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Hey Guys & Gals,

 

I just took the GRE today and did not do well at all.  150 for verbal and 138(kill me please) for quant.  I was expecting to get into the 50% but clearly, I was not successful with the quant.  I think the combination of not doing math or a long time + time anxiety + failure to adequately prepare are the reasons while I did so poorly.  I am sure my dog could have done better and his skills are limited to sitting and smiling...

Some basic info:

Age 31

Associates GPA 2.8

Science GPA 3.3

BS GPA 3.72  

My patient care experience is a little over 23,000* hours:

*Not included 2 years as a volunteer EMT covering 36 hours a week of a small town

3,744 as a Paramedic

9,360 as a respiratory therapist (ED, NICU, PICU, SICU, Neuro-ICU, MICU, CVICU)

10,000+ as a combined flight respiratory therapist and a flight paramedic.

Directors of both the ED and Acute Care Surgery wrote letters of recommendation

 

I am not sure what to do right now...  While the school I applied to requires the GRE, they don't have a minimum threshold and only recommend that you are above 50% to be competitive.  They did report that the middle 60% percent of the class scored between 30-67% on the Quant portion of the GRE's.  To me, that suggests that the GRE has little emphasis in the overall review of the application.  I am not sure if I should call and speak to either my admissions counselor or if I should speak to the director of admissions to ask for advice.  The priority deadline for the application is July 1st and the final deadline is September 1st.  I am not sure if I should call and ask them to place a hold on the application, make a note that I will take the GRE exam in the next month, or if repeating the GRE is even necessary in the grand scheme of my application.  I do want to take the GRE again, but my only issue is the cost of the repeat test plus the cost of an online prep will set me back a small sum of money.  I am frustrated at myself, not sure what to do, and I am looking for any guidance or advice others can give.

 

Please send help

Kyle

 

 

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A few things stand out to me here...

What is your cumulative GPA? The GPAs associated with each degree are irrelevant as CASPA calculates your cumulative GPA with all the classes you have taken.

You only applied to one school? Is there a particular reason for this?

What is the average GPA of this program you're talking about? And the average hours? You should be able to find this in the class profile. I guess what I am asking is are you a good fit for this program?

"The middle 60% percent of the class scored between 30-67% on the quant portion... To me, that suggests that the GRE has little emphasis in the overall review of the application." The GRE is certainly a minor part of the application process, but there is a pretty significant difference between 30 - 67th percentile and 7th percentile where your score lies. Although this program doesn't have minimums this could be a pretty big red flag. GRE becomes a significant part of the application when scores are really low or really high.

What do you mean by put a hold on your application? Have you already submitted with your current score? If you have, some programs don't take updates and they may not consider your new score if you retake the GRE. If you haven't yet submitted your score, they won't look at your application until it's complete, so it isn't necessary to reach out to them about this. 

I think overall there are a few issues at play here. The application process is highly competitive, and even competitive applicants apply to more than one program. Most applicants apply to 10 - 12. It seems from your post you have only applied to one. Also, I feel like generally speaking GRE scores don't preclude applicants from receiving interviews if programs don't have minimums, but I think scoring below the 10th percentile is a pretty big red flag. This is combination with average to slightly below average GPA means a retake is most likely necessary.

Edit: I wanted to add that your PCE is amazing, and your upward trend really shows you want this! You are definitely on the right track regardless of your GRE score. Fortunately it's something that can be fixed.

Edited by hmtpnw
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Thanks for the reply!

It appears my cumulative GPA is 3.18.  Most of my classes were older than 10 years.  I attempted to go back to school about 9 years ago, and I had a really bad semester reduced a huge chunk of my GPA(typical story of an immature 21 y/o).  Only within the past 2 years have I actually gone back to school which is the new and improved GPA.  I am hoping the school will not hold the sins of a 21 y/o against a 31y/o who was finally able to achieve some semblance of academic success.   The school's gpa is: 

The following academic statistics are a representation of the middle 60% of the inaugural class (20th–80th percentile):

  • GPA ranges from 3.62–4.0 (prerequisite), 3.26–3.81 (undergraduate science) and 3.35–3.77 (undergraduate cumulative).

While patient care hours are not a requirement for admission, the middle 60% of the inaugural January cohort reported from 685 to 10,092 hands-on patient care hours.

Sadly, I appear to be at the extremes for almost everything.

I agree with you the low quant score is a huge red flag and I am ashamed that I did so poorly.  But you are correct, it is a variable that can be fixed.  The GRE was the only component I had left for my application which I had already submitted(I honestly didn't think I would do that horribly).

The reason I have only applied to one program is due to: my location, my job, and because I haven't filled out the CASPA yet (which this program does not take).  My job has significant downtime if I transfer to the night shift and most of the coursework is online which is my preferred learning format.  There are 3 or 4 schools nearby that I could apply that are only a 1-2 hour drive for me.  Do you have any recommendations to help increase my GRE quant score?

 

Thanks 

Kyle

 

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7 minutes ago, Davidhaslhof said:

Thanks for the reply!

