2012 Profile Statistics

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

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Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:59 pm

2012 Profile Statistics

Post by DiracMan » Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:01 pm

I have searched with a fair degree of veracity and have yet to find anyone who has done a statistical breakdown of the 2012 applicant profiles, so I took the honor upon myself to do so. With the 2013 application season right around the corner, I thought some people may find this both useful and fascinating.

A few notes first about methodology:
1. Organizing general GRE scores was a pain because they switched the scoring scale (800 scale to 170 scale). About half the reported scores were on the 800 scale and half were on the 170 scale. To get around this, I used the conversion table posted on the Wikipedia page for the GRE to convert all 800-point scores to 170-point scores. Since an 800 on the old GRE quantitative section corresponds to anything at or above a 166 on the new scale, this does not fully solve the problem. I decided to split the difference, and assigned a 168 to everyone who had an 800 on the old scale. Us being physicists and not English majors, this problem was not as acute on the verbal section. :wink:

2. If someone did not report a certain statistic, they were not counted in that specific measure (i.e., if I know your PGRE score but not your general scores, I counted you toward one and not the other).

3. I have not controlled for international/domestic status, gender, minority status, or reported reputation of undergraduate institution (Ivy league, liberal arts, etc.). Naturally, I have no way of controlling for the quality of statements of purpose or recommendation letters. Since these things undoubtedly play a significant role in the admissions process, this cannot be taken as a complete description of how to get into graduate school (obviously).

4. If a GPA was not given on the 4.0 scale I converted it to the 4.0 scale myself.

5. This is not really methodology, but I feel I must state it for completeness. This has been said before but, especially after doing this analysis, I am quite convinced that the average PhysicsGRE forum-goer is a stronger applicant than the average prospective physics graduate student (yeah! :D ). Keep that in mind as you examine these numbers.

With that said, here are the statistics for all posted 2012 profiles. N is the number of profiles analyzed to yield that particular statistic:

Mean GPA in Major: 3.71
Median GPA in Major: 3.78
75 Percentile GPA in Major: 3.96
25 Percentile GPA in Major: 3.52
N = 110

Mean Total GPA: 3.63
Median Total GPA: 3.75
75 Percentile Total GPA: 3.9
25 Percentile Total GPA: 3.4
N = 115

Mean Quantitative GRE Score: 164.2
Median Quantitative GRE Score: 165
75 Percentile Quantitative GRE Score: 168
25 Percentile Quantitative GRE Score: 162
N = 119

Mean Verbal GRE Score: 159.4
Median Verbal GRE Score: 160
75 Percentile Verbal GRE Score: 164
25 Percentile Verbal GRE Score: 156
N = 119

Mean Writing GRE Score: 4.3
Median Writing GRE Score: 4.5
75 Percentile Writing GRE Score: 5
25 Percentile Writing GRE Score: 4
N = 119

Mean PGRE Score: 804.7
Median PGRE Score: 820
75 Percentile PGRE Score: 900
25 Percentile PGRE Score: 720
N = 114

Mean Number of Schools Applied To: 9.7
Median Number of Schools Applied To: 10
75 Percentile Number of Schools Applied To: 12
25 Percentile Number of Schools Applied to: 7
N = 119

I also specifically analyzed the profiles of people who were admitted to Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford, Caltech, University of Chicago, UC Berkeley, Columbia, Cornell, or Princeton. Here are the results of that analysis:

Mean GPA in Major: 3.84
Median GPA in Major: 3.9
N = 39

Mean Total GPA: 3.78
Median Total GPA: 3.8
N = 40

Mean Quantitative GRE Score: 166.3
Median Quantitative GRE Score: 167
N = 41

Mean Verbal GRE Score: 162.8
Median Verbal GRE Score: 164
N = 41

Mean Writing GRE Score: 4.8
Median Writing GRE Score: 4.5
N = 41

Mean PGRE Score: 859
Median PGRE Score: 870
N = 40

Mean Number of Schools Applied To: 10.0
Median Number of Schools Applied To: 10
N = 41

Percentage Drawn from Ivy League Schools: ~28%

Surprise, surprise, the biggest discrepancy is the PGRE score... :roll:

I have all this compiled into an Excel document if someone wants to do their own work with it. I am sure I have made an "off-by-one" error somewhere in computing this, but the gist of it is probably okay.

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Re: 2012 Profile Statistics

Post by ultraballer2000 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:59 pm


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Re: 2012 Profile Statistics

Post by betelguese05 » Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:31 am

I think this is pretty awesome. Greatly appreciated.

Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:47 pm

Re: 2012 Profile Statistics

Post by walczyk » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:27 pm

I'm a weird case, in top 75% for pgre, bottom 25% for gpa.

Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:41 am

Re: 2012 Profile Statistics

Post by wololo » Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:33 am

what are their standard deviations?

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