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I am student at a UK institution and looking to apply for a PhD programme in the USA. The application deadlines are nearing and I haven't taken the GRE general test yet. It seems that if I take the test at the first available date, the scores will arrive after most deadlines.

How important is it to have the GRE tests scores when applying to graduate programmes in the USA? Will not having it automatically have my application rejected?

  • The best thing to do is write the schools you are considering and ask -- great advice. @PeterShor, could you please put this in an Answer? – aparente001 Nov 15 '15 at 3:23
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    Have you already signed up to take the GRE? If you have a scheduled exam date, I think you could add this information to your application, particularly if they have a remarks section. Something like, "I am scheduled to take the GRE on January 19, 2016" would be helpful information for the admissions office. It's generally better to furnish as much information as you can, and show you are serious about checking off all the squares. – J.R. Nov 21 '15 at 22:58
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Three things:

  1. the application deadlines for you are several weeks earlier than the dates that decisions on the applications are made, so even if the scores arrive after the deadlines, they may still arrive in time to be taken into consideration.
  2. different U.S. disciplines (and to a lesser extent, different departments in the same discipline) have radically different views on how much the GRE is worth. So the answer to your question really depends on what subject you're intending to study, which you haven't told us.
  3. bureaucracy at some institutions may prevent your application from being considered, even if the faculty thinks the GRE is unimportant.

The best thing to do is write the schools you are considering and ask. You may have taken the GRE in time for some of them, and I expect others will consider your application even without the GRE.

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I am just going to add some details to HERO Shor's comment.

Nowadays, the GRE General score has an important impact on either bare admission or the financial support.

The famous schools often use it to distinguish better applicants among the their crowded pool. Furthermore, moderate universities consider it as a measuring criterion to dedicate their financial support.

All in all, the limited universities do not need this score as a mandatory material for the application, but the majority of the universities expect the applicant to provide his/her mark within the application. Actually, sending the scores right after the deadline might be acceptable for some schools. This possibility should which be investigated, case by case, by communication with the corresponding graduate admission department. So, you better check the target programs and if they commit the late scores, stick to the preparation for the test.

Best

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    the majority of the universities expect the applicant to provide his/her mark within the application — [citation needed] It is much more common for computer science graduate programs not to require GREs than programs in other disciplines. The CS subject GRE was retired in 2013 because not enough people were taking it. – JeffE Nov 14 '15 at 21:45
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    I like to edit answers to fix little problems that make them a little hard to read. But this one is beyond me. There are sections which read like gibberish (e.g. "do which not need this score"). If someone else can figure it out, please edit. Matinking, could you yourself make an effort to clean up your answer? Maybe using simpler, shorter sentences would help? – aparente001 Nov 15 '15 at 3:25
  • @JeffE: My statement about the aforementioned necessity just focused on General test, not the Subject one. You might confirm that the quantitative percentile of the General exam often plays an important role for being admitted to many prestigious programs. – Roboticist Nov 15 '15 at 14:21
  • @aparente001: However, in my own perspective, the answer was clear, here is the edited version without elaboration. Let's hope you find it more readable. :) – Roboticist Nov 15 '15 at 14:26
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    @Matinking You might confirm that the quantitative percentile of the General exam often plays an important role for being admitted to many prestigious programs — Not in my experience, no. An embarrassingly low score might keep you out, but a high score won't help you get you in. My [top 5] department doesn't require them at all. – JeffE Nov 15 '15 at 19:38

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