Graduate school-bound students gauge importance of GRE scores
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 19:04
Senior psychology major Kristina Scutari said her busy schedule has prevented her from studying for the Graduate Record Examination, but she thinks her GPA should be strong enough to demonstrate to graduate schools that she cares about her schoolwork.
“I don’t have the time to put into [the GRE], and it counts so much towards grad school,” Scutari said.
According to education professor Robert Hampel, graduate schools use the GRE to test students on an equal base because colleges differ in many educational aspects across the country.
“Just because someone earned an A or a B doesn’t tell you what they know,” Hampel said. “It can be revealing, but you cannot make huge assumptions based on a transcript alone.”
Hampel said the GRE does not reveal other factors that can determine a student’s capability because traits such as motivation and self-discipline are hard to test for. He said he thinks the GRE is a fair examination of students’ knowledge as long as the test is used as one of several measures in the graduate application process.
Scutari said she thinks experience and extracurricular activities should have a greater impact on a schools’ admission decision. She said she thinks graduate schools place too much emphasis on GRE scores.
“A lot of the grad schools have a minimum requirement,” Scutari said. “If your score doesn’t meet that, they take your application off, which is really unfair.”
Senior English major Ilana Schlesinger said graduate schools should know undergraduates have a lot of responsibilities in addition to the GRE, like classes and graduate school applications. She said she is counting on her exam grade to help her get accepted.
“My resume is good, but I hope that my GRE score will help me stand out,” Schlesinger said.
Hampel said one of the benefits of the GRE is that the test is not tied to one particular curriculum, so the exam does not necessarily favor students from one major.
Senior psychology major Leanne Keller said she does not think the exam shows admissions offices how smart an applicant is, but how hard they are willing to work. She thinks the exam’s creators try to generalize the questions.
“I can’t think of anyone who would be at a disadvantage to it,” Keller said.
According to Hampel, the exams are designed mostly to test students’ math and verbal skills.
Schlesinger said she thinks the test favors students majoring in math, a subject she said she has not studied in years and does not plan to study in her graduate career. However, she said being an English major did not help her prepare for the English section either.
Scutari said she believes the GREs are easier for both math and English majors, but also felt unprepared for the math section of the exam.
In addition to the exam’s content, some students were also unhappy about its cost. According to the Educational Testing Service, the exam costs $175 to take, and cost $160 last year.