GRE Subject test score "cutoff" info from a current student

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
currentstudent
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Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:23 pm

GRE Subject test score "cutoff" info from a current student

Postby currentstudent » Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:42 pm

I'm currently a graduate student at a top 5 mathematics department according to US News, and I just wanted to give you some information regarding admissions to our graduate program now that the 2017 cycle is a distant memory (so hopefully I won't get in trouble for this). My adviser was part of the admissions committee last year, and I talked to him a bit about the admissions process out of curiosity. In particular, I asked him whether there were any '"cutoffs" with respect to the subject test scores. What he told me was that while there are no hard cutoffs, admission into the program becomes very unlikely with a score of 750 or below (I believe he used the words "750 or below is very very bad"). He also told me that with a score from 760 to 800, there must be some another aspect that really stands out in the application in order for there to be a compelling reason to admit the applicant. Finally, he said that with scores significantly higher than 800, they really don't distinguish the applicants on the basis of GRE scores anymore, and they use transcripts, letters of rec, etc instead. With regards to the regular GRE, he said that he doesn't care about those scores at all, unless the quantitative section scores are "catastrophically" low.

Now, this is only the criteria used at one of the 'top' programs, and I'm not sure if the other top programs do things differently. However, I wouldn't be too surprised if they used a similar standard. I saw a list of all the incoming students with their subject test scores at the end of the school year, and I can confirm that there were very, very few students with a score below 760 (like maybe one), as well as less than 5 students with a score from 760 to 800, so I think what my adviser told me is plausible. This isn't to say that you have no chance of getting into a top 5 program with a score less than 760, but if you did score in that range, you should perhaps consider retaking to try to get a better score. I just wanted to give you all this information before the applications open up for the 2018 cycle. Hope you find this information helpful, and best of luck with your applications!
Last edited by currentstudent on Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:06 am, edited 7 times in total.

DDswife
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Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:29 pm

Re: GRE Subject test score "cutoff" info from a current student

Postby DDswife » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:16 pm

Thanks!

kennethahah
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Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:39 pm

Re: GRE Subject test score "cutoff" info from a current student

Postby kennethahah » Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:45 am

Thanks for sharing.

Galen
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Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:14 am

Re: GRE Subject test score "cutoff" info from a current student

Postby Galen » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:40 am

Dear All,

I would like to ask for your advice, I am a bit insecure here. I would like to apply for a terminal master program in Mathematics or a Phd program. My problem is that although I love Mathematics very much, my GPA is 2.82 because I did my bachelor's degree beside a full-time job. I also have a master's degree in Macroeconomics so as research I have the bachelor and the master thesis. I am from Hungary so I plan to take the GRE General and the GRE subject tests in October. What do you think my chances are to get in to Math programs? Since we have just moved to Princeton I am considering the colleges/universities available in the area, like University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University, New York University and Princeton University. Could you please give me some advice? I just do not want to throw money away. I study really hard for the upcoming exams and I am just wondering if I can take those exams with a pretty high score do I have a chance?

Thank you for your help!

math_hopeful
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:21 am

Re: GRE Subject test score "cutoff" info from a current student

Postby math_hopeful » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:26 am

Thanks for the information! Can I ask you what school you're at? I'm asking this because it's presumably not Berkeley? I've seen people on this forum get accepted there with scores as low as 660 (Check the 2016 Applicant Profile thread, although granted they were waitlisted before being accepted).

lambert
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:41 am

Re: GRE Subject test score "cutoff" info from a current student

Postby lambert » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:58 am

math_hopeful wrote:Thanks for the information! Can I ask you what school you're at? I'm asking this because it's presumably not Berkeley? I've seen people on this forum get accepted there with scores as low as 660 (Check the 2016 Applicant Profile thread, although granted they were waitlisted before being accepted).


I think top 5 is restrictive enough, if the topic creator wanted to say their school they would've done so.

Berkeley specifically state on their website that for scores below 800 you probably need to have some outstanding aspect in your application to be considered. It's not a hard cut-off by any means though.

Scores as low as 660 I doubt it though, unless you happen to be a domestic female applicant, Berkeley seems to set the bar much lower for those demographics. For most people on the forum (aka asian / white males), a 660 will likely get your application trashed in the first round where they narrow down the pool.

math_hopeful
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Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:21 am

Re: GRE Subject test score "cutoff" info from a current student

Postby math_hopeful » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:15 pm

lambert wrote:Scores as low as 660 I doubt it though, unless you happen to be a domestic female applicant, Berkeley seems to set the bar much lower for those demographics. For most people on the forum (aka asian / white males), a 660 will likely get your application trashed in the first round where they narrow down the pool.


I just went over the most recent applicant profiles (2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017), and it seems that out of the top programs, Berkeley is the most likely to accept you with a lower GRE subject test score (lower as in mid to upper 700s), although it seems that you are correct that that they set the bar a lot lower for domestic female applicants. Granted, you are probably right that the average applicant with a 660 is not going to get into Berkeley, but I've seen a few male applicants with scores in the mid to upper 700 range accepted there. I think that if you have a very high GPA and an okay GRE subject test score, Berkeley is the best bet to apply to out of the top math schools, even though their website may say otherwise.

Tianma799
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri May 05, 2017 1:29 pm

Re: GRE Subject test score "cutoff" info from a current student

Postby Tianma799 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:49 pm

Thank you so much!! I don't think I will apply to any top 5/top 10 except Berkeley, but still this is very useful :D

currentstudent
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:23 pm

Re: GRE Subject test score "cutoff" info from a current student

Postby currentstudent » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:32 pm

math_hopeful wrote:Thanks for the information! Can I ask you what school you're at? I'm asking this because it's presumably not Berkeley?


I can neither confirm nor deny this claim. I also realized that because of how US News handles ties in their rankings, there are actually six schools in the "top 5" graduate programs.

In addition, I wanted to make an update because I forgot to mention something in my original post. In terms of the regular GRE test, my adviser also told me (a little jokingly) that he thinks that the Verbal section is actually more important than the Quantitative section. His reasoning was that the Verbal score is more informative for the admissions committee, since "everyone who applies to this program will have a good Quant score, but the Verbal score lets us know who actually knows English." I don't know how serious he was being when he said that.

I will also say that my department likes to claim that their standards for admissions is the same for both domestic and international students, so the benchmarks for subject test scores should be the same for both groups. I don't know how true this claim is, but maybe that gives it away that I'm not at Berkeley since apparently you guys seem to think there is a gap between expectations for domestic and international students there?

math_hopeful
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Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:21 am

Re: GRE Subject test score "cutoff" info from a current student

Postby math_hopeful » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:59 pm

Thanks again. I have a question that wasn't quite answered by your posts. Is there a significant difference between getting an 800 and a score much higher than 800, say about 900? Or does it not matter as long as your scores are about 800? I got a 790 on the September exam, and I don't know if this score will make me competitive for the top programs. I've been really busy with school lately, so I haven't had time to study for the October exam, but I will probably spend the next week going all out studying for it if my current score will preclude me from being accepted to the top schools.

sevenfive
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Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:15 am

Re: GRE Subject test score "cutoff" info from a current student

Postby sevenfive » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:27 am

I find this puzzling, since in this forum's own results thread, its seems like 170 V on the general GRE is a big predictor for top 5. Are you at Berkeley?

djysyed
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:59 pm

Re: GRE Subject test score "cutoff" info from a current student

Postby djysyed » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:10 pm

If OP's research is in symplectic geometry, I know his reddit profile and therefore, he would figure out who I am.




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