Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
Stochastic1
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:35 am

Hi all
I am international applicant.This is my profile:
UGPA: it is 16.22/20 it coverts to 3.17 in 4 scale.
GPA:17/20 it converts to 3.66 in 4 scale.
GRE: 169Q, 145V, 2.5AW
MGRE: 860 , 91%
TOEFL: T:92, S:22, W:21, L:22, R:27
Couple of international and national prize in mathematical competitions.
I am thinking about phd programs with concentration in probability and statistics.
Which range of schools do you suggest?
I understand that GPA weight really more than GRE and MGRE.
What can I do to get best possible result for next year?Do you know schools with more weight on GRE scores?
Since I took MGRE exam with just 3 day preparation I think I can improve it.But it seems that It is worthless!Same about GRE, I can improve my score in V and AW parts.Do you think it would have any considerable positive effect?
Any other advice is really appreciated.

virgo
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:11 pm

### Re: advaice to applicants with low GPA and poor academic history

Stochastic1 wrote:Hi all
I am international applicant.This is my profile:
UGPA: it is 16.22/20 it coverts to 3.17 in 4 scale.
GPA:17/20 it converts to 3.66 in 4 scale.
GRE: 169Q, 145V, 2.5AW
MGRE: 860 , 91%
TOEFL: T:92, S:22, W:21, L:22, R:27
Couple of international and national prize in mathematical competitions.
I am thinking about phd programs with concentration in probability and statistics.
Which range of schools do you suggest?
I understand that GPA weight really more than GRE and MGRE.
What can I do to get best possible result for next year?Do you know schools with more weight on GRE scores?
Since I took MGRE exam with just 3 day preparation I think I can improve it.But it seems that It is worthless!Same about GRE, I can improve my score in V and AW parts.Do you think it would have any considerable positive effect?
Any other advice is really appreciated.

I don't think improving your MGRE will improve your chances much as they don't differentiate much between an applicant who has 91% and an applicant who has 97%. The math competition prizes look nice and I would suggest improving your general gre score. Also, it would be good to get research experience and a publication. I'm not sure what your range of schools should be. At least top 50 I would say. If you have good recs, I could see you making top 20.

frgf
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:24 am

### Re: advaice to applicants with low GPA and poor academic history

Keep in mind that stats programs are much less competitive than maths programs, so if you are interested in probability/statistics you should consider applying to stats programs. There are more stats posters on thegradcafe.com, they may be able to help you there.

Legendre
Posts: 217
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:05 am

### Re: advaice to applicants with low GPA and poor academic history

Research experience and publications counts for a lot more than MGRE and GRE scores.

I have 97% MGRE and top notch GRE scores and they are getting me nowhere!!! Top of my class during undergrad, and top tier school for masters!

If you can produce good research and get good references, they count for so much more than grades and test scores. Especially test scores - the most time consuming to get and the MOST USELESS.

Stochastic1
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:35 am

### Re: advaice to applicants with low GPA and poor academic history

Thank you guys.
So it seems that spending time on improving scores is worthless.
@virgo I think top 50 is unreachable with 3.17 GPA!
@frgfI have not good background in stats, and I think it makes my chance less than math programs, even if they were less competitive!
I think that scores are more worthless for US student!
I think top schools look at your reputation of your previous school, GPA, and recoms and recommenders. ordinary researches are not so important for top schools!
But schools with less rank, have to think about applicant with unknown schools, this is where scores and researches are more weighted in decision process.Even in this situation GRE scores seems to be only authentication on your GPA!And they first look at your GPA. Anyway, I am considering researches!
What do you think about my chances?I have not seen anyone with such low GPA who have gotten

joemath
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:51 pm

### Re: advaice to applicants with low GPA and poor academic history

My GPA is exactly a 3.17, and I got an acceptance from Texas A&M (top 50) with TA-ship and tuition waived, and wait-listed by UT Austin (top 20). Your MGRE score is fairly strong, so I would suggest (as others have already pointed out) to work on obtaining research experience. I participated in a summer REU, which resulted in a paper being submitted for publication. Also make sure you have strong letters of recommendation. Not strong in the sense that your letter writers are well known, but strong in the sense that the letter writers know you very very well.

