Taking the GRE a third time?

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Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 4:15 pm

Taking the GRE a third time?

Post by BackwardsE » Sat Sep 20, 2008 4:43 pm

I took the PGRE twice last year, and scored 700 and 710, respectively. I am currently registered to take it again in October, but am not sure that I should. I have heard that it does not look good to have taken the GRE more than twice; can anyone corroborate or dispel this notion? At best, I would expect to maybe get in the 800s, but it's entirely possible that I'd again fall in the 700s. If my score improves by only a few points, it's probably not worth it (and would perhaps reflect negatively). Even if it does improve by a hundred points or so, will any gains be offset by the fact that I've taken it three times? (I highly doubt I could break 900, but I don't know; that's maybe possible if I take it in November instead of October, and study for an extra month.)

Possibly relevant information:
Undergrad institution: University of Chicago (Class of 2008)
GPA/Physics GPA (out of 4.0): 3.8/3.94
General GRE: V-710, M-780, W-5.5
Research experience: Some; no publications. A year and a half in an astroparticle group. I'm now working full time for a year in a medium energy physics group, doing laser spectroscopy.

I'm not completely sure where I want to go, but hopefully a top institution (maybe not very top, such as Harvard or Caltech (where I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get in), but maybe Cornell, Columbia, Yale, UCSB, UIUC etc.).

Apologies if similar questions have been answered before elsewhere. Thanks very much!

Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 6:15 pm

Re: Taking the GRE a third time?

Post by Juston » Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:12 am

Well, it looks like you're doing fine with a 700 and a 710 (I'm shooting for that score range myself). You also have lots of research, a good GPA, and a good verbal score (which may help set you apart). I have a friend who got into UCSB and UIUC with a 700, a comparable GPA and less research experience than you have.

I don't know how much a higher score would help though, as the two ~700 scores may solidify that score range in the minds of some admissions committee members. I suppose you can take it again to see if you can hit the 800 or 900 mark, if you're confident you can do so. A higher score wouldn't hurt, but I don't know if it's really that necessary.

Then again, I only have one data point, so don't put too much weight on my comments.

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