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I have a Bachelor's degree in Statistics from a reputed Indian college. I struggled during my Bachelor's and failed many classes and retook exams. My CGPA is 6.18/10. My Master's grades are good though, amongst the top.

I plan on applying for Biostatistics/ Statistics PhD programs in USA this fall. I do not have any publications or internship experience. My research experiences are my two dissertations for BSc and MSc and a solo project I did and presented in a well-known international conference during my Masters.

There is no GRE test for Statistics. So, the question doesn't arise. My peers haven't taken any GRE test for Maths either. But since, my undergrad grades are low, will my Math Subject test score compensate for it? I was planning on taking the test till now but it is becoming too expensive for me and I don't think I'll be able to afford it. Do I still have a good chance to get into a top university without taking the subject test and with my current profile?

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  • Hello Reilly! Your final sentence is probably too specific to fit in this site's rules, but I think the rest works.
    – user137975
    Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 23:41
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    Any course which does not take the MATH GRE will give 0% weightage to the Math GRE. If it does take it into consideration, it will not be the only thing which is considered. How much it weighs in your profile is something which can be specifically said.
    – Academic
    Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 8:40

2 Answers 2

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I haven't been on any applications committees, but believe the answer to your core question is that a Math Subject GRE score is unlikely to help an application to a program that does not request it.

In the first instance, if a program does not request those scores they probably do not routinely parse them. The score is much more likely to be ignored than it is for someone to spend a long time figuring out how to contextualize it against their other applications.

In the second instance, the Math Subject GRE is a deeply idiosyncratic examination. I know a nontrivial number of well-regarded professional mathematicians who got poor scores on it. While it is of course possible to get a particularly compelling score without specialized training for the exam, I think it is reasonable to call it generally improbable.

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  • Thanks. I'll keep that in mind. Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 6:20
  • I have been on application committees (for maths, not stats) and disagree with a couple of things here. First, the math GRE is not that idiosyncratic---it focuses on mostly lower-mid level math classes and does give some info on a candidate's background. Second, at least one CS program has recommended a math GRE, and I could imagine some stats committees would look at a good score favorably. That said, I agree it's probably not that important or worth spending a lot of time on it.
    – Kimball
    Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 11:22
  • @Kimball, idiosyncratic, might not be the word i'd use, but my memory from taking it (decades ago) was that it was so incredibly broad to account for the differences in math undergraduate programs that there were several questions that I couldn't even begin to understand, much less answer. I had a solid background and did very well on the test but it was disheartening to walk out of the room suspecting you'd failed. One can get a good (very good) grade on it while knowing nothing about some aspects of math. This makes the test suspect for the OPs purposes.
    – Buffy
    Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 14:15
  • The content it nominally covers is not peculiar, but the format and time per question are for mathematics examinations at that level. I know of no other examination like it, thus consider it idiosyncratic.
    – user137975
    Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 15:12
  • @Kimball, do you know how will my mentioned Indian Bachelor's CGPA be translated according to the American GPA system? If my Master's GPA is 3.5 to 4.0, will my undergrad GPA harm my chances? For most universities, GRE Math Subject test isn't necessary for the Statistics department. None of my peers have taken the test. But I was concerned due to my GPA. Tomorrow is the deadline for registration and I haven't registered as the entire application process is becoming very expensive for me and I won't be able to afford the extra Math exam. Will that be okay? Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 16:41
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As highlighted in another answer, if GRE MATH isn't a pre-requisite for that particular university or college, then it won't help you much.

But there is something which you can do to compensate for the low CGPA. You're from a field which has a really high demand right now, all over the world and including India. If you can get into one or two short-term internships then it will be brilliant. Not only it will boost your CV but you can also have some illustrious points in the Statement of purpose that you'll be writing.

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  • Internships would have been good but it's too late right now. Currently, I'm busy with GRE and TOEFL preparations and then, I will become busy with applications. The international conference I presented at was just yesterday and that research took several months for me. Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 6:22

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