It appears my cumulative GPA is 3.18.  Most of my classes were older than 10 years.  I attempted to go back to school about 9 years ago, and I had a really bad semester reduced a huge chunk of my GPA(typical story of an immature 21 y/o).  Only within the past 2 years have I actually gone back to school which is the new and improved GPA.  I am hoping the school will not hold the sins of a 21 y/o against a 31y/o who was finally able to achieve some semblance of academic success.   The school's gpa is: 

The following academic statistics are a representation of the middle 60% of the inaugural class (20th–80th percentile):

  • GPA ranges from 3.62–4.0 (prerequisite), 3.26–3.81 (undergraduate science) and 3.35–3.77 (undergraduate cumulative).

While patient care hours are not a requirement for admission, the middle 60% of the inaugural January cohort reported from 685 to 10,092 hands-on patient care hours.

Sadly, I appear to be at the extremes for almost everything.

I agree with you the low quant score is a huge red flag and I am ashamed that I did so poorly.  But you are correct, it is a variable that can be fixed.  The GRE was the only component I had left for my application which I had already submitted(I honestly didn't think I would do that horribly).

The reason I have only applied to one program is due to: my location, my job, and because I haven't filled out the CASPA yet (which this program does not take).  My job has significant downtime if I transfer to the night shift and most of the coursework is online which is my preferred learning format.  There are 3 or 4 schools nearby that I could apply that are only a 1-2 hour drive for me.  Do you have any recommendations to help increase my GRE quant score?

 

Thanks 

Kyle

 

I’m sure others might be able to chime in here as I’m also pre-PA and cannot attest to the rigors of PA school, but I think planning to work while attending is essentially unheard of. Even part time. I really reccomend reconsidering this.

I also think commuting 1 - 2 hours to school is setting yourself up for failure. Of course I don’t know your situation but the amount of time you will have to spend in lectures, reading and then studying the material will be massive. My understand is it’s 12+ hours a day. Add a 2 hour commute on top of that and you’ll barely have time to sleep. I’m not sure that your current plans are realistic. 

For the GRE I recommend a Magoosh subscription. They have great videos that go over all the quant and verbal material and tons of practice questions. I think I paid $100 or $150 for a 6 month subscription. I used it for two months and then sold the subscription in the GRE subreddit for $80. Not a bad deal really. 

To me, the GRE is a problem but I think that the bigger problem will be your application strategy and plans for schooling. It’s your life and you have to do what’s right for you, but it seems that you aren’t setting yourself up to be successful in this. 

 

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Working and going to school is definitely not ideal, but it will be near impossible to support my family without working a shift or two per week.  The commuting aspect is not ideal, which has partially factored into why I haven't applied to them yet.  I would love to be able to cast a wider net, but at this moment in time, it is not really an option.  I will take a look at Magoosh for preparation.

 

Thank You

Kyle

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Few things.

The stats you quoted state the inaugural class - is this a newer program you're applying to?  Typically newer programs tend to favor students with much higher GPA/GRE - they need students who can set up their reputation with success and 100% PANCE pass rates.  Your lower GPA and GRE with high HCE would likely have more success at a more established program that has the resources to help you succeed academically (and a proven track record in doing so).

You also need to consider that a lot of programs actually forbid working during school, regardless of your need to work.  RE: commuting 1-2 hours - it's not feasible.  Depending on the program, you may be expected to be in class 8-5 so if you try and add 2-4 hours of commuting to that plus studying..frankly I don't see how you'd find the time to work any shifts let alone ever see your family.

I guess what I'm trying to impress upon you is that it doesn't sound like you're ready.  You have a lot of loose ends to figure out and showing up to PA school hoping it works out is a recipe for disaster.  You'd be better served by waiting until you are financially able to attend - whatever that looks like for you.  Don't get me wrong, plenty of people attend PA school with families to support but assuming you can fit in 1-2 shifts per week even if you aren't commuting to a more distant program just is not a good plan.  It might be different if you planned to just try to work and if it doesn't pan out no big deal but it sounds to me like if you can't work, you would have to drop out of school - which in the end would cause more problems.

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If you retake the GRE, I recommend taking as many practice tests as you can so you can get the timing down. I know there are a lot of free ones out there that you can find with a google search. ETS has a couple that you should definitely take.

For quant, there are certain formulas that you should memorize that will be helpful. These can also be found with a google search.

My studying consisted of doing all of the questions in the 5lb book of GRE questions and taking as many practice tests as I could while memorizing equations.

Good luck!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I too am in my 30s applying to PA programs, so I completely understand your plight. My last college math class was about 12 years ago. I took the GRE and scored a 144 on the quantitative section. ? Statistically speaking, older test takers typically perform better on the verbal than the quantitative section in comparison to younger test takers, but unfortunately, I do not believe the admissions committees are sympathetic to that. What I would do is contact your prospective programs and ask them how critical the GRE scores are in the application process. The reality is your healthcare experience is probably superior to a majority of the applicants you are competing with, and you seem to have a strong upward trend with regards to your GPA. If most other aspects of your application are strong, and you performed well enough on other sections of the GRE, they may be willing to forgive a poor quantitative score on a case by case basis. At least, that is what the programs I am applying to informed me.

With that said, I would still prepare for the prospect that your poor quantitative score is going to be an impediment to getting an interview this cycle. I am retaking it myself. I personally have been using Magoosh to some success, but the Khan Academy on YouTube has much better explanations of relatively simple math concepts that I have long forgotten. 

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