Importance of the GRE writing score?

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Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:30 pm

Importance of the GRE writing score?

Post by egret » Sun Nov 26, 2006 9:23 am

Dear forum members,

I took the general GRE last winter and got 800Q/710V/4.0AWA. Even though I knew I didn't do well on the writing as soon as I took it (the essay topic was ridiculous), I was still very disappointed to learn my score; I'd assumed that it was impossible to get a 4.0 as long as you at least use proper spelling and grammar :P.

But the important question is, could such a score get me rejected from a selective physics program? If I retook the GRE and got, let's say, 780Q/660V/5.5AWA the second time would it be worth it?

Thanks for the advice!

Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:53 am

Nice !

Post by Quantum » Sun Nov 26, 2006 2:39 pm

That's difficult to say for sure, however I don't think it's worth retaking the GRE just to boost your writing score. A quantitative score of 800 is perfect, a verbal score of 710 is very good, and a writing score of 4.0 is decent (though I know disappointing). Physics departments will put more emphasis on your quantitative and subject test scores anyhow. Though of course that's not to say the verbal and writing scores are meaningless. You can see a related post I wrote about this here: ... ight=#1527

Personally, I don't think it's worth jeopardizing your math and verbal score just in hopes of improving your analytical writing. I'd seriously doubt an admissions committee, even at the top schools, would reject an applicant based solely upon their writing score (unless perhaps if it's < 3.0). So to answer your question: no, I don't think you should retake the GRE general even if you go from a 4.0 to a 5.5. As long as your subject GRE score is solid (much more important), your GPA is high, and you have some good undergraduate research, you should be a competitive applicant.

Hope this helps! ^_^

Posts: 101
Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 6:48 pm

Post by rjharris » Sun Nov 26, 2006 6:39 pm

yeah dont retake it. although i would disagree that the quantitative is important (let me qualify, if you do poorly, it will keep you out, but if you do great, who cares because everyone in physics should know how to add ...) your (very) good verbal score *probably* does a bit to offset the writing. let the physics gre speak for the standardized tests though; that is more important to the admissions committee probably.

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