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Thread: Low Verbal GRE but good IELTS Score...Top Ranked Econ/Fina PhD?

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    Low Verbal GRE but good IELTS Score...Top Ranked Econ/Fina PhD?

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    Hello,

    I am a non-native speaker of English (coming from Hong Kong) and I have got a poor result in Verbal GRE... Here are my scores:
    V: 148
    Q:166
    AW:4

    I took the IELTS before and got a 7.5. I believe I can improve it to a 8.0 or a similar score in TOEFL. Can I have a try for the top programs??

    I study in Chinese U Hong Kong and have all essential econ courses taken with good grades (GPA:3.84/4). But for math I only have up to Calculus 3, Linear Algebra, Intro Analysis and Time Series, and perhaps ODE. I really hope to get into top programs. Do you guys have some kind suggestions???

    Btw, how's the reputation of my school (Chinese U Hong Kong) worldwide.....?

    Thanks,
    Michael

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    Re: Low Verbal GRE but good IELTS Score...Top Ranked Econ/Fina PhD?

    The best way to gauge your relative competitiveness is to find what kind of programmes past students from your school have gone to, and compare your profile to theirs.

    For GRE, 167 is 90th percentile, so you might need to retake it if you want to apply to only top programmes.

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    Re: Low Verbal GRE but good IELTS Score...Top Ranked Econ/Fina PhD?

    School name/reputation isn't as important as letter-writers. CUHK have some top young U.S.-trained talent, like the guy who moved there 2 years ago from being an AP at Chicago Booth. There are some local-oriented applied micro/policy researchers which will have less value for applications. They also have some heterodox/deadwood, which will be useless for admissions. This situation is pretty similar across the top 3 Hong Kong departments. In any case, get a good letter from one of the young U.S.-trained economists (e.g. after research experience) and you may be able go straight into a decent PhD program. Otherwise you should aim for a master's program to ensure some time to signal/develop your research intuition properly.

    GRE has a low weight in admissions. TOEFL and IELTS have nearly zero weight in admissions. Your scores are good enough where it doesn't substantially affect how your application is evaluated (in either direction), compared to native speakers.

    It's not the case that better programs have a higher requirement for language-proficiency scores; the expectation is that you should be able to communicate research effectively, and that's same for every program. Conditional on you having those scores, it's not worthwhile to retake any tests, regardless of what range you're applying to.

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    Re: Low Verbal GRE but good IELTS Score...Top Ranked Econ/Fina PhD?

    Thank you very much!!!! But what range of program should I aim??
    Last edited by my1433; 02-06-2018 at 01:32 AM.

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    Re: Low Verbal GRE but good IELTS Score...Top Ranked Econ/Fina PhD?

    Quote Originally Posted by my1433 View Post
    Thank you very much!!!! But what range of program should I aim??
    You're not giving enough information to evaluate your range. You only indicated a GPA when it is more important to know your research experience, your letter writers, and the percentile of your GPA (because none of us know about CUHK's grading curve).

    You haven't mentioned the existence of any research relationship with any notable professor; if none exists, you aren't competitive for PhD econ programs yet. You need a master's.

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    Re: Low Verbal GRE but good IELTS Score...Top Ranked Econ/Fina PhD?

    Update: I have just retaken GRE and the score now is V150, Q168, AW4. I totally understand improvement in GRE scores does not increase the chance of admission, give that I have passed the threshold. But the problem is: do I pass the threshold with the new score if I aim at top 10 schools? Q and AW should be fine, but V seems be to very marginal...

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