Jun 23, 2014
58
1
Status
Psychology Student
I have a 4.0 psychology GPA in the honors college but I just took the GRE and got 157 V and 154 Q. I felt like I studied decently for the past two months, but I could study for another month and take it again. The only problem is that then I definitely cannot take the subject test. None of my schools require it, 4 recommend it.

I just feel like a 311 combined score won't get me into any clinical PhD programs, but I am also worried of the possibility I won't do much better the second time around, or, if I do, I won't have the time to make my SOPs perfect.

I would appreciate any advice!
 
Jan 6, 2015
19
11
Status
Pre-Psychology
My GRE scores are pretty much exactly like yours. 158V and 154Q. The first time I took the GRE it was much lower. I got up to a 154 taking it my 3rd time. Part of me wanted to take it again this year, but I ultimately decided I should focus on other parts of my application that I know I can make better. And a 154 isn't a terrible score, I don't think at least (depending on where you apply I suppose).

Two years ago I interviewed at UC-Davis, it was not for a clinical program, but it still is a competitive school. I ultimately did not get an offer due to pretty different research interests that were realized once I interviewed, but I got the interview with those GRE scores. Last year I had a pre-interview over the phone at WashU-St. Louis for clinical psych...a super competitive program. Again, I think our research interests weren't a great fit and he was just putting some feelers out among people who applied for his lab...but obviously I made it through the first and maybe second pass with those GRE scores.

I would say, if you feel that you really have the time to put an effort into re-taking it and think you might get a better score...it doesn't hurt to try. But it's an expensive gamble if you aren't sure. And, depending on the rest of your application (like a 4.0 honors gpa, research activity, academic work, etc.) it really may not be necessary to re-take. Personally for me, I'm working on bulking up my academic work like publications and presentations instead of focusing energy/time/money on the GRE again.

But again, this depends on what your goals are, what schools you want to apply for, etc. If you have "The Insider Guide" it gives a pretty nice depiction of what the GRE scores of the previous class looked like to compare yours with. I'm sure you'll make the right decision for you!
 
OP
M
Jun 23, 2014
58
1
Status
Psychology Student
I really feel like a good GRE score matters for me because I won't be published or have any posters at the time of applications, although I am in 3 research labs so I do have some experience. The GRE scores I've seen are all around the 320 range, but I'm doubtful if I can raise it that high. I just really don't want to take a gap year because I already know exactly what I want to do and I don't need to take a year of more research to figure it out. But not having a gap year is the norm now, so it may set me back.

Thank you for your feedback!
 
Apr 11, 2012
450
281
Status
Psychologist
Truly competitive applicants will have posters (at least local presentations, ideally regional or national conferences) and *maybe* publications. Working in three labs is great, though not as great as focusing on one or two with some output. We faculty want to know that you understand what research is about, and a concrete method of assessing what you can do is what you have done (e.g., posters and papers). It's not fair, as not all labs give presentation or publication opportunities, and some people DO get into graduate school without them (myself included, although that was over a decade ago at this point). Just recognize that whether or not YOU know what you want to do, that might not be enough for the *faculty* to know that you've got the chops and stamina for a doctoral program. GRE scores alone will not make your application, even at the 320 level.
 
OP
M
Jun 23, 2014
58
1
Status
Psychology Student
Truly competitive applicants will have posters (at least local presentations, ideally regional or national conferences) and *maybe* publications. Working in three labs is great, though not as great as focusing on one or two with some output. We faculty want to know that you understand what research is about, and a concrete method of assessing what you can do is what you have done (e.g., posters and papers). It's not fair, as not all labs give presentation or publication opportunities, and some people DO get into graduate school without them (myself included, although that was over a decade ago at this point). Just recognize that whether or not YOU know what you want to do, that might not be enough for the *faculty* to know that you've got the chops and stamina for a doctoral program. GRE scores alone will not make your application, even at the 320 level.
Thanks for your input! I understand both the potential benefits and drawbacks of being in three research labs. However, I have certainly gained a lot from being in three labs which is why I continue to work in all three. They are all in slightly different fields so the experience of dipping my toes into different interests not only helped me solidify what path is right for me, but has provided me with insight and networking opportunities within these fields and I appreciate the eclectic viewpoint during my research and studies. Also, I have reduced my hours in 2 of the labs so that I can focus on the lab that is an exact match to my field while not entirely abandoning my work in the other 2 labs. I spend roughly 30 hours/week doing research, and 15 hours out of the 30 is for one lab.