What is a Good GRE Score?

Good GRE Test Scores & Percentile Ranges for Grad Schools Explained

what-is-a-good-gre-scoreHow High is a Good GRE Test Score for Grad School?

According to the ETS, a score above 318 in the 75th percentile is a good GRE score that will be competitive for most grad school programs.

Although, it is important to keep in mind that good is a relative term because it is based on the colleges and programs you are applying to. Some college require higher scores. Thus, for a score to be considered “good” it must be a lot higher than a lower tiered college or program.

In order to figure out how high of a score is good enough to get into your college of choice, we need to look at how the test is scored and a few other factors that go into your percentile range.

Let’s look at what makes a good GRE test score.

How is the GRE Scored?

You will receive a GRE score for each of the three sections. The essay section is scored in a 0-6 range in half-point increments, while the Quant and Verbal Reasoning section is scored in a 130-170 score range in one-point increments. You earn a point for each correct answer in the quant and verbal reasoning sections, accounting for your raw score.

The raw score is then converted into a scaled score between 130 and 170 before inclusion in the GRE score report. A trained grader will score your essay between 0-6, and then an e-rater score your essay for analytical writing.

Your raw score will be the average of the e-rater and the human scorer if there is a difference of one, but if it is more, a second human scorer will grade your essay.

The final score of the two essays is averaged, and the figure is rounded to the nearest half-point.

GRE Score Range

The GRE test is graded on a GRE score range of 130 – 170 scale. The analytical writing test is slightly different with a score range of 0 – 6. The subject tests, like math, psychology, and physics, are graded on a 200-990 score scale depending on the subject.

Here is a GRE score range chart that shows the score scales for each test.

GRE SectionGRE Score RangeGRE Score Scale
Verbal Reasoning130 - 1701-point increments
Quantitative Reasoning130 - 1701-point increments
Analytical Writing0 - 6half-point increments
Subject Tests200 - 99010-point increments

What is a Good GRE Test Score?

It is tricky to say what a good GRE score is since there is considerable variation in program requirements. To ascertain whether you have a good GRE score, you should check the official GRE score percentiles, which will show you where your score falls compared to other test takers.

The percentile rank tells the percentage of test-takers you scored better than. For example, the average GRES score is 150 for verbal reasoning and 152.6 for quant, and for analytical writing, the average score will be 3.5.

Therefore always aim for your score to be in the 75th percentile and above, as this can guarantee a good score. Most importantly, a good score will get you to your program of choice.

GRE Test Score Averages

Here is a GRE test score chart that shows an average good GRE score comparison.

Good GRE Score:GRE Score Percentile:GRE Score Ranking:GRE Score Rating:
130 - 29225th PercentileBelow AveragePoor
293 - 31750th PercentileAverageAverage
318 - 32875th PercentileAbove AverageGood
32990th PercentileHighestCompetitive
330+99th PercentilePerfectBest / Max

What’s the Highest GRE Score?

The highest GRE score is 340.

The verbal and quant reasoning sections are scored on a scale of 130-170 in one-point increments, so the highest you can score in each section is 170, and the total is 340.

The essay section is scored on a different independent scale on a score range of 0-6.

Interestingly the analytical writing assessment score will not affect your overall GRE score out of 340.

What is a Competitive GRE Score?

A competitive GRE score is based on the school you are applying to and the competition of the other applicants. Thus, a higher tiered school will require a higher score in order to be competitive with the other students who are applying.

Typically, a GRE score of 328 or above is considered a competitive score for most graduate school programs.

What is a Good GRE Score for an MBA Program or Business School?

A good GRE score for an MBA program is between 320 – 330.

MBA programs are competitive and often require high scores for acceptance. The top 50 MBA programs in the the US had GRE score ranges of 310-330 with the average being approximately 308. That’s why a good score for an MBA program is typically at least 10 points higher than a good score for a standard graduate program.

Here is a chart of the average GRE good scores for the top MBA programs in the US.

