How Important is the GRE Subject Test?

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doctoroxygen

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How important is the GRE subject test at schools where it is "strongly recommended but not required"? I've heard "not very"; does that answer mesh with what you all have heard?

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if you weren't a psych major i think it's important. i wasn't and had several profs tell me that my subject test score was one of the reasons i got the interview despite my non-psych background.
 
How important is the GRE subject test at schools where it is "strongly recommended but not required"? I've heard "not very"; does that answer mesh with what you all have heard?

If you have a strong undergraduate record in psychology (major or at least a minor in Psych) and the school does not require it, it's not worth bothering with.

If you come from what you feel is a weak school, don't have a major in psychology, or have a weak psychology GPA... it could be very important in proving you have the knowledge needed for graduate school.

Mark
 
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If you have a string undergraduate record in psychology (major or at least a minor in Psych) and the school does not require it, it's not worth bothering with.

I actually disagree with Mark on this point -- I think if you have a strong record in psychology and you study, it's really likely that you'll do very well on the test, so you definitely should bother with it - a good score can only help you!

If you're asking because you didn't do well on the test, or are concerned about what your performance would be, remember that you have the option of not reporting your subject test scores. I agree that in the grand scheme of admission factors, the test isn't particularly important if you were a psych major, but you should still submit your results if you did well. If you didn't do well, don't submit your results, and it probably won't do too much damage to your chances.
 
When I was applying this year I asked the prof. I work for how important the test was. He was on the admissions committee last year to one of a few programs that actually require it and he asked me "Whats the subject test?" I think he said it in jest but went on to tell me that it doesn't really matter. It may help boost an already strong application, but the general gres are what really matter
 
For what it's worth, I have a BA and MA in psych. I took the subject test more than 5 years ago, and I didn't bother to take it again. At the very least, it doesn't look like I got dinged from any program simply for not having taken the subject test recently, even in the cases when it was "strongly recommended."

If someone wasn't a psych major, though, I'd definitely say take it. Programs need some kind of evidence that you're knowledgeable about psych at least to some basic degree.
 
I actually disagree with Mark on this point -- I think if you have a strong record in psychology and you study, it's really likely that you'll do very well on the test, so you definitely should bother with it - a good score can only help you!

If you're asking because you didn't do well on the test, or are concerned about what your performance would be, remember that you have the option of not reporting your subject test scores. I agree that in the grand scheme of admission factors, the test isn't particularly important if you were a psych major, but you should still submit your results if you did well. If you didn't do well, don't submit your results, and it probably won't do too much damage to your chances.

I respect your point of disagreement, my point comes from the fact that a great many programs don't require it. I don't feel I did as well as I would have liked, but I didn't do poorly either (680/80%), and most importantly I don't feel that it helped me in the application process (nor did it hurt me.)

Further, a bad score can only hurt you. If you have a good GPA and went to a decent school, etc, etc. I wouldn't waste my time with it when my time could be invested in more productive ways. If you have schools that require the test and you want to go to one of them, then you have to suck it up anyway. So study hard and do well, it's a tough test!


Mark
 
Further, a bad score can only hurt you. If you have a good GPA and went to a decent school, etc, etc. I wouldn't waste my time with it when my time could be invested in more productive ways. If you have schools that require the test and you want to go to one of them, then you have to suck it up anyway. So study hard and do well, it's a tough test!


Mark


I was wondering if you thought this also would apply to nonclinical areas, Mark. From the schools I am considering, none of them require it, and only 1-2 recommend it. I assume it would, since nonclinical areas tend to be a bit less competitive than clinical and so it would make sense to not care as much about the test.
 
I was wondering if you thought this also would apply to nonclinical areas, Mark. From the schools I am considering, none of them require it, and only 1-2 recommend it. I assume it would, since nonclinical areas tend to be a bit less competitive than clinical and so it would make sense to not care as much about the test.

If they don't ask for it, they likely don't care about it. For the programs that "recommend" it. Most will not let that stop them if you have solid GRE and GPA scores and are a psychology major from somewhere other than DeVry or ITT Tech.

Mark
 
If you think there's a good chance you'll do well on it - I say go for it. The process is so competitive, I would recommend doing everything you can to make your application stronger. It won't make or break you but if it can't hurt, then I recommend going for it.
 
I was wondering if I should bother with it. I am not a Psych Major, rather I am a continuing education student majoring in "Human Services". Basically, the past 3 semesters I have only taken psychology classes. When I graduate I will have about 85 credits in psychology, which includes 51 credits worth of course work and 3 graduate classes. Also, I am a psychology honors student (so I will have a thesis) I will have covered each topic that is on the psych GRE.

So my question is whether I should take the subject GRE or just not bother with it?
 
I'd say that depends what schools you are applying to Marissa.

Some do outright require it. I certainly wouldn't recommend scratching an otherwise ideal school off the list over something like the psych GRE. I'm inclined to overshoot on applications since its such a competitive process, but your major might be "close enough" in that it isn't like you are majoring in, say, physics, or something clearly less related to the domain of psychology (though for some neuroimaging stuff, a physics background would actually be ideal! ) and should have adequate psychology coursework.

