GRE General Test - how much does it matter?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
764527
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:12 pm

GRE General Test - how much does it matter?

Postby 764527 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:29 pm

Hey everyone, I'm a rising undergraduate junior with an intention to pursue a Ph.D. in pure math right after graduation. Question for you guys: how much does the General GRE Test matter for Ph.D. admissions in pure math? I know that the subject test is weighed more heavily, but will having high scores on the General Test stand out? If so, to what degree? On the other hand, would an average (or mediocre) score hurt me? Again, if so, to what degree?

I ask because, as a rising junior, I am at the point where it is time to start thinking about grad school, but want to wait until I've taken abstract algebra before preparing for the subject test. My adviser thinks that it is a bit early for me to take the General Test, but if the scores are not important, I might as well wing it and get it over with this summer...

MattW
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:34 pm

Re: GRE General Test - how much does it matter?

Postby MattW » Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:23 pm

More or less, the only schools which look at the general GRE are those which don't require the subject test. The main reason that you'd want to do well on the general is because it increases your chances of receiving interdisciplinary awards.

As for the subject GRE, abstract algebra will definitely come up in a few questions. The majority of the questions are calculus (single and multivariable) and linear algebra though. Since the subject test is so broad, its probably in your best interests to wait as long as possible so that you are exposed to more topics before the test.

764527
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:12 pm

Re: GRE General Test - how much does it matter?

Postby 764527 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:26 pm

Thanks for the response!

Basically, I gather that my scores on the GRE General Test are unimportant unless I want to compete for interdisciplinary awards. So, how important are these awards? From what I've heard, Ph.D. programs usually provide full funding + stipend for 5-6 years, and that an "admission without funding" is not really an admission at all. Is this true?

Also, I meant to ask this earlier, but would Ph.D. admissions look at me funny if I miss one or two questions on the quantitative portion of the General Test? (Unfortunately, I'm often prone to making careless mistakes...) Given that the rest of my application (GPA, letters of recommendation, subject GRE, etc.) is in good shape, should I worry about getting a perfect on the quantitative?

MattW
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:34 pm

Re: GRE General Test - how much does it matter?

Postby MattW » Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:06 am

Interdisciplinary awards would be nice to have (I wish I had one!) but are definitely not essential. It is very rare to receive these awards. You'll most likely be supported through TA and RA work.

I don't think that messing up on a few questions on the quantitative section would hurt your chances too much, as long as you don't get an abominable score. They will be more interested in the subject GRE.

freeabelian
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:35 pm

Re: GRE General Test - how much does it matter?

Postby freeabelian » Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:35 pm

They're really sort of unimportant, generally jsut a requirement for admission to the graduate school.

I know very good mathematicians who got ~770 on the regular math section, and did just fine. Some of the math on it is archaic, and because you're expected to be perfect, the stress makes you miss things.

Can't say I know anyone who actually studied for it more than a few nights leading up to it.

mhancock743
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:08 pm

Re: GRE General Test - how much does it matter?

Postby mhancock743 » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:37 am

johnnystrauss77 wrote:Has you guy used GRE test study guides for the GRE. I'm thinking about going to grad school and obviously I will have to take the GRE test. What's holding me back is the math portion. I am horrible at math, to say the least. The highest math course I ever took in high school was Algebra. I know that there is geometry and trigonometry, etc. on there and I wouldn't even know how to begin to do that sort of stuff, do you guys took any reference book like GRE test study guides which I got last month. And it's been so long since I took Algebra, I can't remember any of that stuff either. So, I've been thinking about taking some type of remedial math class this summer at a community college just to brush up on my math skills..


Kaplan's GRE math workbook is very good for prepping for the GRE general quant portion, from my experience.

The book provides a lot of examples and practice, but do yourself the a favor:
The problems are easy. It's the timing that's difficult. Therefore, work large sections of problems in a sitting.

I worked through the majority of this book in the two or three days prior to the test (not saying you should wait until that long,
I had taken the test once prior at that point), and timing became a much less of an issue than it had been previously

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

Re: GRE General Test - how much does it matter?

Postby dasgut » Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:06 pm

For schools that do look at the General, how much do they care about the analytical writing? I'm particularly interested in what stats programs think.

ANDS
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:41 pm

Re: GRE General Test - how much does it matter?

Postby ANDS » Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:28 pm

dasgut wrote:For schools that do look at the General, how much do they care about the analytical writing? I'm particularly interested in what stats programs think.


Little to none. I mean obviously if you get an incredibly bad score, that might flag you - but traditionally quantitative majors do not do well on the Verbal/Writing portions of that exam (or it seems in their academics). Obviously the main thing they are looking at are an average verbal score (500 or above) and an above average quantitavie score (750 and above). And even then, the GRE's are just a screening method, and a means of separating one candidate from another. Grades, Letter of Rec, Extra Curricular activities live far to the right of GRE in terms of importance.




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