One of the most frequently asked questions I get in class is, “What do I need to score on the GRE to get into grad school?” There are typically two answers to this question that students prepping for the GRE are accustomed to hearing.
Answer #1: “It depends.”
OK. Depends on what?
As we have talked about before, a “good” GRE score is one that gets you accepted into the graduate program of your choice. What is good, then, depends on the program and the field.
You can get a good feel for this by looking at the average GRE scores from some top schools in a variety of popular and competitive fields. For our current purposes, we’ll focus on grad degrees in education programs, engineering programs, psychology programs, and even MBA programs, since business schools are increasingly accepting GRE scores in lieu of GMAT scores.
Remember … Read full post
Previously, I described the danger of reacting negatively to your first practice GRE. The most sensitive GRE practice test of all, though, is not the first test, but the second. Part of your GRE stress management plan should be understanding what to expect on practice test #2.
GRE Practice Test 2
If you’re like most GRE students, you expect your second practice test score to be a huge leap from your first. You think “I’ve been working really hard, so clearly, my score on Test 2 should jump by at least 10 points in both sections!” In fact, what usually happens on Test 2 is that your score stays the same, or even drops. This fact, coupled with unrealistic expectations, leads to lots of disappointment and frustration. As a teacher, I’m heartbroken to see how many of you lose spirit after Test 2, when I know that you can … Read full post
Since, as a profession, “being Neil Degrasse Tyson” is already taken, future physicists have to consider alternate career paths these days. Fortunately, a career in physics is anything but a “Bohr!” In fact, physics is one of the most lucrative graduate degrees out there, so pursuing a master’s degree in physics is something even Heisenberg could be certain about!
If going into academia or working in a lab isn’t for you, earning a master’s degree in physics can prepare you for a career in many fields, from environmental control to patent law. At its core, physics is equal parts science and liberal arts, so a background in physics develops your strengths in problem solving, crunching big data sets, and navigating big ideas.
Path to Admission
Your path to a graduate degree in physics will typically begin with earning your bachelor’s in physics, but it doesn’t have to. Almost a … Read full post
Previously, we talked about how it’s never too early to start putting together your graduate school application. You might have pinned that post, thinking, “Wow, this is really going to come in handy when I am a junior or senior in college!” But even as a freshman or sophomore in undergrad, you can already start taking steps toward becoming a competitive applicant and getting into the best graduate schools.
Here are five ways to start building up the credentials that will ultimately help you gain admission to a top-ranked program in your field.
1. Do your research
First, research graduate schools themselves. What types of programs interest you? Which grad schools are strong in your field? Where do you want to live? Depending on what you want to study, your graduate education will typically last between two and five years of your life, so make sure you aim … Read full post
While GRE practice is usually recommended, people often wonder if retaking the GRE after receiving a less-than-stellar score is really the best idea. While every applicant is unique and every grad school program has its own particular guidelines and preferences, there are a number of general factors to consider before deciding to test again and shoot for a higher GRE score.
5 Things to consider before retaking the GRE
1. Taking the GRE multiple times will not harm your chances of admission. Last year, the ETS (Educational Testing Service—the makers of the GRE) introduced a new feature for test-takers applying to grad school called ScoreSelect.
The introduction of this option allows you to decide which test scores you’d like to send to schools. In other words, if you … Read full post
That’s the simplest answer to the question, but it begs the next one: “How can I get a good GRE score and get accepted into the graduate program of my choice?”
What you need to know about the GRE score
GRE scoring occurs on a 130–170 scale in each section. This relatively limited range of possible scores means that small improvements in performance can increase your score quite a bit. It also means that those little increases on your GRE test score can make big differences in your percentile ranking. Sometimes even a one-point increase in your score can boost your percentile ranking by 5 points (check out the test maker’s chart of percentile rankings).
Your score does not stand alone. Whether or not you are admitted to a graduate program (or … Read full post
What’s a good GRE score? What’s the average GRE score? What’s a great GRE score?
These are all important questions– and they are ones that we hear from students contemplating the GRE exam all the time. The crazy thing about the GRE, however, is that people considering all different kinds of advanced degrees have to take this test, so a simple chart with a dot on it for the average score isn’t enough information for you to figure out your GRE prep study plan: the definition of a “good score” can vary drastically from program to program. Long before you eyeball a test date and plan your application strategy around your official score release date, you need to dig into some GRE score research.
One of the interesting things I’ve discovered as a GRE instructor is that many students have little or no plan when it comes to GRE studying. While most students will set occasional timing goals for themselves – things like “I’ll try to study for an hour later tonight” or “if I have time, I’ll take a practice test this weekend” – what they fail to realize is that those aren’t plans; those are whims. And waiting for a whim is no way to study for the GRE.
Good preparation involves a good plan
A good plan is more than just a study schedule. While a study schedule is certainly helpful, it leaves out a pretty big component of GRE studying: what to do once you sit down to study.
So to think about that, let’s start with this question: what is the point of studying for the GRE? Well, that’s … Read full post
Options aren’t always a good thing. When I buy shampoo, I spend agonizing minutes looking among the dozens of bottles for some kind of normal, regular shampoo. But no. Nothing like that is ever there. All I see are endless rows of arcane admixtures infused with vegetables, tropical fruits, aloes, bear spit, and who knows what else. In principle, it’s great that I could wash my hair with coconuts if I wanted to. But the presence of all these options makes it impossible for me to get what I want, which is Boring Shampoo: The Plain Old Kind. How does this relate to your GRE score? Read on and find out.
When you take the GRE, you’ll have the option to cancel your score. This might seem like a great option, but like the GRE calculator, it’s more of a trap than a benefit. The catch is that … Read full post
Do you know about ScoreSelect option that the ETS (the GRE test makers) introduced in 2012? (Many students are unaware of this helpful little gem!) It allows you to decide which GRE scores to send to your schools – so if you’ve taken the test more than once, you can choose to send only your highest and best scores.
On GRE Test Day, you can either:
- Choose not to send your scores right away, or
- Select either option below for each of your four FREE score reports:
- Most Recent option — Send your scores from your current test administration.
- All option — Send your scores from all General Test administrations in the last five years.
After GRE Test Day, you can send additional score reports for a fee ($25 per recipient.) Available options include:
- Most Recent option — Send your scores from your most recent test administration.