Gauging mGRE weightage esp. for International

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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yaskhn3
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Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:23 pm

Gauging mGRE weightage esp. for International

Post by yaskhn3 » Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:36 pm

Decided to take down
Last edited by yaskhn3 on Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CoronalRain
Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:02 am

Re: Gauging mGRE weightage esp. for International

Post by CoronalRain » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:33 pm

I'm going to start by saying that every school is different, and I don't think anyone on this forum can speak for the admissions committees at the schools you applied to. There are so many factors to consider, so all we can do is guess. Nonetheless, the one thing I can say with confidence is that international students have it much harder than domestic applicants.

The schools you got rejected from typically expect domestic applicants to score >800 on the mGRE, with very few exceptions (most notably Brown, which does not require the mGRE at all). For example, UCLA explicitly states that the "average" successful applicant is in or above the 80th percentile, but based on gradcafe posts, it actually seems like this is the minimum cutoff (in all but a handful of cases). In the case of international applicants, the situation is even more grim. The competition abroad is much more competitive, so acceptances for international students have a much higher bar to pass (I don't know exact numbers, but it seems like 900+ is not uncommon).

Now, a lot of people on this forum will tell you that we put too much emphasis on the mGRE here, and maybe that's true. But it's also the easiest metric for comparing one applicant to another. So yes, I would say scoring in the 61st percentile is problematic for an international applicant, unless you have very strong publications or letters of recommendation that tip the scales back in your favor.

If you don't get accepted anywhere this year, then a gap year is an excellent idea. There's a lot you can do in one year to improve your application as a whole, not just your mGRE scores. But if you're still struggling to break 80th percentile next year, I'd aim lower and apply to more safety schools.



Also, more info would be helpful. What type of research are you interested in? It looks like you took a lot of grad courses in PDEs and other topics which lean towards the applied side, but your profile states that you're interested in pure mathematics.
Last edited by CoronalRain on Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.

yaskhn3
Posts: 80
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:23 pm

Re: Gauging mGRE weightage esp. for International

Post by yaskhn3 » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:54 pm

CoronalRain wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:33 pm
I'm going to start by saying that every school is different, and I don't think anyone on this forum can speak for the admissions committees at the schools you applied to. There are so many factors to consider, so all we can do is guess. Nonetheless, the one thing I can say with confidence is that international students have it much harder than domestic applicants.

The schools you got rejected from typically expect domestic applicants to score >800 on the mGRE, with very few exceptions (most notably Brown, which does not require the mGRE at all). For example, UCLA explicitly states that the "average" successful applicant is in or above the 80th percentile, but based on gradcafe posts, it actually seems like this is the minimum cutoff (in all but a handful of cases). In the case of international applicants, the situation is even more grim. The competition abroad is much more competitive, so acceptances for international students have a much higher bar to pass (I don't know exact numbers, but it seems like 900+ is not uncommon).

Now, a lot of people on this forum will tell you that we put too much emphasis on the mGRE here, and maybe that's true. But it's also the easiest metric for comparing one applicant to another. So yes, I would say scoring in the 61st percentile is problematic for an international applicant, unless you have very strong publications or letters of recommendation that tip the scales back in your favor.

If you don't get accepted anywhere this year, then a gap year is an excellent idea. There's a lot you can do in one year to improve your application as a whole, not just your mGRE scores. But if you're still struggling to break 80th percentile next year, I'd aim lower and apply to more safety schools.



Also, more info would be helpful. What type of research are you interested in? It looks like you took a lot of grad courses in PDEs and other topics which lean towards the applied side, but your profile states that you're interested in pure mathematics.
Yeah, I guess so. Bad mGRE is like a rotten spot. The analogy being we don't invest in fruits who have even one rotten spot. The argument being there are spotless equally promising fruits
too.

So almost all of the top places won't take you if you have that spot.

As for the research, I'm currently interested in understanding regularity of solutions to a certain class of Non-Linear PDEs. All the grad courses, except Numerical solutions I took are entirely theoretical and were taken as a part III student at Cambridge. Even Numerical solutions to Differential Equations is really abstract and quite rigorous :p

By the way, what's better: Taking a drop year, or getting enrolled in a second Master's program, say ALGANT?

lucasmiranda
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Nov 28, 2019 2:18 pm

Re: Gauging mGRE weightage esp. for International

Post by lucasmiranda » Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:04 pm

Did you only apply to universities in the US? Since you're already in Cambridge, why don't you apply to PhD programmes in the UK? Also, Canada would be a good option. The system is similar to those in the US but they usually don't require GRE (since this seems to be the biggest problem with your application).

I would also consider some places in Europe, maybe France and Germany.

CoronalRain
Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:02 am

Re: Gauging mGRE weightage esp. for International

Post by CoronalRain » Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:07 pm

yaskhn3 wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:54 pm
Yeah, I guess so. Bad mGRE is like a rotten spot. Almost all of the top places won't take you if you have that spot I guess.

