another gre/grad school question

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another gre/grad school question

Post by anonymous188 » Sat Oct 13, 2007 4:31 pm

Hey everybody,

So I'm trying to decide when I should take my GRE Physics test, so I've got some questions. First of all, do most grad schools average your GRE Physics scores or pick the best one? If they do pick the best one, does it look bad if you've taken it twice, for example, and you have a large discrepancy between the scores?

Also, is it possible to apply for the Spring semester rather than the Fall? Right now I'm very busy with class work and research at my school, and so I've been considering taking a semester/year off to work and study for the GRE. That way I can concentrate more on my test than I can now.

Lastly, if I do take some time off, and decide to do a year instead of a semester, how would this look when I apply for grad school? Would they think that my "physics knowledge" isn't fresh enough?

Sorry for all the questions. Thanks everyone for taking the time to read this.


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Post by grae313 » Sat Oct 13, 2007 8:39 pm

As an example, UC Santa Barbara says they look at the most recent GRE score, regardless of if it's the best score. I think this might be common, although I'm not completely sure. I do know that ETS will send *all* your scores if you've taken it more than once within a certain time frame (like 5 years), and that schools won't just consider your best score. However, if you take it once and do poorly, and take it a second time later and do well, I don't think it looks bad. They will look at your more recent score.

Most top grad programs state on their websites that they do not accept applications for the spring semester, but other schools lower down the list do. You'll have to check the web pages from programs you are interested in and see. Some make a few exceptions for spring applicants, but if you are thinking of top 20 schools, I'd pretty much plan on applying for fall.

Taking a year off is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you spend your time doing some physics/research related. You'll need to get a job doing research in a lab, and then when you apply, you can speak of that experience and how it has better prepared you for graduate school. I have a friend in biology who took two years after finishing her undergrad while she waited for her husband to finish undergrad so they could move together. She managed a lab for those two years and published a few papers, and was offered a $29,000/year stipend at Stanford when she did finally apply for grad school.

Good luck!

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