The GRE by Sheila Kannappan

The GRE, especially the physics GRE, sends chills down many students’ spines. Let’s demystify it with some frank discussion. By default, please assume discussion of the physics subject test, and specify if/when you are referring to the general test or another subject test instead.

I’ll start the discussion with an article from the APS website that you may find disturbing:

The punchline: the physics GRE correlates weakly with academic performance in grad school and not at all with research performance, but unfortunately, it does seem to correlate with whether you are male, female, or a minority. It is speculated that the format of the test — very fast-paced and intimidating — has something to do with that.

Okay, don’t get mad, get even. In the spirit of “the best defense is a good offense”, you can follow these tips from a former GRE question writer:

Or if you’re already past the stage of being able to do anything about your score, take comfort that there are many programs that do not consider the GRE: for example, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and a growing number of graduate schools (including some highly prestigious ones in other countries).

Those are just my thoughts — let’s hear yours!