What scores are required for what schools?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
dasgut
Posts: 250
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:20 am

What scores are required for what schools?

Postby dasgut » Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:40 am

Looking at many of the different schools' websites I see statements about math subject minimums, but not averages. What are the common scores at different tiers of schools? i.e at:

Top 5
Top 10
Top 20
Top 30

eof
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 3:39 pm

Re: What scores are required for what schools?

Postby eof » Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:03 am

A Putnam fellow applying to my program had less than 800 on the math GRE. This student was accepted to a top 5. This means that there are some very good students who score badly on the GRE... and they do get accepted to top programs because of other merits.

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

Re: What scores are required for what schools?

Postby owlpride » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:06 am

I know students with ___ percentile score at ___ university:

82nd - MIT
70ish - Yale
60ish - UCLA
50ish - Duke

A few programs are quite explicit about their expectations. Berkeley prefers scores above the 80th percentile. Penn uses 750 as a preliminary cutoff and reports 820 as their average.

john
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:41 pm

Re: What scores are required for what schools?

Postby john » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:15 am

Penn State, ranked somewhere around 25:

http://www.math.psu.edu/grad/phd/faq.php

Minnesota, ranked just below 10 I think...:

http://www.math.umn.edu/grad/faq/index.shtml

Notice that Minnesota had a student with a 42nd percentile score. The rest of their application must have been amazing!

Chapel
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:25 pm

Re: What scores are required for what schools?

Postby Chapel » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:15 pm

owlpride wrote:I know students with ___ percentile score at ___ university:

82nd - MIT
70ish - Yale
60ish - UCLA
50ish - Duke

A few programs are quite explicit about their expectations. Berkeley prefers scores above the 80th percentile. Penn uses 750 as a preliminary cutoff and reports 820 as their average.


Now, did any of those students have other factors contraindicated by their GRE scores. For instance, did the Duke student have a significantly high GPA or did the MIT student lack prior research experience or some sort?

Incidentally, I know someone who scored low enough that she won't tell me her percentile currently attending University of Nebraska. I don't know if that means much to the OP, but it is info.

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

Re: What scores are required for what schools?

Postby owlpride » Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:51 pm

All four are very strong students. Three got a Master's degree in 4 years, and one graduated in three years with a good number of graduate courses under his belt already. MIT, Yale, Duke and UCLA are all very selective programs and I cannot imagine that they would admit someone without a strong academic record.

This just goes to show that there are more important aspects of the application than GRE scores.

Chapel
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:25 pm

Re: What scores are required for what schools?

Postby Chapel » Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:10 am

Yeah, that was pretty much what I expected you would say. It would seem that the Math GRE is not a great predictor of future performance or an indicator of past success, especially if people who completed the BA and MA in 4 years scored in the 60ish percentile. (Assuming that the person who *only* got the BS in three years was the one who went to Duke.)

owlpride
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Re: What scores are required for what schools?

Postby owlpride » Thu Oct 14, 2010 2:44 am

Actually, that's the one who went to MIT. He was only applying to a few tippy-top programs after his junior year, with the intention to stay for a fourth year and reapply more broadly if he didn't get accepted.

I'm not sure how much the coursework for a Master's degree actually helps for the GRE. It might help in terms of general problem-solving skills but not with the specific material on the exam.

Also, to be honest, whether someone gets a Master's degree in four years around here depends mainly on their pre-college background. (Basically, the set of math majors pursing the combined Bachelor/Master option = the set of math majors with AP Calc BC credit. Everyone else would need to take courses out of sequence to catch up with the requirements of the program.) From this point of view, the Master's degree does not actually indicate particular mathematical talent and maybe that's why some of their GRE scores are on the lower side. Or maybe their graduate courses kept them too busy to prepare for the exam :mrgreen:

jplusip
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:40 pm

Re: What scores are required for what schools?

Postby jplusip » Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:14 pm

Personally, I don't think the Math GRE really says anything about a student.
"How well can you work tricky Calculus/Pre-calculus questions with a time limit?"


