Weak background, terrible scores: Suggestions?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
riceophile
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:40 pm

Weak background, terrible scores: Suggestions?

Postby riceophile » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:14 pm

Hi, I am a 2nd year graduate student in a data analytics master program. But I really want to study mathematics so I decided to apply for PhD programs anyway.
The problem is that my background is quite weak, and I am really having a hard time picking up schools to apply for.
My current major interests in Maths are Number theory and abstract algebra. I find them to be very interesting at my very low knowledge level. (one semester of algebra in undergrads and a little knowledge about elementary number theory) ]
So, I did some research and found some schools that have regular seminars in Number theory.

For now, My thought is to pick up 5 schools ranked between 30 and 50, 10 schools ranked between 50 and 100, and 5 schools ranked after 100 or not ranked. And the majority of those schools that I picked should have Number theory seminars.
Please let me know if my selections are too good...Maybe I should mainly apply for schools ranked 80 and after?
Thanks to anyone who read my thread!

Here are some details about my background:
(I just used the code from the thread "2015 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results," hope that's OK)
Undergrad Institution: small LAC not known out of the state
Major(s): Mathematics
GPA: 3.867
Undergrad Institution: Big state university
Major(s): Data Analytics
GPA: 3.500
Type of Student: International, Asian

GRE Revised General Test:
Q: 170 (98%)
V: 150 (45%)
W: 2.0(02%)
I only spent some time learning vocabularies for the General, so my writing score was really screwed.
GRE Subject Test in Mathematics:
M: I took the Oct 25th exam, but I only spent about two week for preparation (due to severe procrastination), so my best estimate would be a raw score around 33 out of 66

Program Applying: Pure Math

Research Experience: None
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list, First year Honor.
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: two semesters of Maths tutor
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I have asked two of my undergrads Math professors and one professor from my graduate school that I had taken a programming class with to write me the recommendation letters. But I won't count on my recommendation too much since I am not very familiar with my professors and they are just being nice.

MathCat
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:17 am

Re: Weak background, terrible scores: Suggestions?

Postby MathCat » Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:18 am

I think the weak background will hurt you more than the scores. You can get into good programs with weak scores, but if you don't have the background you will be seriously unprepared. I do not think you would be admitted to a pure math program without more background. I think you should work on that, whether that means taking more courses or self-study (which you must then prove you learned it with a good mGRE score).

riceophile
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:40 pm

Re: Weak background, terrible scores: Suggestions?

Postby riceophile » Mon Nov 24, 2014 6:49 pm

MathCat wrote:I think the weak background will hurt you more than the scores. You can get into good programs with weak scores, but if you don't have the background you will be seriously unprepared. I do not think you would be admitted to a pure math program without more background. I think you should work on that, whether that means taking more courses or self-study (which you must then prove you learned it with a good mGRE score).


Thank you for your advice, though very disappointing :|
But my parents will not allow me to spend another year applying for PhD, so I have to apply to programs this year.
BTW, I just got my MGRE score: 630 (44%), do you think that I may be admitted into schools ranked around 100?

MathCat
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:17 am

Re: Weak background, terrible scores: Suggestions?

Postby MathCat » Mon Nov 24, 2014 6:52 pm

riceophile wrote:
MathCat wrote:I think the weak background will hurt you more than the scores. You can get into good programs with weak scores, but if you don't have the background you will be seriously unprepared. I do not think you would be admitted to a pure math program without more background. I think you should work on that, whether that means taking more courses or self-study (which you must then prove you learned it with a good mGRE score).


Thank you for your advice, though very disappointing :|
But my parents will not allow me to spend another year applying for PhD, so I have to apply to programs this year.
BTW, I just got my MGRE score: 630 (44%), do you think that I may be admitted into schools ranked around 100?


Well, I don't think the mGRE score will prevent your admittance. It's not such bad score, especially if you didn't take many of the pure math classes that are tested! I still think the lacking background is a bigger issue. Masters first seems like a better bet to me, but it's your call.

edit: My bad, I had forgotten you are already in a Masters program. Good luck. It will probably help if you can really show you are into math in your statement of purpose, maybe mention any outside reading you have done (if you have), things like that.




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