The GRE score plays a vital role in the application process for seeking admission in graduate or business schools. If you are taking the GRE test, you’ll probably wonder what is a good score for it. Let’s reiterate the maximum score that can be scored in the GRE exam is 340 marks. However, the definition of a good score varies for each university that you’re targeting. For eg, the average GRE score of an applicant into Harvard and Stanford universities in 326. While the average GRE score for entry into Texas or Carnegie Mellon University is 320. Therefore it is clear that the consideration of good GRE score depends upon the choice of university. In this post, we have articulated a distinguished study of ‘What is a good GRE score?’ and ‘What is a great GRE score?’
First, understand the scoring system of the test. There are three sections in the test, they are:
- Analytical Writing
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Verbal Reasoning
The Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections are each scored between 130-170 marks with 1 point increment for every correct question. The Analytical Writing section is scored between 0-6 marks, with half point increment. The overall GRE score is the sum of Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections and is displayed on your screen after completing the test. The Analytical Writing section score is available separately after 7-15 days of the exam.
In the table below, we take a look at the percentiles that a candidate will probably rank for the marks he/she has scored.
The absolute values differ for every percentile for different programs. But drawing up an average, the scores should look something like this:
Now if we are to consider a range, 160 in each section guarantees a safe score. And this is the score that should be your aim. Higher the score, better the result!
Good GRE General Test Score
Straight off the bat, it is obvious that getting 130 marks in Verbal or Quantitative section is a poor score. An average score is anywhere between 149-153 marks for both the sections according to ETS. In Verbal section, you may rank anywhere between 43rd to 61st percentile if you score the average marks. In Quantitative section, you may rank anywhere between 35th to 51st percentile for the same marks.
What we can understand is that scoring higher in Verbal doesn’t necessarily mean you have a great percentile when compared to the Verbal section. So we break down both the sections separately to analyze what would be a good score.
For the Verbal section, scoring between 159-162 will put your percentiles in the 80s. This is a really good score for the Verbal section, especially as the Indians usually struggle here.
For the Quant section, scoring between 162-165 will place you in the 80s percentile.
The score of 4.5 in the Analytical Writing section is a decent score.
This gives the candidate a total between 316-327 marks which is good enough for many colleges around the world. A candidate aiming to get admitted into some of the Ivy league schools probably won’t consider this a top score. But this is a really good score, which is enough to get admission into many other top graduate and business schools.
Great GRE Score
Scoring a maximum of 170 marks in Verbal and 170 marks in Quant, making a total of 340 marks. The best score one can get. This is not a very common occurrence for the GRE exam, but is definitely doable with the right preparation and motivation.
Scoring between 163-170 in Verbal section places you in the 90s percentile. Scoring between 166-170 in Quant gets you the same milestone.
The score of 5.5- 6 is attainable in the Analytical Writing section if you’re able to articulate your points in a concise manner.
Taking a look at the scores for various programs, safe scores look something like this:
- Computer and Information Sciences:
- Arts and Humanities:
- Life Sciences:
- Physical Sciences:
- Social Sciences:
- Business Studies:
While these are great numbers, your admission depends on a lot of other factors as well. The quality of applicants to the institution matters a lot. In order to compete with the other applicants, you should have a formidable Statement Of Purpose(SOP), Letters Of Recommendation(LOR) and a considerable GPA. Although none of the universities have a cutoff to apply to their programs, a great GRE score does help in pushing through your application to the top of the pile. Strategize a good study plan for the GRE test, as the score is in your hand.
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