Poor math GRE - advice?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:16 am

Poor math GRE - advice?

Post by Ecoi » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:33 am

Yeah I know you all probably commonly see posts like this! But there was some additional stuff that I didn't see on every previous post with a similar issue, so I thought I'd post my questions. I took the math GRE... and the score I received was actually quite a shock to me: 560 scaled score and 27% below :oops: (eww). I was getting 70-80% of the questions right on the two practice tests, and after the real GRE, I felt like I knew around 60-70% of the questions. I must have really screwed up somehow! I will note that halfway through the test, I noticed I had 4 answers marked in their incorrect places, so I had to correct that. Will I be given my answers and what the correct answers were to check if something like this happened? If so, is there any way to have them fix this if I think it is likely that something like this happened? Can that be fixed in time? I'm just shocked I did so poorly. I am pretty confident that I know my undergraduate math fairly well, so I am having a hard time accepting such a score!

All that aside, let's assume that I really performed that poorly (that is possible). I am a math and physics major (double degree) and I have a 4.0 GPA. I have done 2 REUs and am actually having one of my REU papers being published in a regular journal. My regular gre is okay... (about average verbal and writing, near perfect quantitative) My recommendations will be solid as well. I've actually have been privileged to teach some basic courses for almost two years. I feel like everything in my application is strong *except* for this darn subject test gre score! My question is, what sort of grad program(s) could I get into with this score, and should I even bother adding it to my application? I am *very* disappointed in it and I do not feel like it accurately indicates my mathematical knowledge.

There were some very nice grad programs I was thinking about applying to, so should I not bother applying to these programs? A lot of the programs I was wanting to apply to either require the score or *strongly* suggest it. If everything else on my application is very strong, do I still have a shot? Should I omit these scores from my application on applications that do not require them? Should I not bother with the schools that require them? I'm really not sure what to do because I wasn't expecting to get this sort of score really! Any advice would be appreciated.

I really don't know what went wrong. I felt pretty good about it after I took it and thought I got at *least* half of the questions... It's certainly possible that I made calculation errors, but that many?

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Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:39 am

Re: Poor math GRE - advice?

Post by doityourself » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:50 am

First of all, I am very sorry to hear about your result. Here is some info that I collected and hope this helps you somewhat.

First of all, if you are very close to the person who is writing you a recommendation, you should talk to him/her about your experience with GRE. Of course, don't tell your score directly but just indicate that you did somewhat unexpected. If the person really wants you to be admitted to a good program, he/she might help you by writing even stronger recommendation. You should definitely waive your right to view your recommendation. If the right is not waived, your recommendation will carry less weight. You really want at least one person to stick up for you. This is really important. You recommendation should be very specific. For example, think about this: he/she proved bla bla bla in front of me and was very knowledgeable about what he was presenting. This is much better than your professor saying "he was the best student in my class."

The next most important factor is your coursework. If you have passed qualifying exam(s) as an undergraduate, it will help you a lot. Competition would help as well. You should have completed all the major requirement by at least junior and should be taking some grad courses and advanced courses as a senior.

Schools like Berkley, Upenn seem care a lot about math GRE but these are only two out of many.

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