MBA ProgramGRE Total 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

It’s also common for business school applicants to take either the GRE or GMAT if not both for their application process. GRE scores are typically viewed as equally competitive to GMAT scores.

GRE Scores for Law Schools

Since most law schools don’t accept the GRE as an entrance exam, a good score on the GRE won’t help you get into your law school of choice. You will likely need to study and sit for the LSAT in order to be considered for a law school program.

There are a number of law schools that have started accepting the GRE, however. Most of these schools will convert your GRE score into the LSAT score equivalent, so it’s important to understand the GRE to LSAT score conversion process. ETS has a simple GRE to LSAT conversion calculator on their website that you can use to see how your GRE score translates into a LSAT score.

What is a Good GRE Score for a Scholarship?

Although there are many scholarships that require you to submit a GRE score report in order to apply, the GRE test is a graduate college entrance exam. Doing well the the GRE doesn’t guarantee a scholarship.

Instead, it gets you access to higher tiered universities that might have access to more prestigious scholarship funds. Don’t think of your GRE score as a way to scholarship money. Think of it as a way to get your foot in the door. t

Good GRE Score for Grad School?

The highest score for quant and verbal reasoning is 170 and for analytical writing is 66, but it doesn’t affect the overall score.

Since the average is around 150 for verbal and quant, you should aim to score above the range of 310-315. If you score in that range, you have a chance of securing admission.

But the most important thing is to check what your graduate school requires since some schools require a lower or higher score depending on the program.

What is the GRE?

GRE is a multiple-choice, standardized, computer-based exam administered to students looming to join the graduate school. ETS is responsible for developing and administering GRE rest to offer graduate schools a standard way of comparing applicants and their preparedness for graduate programs.

Therefore, your GRE score is vital to the graduate school admission committee alongside other supporting materials and academic transcripts.

The GRE test assesses the candidate’s basic arithmetic, geometry, and algebra command and college-level vocabulary and your ability to evaluate and analyze written material and solve problems in three sections.

The sections include the analytical writing section, Verbal reasoning, and the Math or Quantitative reasoning section. Besides the three sections, ETS uses the unscored experimental or research section to research future evaluable questions.

Analytical Writing Assessment Scoring

This is the first section of the GRE that takes 60 minutes, and it is divided into two tasks, including the “analyse an issue” and “analyse an argument” tasks. The section will evaluate how you can articulate your views and responses to ideas in a reasoned and clear way.

You should formulate an evidence-based thesis in response to a topic provided. For the analyze issue task, you have to read a topic opinion and respond to provided instructions in line with the issue. On the other hand, analyze an argument task requires you to argue a topic as [per the instructions provided in the prompt.

Verbal Reasoning Scoring

This is a 60 minutes test that will evaluate the test taker’s ability to evaluate written material and relationships in component parts of a sentence. The section takes various formats, including text completion, where you have to fill in blanks to complete sentences and sequence equivalence questions requiring you to fill a blank with two alternatives that create coherent sentences.

Lastly, reading comprehension entails questions based on text or passage that develops an argument explanation of a topic.

Quantitative Reasoning or Math Scoring

The section tests basic math skills and the ability of the test taker to reason and solve problems. Questions in this section take a quantitative comparison and problem-solving format. There are a total of 20 questions, and each section can be completed in 35 minutes.

Topics covered include algebra, data analysis, arithmetic, and geometry, which are covered in high school. Equally, you will encounter calculus, trigonometry, and other high-level math topics.

Tips on How to Improve Your GRE Score

The GRE is vital in graduate school admission, and most colleges use the score in identifying students. College admission committees use GRE scores in comparing students and gauging their preparedness for graduate school and thus help them enroll diverse student body.

Therefore, your GRE score is essential to business and graduate schools in making fellowship and admission decisions. A good GRE score will be vital in acceptance of your graduate school admission.

The secret to acing the GRE is having a study plan and taking the test seriously. Most importantly, remember the GRE evaluates logical reasoning and problem-solving skills as much as it will be testing material that you might have covered.

Set a target score to help you be on track and go through the format of the test and questions to expect.

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