Stochastic1
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:35 am

### Re: advaice to applicants with low GPA and poor academic history

joemath wrote:My GPA is exactly a 3.17, and I got an acceptance from Texas A&M (top 50) with TA-ship and tuition waived, and wait-listed by UT Austin (top 20). Your MGRE score is fairly strong, so I would suggest (as others have already pointed out) to work on obtaining research experience. I participated in a summer REU, which resulted in a paper being submitted for publication. Also make sure you have strong letters of recommendation. Not strong in the sense that your letter writers are well known, but strong in the sense that the letter writers know you very very well.

I will do researches!
Fortunately I can have this kind of recom, but why are you saying this?Do you think it is more important than known recommenders?

joemath
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:51 pm

### Re: advaice to applicants with low GPA and poor academic history

My undergraduate institution isn't very well known. I currently attend UT San Antonio (its the same system as UT Austin). The reason I made the comment about the letter writers is because my letter writers aren't very well known, but I've taken 8 classes with one (all undergrad classes), and 4 with the other (3 undergrad and one grad). I've probably spent a couple of days or even a months worth of time in each of their offices over the past couple of semesters. As my letter writers, they can write a very strong and truthful paper about my capabilities. They probably know my strengths and weaknesses better than I do haha.

Something else you can do is address your GPA in your Statement of Purpose. I included a small paragraph explaining why my GPA was that low, and how that does not represent the type of student I am.

Stochastic1
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:35 am

### Re: advaice to applicants with low GPA and poor academic history

joemath wrote:My undergraduate institution isn't very well known. I currently attend UT San Antonio (its the same system as UT Austin). The reason I made the comment about the letter writers is because my letter writers aren't very well known, but I've taken 8 classes with one (all undergrad classes), and 4 with the other (3 undergrad and one grad). I've probably spent a couple of days or even a months worth of time in each of their offices over the past couple of semesters. As my letter writers, they can write a very strong and truthful paper about my capabilities. They probably know my strengths and weaknesses better than I do haha.

Something else you can do is address your GPA in your Statement of Purpose. I included a small paragraph explaining why my GPA was that low, and how that does not represent the type of student I am.

dangxing
Posts: 92
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:37 am

### Re: advaice to applicants with low GPA and poor academic history

Since you are an international, I don't that GPA should compare with American system because it's much more higher

JonMLTR
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:17 am

### Re: advaice to applicants with low GPA and poor academic history

Stochastic1 wrote:Hi all
I am international applicant.This is my profile:
UGPA: it is 16.22/20 it coverts to 3.17 in 4 scale.
GPA:17/20 it converts to 3.66 in 4 scale.
GRE: 169Q, 145V, 2.5AW
MGRE: 860 , 91%
TOEFL: T:92, S:22, W:21, L:22, R:27
Couple of international and national prize in mathematical competitions.
I am thinking about phd programs with concentration in probability and statistics.
Which range of schools do you suggest?
I understand that GPA weight really more than GRE and MGRE.
What can I do to get best possible result for next year?Do you know schools with more weight on GRE scores?
Since I took MGRE exam with just 3 day preparation I think I can improve it.But it seems that It is worthless!Same about GRE, I can improve my score in V and AW parts.Do you think it would have any considerable positive effect?
Any other advice is really appreciated.

Here is my input.

With 3 days of study you got %91 and that actually shows that your background is good and your grades do not define you. GPA is just a number which is meaningless unless you know more about the applicant, the university he was in, the classmates he had. Not only this variable is abused, cheated, infilated but also it is not up to date.
I have also taken the test and I didn't even take half the advanced courses which are being covered(I am not a math major or minor) , did not sleep the day before and still managed %85 and I am almost sure that I could have gotten close to 900 if I slept well. But you see I also have realized that this test do not classify the above average applicants well. But If you do badly it shows that your background has serious holes in or you have a time management issue.

I had several friends who aced it, they did it the first try (they were all math majors unlike me though) and unfortunately several of them got admissions only from second or third tier universities.

