for a high score AND will let me do my upper division coursework, especially my writing sample and honors thesis, with one less thing to stress over.

Thoughts? If I score "unusually high" in 2011, will admissions committees for 2013/2014 treat this less (or more) favorably than the same score from that year?
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