What that has to do with someone wanting to study analysis or algebraic geometry or topology is beyond me. Personally, I'm an aspiring complex analyst. How much is my knowledge of complex analysis going to help on the exam? Three questions at best.

I dunno, I just think its silly. Seems the test is more for people who sit around thinking about Calculus, but in actuality, wouldn't that be the engineers and physicists? Don't most serious mathematicians move on to algebra and/or analysis and/or geometry (and/or a combination of the above)? I know that if not for this test I wouldn't be thinking about computing things in my mathematical thoughts. :P (I'd be spending 100% of my time studying Rudin, Ahlfors, Markushevich, and Birkhoff/Mac Lane!!!!)

Of course, even more generally, not all mathematicians are solid at the same topics. One of my professors had a classmate who was awful at algebra, but was a genius at topology/analysis, and actually got a very nice offer from a top 10 school. So again, maybe someone just isn't good at calculus or algebra, but is a freaking genius with analysis or topology. Their score probably wouldn't be so hot. But maybe they're the person who will prove Riemann's hypothesis! :shock:

Bah! Just complaining because the test looms ahead for me, and is freaking me out. :lol:


And while we're on the topic: Anybody have any clue what good ole' Wash U in St. Louis looks for on the Math GRE?

Chapel
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:25 pm

Re: What scores are required for what schools?

Postby Chapel » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:28 am

owlpride wrote:Actually, that's the one who went to MIT. He was only applying to a few tippy-top programs after his junior year, with the intention to stay for a fourth year and reapply more broadly if he didn't get accepted.


That is actually quite a decent idea. I wish I had that mind set back in the day. (You know, instead of bouncing from Architecture to math at a good architecture school but a second rate math school and then deciding to try to get a job after my masters.)

Or maybe their graduate courses kept them too busy to prepare for the exam :mrgreen:


Haha! I guess there is always that.

enork
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:16 am

Re: What scores are required for what schools?

Postby enork » Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:11 am

For an example of the converse, I scored 94th percentile and didn't get into any top 30 programs. :|

jplusip
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:40 pm

Re: What scores are required for what schools?

Postby jplusip » Sun Oct 17, 2010 4:45 pm

enork,


I don't mean to be rude, and feel free to not answer if you don't want to, but is there any reason why that happened?

enork
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:16 am

Re: What scores are required for what schools?

Postby enork » Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:54 pm

Well, my application wasn't so strong in other areas. My GPA was 3.38 because I didn't make maximizing my grades a high priority. My letters probably weren't very impressive because I didn't get to know many professors. I didn't have much in the way of research experience (for example no REUs). Basically I did a poor job during my undergrad building a solid profile for applying to grad school. Even the math GRE I barely prepared for, but I happen to be good at that sort of test, for whatever that's worth.

I'm at Georgia Tech now and it's been great so far, so it wasn't the end of the world. Also GT's US News ranking got bumped up to 30 this year, so what I said maybe isn't true anymore depending on how you interpret the statement.

cbreeden
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:37 am

Re: What scores are required for what schools?

Postby cbreeden » Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:01 am

enork, I'm sure that the GRE wasn't the only thing getting you into GA Tech and that your previous school's reputation had a powerful role as well.

dasgut
Posts: 250
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:20 am

Re: What scores are required for what schools?

Postby dasgut » Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:18 pm

So I emailed a school to ask what their score range was and I was told it was 880-990. The rescaled test goes to 900. What range would 880-990 correspond to? Why would a school still use the old scale?

fireandgladstone
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 4:57 am

Re: What scores are required for what schools?

Postby fireandgladstone » Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:49 pm

Which school did you ask...

Chapel
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:25 pm

Re: What scores are required for what schools?

Postby Chapel » Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:54 pm

dasgut wrote:So I emailed a school to ask what their score range was and I was told it was 880-990. The rescaled test goes to 900. What range would 880-990 correspond to? Why would a school still use the old scale?


Well, proportions would suggest their new range is 800 and up, but they may not know that the rescaled test only goes to 900. That being said, according to Owlpride, someone he knows got into Duke with a 50ish percentile Math GRE score and Duke is pretty choosy. Don't let the 880 thing scare you off.




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