This test is nowhere as defining as IMO or other serious competetions which give you a serious advantage. So if I were you I wouldn't have wasted anymore of my time on it just to get and additional 40-50 points. At least that is what I am doing, I was thinking of retaking it to ace it but not only I really don't find it an achievement but also have seen that it really does not help.

Now what you should do is to make research and come up with results/publications that are significant enough to get the attention of the universities that you are targetting. If you know what you want to study best, then first see what the professors in your target universities are working on, and think about what you can do to contrubute those results or if you have a better idea begin working on it.

Talking to the professors you like in your current university should also help you a lot. Tell them your situation, be honest about what you want. They may point you the right direction in terms of research.

Good luck...

PNT
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:01 pm

### Re: advaice to applicants with low GPA and poor academic history

I really don't think your stats really classify as "poor academic history". If you find schools that are good fits for you I don't think you will have much difficulty getting into a decent school at all. An application won't rest on any one thing, apart from possibly the most important being LOR's. Most applicants who aren't top 10 material have a weakness in their application somewhere.

As far as importance goes, GRE schools are going to be ranked fairly low compared to the other parts of your application. Certainly I do not recommend retaking with the scores you have, that would just be a waste of time. I'm not familiar with TOEFL but I think some recommend having at least 100? Even then I've seen applicants with acceptances with 90's but for you improving TOEFL would be more important than GRE I think but probably still not worth it.

Most important thing to consider when picking schools to apply to is not "what are my chances?" per say but "Am I a good fit for this school and is this school a good fit for me?". After all that is what the grad committee is looking for.

Stochastic1
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:35 am

### Re: advaice to applicants with low GPA and poor academic history

dangxing wrote:Since you are an international, I don't that GPA should compare with American system because it's much more higher

I agree and I think admission committee would not convert my GPA to us scale...at least in the schools who are familiar with 0-20 scale they won't convert it!
JonMLTR wrote:Here is my input.

With 3 days of study you got %91 and that actually shows that your background is good and your grades do not define you. GPA is just a number which is meaningless unless you know more about the applicant, the university he was in, the classmates he had. Not only this variable is abused, cheated, infilated but also it is not up to date.
I have also taken the test and I didn't even take half the advanced courses which are being covered(I am not a math major or minor) , did not sleep the day before and still managed %85 and I am almost sure that I could have gotten close to 900 if I slept well. But you see I also have realized that this test do not classify the above average applicants well. But If you do badly it shows that your background has serious holes in or you have a time management issue.

I had several friends who aced it, they did it the first try (they were all math majors unlike me though) and unfortunately several of them got admissions only from second or third tier universities.

This test is nowhere as defining as IMO or other serious competetions which give you a serious advantage. So if I were you I wouldn't have wasted anymore of my time on it just to get and additional 40-50 points. At least that is what I am doing, I was thinking of retaking it to ace it but not only I really don't find it an achievement but also have seen that it really does not help.

Now what you should do is to make research and come up with results/publications that are significant enough to get the attention of the universities that you are targetting. If you know what you want to study best, then first see what the professors in your target universities are working on, and think about what you can do to contrubute those results or if you have a better idea begin working on it.

Talking to the professors you like in your current university should also help you a lot. Tell them your situation, be honest about what you want. They may point you the right direction in terms of research.

Good luck...

Maybe I ask my professors to talk about my GPA in their recommendation.
I think a combination of GRE scores, competition prizes, recoms and researches can have a very good effect and show that I am better than what my GPA says!
PNT wrote:I really don't think your stats really classify as "poor academic history". If you find schools that are good fits for you I don't think you will have much difficulty getting into a decent school at all. An application won't rest on any one thing, apart from possibly the most important being LOR's. Most applicants who aren't top 10 material have a weakness in their application somewhere.

As far as importance goes, GRE schools are going to be ranked fairly low compared to the other parts of your application. Certainly I do not recommend retaking with the scores you have, that would just be a waste of time. I'm not familiar with TOEFL but I think some recommend having at least 100? Even then I've seen applicants with acceptances with 90's but for you improving TOEFL would be more important than GRE I think but probably still not worth it.

