GRE, which stands for Graduate Record Examination, is the gateway for those who want to study abroad further after completing Bachelors’s in any stream. The test comprises Quantitative reasoning, Verbal reasoning, and Analytical Writing skills.
A typical GRE official scorecard will contain a Verbal reasoning score within a range of 130 -170, a Quantitative reasoning score within a range of 130-170, and the Analytical Writing score within a range of 0-6. The percentile scores in these areas are also mentioned in the official score report.
The students get to see the unofficial Quantitative and Verbal scores soon after the completion of the exam, while the AWA scores come only with the official score report. The official report usually takes 15 to 20 days to reach the student from the date of taking the test. The official GRE score remains valid for 5 years from the date of taking the GRE exam.
What is a Good GRE Score?
GRE scores are used by admission and fellowship panels to supplement CGPA or GPA scores of undergraduate level along with other qualifications for MS and Ph.D. programs. Admission into an MS/Ph.D. program depends on the overall profile of the student, supplemented by a good GRE score. The GRE score acts as a cut-off, which entails that a low GRE score may lead to summary rejection of application despite a high GPA, secured by the student at UG level. On the other hand, a good GRE score may offset a bad GPA. With higher scores, a student may even attain scholarships.
Therefore, the GRE is a necessary evil. Sometimes colleges may look for only a good Quant score while others may look for good scores in Verbal and AWA depending on the stream applied for by the student. For instance, on average, the GRE scores of IVY LEAGUE admitted applicants range from about 155 to 166 for Verbal and 155 to 170 for Quant, with many programs wanting scores in the 160s or the top 10-15 percentile. Typically, Quant expectations are higher for science/technology-oriented programs, while Verbal expectations are higher for arts/humanities and social science-oriented programs.
Likewise, MIT GRE scores are also very competitive. On average, the GRE scores of admitted applicants range from about 155 to 163 for Verbal and 155 to 167 for Quants, with many programs wanting scores in the minimum 160s or the top 10-15 percentile.
So how do we define a good GRE score? A score that would help you seek admission into a desirous course in a university of your choice. But to be on the safer side, the student is encouraged to get a 320+ on the GRE and a 4.5 on the AWA.
Let us take a quick look at the Schools/ Programs and their Average GRE Scores cut off:
|Target Schools||School / Program||Average GRE Score|
|MIT||Aeronautics and Astronautics||329|
|Carnegie Mellon||Public Policy and Management PhD||330|
|UPenn||Political Science PhD||326|
|Duke||Public Policy Studies PhD||320|
|UC Berkeley||Clinical Science||326|
How the Sections on the GRE are Scored?
1. Verbal and Quant Sections
Scores on the GRE Verbal Section and the GRE Quant Section depend on the performance of the questions posed and also on the number of questions answered in the given time. The Verbal and Quant sections on the GRE are section-level adaptive. This means the level of difficulty of the second accountable section is based on the performance of the previous accountable section. All questions within each section contribute equally to the final score. A raw score is first computed from the number of questions answered correctly and then this raw score will be converted to a scaled score by a process called ‘equating’.
2. Analytical Writing Section (AWA)
For the Analytical Writing Section, each essay receives a score from an expert reader on a 6-point holistic scale. The same essay is then assigned a score by the computerized program developed by ETS called e-rater. If the human score and e-rater score are almost close to each other, the average of the two scores is the final score. If there is much deviation, then the essay is graded by another expert reader and the final score is the average of the two human scores. A final AWA score is the average of the two essay scores on a 0-6 scale in half-point increments.
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What is GRE Score Validity?
Mostly Candidates are confused about the GRE Score Exam Validity, related to their GRE Scores. Candidates should note that their GRE Scores Validity Period is valid for 5 years following their Test.
How to Access GRE Score?
As mentioned earlier, once you get your GRE test marks available on your ETS account 10- 15 days after your test date. You will receive an email notification informing you about the same. You need to visit the official website, where you have to put your credentials, and then go ahead if you want to view your GRE total score result. ETS will also send an official Institution Score Report to the score recipients you have designated on test day at the time.
Steps to Viewing Your GRE Scores
- Visit the official GRE website
- Select Member log-in
- Enter your GRE account credentials
- View your GRE Results
GRE Score Review
The GRE score calculation is done without any error, also if we look at the best GRE Score candidates who feel that they have not scored up to the GRE Best Grades they can review their GRE Analytical Writing and can also look at their GRE results in time.
Sending Your GRE Scores – GRE Score Reporting
The process is very simple. When you register for the GRE test you designate four graduate institutions or fellowships sponsors to receive your GRE Scores, this is also a part of your GRE fees. All you have to do is log in to your ETS account and select “Send Additional Score Reports” under “Scores.” Confirm your personal information. Then select “Next.” Enter the name or designated institution code for the schools or programs where you want to send your scores. You may add the department name or leave it blank as well.
What Does Your GRE Score Report Contain?
First-time candidates appearing for their GRE test are often intrigued about the contents of their GRE Scores. GRE Scores of candidates contain the following information:
- Candidates contact information
- Candidates gender
- Candidate’s date of birth
- GRE Test date
- Intended graduate major of candidate
- GRE test score(s) and the associated GRE total score percentile, ranks
GRE Score Reporting to Universities
Candidates should have an idea that all the important details are available on the GRE Score report and also why they should have the GRE exam maximum marks:
Not all of them make it to the university. The GRE score range for top universities that have the following information:
- Intended Graduate Major of candidates
- Candidates contact information
- GRE scores that the candidate selects to report through the GRE Score Select Option
What is the GRE Score Select Option?
