Seems like you're confident you can do better. Why not? The cost is pretty insignificant over a lifetime compared to a marginal chance of getting into a better program.
Took the GRE last week and I'm pretty disappointed. It's the usual spiel; got an experimental quant section (which was easy) and didn't take my second quant as seriously (which was harder), leading to unnecessary mistakes. Got a 169 V, if it's worth anything (didn't study for it besides powerprepp, go figure).
I'm only targeting the top 15 (top 10 undergrad with high gpa, recs from good professors, etc.), should I retake the exam?
Honestly, the ETS gives 164 as 790(old scale) and 166 as 800(old scale). You being in the middle, means you did pretty well and shouldnt worry about your score too much. Most programs are not quite sure how to read the new scores anyway (saw that on a couple of schools' sites), so your score places you in a good position. Also, even if your score was actually bad, I do not see the point in spending 1 month of effort in order to raise your score with 2-3 points. Personally, I don't think that having 167 is much different than 165. If you think you can score 170-169, or if you think you can do better on the next try without putting much effort in preparing for it, then why not go ahead. But I really dont see the point in spending a lot of time studying for the test to raise your score with 2-3 points.
If I were you and did graduate recently from T10, I wouldn't worry even with q score 160. You will cross the cut-off at many top rated schools/programs, and don't be deceived by averages of admitted students. The median GRE quant score at many high-ranked programs is much lower than the score of 790 (old scale).
Do not retake the test. Better concentrate on the first semester math prerequisites for economists, if you have an intense drive for studying, or else polish your SoP and do some research on the schools/programs for which you intend to apply.
"The GRE doesn't matter, don't retake it" is the classic response you'll get get on TM every time you ask something like this. I'm not sure there's any merit in it. The GRE is used as a minimal cut-off, and you're safer if you get beyond that cutoff, but its importance goes beyond that. For one thing, the NRC somehow thinks that GRE scores tell you something about a program's quality, which gives universities an additional incentive to admit students with high GRE scores. Some universities also use GRE as an easy, lazy factor in determining fellowships and funding.
Admissions usually work on nearly a thousand applications per year and have to make a decision on whom to admit and waitlist in two weeks. They'll tell you that the GRE score is only a small part of their evaluation and that they're holistic and all that - every school wants to exaggerate their own effort in finding good students - but the reality is that your GRE quant score is one of the few things on their minds as they hastily skim through your application. It also happens to be the only part of your application that's comparable across candidates. You bet a 790 and a 800 makes a difference on the first impression they get.
If the cost is sufficiently low - i.e. you're sure you can improve a few points without having to put too much effort into preparation - retake it.
But like you said, it all depends on the opportunity cost.
If 165 is OPs biggest concern about his profile, he can expect good results in March.
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