Graduate Record Examination in Physics

And the gender gap

See gre.htm for more details on the distribution of GRE scores.

Majors in which the majority of students are males (math, physics, and electrical engineering) show a distinctly different curve, one which is a median of more than 200 points higher, than the majors in which the majority are females (education, social work, and journalism).  Males constitute the right tail of the lower curves, whereas females constitute the left tail of the higher curves.

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  1. Median Male to Female Difference on GRE is 88 points.
  2. Graduate Record Exam scores by distribution of major.
  3. Graduate Record Exam scores by incomes.
  4. Number of Graduate Record Exam test-takers.
  5. Graduate Record Exam scores by major.
  6. Correlation to IQs by race and sex.
  7. Jennifer Siders, Physicist.
  8. GRE score for males 100 points higher than females.
  9. The gender gap.

Distribution of GRE Physics Scores for 234 Applicants to the University of Texas, Austin

GRE Score Men Women % of Applicants % Women
>1000 4 0 1% 0%
>900 29 0 7.4% 0%
>850 51 0 12.9% 0%
>800 77 1 19.5% 0.25%
>750 109 2 27.7% 0.5%
>700 169 3 42.9% 0.8%
>650 224 10 56.8% 2.5%
bullet100% of the top 10 percentile of GRE Physics test takers are males.
bullet99.75% of the top 20 percentile of GRE Physics test takers are males.
bullet99.5% of the top 30 percentile of GRE Physics test takers are males.
bullet99.2% of the top 40 percentile of GRE Physics test takers are males.
bullet98% of the top 50 percentile of GRE Physics test takers are males.

Note: more than 55% of graduate school admissions are females.

Sample Size:

If the nation's graduate schools were required to accept the top 12% of the applicants, then they would accept 100% males and no females.  If they were required to accept the top 40% of applicants, they would accept 99.2% males and only 0.8% females.  If they accepted the top 50% of all applicants, the only way they could accept more than 2.5% females would be to illegally discriminate against much more qualified males. Thanks to affirmative action, less than 45% of all college admissions are males, eliminating many much more qualified men from the competition.  The taxpayer, men, the education system, the economy, and industry all suffer significantly as a result.

The precedent this sets for the rampant discrimination against men by courts, legislative processes, schools, and employers damages both men and women.  Responsible fatherhood cannot be restored until this systemic (and now illegal) discrimination is terminated.

From Tue Jan 30 11:30:38 1996
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 13:50:32 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: GRE Scores

Score     China      USA
980->     14         2
960       3          2
940       2          2
920       1          3
900       2          3
880       4          2
860       5          2
840       1          1
820       0          3
800       1          7
780       2          6
760       1          2
740       1          5
720       0          8
700       0          7

There were no Chinese scores below 700, but about half of the american
scores lie below 700.  These data are from UT applicants 95-96

Jennifer Siders

January 29, 1996 -- I will be getting a detailed summary of Physics GRE results from ETS very soon and can send you a copy if you wish. What I have at the moment is the 1989-92 Volume and Score Data for the Physics GRE Test. I received this from someone who had attended an ETS meeting. It took me a while but I found someone at ETS who knew what I was talking about and is going to send me one directly. This way I can cite a source for the information. :-)

Gender & Country

Percent(of test takers) 

Mean Physics GRE 



















I have data from a survey I did over the internet and also from 3 years worth of applicants to our Physics Dept that show a similar gap. There will be a special session at the APS/AAPT meeting May 4 on this topic where I will be presenting these results.

The Gender Gap

Studies have shown that women slightly outperform men in their first year of college. So why does the SAT, a supposedly "fair" test, yield 45-point lower scores to women?

                1994 SAT Test Scores for:

                       Women       Men

Average for ALL races   881        926

The Ethnic Gap... Is the SAT "fair" to minorities?

Now let's take a look at similar data for ethnic groups. The differences are even larger!

                1994 SAT Test Scores for:

Asian American            951

Caucasian                 938

Mexican American          799

Black                     740

Average for ALL races     902

The Income Gap... Is the SAT "fair" to middle class and poor students?

Perhaps the most interesting data is the correlation between test scores and family income. On the average, well-off students score 234 points higher than students whose familes earn under $10,000 per year.

                1994 SAT Test Scores for:

under $10,000/yr           766

$10,000 - $20,000/yr       812

$20,000 - $30,000/yr       856


$50,000 - $60,000/yr       929

$60,000 - $70,000/yr       948

over $70,000/yr           1000

Your opinion...

Your SAT score is a better prediction of your income, race, or gender than it is of your ability to perform in college. So why does it not predict your grades in college accurately, and why do college grades not predict income, when SAT scores do?

Is it affirmative action, which increased the number of female educators by 350,000 in the last 3 decades as the number of male educators declined by more than 100,000? Did this lead to lack of discipline in schools, which destroyed education quality, and the ability of the US to compete in what is now misappropriately labeled the "global economy"? Did this cripple US manufacturers so significantly that manufacturing jobs are leaving our shores leaving behind service jobs which may have little to service?

Did the skyrocketing costs of US education, which parallelled a corresponding drop in education standing and quality, prove the US is doing something seriously wrong? Does the fact that we spend more as a percent of GDP for education than almost every other country in the world, and by some estimates twice as much as a percent of GDP as Japan, which scores at the top of the world in almost every math and physics exam, contribute to the decline in US education quality?

It did put the US at the BOTTOM of worldwide IAEP & TIMSS Math test scores. 

Why Fatherhood? -- Children need fathers.

Jerry Cook on racial discrimination.

Allan J. Favish on University of California racial discrimination. about the ill effects of affirmative action.

Fathers' Manifesto -- Become a Signatory. 

US Education Scores Compared to Other Countries

GRE, SAT, ACT, and TIMSS Scores

MCAT Scores

The State of US Education