You can decide which test scores you should share with the institutions you designate so that you can send the GRE exam scores that show your personal best, also that gives you more confidence, especially on the test day. Also recently introduced by ETS for the benefit of students, the GRE Exam total score, and the Score Select option like its name allows students to select their best GRE percentile qualification marks from a series of tests they have earlier taken and send them to their preferred institutions/universities. This way, they are able to show their best performance to the university as part of their admission process.
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Understanding Your GRE Scores (Section-wise)
In this segment, we are going to understand how the Total GRE Scores are divided into different (Section-wise)
GRE Verbal Reasoning Score and GRE Quantitative Reasoning Score: are reportedly based on the number of correct responses that are provided by the test taker. There is a raw score of the candidate that tells how the total number of questions are answered by the Candidate correctly. The GRE good test score would be later converted to a scaled score called Equating.
GRE Analytical Writing Score: For the Analytical Writing section, each essay would receive a score from one trained rater and an e-rater developed by ETS. If both the scores are identical in nature, the average GRE Score of the two would be considered the final score. However, if the two scores, one from the trained rater and the other from the ETS-developed e-rater are not identical, then a third, human-trained rater would be brought in and then the maximum GRE score would be the average of the two human scores.
Section-Wise GRE Score Range
In this section, we will know about how the various sections of the GRE General test and the GRE total score range they follow. From the table below, we interpret that, the GRE Verbal Reasoning section and the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section have a GRE Score Range of 130 to 170 with 1-point increments and the GRE Analytical Writing Section has a GRE Score Range of 0 to 6 with half-point increments.
|Verbal Reasoning||130–170, in 1-point increments|
|Qualitative Reasoning||130–170, in 1-point increments|
|Analytical Reasoning||0–6, in half-point increments|
So What Does a Percentile Mean?
Your GRE score percentile tells you how your score compares to all the other GRE test-takers. The higher the GRE percentile, the better your score is compared to other test-takers. For example, a 99th GRE percentile score means you scored better than 99% of test-takers, and you’re in the top 1%. A 170 on Quants corresponds to the 97th percentile while the same score on verbal would mean the 99th percentile. A 165 would mean 89th percentile on Quants and 96th on Verbal. You can see how the percentiles on the Quants drop steeper than in Verbal.
The average (Mean) GRE score for Verbal reasoning is 150.0(rounded to 1 decimal place), the average GRE Score for Quant reasoning is 152.6 and that for Analytical writing skills is 3.5. Most of the scores lie in this region and even an increment of 3 or 4 points would increase the percentile value by a huge number giving a better chance for admissions to top Universities/Colleges for the test taker.
The takeaway from the above information; before taking the test, set goals.
Do research to identify what should you score to get into your desired program at your dream University. Fix your target. Take a mock test to know where you stand, and formulate a study plan that will help you to achieve your score in the real test.
Ideally, to reach a top score the student should look into the following;
- Know what is tested on the GRE.
- Learn to manage time and live with stress.
- Identify weaknesses and practice in those areas to overcome them.
- Learn ways to improve vocabulary and hence improve the verbal score.
- Closely analyze mistakes and find solutions.
- Get tips and tricks to reach 170 in Quants.
- Practice and review mock tests and drills.
What is the Total GRE Score?
As far as the GRE general test is concerned, there is nothing known as a GRE Total Score. Candidates would have a properly scaled score for every section and also a percentile score for every section that would properly define the test takers’ score as compared to other candidates who have also appeared for the test.
Candidates should not confuse themselves with terms such as total GRE score or highest GRE score. These are not applicable to the GRE exam.
GRE Scores Across Top Universities
Most of the time candidates are left wondering about their GRE score requirements for universities abroad. The scores that are considered the Top GRE Score in abroad universities are:
Awa- 5.0+ = Total- 328
What is an Average GRE Score in 2023?
As mentioned earlier, every university would have its required GRE Cut Off. So any score above the GRE cutoff scores for universities 2023 would definitely qualify their application. An average GRE Score of 2023 would be a score that is neither the highest GRE Score nor the lowest GRE Score. It has to be in between.
Candidates should note that getting a high GRE Score will only increase their chances of admission to their dream university and also make them eligible for any scholarships that are being provided by their respective universities.
Average GRE Scores Across Top US Universities
Some of the top Universities that have a great average score across all the universities:
|University of California, Berkeley||153-156||167||4.5|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)||158||159||5.3|
|University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)||155||167||5.0|
|University of Virginia||163||166||4.5|
Can I Repeat the GRE? Is My Score Likely to Improve?
If a test taker has not achieved his target score, he may appear for the GRE again subject to conditions. GRE can be repeated only after 21 days of the previous attempt and cannot be repeated more than 5 times in a rolling 12-month period. This applies to a test taker who had canceled his/her score on the previous test.
A study done by ETS revealed that most test-takers improved in all three sections when they retook the test. Also, consider 5 important things while re-taking the GRE test.