A BEGINNER'S GUIDE FOR GRE ENGINEERING
Do you want to major in Engineering?
Have you set your mind on becoming an engineer? If yes, then you will also have to decide the specific engineering field in which you would like to major. For instance, most engineering colleges across the US will offer majors in separate fields of engineering like chemical, mechanical, civil, electrical, industrial etc. You can pursue a career in engineering after graduating from a graduate school with majors in the engineering field of your choice. One of the obstacles standing between you and your aim of becoming an engineer are good scores! If you have done exceptionally well in the GRE, engineering programs will be well within your reach.
Are you aware of what the GRE is?
If you are an engineering aspirant, then it is imperative that you update yourself about what the GRE is and how it can help you in securing admission to a desired graduate program. The test is a standardized test the scores of which are accepted by most graduate schools across the US and also in many other countries as one of the criteria for consideration for admissions to the graduate programs being offered by them. Among the graduate programs that accept your scores in the GRE, engineering programs are the most lucrative. A combination of high scores in GRE, engineering degrees and lots of hard work is the key to a successful career in the field of engineering!
The admission committees of graduate schools have a tough time in selecting suitable candidates for the engineering programs being offered by them. The applicants come from varying educational and socio-economic backgrounds. Although most graduate schools have worked out various criteria for selecting the applicants who can be granted admissions, your performance in the test is one criterion that will be considered by most graduate schools. The weight age given to your test scores may vary from school to school, but it is a well known fact that competitive or good scores will definitely tilt the scales in your favour if you are being compared with other applicants who may be as good as you in the other criteria but have lower test scores than you.
Do you know what good GRE scores are?
The definition of good scores varies from school to school. The test scores which would be considered good for admission to an engineering program being offered by one university may not be as good when compared to the scores required by some other reputed graduate school. At the same time, it is likely that a candidate with higher scores may be rejected and a candidate with slightly lower scores may be selected because the selected candidate excelled in the other criteria being considered for admissions. Most graduate schools offering majors in engineering would consider all or some of the following while short listing candidates for admissions:
- Your official transcripts from all undergraduate schools and other educational institutions that you have attended
- Letters of recommendation from your teachers and other people you may have worked with
- Your GRE scores
- Your resume with emphasis on specific fields in which you have excelled
- Your work experience, if any
- Details of any projects that you may have worked on
This makes it evident that apart from your performance in test, engineering programs will consider other criteria as well before you can be granted admission.
Do you know how GRE scores are considered?
Since August 1, 2011, the scores report of the new revised test contain the following scores:
- Verbal Reasoning score reported on a new 130 – 170 score scale
- Quantitative Reasoning score reported on a new 130 – 170 score scale
- Analytical Writing score reported on a 0 – 6 score scale
While considering your scores in the test, engineering colleges or graduate schools offering majors in engineering pay more emphasis on your Quantitative Reasoning score which is the math score. As it is necessary for an engineering aspirant to be proficient in math, your Quantitative Reasoning score will provide an insight into your skill levels in math. Although your scores in the other two sections are also important, you should aim for scoring very high in the Quantitative Reasoning test section of the GRE if you wish to graduate with a major in engineering subjects.
How high should you score in the GRE Quantitative Reasoning test section?
Most graduate colleges do not specify any cut off or minimum test scores. So you need to simply aim for as high as you can go as far as scoring in the test is concerned. Reputed graduate schools have yet to consider applicants with the revised scores as the revised test has not been administered as yet. Once the admission process has been carried out with the scores on the new revised scale, you will get an idea of the scores that will be required if you wish to seek admission to a particular graduate program. For this information you will have to get in touch with the school where you are seeking admission or you can get in touch with the students who have secured admission to the same graduate program. There are various blogs and websites on the internet that can provide you with information regarding the scores on the revised scale of the candidates who got admission to the engineering program of your choice.
As of now, information is available regarding the scores of the students who took the current GRE and have been able to get admission to engineering programs. The Quantitative Reasoning score and the Verbal Reasoning score is reported on a 130-170 score scale for the current test. In the past, it has been seen that one needs to score well above 160 in the Quantitative Reasoning section and above 150 in the Verbal Reasoning section to be able to catch the attention of the admission committees. The Verbal Reasoning scores are not all that important if you are applying for admission to an engineering program, but it does not mean that you can ignore this test section completely. In the past, students who have got admitted to reputed graduate schools like those at Yale, Harvard and Stanford had a Quantitative Reasoning test score which was as high as 165 to 168. Although there are some who had a score of even 161 and were able to secure admission, this was probably because they excelled in the other criteria being considered by the admission committees. A look at these scores from the current test must have given you an idea of how high you need to score on the revised test so as to make the admission committee sit up and take notice of your application.
The final advice!
Different schools utilize GRE scores in different manners with different weight ages assigned to the scores in the individual test sections. For instance, some schools may consider your scores for admissions while others may consider them only for scholarships. Therefore, it is in your interest that you contact the schools well in advance and update yourself regarding their policies in respect of scores and prepare for the test accordingly. The bottom-line is that good test scores cannot ensure your admission to the engineering program of your choice but low scores can definitely ensure that you will not gain admission; so work hard and aim for scoring high in the GRE!