No GRE minimum needed?
January 8, 2014 6:40 PM   Subscribe

No Minimum needed on the GRE means I can bomb it and still be ok?

So my question is why do they have you take it if there are no minimums?

So say I took it and bombed the quant section ( I should do ok with the verbal), does not having a min mean that it wouldn't count against me for acceptance?
posted by gregjunior to Education (10 answers total)
...does not having a min mean that it wouldn't count against me for acceptance?

No, I think it just means they won't automatically reject your application if your score is below a certain threshold. However, if they ask for you GRE scores they will look at them, and a poor score will very likely effect your application's success.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 6:45 PM on January 8, 2014 [7 favorites]

I believe it means they do not require a minimum score for application, not that they ignore the scores completely. A bad score is still a bad score, I'm afraid.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:46 PM on January 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's worth remembering that sometimes GRE scores don't matter for admission but you have to hit a minimum for funding - you might check that out first.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 7:10 PM on January 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

I read and make decisions about graduate admissions for a Ph.D. program. We have no minimum GRE score. But your chances are much better (in our program) if your GRE score is good.
posted by escabeche at 7:22 PM on January 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Whether or not your quant section matters will depend on what discipline you're in.

It's possible that your discipline only cares about one of the sections, so there is no absolute minimum, but a poor score on the section they do care about would be a problem.
posted by nat at 7:58 PM on January 8, 2014

Googling for a graph I remember that shows the relative average GRE scores by major I come up with this. Perhaps it may be slightly helpful in determining whether the major you're going for in general cares about the quant section of the GRE? Of course individual schools have their own admissions policies.
posted by Zalzidrax at 11:59 PM on January 8, 2014

I used to work in graduate admissions where we didn't have a minimum GRE score (this was 3.5 years ago). Basically, we didn't want to discourage people with excellent records otherwise from applying - maybe they just had a bad day taking the GRE, but they had already published papers in the field and were highly recommended, for example. But, for most applicants, it mattered. Especially if we were deciding between similarly qualified candidates who were on the bubble; since GRE scores were the only benchmark that was the same for everyone, we would sometimes split ties with those scores.

lesbiassparrow's comment about funding sometimes being contingent on GRE scores is a good one.
posted by bluefly at 5:23 AM on January 9, 2014

I administer graduate admissions for a top 5 program - we have a GPA cut-off of 3.0. Apply to us with a GPA below that and it's likely your application won't even be considered. Our average admit GPA is 3.5 but we still look at applications with GPAs from 3.0-3.4.

When we say "no minimum GRE" we're indicating that we don't instantly toss applications below a certain cut off.

This gives us flexibility in considering applications from international students (who don't come from cultures of standardized tests) and possibly US students who don't do standardized tests well. Even though we have no cutoff we're still looking for 70th % or higher for our admits.

What we DON"T mean is that you can "bomb it and still be ok." That's a really immature interpretation and if you called me up and expressed it, I would hope you didn't end up applying to my program.
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:18 AM on January 9, 2014

Like everyone has said, no, it doesn't mean you can bomb it. It means there's no hard line on the admission side.

Here's the thing about the GRE - it's an objective piece of your application that you can control. If you do well, it's going to give you that leg up on everyone else. And really, it is not that hard to do well. There's a lot of stuff on your grad application that is pretty subjective and more out of your control - reference letters, grades you can't do anything about anymore, other people's applications. But the GRE is totally controllable and doable. There's no excuse really not to get a decent score. At the end of the day when it comes down to you and a pretty similar application, the GRE score is one of those things that will be part of the make or break you impression.

I recently took the GRE and was pretty nervous myself about the quant section, having been away from that kind of math for some time. But I sat my butt in a chair for about two hours a day for two months and just learned how to do the quant section and did fine. There is nothing on the GRE that can't be learned with some practice in a couple months. It's boring, it kind of sucks, it's information useful only for taking the GRE. But that's part of the game.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:29 AM on January 9, 2014

Thanks everyone. I didn't mean that I wanted to bomb it or meant to be insensitive to the process.

I just meant that I haven't traditionally been the best math person and wanted to know what I was up against. Thanks.
posted by gregjunior at 1:26 PM on January 9, 2014

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