One of the most frequently asked questions about the GRE is, “What is a good GRE score?” or “Which GRE score do I need to get into grad school?”. Ladies and gents, we are here for you. As with any test, you probably want to know what a good score for your GRE exam is. Well, it depends. On lots of factors. In this blog we’ll tell you all about GRE scores and how good (or bad) they are.
What is a good GRE score overall?
“Good” and “bad” can sometimes be hard to define. Especially when we talk about GRE exams and scores for different kinds of grad schools. When considering your GRE score goal, look at the minimums at the graduate school that you want to apply to. It will give you a baseline. But to give you an answer to the question, it is easier to talk about GRE score percentiles. A percentile ranking shows what percent of all test-takers you scored better than. So, if you are in the 45th percentile, you scored better than just 45% of test-takers. Of course, there is an average and that’s where we like to begin.
Remember that the Quantitative and Verbal sections of the GRE are scored between 130 and 170. According to the ETS performance statistics, the average (or 50th percentile) for the GRE score is a 153.4 on Quant Reasoning and 150.4 on Verbal Reasoning. Analytical Writing is scored between 0 and 6 in half-point increments. So, in this section 3.58 is the average score. The average total score will be 303, which is the 45th percentile.
A good GRE score is considered a score in the 75th percentile or higher. This means a GRE score of 318 or more. An excellent GRE score is generally a 90th percentile. This comes with a score of 329. A score of 300+ is considered average and 292 is considered below average. This means bad, by the way.
How to calculate the right GRE score for you?
The higher, the better. That’s for sure. But sometimes you don’t need the highest score of them all. What if the grad school that you are applying to is happy with a more average score? That would make life a little less stressful, wouldn’t it? This makes it important to calculate the right GRE score for yourself.
First, start with some research into your target institution. What is their average score for last year’s incoming batch and what is their last year’s class profile? With this information you will get an idea about the GRE score that you need to target to stand out. Second, evaluate your candidacy and analyze the candidate pool competitiveness. For example, if you are a white male accountant, which is an over-representative pool (don’t get us wrong here), you might need to score a few points higher than the average of your targeted institution. Last but not least, determine a good GRE score. If you know the average score for your dream grad school and you know your competition, you can calculate a good GRE score for you.
For example, if you always wanted to get into a top university like Yale School of Management, the average GRE score for class 2022 is 338. Which means you must score above 164 in each section. Don’t let this scare you. We just made an example of the GRE score for an Ivy League University. If you want to get into Stanford GSB class 2022, an average GRE score of 329 is required. It is all about finding the right GRE score for you. Aim for the moon, reach for the stars, people.
Which section of the GRE exam is more relevant?
If we’re being honest, most programs really don’t care that much about Analytical Writing scores. Even writing-focused ones. For example, a top English program will expect a score in the 90th percentile on Verbal, which allows you to get a lower percentile score on Quant Reasoning. So, in this situation it is better to get a super-high score on the more relevant section than to aim for a more equal section score. Note: for other programs it’s the other way around or they think an equal score is more relevant. This all brings us back to calculate the right GRE score for you.
We are sure you can do it. We’ve got your back. We’re your personal cheerleaders. And for this reason, we like to help you out. Are you looking for GRE summaries, guides or notes, written by GRE tutors or students that already passed the exam? Head over to our seller’s GRE summary collection and prepare yourself as best as you can! Or take a look at our blog 'A 7-step GRE study plan: how to study and when to start' to build your own study plan.