Do GRE test scores really matter? Is your GRE score good enough to get you into the grad school of your choice? 

good GRE scores

A "good" GRE score depends on the the programs you are considering. For comparison, the average score for all GRE test takers is currently a 150 for Verbal and a 152 for Math (Source: ETS).

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! 

Guide to GRE Scoring 

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).

GRE Scores Range

SectionScore Range
Verbal Reasoning 130–170, in 1 point increments
Quantitative Reasoning 130–170, in 1 point increments
Analytical Writing 0–6, in half point increments

GRE Score Percentiles

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 47 th 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 essays are scored a little differently than the Verbal and Quantitative sections. The corresponding percentiles are as follows:

ScoreAnalytical Writing Percentile
6.0 99
5.5 98
5.0 93
4.5 82
4.0 59
3.5 42
3.0 17
2.5 7
2.0 2
1.5 1
1.0 <1

In other words, a score of 5 on the essay portion of the GRE means you performed better than 93 percent of test takers.

What are good GRE scores for MY goals?

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.

1. What GRE scores do I need to be accepted?

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 and business school search to find out the average scores for last year’s incoming class. 

2. Will you look at all parts of my GRE score?

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.

3. Are GRE scores used for anything else?

If your scores will used for course placement or for scholarship consideration, it would be good to know that now, while you still have time to prepare.

4. How important are my GRE scores in terms of my entire application?

How much weight a program places on your score is often a function of how competitive admission to the program is. If it is a competitive program, every number will count.

5. What do you do with multiple GRE scores?

You might decide to take the GRE a second time. It would be good to know, however, the importance of that first score. If a school is going to take your highest GRE score, then you can relax a bit on test one, knowing that you can take it again if you need to.

Other Grad School Admission Factors

The reality is that good 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.

How will you score?

Take a GRE practice test with us under the same conditions as the real thing. You'll get a personalized score report highlighting your strengths and areas of improvement.

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