Value of the subject test

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
ash123
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:05 am

Value of the subject test

Postby ash123 » Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:16 am

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum and I think it would be better if I gave a little intro first. I'm Ashwin, an engineering undergraduate from Chennai, India. I took the general GRE test last August and scored 1350 ( Q-800 V-550 AW-4.0). My TOEFL score is 104. I applied for MS in actuarial sciences this fall and got admits from 3 universities (UoI, UNL and TEMPLE), without any financial aid. I have decided against going to the US this fall and am gonna work for the next year or two and then re-apply. Are there people here in this forum who have done/ are doing MS in Act.sci?

I've decided that whenever I do my masters it will be in a math related field ( Act.sci or stats or whatever.). Will my Engineering background hurt me when I apply again for a pure math/stats degree?

How much importance is given to the subject gre-math for grad math programs? Do you think it's doable with my background? How many months do you feel is necessary? I will be starting work here soon and studying will be limited as well, so should I just take it in the April slot? What are the books you would recommend as must-haves?

I passed SOA Exam 1/P last month and just thought that a good subject gre score, coupled with 2 SOA exams ( assuming I pass one more by the time I re-apply ) will really strengthen my application and improve my chances of getting into a good school, with funding. What are your views on this?

Thanks in advance,
Ashwin

owlpride
Posts: 204
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:01 am

Re: Value of the subject test

Postby owlpride » Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:50 pm

I've decided that whenever I do my masters it will be in a math related field ( Act.sci or stats or whatever.). Will my Engineering background hurt me when I apply again for a pure math/stats degree?

Do you want to study something in the actuarial science or statistics area, or are you interested in pure math? Your engineering background would put you at a huge disadvantage if you were interested in pure math, but you should have a good quantitative background for applied math fields like statistics or actuarial science.

My understanding is that most statistics or actuarial science programs don't care much about the math subject GRE. A good score might help you, but not submitting a score won't hurt. The math subject GRE is targeted at students who want to pursue graduate school in pure mathematics. It assumes that you have taken courses in real analysis, abstract algebra and topology, for example. You probably have not studied these subjects as an engineer, but you also don't need them for actuarial science.

ash123
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:05 am

Re: Value of the subject test

Postby ash123 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:11 pm

I think I'll be applying to stats/act.sci courses. Sorry for misleading you in my first post.

Like you've said, I haven't studied these subjects in my engineering curriculum. However, when I applied for MS in Act.sci this fall, i noticed that big univs like UT-Austin, UMich, Columbia and UIUC did expect a subject GRE. Like you indicated, they did mention that a subject gre score would be viewed positively by the admissions committee. As a result my options were very limited this year. Can you tell me how difficult it would be to learn those new concepts?

What are your thoughts on MS in actuarial science? Do you know people who have done this? I've also heard that it is commonplace for students to major in something else and just take the actuarial exams on the side. All this only confused me more!!

Thank you for your insights,
Ash

owlpride
Posts: 204
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:01 am

Re: Value of the subject test

Postby owlpride » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:28 am

Algebra, analysis and topology are really hard to learn on your own if you have never been exposed to them before. The good news is that they only make up about 20% of the exam. You would probably maximize your score by focusing on the other 80% - calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, complex analysis (arithmetic with complex numbers, the residue theorem and Cauchy's integral formula), combinatorics, statistics, elementary number theory, etc. You could theoretically score in the 800+ range without any knowledge of analysis, algebra or topology, if you got a perfect score on the other questions. And 800 would be an excellent score for applied math! (The common advice is that applied math students should aim for a 50th percentile score, which would have been 640 last year.)

ash123
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:05 am

Re: Value of the subject test

Postby ash123 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:13 am

Thanks owlpride!! If you don't mind me asking, are you doing your MS in pure math? Any thoughts on the actuarial science masters??

owlpride
Posts: 204
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:01 am

Re: Value of the subject test

Postby owlpride » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:04 pm

I'll be applying to PhD programs in pure math. I am afraid I can't tell you much about actuarial science programs.




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