Caltech's John Johnson advice on graduate school admission
from Society of Physics Students
According to professor John Johnson, no one should care about your physics GRE score. While admissions committees do not like to see below-average scores, there is nothing unusual about students that scored below the 50th percentile on the physics GRE going on to become professors at an elite university. The physics GRE tests a very specific problem-solving skill set and is simply not a good predictor of the success of graduate students. In fact, at least one study has shown that relying on the physic GRE in admissions can actually work against departmental quality and diversity goals, both ethnic and gender. But the fact remains that at least half of the graduate programs in physics and astronomy do require you physics GRE scores, and some professors on admissions committees may take that score very seriously. Still, Johnson advises that while students should take the GRE seriously, the most important thing to do for a successful graduate school application is to participate in research.
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