Most important thing to consider when picking schools to apply to is not "what are my chances?" per say but "Am I a good fit for this school and is this school a good fit for me?". After all that is what the grad committee is looking for.

Yes, my stats are not really poor, but they are not really good and they are not satisfying for myself.
Some schools have 100 as minimum requirement.Some others have special requirement for TAs, for example speaking score should be more than 26.I guess TOEFL scores will be more important when I want to apply for low ranked schools, those who want students to be TA from their first year of study.
In addition improving English is really useful for many other reasons,the reasons that are really more important than effect of TOEFL scores on admission.So I do not consider improving TOEFL scores, but I definitely consider improving my English skills.
I think applying process and finding appropriate schools to apply is more complicated for international students, and unfortunately for those from third countries, "optimal applying" , in the sense of applying costs and admission chances is really important problem since costs of two apply could be equal to one month stipend!
I have applied to cmu, and I had an interview to evaluating my English proficiency,in order to understand at what point I can be a TA in math department.They said that this will not affect weather they give me an offer or not.What does it mean?Does it mean that I have good chances in cmu?or similar schools?|I want use this information to decide to which schools I should apply next year!

Thomas
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:08 pm

### Re: advaice to applicants with low GPA and poor academic history

I would sincerely recommend you to consider retaking the TOEFL in order to reach atleast a score of 100 minimum. Unlike the language part in the GRE test, the TOEFL is actually a relatively important part of your file as an international applicant. Most top programs have a minimum requirement on the TOEFL score, and it is usually 100. In my opinion it would be a mistake not to take this test seriously and leave it as it is, especially since the TOEFL is not that challenging if you have a good command of the language.

Improving any other test scores would probably not make any notable difference. Your MGRE score is very good.

And as a general advice: try to take as much graduate level studies as possible. Any academic participation in your own faculty will be a big bonus, especially if it will result in a publication. Good luck!

Stochastic1
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:35 am

### Re: advaice to applicants with low GPA and poor academic history

Thomas wrote:I would sincerely recommend you to consider retaking the TOEFL in order to reach atleast a score of 100 minimum. Unlike the language part in the GRE test, the TOEFL is actually a relatively important part of your file as an international applicant. Most top programs have a minimum requirement on the TOEFL score, and it is usually 100. In my opinion it would be a mistake not to take this test seriously and leave it as it is, especially since the TOEFL is not that challenging if you have a good command of the language.

Improving any other test scores would probably not make any notable difference. Your MGRE score is very good.

And as a general advice: try to take as much graduate level studies as possible. Any academic participation in your own faculty will be a big bonus, especially if it will result in a publication. Good luck!

Thank you very much for nice reading.It was really useful!It seems that I should be more serious and more determined about researches.
Yes, many top programs need score greater than 100, But there are still many other top programs that have minimum TOEFL requirement less than 92.My view is that TOEFL scores will be more important when you are applying to programs with low ranks and when you need full financial support!Some programs have special requirement about speaking score when you need to be a TA.for example your speaking score should be greater than 26.So, what I am going to do is improving my English, and being ready for retaking TOEFL if needed!

Barbara99
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 3:26 am

### Re: advaice to applicants with low GPA and poor academic history

Stochastic1 wrote:
joemath wrote:My GPA is exactly a 3.17, and I got an acceptance from Texas A&M (top 50) with TA-ship and tuition waived, and wait-listed by UT Austin (top 20). Your MGRE score is fairly strong, so I would suggest (as others have already pointed out) to work on obtaining research experience. I participated in a summer REU, which resulted in a paper being submitted for publication. Also make sure you have strong letters of recommendation. Not strong in the sense that your letter writers are well known, but strong in the sense that the letter writers know you very very well.

I will do researches!
Fortunately I can have this kind of recom, but why are you saying this?Do you think it is more important than known recommenders?

My GPA is 3.22 and i want to improve my GPA scores
My undergrad school not that well known so is this affect my chances with my GPA scores

Fw1812
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:19 am

### Re: advaice to applicants with low GPA and poor academic history

Another thing you can do that would help is go get a Masters degree first.
There, you can get some research experience very easily and you can do better in classes and emphasize your GPA there, minimizing the negative effect of your undergrad GPA