I took the Math subject GRE last year (in 2019) and I was not well while taking it, so I could not do well in the exam and got a 50 percentile. When I created my GRE account in ETS, I selected four Statistics departments, none of which even mentions the Math GRE as something they recommend. But I thought I would do well in the exam, and the Math GRE score would show my math aptitude, which is good, I guess, for a Statistics PhD program.

However, since my score is low, and ETS has already reported it to the departments, I am wondering whether the admission committee would at all look at this score when I apply to them in future. I have not yet taken the general GRE test, as I intend to apply for Autumn 2022. Due to the lockdown, it is hard to give the Math GRE now. Also, I do not wish to spend the money (I come from a financially weak background, and the price of the math GRE test is quite high in my home country) for a re-test if the score is not going to matter.

I am just concerned that the department might look at my score (because ETS already sent it) and it might create an adverse effect on my chances of admission? What is the best strategy in this case?

  • I think that each time you apply, you can choose to have ETS send your scores or not, no? Departments are probably not going to go back and look at your applications from previous years if that's what you're worried about. BTW, 50th percentile is not awful--it's median among people who are trying to go to grad school in math.
    – Kimball
    Commented Jul 9, 2020 at 1:22
  • Each time I apply to the department, I think I can send them a reference number corresponding to my GRE score. I am curious that if I send them a good general GRE score, will they be able to fetch a subject GRE score that was sent to them 2 years back? Because GRE scores are valid for 5 years. Commented Jul 9, 2020 at 1:29
  • I'm not sure how that works, but I would think that you could choose to only release your newest scores. I would suggest looking on the ETS website or contacting someone there. I can tell you that I vaguely remember seeing new and old GRE test information on grad school applications, but I can't remember if this had old scores or just the dates of previous attempts. In any case, I don't think a "bad" score on a previous attempt will make much difference to committees. (Also, see other questions on this site for how important GRE scores are.)
    – Kimball
    Commented Jul 9, 2020 at 11:24


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