When to submit PGRE score when it's "optional"?

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When to submit PGRE score when it's "optional"?

Post by hopefulastro » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:36 pm

I'm applying to PhD programs for observational astronomy (cosmology/extragalactic), and I got a 650 (38%) on the PGRE. Many of these large state schools, for example Ohio State, say the PGRE is optional. With a score like mine, will submittal of the PGRE more likely help or hurt the rest of my app? I read somewhere that 650+ is considered competitive for "good" schools (but not top ones), but I'm not sure how accurate this is. I'm a domestic white female, if that matters.

Similarly, UCLA Astronomy says the PGRE is recommended but not required. Does your opinion on whether to submit it change if it's "recommended" instead of "optional"?

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Re: When to submit PGRE score when it's "optional"?

Post by Nishikata » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:07 pm

38%, no, that’s not good enough.
650 is a number, but comes with a percentile representing the position with respect to other test takers.

So with 38%, it will do harm your application because it makes the readers consider whether you can handle pressure in grad school, or whether you have the basics covered. It is a metric that is not on your side in making your case.

Recommended = needed, unless you have stellar portfolio that makes us think that you are the one even without comparing you with other candidates using GRE scores.

Optional = not needed, but if you have excellent scores, go ahead and submit it. It will be extra confirmation for us that you have the skills, but not the main/first part of our selection. Sort of Icing on the cake, but you need to have the cake first.

So, I won’t submit a 38% to either case.

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