As for the research, I'm currently interested in understanding regularity of solutions to a certain class of Non-Linear PDEs. All the grad courses, except Numerical solutions I took are entirely theoretical and were taken as a part III student at Cambridge. Even Numerical solutions to Differential Equations is really abstract and quite rigorous :p
Understood. Is that the type of research you talked about in your personal statements? Were you able to mention faculty members doing similar research at the institutions you applied to? Would your adviser have written glowing remarks about your abilities in this area of study?
By the way, what's better: Taking a drop year, or getting enrolled in a second Master's program, say ALGANT?
What would you want to get out of ALGANT? They're focused on algebra and number theory, so I'm not sure if the coursework would be directly applicable to your intended field of study. But if you're trying to improve some gaps in your mathematical curriculum, then it might be a good idea.

yaskhn3
Posts: 80
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:23 pm

Re: Gauging mGRE weightage esp. for International

Post by yaskhn3 » Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:13 pm

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Last edited by yaskhn3 on Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

yaskhn3
Posts: 80
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:23 pm

Re: Gauging mGRE weightage esp. for International

Post by yaskhn3 » Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:15 pm

lucasmiranda wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:04 pm
Did you only apply to universities in the US? Since you're already in Cambridge, why don't you apply to PhD programmes in the UK? Also, Canada would be a good option. The system is similar to those in the US but they usually don't require GRE (since this seems to be the biggest problem with your application).

I would also consider some places in Europe, maybe France and Germany.
A typical PhD in the UK is 3-3.5 years with diving into research straightaway from year 1. So you need to be absolutely sure what you want to do. Furthermore I'm still not convinced I've seen enough math to dive into research straightaway. I feel some coursework (at least 1 year) would suffice before I decide. Keeping all these factors aside, Cambridge Part III has 120 pure Math students out of which only 6-7 are selected for a PhD. And being an international student my chances of funding here are almost nil.

Note: Unlike US, PhD is not always funded in the UK.

Meanwhile, can you suggest some Canadian universities where I could still apply to?

yaskhn3
Posts: 80
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:23 pm

Re: Gauging mGRE weightage esp. for International

Post by yaskhn3 » Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:20 pm

CoronalRain wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:07 pm
yaskhn3 wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:54 pm
Yeah, I guess so. Bad mGRE is like a rotten spot. Almost all of the top places won't take you if you have that spot I guess.

As for the research, I'm currently interested in understanding regularity of solutions to a certain class of Non-Linear PDEs. All the grad courses, except Numerical solutions I took are entirely theoretical and were taken as a part III student at Cambridge. Even Numerical solutions to Differential Equations is really abstract and quite rigorous :p
Understood. Is that the type of research you talked about in your personal statements? Were you able to mention faculty members doing similar research at the institutions you applied to? Would your adviser have written glowing remarks about your abilities in this area of study?
By the way, what's better: Taking a drop year, or getting enrolled in a second Master's program, say ALGANT?
What would you want to get out of ALGANT? They're focused on algebra and number theory, so I'm not sure if the coursework would be directly applicable to your intended field of study. But if you're trying to improve some gaps in your mathematical curriculum, then it might be a good idea.
Yes, I mentioned about my intended field of study, professors of the Uni I was applying to working in that area and I'm sure my referees mentioned my work.

As for ALGANT, I've recently started doing Number Theory and finding it very interesting to follow. I see this Master's program to widen my exposure. I'm not sure how prestigious or selective it is, someone mentioned about it and I applied without a second thought.

CoronalRain
Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:02 am

Re: Gauging mGRE weightage esp. for International

Post by CoronalRain » Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:37 pm

A typical PhD in the UK is 3-3.5 years with diving into research straightaway from year 1. So you need to be absolutely sure what you want to do. Furthermore I'm still not convinced I've seen enough math to dive into research straightaway. I feel some coursework (at least 1 year) would suffice before I decide.
yaskhn3 wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:20 pm
Yes, I mentioned about my intended field of study, professors of the Uni I was applying to working in that area and I'm sure my referees mentioned my work.

As for ALGANT, I've recently started doing Number Theory and finding it very interesting to follow. I see this Master's program to widen my exposure. I'm not sure how prestigious or selective it is, someone mentioned about it and I applied without a second thought.
Okay, so it sounds like you're not yet sure of your research interests and you need more time to develop them. That's very common, since mathematics is so broad and yet each sub-field is unimaginably deep. I'm not very familiar with ALGANT, but it sounds like a good program that could help strengthen your background. Of course, it's also possible to do that solo, but the advantage of entering a master's program is that you can make more connections with faculty. Honestly, I'm not sure what the best course of action is -- a gap year is what you make it.



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