Average GRE Scores

Average GRE Test Scores & Results Explained

average-gre-scoresUnderstanding Average GRE Test Score And How GRE Scoring Works

Before you take your GRE test, you should keep in mind the average GRE test score of the targeted institution you wish to join. Based on this, it will be easier to know once results are out whether you are within the average score range.

Always find out the average score for each program you are interested in, as you will want to score above this average.

Here is a guide to your GRE score.

What is the Average GRE Score?

The GRE test is graded on a scale range from 130 to 170 on a one-point scale for the quantitative and verbal sections and a score range for analytical writing is 0-6, with half-point increments.

According to the 2022 ETS General Test Interpretive Data Report, the current national average GRE score is 307.63, including all GRE sections.

GRE Test SectionAverage GRE Score
Verbal Reasoning150.37
Quantitative Reasoning153.66
Analytical Writing3.60

Over the past five years, these have been the average GRE scores for each test:

  • Quantitative Reasoning: 153.66
  • Verbal Reasoning: 150.37
  • Analytical Writing: 3.60

A good GRE score is relative to the grad school you are applying to. More prestigious schools are much more competitive to get in and require higher GRE scores for acceptance as compared with lower tiered schools. Thus, your score’s competitive edge is dependent where you are applying to and what type of graduate major you are hoping to enroll in.

Keep in mind, your score is based on the number of questions you answered correctly along with the difficultly level of each question. You are not penalized for unanswered questions.

Average GRE Subject Test Scores

In addition to the GRE General Test, the ETS also offers subject tests to evaluate students’ knowledge and skills in specific academic areas. Each subject test is graded on a score scale range of 200 to 990, with 10 point increments.

GRE Subject Test SectionAverage GRE Subject Test Score
English Literature542

According to the ETS 2022 Interpreting Your GRE Scores Report, the average GRE subject test scores are as follows:

  • Biology: 665
  • Chemistry: 689
  • Mathematics: 664
  • English literature: 542
  • Psychology: 619
  • Physics: 714

The subject tests are a bit different than the general test because they are graded on a different scale and are not mandatory. Thus, most candidates and grad school applicants do not take the subject tests. For example, in 2021-2022 about 1.55M candidates took the general test as compared with only approximately 50k candidates taking the subject tests.

It’s important to note that the sample size is much smaller for the subject tests and might skew the mean as compared to a larger pool of test takers.

Average ACT Score by Grad School, College, & University

Colleges and Graduate Schools use the GRE test results gauge to admit students. Most Universities have score cut offs or minimum acceptable scores that applicants are required to meet in order to be accepted in the graduate program.

These score requirements vary from college to college, but important note that a good score to one school might not be good enough to be accepted into another school.

Here is a table that shows the average GRE test scores for some of the most popular colleges and universities:

Grad School / UniversityVerbal Reasoning Average ScoreQuantative Reasoning Average ScoreTotal Average Score
Columbia University164163327
California Technological University158166324
Cornell University160162322
Stanford University158163321
Purdue University158163321
University of Southern California158163321
Princeton University158163321
Carnegie Mellon University159161320
University of California San Diego154166320
University of Wisconsin Madison157163320
Duke University155165320
Massachusetts Institute of Technology157162319
University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign155163318
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities155163318
University of California Berkeley155161316
Georgia Technological University155161316
North Carolina State University155161316
Arizona State University154162316
University of Texas Austin155160315
University of Michigan Ann Arbor154161315
Northwestern University154161315
University of Washington156159315
University at Buffalo – SUNY154161315
Texas A&M University154160314
University of Maryland College154160314

Top 10 Colleges with the Highest Average GRE Score

Here is a chart of the Average GRE Score for the top 10 performing colleges in the country:

UniversityAverage Verbal ScoreAverage Quantitative ScoreAverage Total Score
Columbia University163160323
Cornell University162158320
Harvard University165162327
New York University161158319
Stanford University165162327
UC Berkeley164161325
University of Pennsylvania162158320
University of Southern California161157318
Yale University164162326

Which College or University has the highest average GRE score?

There are several graduate colleges and universities with impressively high GRE test scores, but the four graduate schools with the highest average GRE scores of 329, 328, 327, and 327, respectively are:

  • MIT
  • Princeton
  • Harvard University
  • Stanford University

There are many other private colleges and  universities that boast extremely high GRE test scores as well. For instance, the average GRE score for Yale is 326.

Average GRE Score by Major & Degree Program

GRE scores differ from one college degree program and major to the next. This makes sense because each major has a slightly different area of study allowing the students to do better on different test subjects.

The ETS reports in the Guidelines for the Use of GRE Scores 2022 the following average GRE scores by college majors:

Intended Graduate MajorVerbal Reasoning ScoreQuantitative Reasoning ScoreAnalytical Writing Score
Humanities & Arts1561504.1
Life Sciences1511513.8
Physical Sciences1511603.6
Social & Behavioral Sciences1511523.9

Which College Major has the highest average GRE score?

Many different majors have high GRE scores, but the two majors that tend to have the highest average GRE scores are Engineering and Physical Sciences.

This is most likely because these two areas of study are broad reaching and require students to master many cross-disciplines. With a broader knowledge of subjects and more expansive skill sets, Engineering and Physical Sciences students tend to do better on the GRE than students of other majors.

