Should I retake the GRE for Chem PhD?

<p>Hi all, sorry for the long post, but please bear with me. I took the GRE 2 days ago, and I was very disappointed with my score: 630V 760Q. Haven't received writing score yet but I'm just hoping for a 4 given what happened.</p>

<p>I knew I should've taken this more seriously than to spend just a weekend cramming for it. I'm kicking myself really hard right now, but alas I must suffer the consequences.</p>

<p>I'll be going into my 5th and final year as a chem major this upcoming September (biochem--->chem switch held me back a year) at the University of Toronto. GRE aside, all my other credentials are pretty good:</p>

<p>-3.9+ GPA (3.99 in major)
-UROP for a summer, NSERC (Canadian equivalent of REU) for 2 summers, although one summer was doing biochem stuff, and 1 semester of volunteer work. I'll also be doing a senior project for my last year in undergrad.
-Should be able to get good references, as long as I don't screw up my senior project</p>

<p>I'm mainly looking at the top 10-30 schools and a few top 10 schools for a PhD in synthesis/catalysis. Right now the list looks something like this:</p>

<p>-Ann Arbor
-Chicago
-Columbia
-Cornell (actually might cross this one off since Paul Chirik is moving to Princeton)
-Duke
-Princeton
-Purdue
-UIUC
-UW-Madison
-UPenn</p>

<p>Yeah I know it's huge, I have fairly broad interests and they have a lot of interesting stuff going on at those places. Eventually I hope to narrow it down to 6.</p>

<p>Anyway my plan is to get some relevant industrial experience for a year or two before I head off to grad school -- to make some money and give me some idea of what industry is like. I still need to take the chem GRE, but that can wait considering I have at least 2 years before going to grad school. </p>

<p>I know I could've done much better, since I actually got 800Q on both practice tests in Powerprep. The main issue I had when doing the real thing was time management. I ran out of time and couldn't even write a conclusion for my Issue essay. Same thing with quant, I double/triple checked for the first 7 questions, and kept second-guessing myself. When I got to question 20 I had 5 minutes left!!! I rushed like mad and literally randomly guessed the last 4 questions. Pathetic, I know. I guess part of the reason is because I was too nervous, given my lack of practice.</p>

<p>I'm not sure what those school's policies are on retakes, but I'm hoping as long as I show significant improvement (eg 700V 800Q 6AW) they wouldn't hold it against me. But if I get anything below a 4 on writing then I'm retaking it for sure. Otherwise I probably don't even stand a chance. </p>

<p>But let's say if I got a 4 in writing, do you think it'd be worth my while to retake the general GRE? For physical sciences I know they definitely pay more attention to quant. A 760 isn't the end of the world, but I think it's pretty bad considering where I'll be applying to. Also there's always the "what if" factor -- what if my application gets filtered just because of a 760Q, what if there are several applicants with similar qualifications but better quant scores yada yada. And I think a few of the schools I looked at said GRE scores will be considered in awarding fellowships and stuff like that. So yeah, I'm worried.</p>

<p>That GRE score won't make or break you. Don't retake it.</p>

<p>The score should be fine. Although you unfortunately did not break the 1400 mark which I've heard of being used as a first cutoff (but not a deal breaker). I'm not sure how valid my information is though. Get your writing scores back and see how they are. You have a great GPA, and have some research background. GRE's don't mean much.</p>

<p>I'd say that's a good score - leave it.</p>

<p>Don't think GRE scores matter that much when considering the weight of the other portions of the application package.</p>

<p>My GRE was about 1380, with a 48th percentile subject GRE, and I was still able to gain entry to every top 10 program in the country.</p>

<p>lesson to learn: GPA and Letters of Reference are much more important.</p>

<p>Mustang7189: Yeah that's exactly what worries me. </p>

<p>Also all this talk of GPA reminded me of something. I've heard the GRE is sometimes used to assess the "credibility" of your GPA. As in, if you had a 4.0 but way underperformed on the GRE, then your GPA is probably inflated, and vice versa. I really don't want the adcoms to think this way; if anything there's grade deflation where I'm studying at. It'd be a grave insult to the amount of effort I put in.</p>

<p>They will know how hard the grading is at your U. I think GRE is just a hurdle, not even a tipping point, especially for top programs. Your V is great, near 90%. It is only the Q that is just above minimum expectation for such programs, likely, at around 87%.</p>

<p>My daughter had similar scores, similarly only made time to practice the week before due to research obligations, couldn't practically retake due to study abroad in demanding program, and just was satisfied to leave it. I can't imagine it would have made a difference, and she did get some nice offers (only one on your list, only 2 overlaps, but different science field.) The offers that she got really wanted her and there were professors who specifically chose her as someone they wanted to work with due to her resume.</p>

<p>Your call on this. The essay portion seems to wildly vary with expectations, and many say it doesn't count much if at all.</p>

<p>Sorry for bumping an old thread, didn't want to start a new one</p>

<p>So I finally got all my scores online today:</p>

<p>Verbal: 630, 91 percentile
Quant: 760, 84 percentile
AW: 5.0, 84 percentile</p>

<p>I'm leaning towards not retaking this now, I think it'll give the impression I'm retaking for the sake of retaking, and will probably rub adcoms the wrong way. That said I would like to improve my quant score, especially since 760 is not representative of my true ability at all. Breaking the 1400 barrier would also be nice. And I've heard they use GRE scores for certain fellowships (I know for a fact Purdue does), although I'd like to think it's based on much more than just some numbers from ETS.</p>

<p>Totally forget to mention: I took 2 courses in formal logic, earned grades of A and A+. I'm hoping that will help offset the quant score somehow.</p>

<p>Don't worry about the score bud! Those are really good scores. I have a 790Q and a 590V and I wanted to retake it for the Verbal. What area of research are you getting into?</p>

<p>LOL, your score is not that bad though. I doubt they would judge your undergraduate GPA relative to GRE. GRE has nothing to do with how good you are at school or research for that matter. I am 100% sure most of these professors will not even think about your GRE score for more than a second. Relax</p>

<p>You would probably be applying to an organic chemistry group and these are the professors that would be examining your application.</p>