You kept your nose to the grindstone for nearly three months, slogged hard for your GRE preparation but a disappointing 297 broke your heart. You are anxious that your low GRE score could become a recipe for disaster and may wear away all the chances of making it to halls of ivy. Evidently unhappy with your scores you have started toying with the idea of retaking GRE. The more you contemplate, the more complex it gets for you. You should not be paranoid over this baffling question of should I or should I not take the GRE. Just understand that the process of making it to the University of your dream is like a long hurdle race, and you cannot afford to spend too much time on overcoming just one obstacle. Always look at the bigger picture. You must utilize your time thoughtfully and judiciously considering all aspects.
What are the factors to be considered before you retake your exams?
1. Time factor: You must take into account the time left for completing your application. While you may want to build up your chances with a decent GRE score, do not overlook other important aspects of your application process i.e. your essays and recommendations. Refrain from acting like a GRE fanatic and compromising with a lack-luster SOP and run-of-the-mill recommendations.
2. Requirements of your university: be sure to keep yourself abreast with the latest GRE cut-offs for the schools you are applying too. GRE score is not something to flaunt but to make the best use of. Be realistic as you would need to take both sections again, and balanced preparation would be required. If the course requires you to ace quants sections and an average verbal is acceptable, do not go over the top to take the test again just to increase your overall GRE. Use your wisdom and discretion in making the final decision.
3. Demoralizing GRE score: if your GRE score is uninspiring, the good news is that you can take GRE again. ETS has made your life a lot easier by introducing an option of Score select, which allows you to choose the score that you would like to show to the schools you are applying to. When you do not have any option but to take GRE again, happily set your heart on it and give it your best shot with a renewed sense of determination.
4. It was not your day: you had been consistently scoring well in your mocks, but the D day was ill-fated for you. There is something called Murphy’s law and you are still wondering why it had worked in your life that day. Relax! There is always a second chance in life. The edge you now have is the confidence of taking the exam once. You have coped up with the real-time pressure, know the setting and with better preparation, you can definitely take the bulls by its horn.
5. Realistic expectations: your scores may not improve as dramatically as you are fancying it to. You have put in endless grueling hours of sweat and toil and be ready to repeat the regimen if you must take GRE again. If you have just missed the mark by a few points, and those points matters you can explore the option of retaking your GRE, especially if you just casually browsed through the reading material and took the test with lukewarm preparation.
While it may go in your favor to take the test again if the scores do not do justice in exhibiting your true competency, at times taking repeat test can land you up with a lesser score. GRE is undoubtedly a crucial part of our application, but it is certainly not the sole deciding factor for your application acceptance. An average GRE coupled with an excellent SOP, Impressive recommendations and good academics can still get you a place in your dream school. Be positive, stay focussed and act judiciously.