Average GRE Score for MBA and Business School Programs

The most common student to take the GRE test is a business major or MBA candidate. This is because almost all MBA programs require the GRE test for college admittance.

Here is a chart of the average GRE scores for MBA applicants and business program students.

MBA ProgramAverage GRE ScoreQuantitative ScoreVerbal Reasoning Score
Stanford University329164165
Yale University328164164
Harvard University326163163
Northwestern University - Kellogg326163163
UCLA - Anderson326163163
University of Chicago - Booth324163161
MIT - Sloan323162161
University of Pennsylvania - Wharton322161161
Berkeley - Haas322161161
NYU -Stern322160162
Cornell University - Johnson320160160
Darthmouth - Tuck319159161
Duke University - Fuqua 319159160
University of Michigan - Ross319161161
University of Texas - McCombs318159159

Average GRE Score for Law School

Although historically most law schools haven’t required or accepted the GRE as an entrance exam, many are starting to change their opinions of the test and allow applicants to submit their score results.

Most law schools that accept the GRE test results typically convert them into LSAT scores to make them comparable to traditional law student applicants. During the conversion process, the individual section scores are lost and only the total score is left.

Here is a chart of the average GRE score for law schools applicants.

Law SchoolAverage GRE Score
Yale Law School332
Harvard Law School332
Columbia Law School329
University of Virginia School of Law328
University of Pennsylvania - Carey Law School328
University of Chicago Law School328
New York University School of Law328
Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law325
Duke University School of Law325
University of California, Los Angeles School of Law324
Georgetown University Law Center324
Cornell Law School324
University of Southern California - Gould School of Law319
Boston University School of Law319
Wake Forest University School of Law314
University of California - Davis School of Law314
University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law314
Pepperdine University - Rick J. Caruso School of Law312
Florida State University College of Law311

How is the GRE Test Scored?

The Verbal section and Quantitative section of the GRE are scored using the test’s raw results. The amount of questions answered correctly determines your raw score. GRE Verbal and GRE Quant both have 40 questions. Therefore, the highest possible raw score in any section is 40. The 40 raw score matches the official Verbal and Quant sections’ 40-point difference.

In the final score report, both of these portions are graded on a 130-170 scale. But, the raw score will differ from your final GRE official score since ETS will alter the number of points you receive for specific questions, dependent on how difficult they are. Some questions might be worth more points.

GRE Analytical writing section is not marked wrong or right, thus there is no raw score matching the 40-point grading range. AWA section is scored on rubric where the score ranges between 0 and 6, with scores calculated with half-point increases. AWA essays are modified for variations between various scorers rather than for relative difficulty.

The human scorer is assigned to each AWA essay, and the essay will also be submitted to a computer grader, ETS’s e-rater grading system. If the computer and human scores for AWA essays are similar, then the essay’s final score will be the sum of the computer and human scores.

Interestingly, if there are differences, then another human score will grade the essay, and the final score will be the median of the scores of human scorers. Thus, the total score will be the average of the argument essay and issue essay.

Is the GRE Test Graded on a Curve?

GRE score is not curved, and scores for the Quantitative and Verbal section fall in different percentiles. For instance, a score of 165 in the Verbal section might have you in the 96th percentile, but the same score will only get you in the 89th percentile.

Most importantly, most test-takers fall in the middle of the scale, and a 5 points increase from 150 to 155 might move you by a 21-point percentile, but a 5 points increase from 165 to 170 can only move you by three percentile points.

Who Grades the GRE?

The Education Testing Service (ETS) conducts the GRE test. The exam is paper and computer-based, and grading can be either through a human scorer or computer-based system, the e-rater scoring system.

Scorers/graders for the AWA section have been trained to assign scores depending on your essay’s quality and response to the task.

Why are GRE Scores Average Percentiles Important?

Your GRE percentile indicates how your result relates to the scores of all other test-takers. Compared to other test-takers, if your score falls in a higher percentile, then it means you scored better than the majority of the test-takers. For instance, a score in the 98th percentile indicates that you outperformed 98% of the test takers and are in the top 2%. Conversely, a GRE percentile score of 50 indicates that you scored in the middle of the pack, which is average.

The GRE score is meant to have a distribution that is close to normal. Therefore it implies that most people score in the middle of the scale, around 150 and that results outside of that range are uncommon.

Graduate programs are far more diverse than undergraduate degree programs, since they may have entirely distinct objectives and desirable credentials for prospective candidates. However, GRE percentiles assess the whole GRE test-taking participants. Thus engineering master’s degree candidates are compared to anthropology Ph.D. candidates.

Since GRE percentiles scores cover such a wide spectrum of individuals with varying qualifications and aspirations, different degree programs have distinct GRE score percentile requirements for applicants. Leading Math programs, for example, should expect a score in the 95th percentile on Quantitative reasoning , but it will be strange if they equally require a score on 95th percentile on Verbal section. Thus, when determining what percentile score you require for a specific program, there are two factors to consider: how competitive the program is and the part is most relevant.

What Does it Mean to Score above the Average GRE Score

Scoring an above-average GRE score means that you scored better than most test-takers, and in this case, you will fall in the 50th percentile. Similarly, a score in the 45% percentile can be an average score, but it will not be a good one.

An above-average score is not a guarantee that it is a good score because graduate programs are very competitive and a good score depends on the program you are looking to take. But in most cases, if your score falls in the 75th percentile, then it is a good score.

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