Logic question about Berkeley statement

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Logic question about Berkeley statement

Post by eelsir » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:35 am

'A score below the 80th percentile suggests inadequate preparation and must be balanced by other evidence if a favorable admission decision is to be reached.'

Does this mean

'A favorable admission decision can be reached without being balanced by other evidence if you score above 80th percentile.'

? (just wondering how logic would break it down..)

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Re: Logic question about Berkeley statement

Post by trevaskis » Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:32 am

No, 80 is their cut off, but occasionally if someone scores below 80 but they have a very strong application in other regards they'll get offered admission.

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Re: Logic question about Berkeley statement

Post by smartiful » Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:18 am

"If you score less than 80% on the test you've either slept through your undergrad or through you subject test. The latter we believe you only if your file is very, very good."

Whether you agree does not matter, unless you're on the Berkeley adcom.

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Re: Logic question about Berkeley statement

Post by enork » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:43 pm

Clearly the converse of a statement doesn't necessarily follow.

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Re: Logic question about Berkeley statement

Post by mdornbos » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:27 pm

I would actually like to see the statistical data of how the subject GRE equates to a candidates success in graduate school. I find it to be actually ridiculous that Berkeley would say that. I'm sure there are many people who score below the 80th percentile on the math GRE and do fine in graduate school. In fact, in some cases, they say just because you are extremely talented in mathematics, doesn't mean you'll finish a PhD. There are a lot more factors involved in success than a GRE score and being naturally smart. How about dedication and determination for starters?

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Re: Logic question about Berkeley statement

Post by owlpride » Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:45 pm

The subject GRE measures if you have mastered the undergraduate curriculum well enough to solve standard problems out of context, that is, without being prompted to use a certain method for the solution. That by itself won't guarantee success in graduate school, but it certainly seems helpful if not necessary to some extend. If you get stuck on every little calculus or algebra point that comes up in your research, your research may not get very far.

Yet another point of view: One of the professors on the grad admissions committee at Penn was talking about the subject GRE at a department tea earlier this semester. He said it is virtually impossible to predict from an application whether or not an applicant will write a strong dissertation and have a successful career in mathematics. The best an adcom can do, in his opinion, is to select students which will do well in their first 1-2 years in graduate school. He said that they found a strong correlation between math subject GRE scores and students' performances on their prelims and their initial course work. That's why the department decided to pre-screen applications by subject GRE score. He said that about half of their graduate students used to fail their prelims before they paid attention to GRE scores. Now most students pass with flying colors and - unlike in the past - barely anyone drops out of the program in the first year anymore. He seemed quite convinced that the GRE was a useful predictor of a student's success in their graduate program.

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