- Entering my senior year at a top ~50 school for physics – nothing to sneeze at, but not an awe-inducing name.
Physics major, 4.00 overall GPA
Named top student in my year all three years, and top student in my department sophomore and junior year, Goldwater Scholarship as a sophomore, Phi Beta Kappa as a junior
High-energy physics experiment research for 3 years (on CMS); one sole-authored study in my school's undergrad journal, four talks/posters including one APS meeting, and writing a senior thesis
Very strong LoR's
Consistently scoring 170's on quantitative for GRE, but haven't taken the actual exam yet –– verbal and writing scores, if they even matter, were both 90th percentile or above on the practice exams I took
I'm planning to apply for Physics PhD programs, and I want to pursue high-energy physics and/or cosmology research, particularly BSM physics and inflationary/cyclic cosmology. I'm very interested in theory, but I haven't written off experiment; I enjoyed the work I did as an undergrad a lot, but the possibility of theory research excites me.
I'm hoping to apply to top programs (e.g. Stanford, Princeton, Chicago, etc.), but I'm definitely lining up backup schools. With that being said...
Where I currently stand with the pGRE:
My baseline score, without preparation beforehand, was a 720. I'll be taking a bunch (7 more) practice exams over the next month and working on content review, and I think I can bring that score up considerably. Basically, my life for the next month is the pGRE (yay). But what do I need to be shooting for? Is the answer as simple as "990", or might I have some wiggle-room?
Thanks for any help!