Do GRE scores really matter? Are your GRE scores good enough to get you into the grad school of your choice?
A “good” GRE score depends on the programs you are considering. Because the GRE General Test is used for such a wide range of graduate school programs (including some business schools!), the relative weight it is given will vary from field to field and from school to school. Research the universities where you plan to apply so that you can create the best GRE prep plan for you!
You’ll receive three GRE scores on your score report, one for Quantitative Reasoning (math), one for Verbal Reasoning, and one for Analytical Writing (the essays).
|Verbal Reasoning||130–170, in 1 point increments|
|Quantitative Reasoning||130–170, in 1 point increments|
|Analytical Writing||0–6, in half-point increments|
Every GRE score has two components: a scaled score (i.e. 130–170) and a percentile rank. Your percentile rank is more important than your scaled score. Your percentile rank indicates how your GRE scores compare to those of other test-takers. For example, a scaled Verbal score of 150 on the GRE translates to roughly the 47th percentile, meaning that you scored better than 47 percent of other test takers-and worse than the other 53 percent of test-takers. Here are the most recent GRE percentile ranks, released by ETS.
The average GRE score is a 150 for Verbal and a 152 for Math (Source: ETS). These averages are based on a mix of college seniors and non-enrolled college graduates who took the GRE between July 2012 and June 2015.
There is also some variation in terms of average GRE scores depending on your intended graduate field.
|Intended Area of Study||Verbal Reasoning||Quantitative Reasoning||Analytical Writing|
|Arts & Humanities||157||150||4.1|
The first step in figuring out how to prepare for the GRE is figuring out how your scores will be used. The only way to do that is to contact the programs to which you plan to apply. Here are some questions you should be asking.
You need to have a target score so you can figure out how much work you need to put in between now and test day. If the school doesn’t have or won’t quote you a cutoff score, use our grad school search to find out the average scores for last year’s incoming class.
Some programs may care about your math score, but not your verbal score, and vice versa. If a program doesn’t care about your math or your essay score, then you know exactly where to put your prep time.
The reality is that GRE scores are just one of the factors that can affect your admission chances. Grad and business schools are looking for the whole package, including:
• Standardized test scores
• your GPA
• undergraduate coursework
• professional and hands-on experience
• letters of recommendation
• statement of purpose, etc.
Find out exactly how your GRE scores will be used so you can craft the right application strategy for your dream school.
Learn top experienced tips to ace the GRE: Download our FREE, Complete Study Guide to the GRE!