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I am taking a year off from my PhD program. I was funded for two years but because my academic standing is no longer 'good' due to substandard performance I have been terminated from my funding mechanism until I return and get back in good standing. When I return I will reapply for the same funding and there is a good chance that it will be awarded again. However, I've used up one of the two years of funding and will have to repeat the first year of the PhD when I return. Thus, I will need to apply for NSRA and NSF pre-doctoral fellowships when I return to my studies in fall of 2016 to fund the second year of classes. I don't know if GRE scores play a significant role in NIIH F31 grant applications, and I am now wondering if it is worth retaking the GRE during this time off to get a more competitive score that will help my application? Any thoughts of how best to proceed.

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    Is the GRE score required for the application or a tack-on? I would not say the GRE represents anything much except for an entry-level graduate student that knows how to add and can answer the tricky reading questions, as someone who has taken the exam before. Are we talking about a GRE subject exam?
    – Compass
    Jul 9, 2015 at 17:28
  • No, this is the general GRE. Jul 9, 2015 at 20:52
  • And depending on the fellowship the GRE scores are required. Jul 9, 2015 at 20:53

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The return of investment on a GRE score is much less than other activities. If your score is horrid, then go for it. I wouldn't spend more than 2 weeks prepping, though. Squeezing out every point from that GRE is not worh the effort. I would wager that the score is only to determine the seriousness of your application, and that it would not be a major deciding factor otherwise.

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