The Graduate Record Exam, the standardized exam that serves as a gateway to nearly all graduate programs, is a source of stress to all applicants. Receiving a GRE score that you're unhappy with can make you wonder if you're graduate school material. What do you do if you're unhappy with your GRE score?
One option is to retake the GRE. You can take the GRE once each calendar month, though note that the admissions offices of each school will receive all of your scores.
Compensate with good admissions essays:
Write stellar admissions essays that illustrate your writing skills, experience, and fit to the program.
Compensate with good letters:
Get good letters of recommendation. Tell your letter writers about your GRE scores. They might tailor their letters to highlight your academic promise in light of your performance on standardized tests.
Know that programs vary:
Some use the GRE as a weeding out tool and others hardly examine them. It's hard to know how programs will view low GRE scores, so wait it out rather than worry.
Wait and try again:
Remember that you can always put off your application, take a GRE course, and apply next year. Not the option that most students want, but a very realistic - and optimistic - one.