Its a tough one.
 
If it's even recommended, I'd say you should err on the side of taking it rather than not taking it. Perhaps, no one will ever look at your score and it will never matter and will have blown the $250 or whatever it costs. But what if they decide to look at it? The application process is stressful enough as it is...if you're anything like me, you'll feel a lot better knowing you have all of the possible bases covered.
 
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Does anyone know if there's going to be an October or November 2008 test? ETS only has April posted as a 2008 test.....

ETS won't post the fall dates until summer, from end of june to mid july. But there will definitely be fall dates. I would recommend the October date, b/c I took it in November and they didn't report the scores until early December.
 
I took the subject test, even though it wasn't required for any of my programs, and scored fairly well (98th percentile, 99th in social psychology. Out of four interviews, two mentioned my high GRE scores (on the subject test and general) and seemed impressed (one even said wow, amusingly enough). I got in to one of the programs and was waitlisted at the other. Although I can't say that it definitively helped me, they definitely noticed my scores.
 
Does anyone who's taken the subject test know how representative of the actual test the questions are in the packet ETS sends you? I noticed they're back-dated to 1999 or so. I would imagine the questions have probably gotten harder...

I haven't have a lot of time to study lately because this semester is killing me, but when I took the practice test I scored in the 90th percentile. Can I expect similar performance on the real thing? Barring stress and that kind of thing, of course.
 
My subject scores were really high, and as such, helped compensate for my not-so-stellar grade point average...at least, my POI said she was initially intrigued by my application because of the discrepancy between my average and my GRE scores. So they could be a huge help to your application!
 
Were your general scores low?

I cancelled my April test date; I'm going to study throughout the summer and take it in October.
 
Were your general scores low?

I cancelled my April test date; I'm going to study throughout the summer and take it in October.

It's possible I'm going to be out of the country next year, so waiting probably isn't an option. It's now or never, and I figure it's worth taking and seeing how it goes. I can always not send it to anyone, right?
 
That's fair. I just had low general scores, so I want a good score in SOMETHING and I got a 500 on the practice test without studying, so I should be able to break past 600 if I study.
 
That's fair. I just had low general scores, so I want a good score in SOMETHING and I got a 500 on the practice test without studying, so I should be able to break past 600 if I study.

Yeah, my general scores were really good, so I'm not so worried about this. In fact, I was planning on just not taking it at all, but the professor I work with suggested taking it at least so I can say that I have and then it can't be held against me. I wish I had been able to study more, but this semester's been a killer. I would cancel it but when I looked into it I would only get half my money back. Seems like it's worth at least taking.
 
Hi all - sorry to dredge this topic up again! I got my Psych GRE scores back and was wondering whether I should or shouldn't send it with my general scores when I eventually apply. Should I be looking at the raw scores or the percentile? Everyone always looks at the raw for the general test, soooo... also, my general scores for reference, if that matters:

Psych - 700
Verbal - 690
Quan - 730


Thanks for the help!
 
Hi all - sorry to dredge this topic up again! I got my Psych GRE scores back and was wondering whether I should or shouldn't send it with my general scores when I eventually apply. Should I be looking at the raw scores or the percentile? Everyone always looks at the raw for the general test, soooo... also, my general scores for reference, if that matters:

Psych - 700
Verbal - 690
Quan - 730


Thanks for the help!

Your fine... nothing to worry about score wise. You should send them only if they ask for them, they won't help or hurt your application in my opinion.

Mark
 
Thanks! What about schools that say 'while the subject test is not required, many of our students elect to send us their subject scores' ?
 
on the psych GREs ya know? So they figured - why not send eh? I don't know if it would really help "get you in" but it can't hurt if you did well
 
Thanks! What about schools that say 'while the subject test is not required, many of our students elect to send us their subject scores' ?

Don't you just love that?:rolleyes:

Your 700 score is pretty good IMO, so I'd send it (as is your general GRE score!).
 
Thanks! What about schools that say 'while the subject test is not required, many of our students elect to send us their subject scores' ?

Honestly, it won't matter, UNLESS you were not a Psychology major as an undergrad. In which case you should absolutely send it every where you apply.

Mark
 
Hi all - sorry to dredge this topic up again! I got my Psych GRE scores back and was wondering whether I should or shouldn't send it with my general scores when I eventually apply. Should I be looking at the raw scores or the percentile? Everyone always looks at the raw for the general test, soooo... also, my general scores for reference, if that matters:

Psych - 700
Verbal - 690
Quan - 730


Thanks for the help!

All those scores are amazing imo. :thumbup:
 
Thanks for the opinions, everyone! ...and the compliments *blush*

I'm not sure now whether it was worth taking the test. I didn't spend an overly huge amount of time preparing, but there was really only one school who really seemed to want it (though with other people's perceptions of whether it's really needed... eh.) I thought I would cover my bases. I'm out money, but at least they can't hold it against me.
 
Hi all,

I called ETS today and apparently the Fall 2008 dates for the GRE in Psychology are as follows:
October 18th
November 8th

and then April 4th 2009

Registration for November won't begin until July 1, 2008.

Hope that helps, for those of you interested in taking the exam.
 
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