What is an acceptable GRE Score for Graduate School Admissions

2 years ago | Posted By: Dr Venkat Reddy | Category: GRE

A question that arises most frequently among GRE students is, "What is a good GRE score?". The answer is as simple as that. An applicant's GRE score is solely dependent on the graduate school to which they are applying.

Generally, the GRE score required by top universities differs from one institution to another. Some students may consider Michigan University as a good college, so the score needed to get in would be considered a good GRE score. Nevertheless, students who are targeting Harvard won't perceive Michigan as one of the top universities. In this case, they are more likely to think a high GRE score is ideal. 

To determine what a good GRE score is for you, you should check the average GRE score range for the top Graduate School Programs. By doing this, you can determine the grade you need to score in each of the three sections (verbal, quantitative, and writing).

Average GRE Score Range

The following information will give you an idea of what to expect from your GRE score. The verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE will be measured on a 130-170 scale. The writing section is evaluated on a scale of 0–6 with half-point increments. In addition to your GRE test scores, you will also receive a percentile rank that measures how you fared compared to the large number of people who took the GRE. 

It is more important to have a high GRE percentile rank than a high scaled score. It is because your percentile rankings measure how your GRE scores compare to those of other participants. If your scaled Verbal score on the GRE is 150, you scored in the 49th percentile, meaning that you scored higher than 49% of other test-takers and lower than 51% of other participants.

Participants who are unsure of which type of graduate program they want to apply to can use these figures as a guide to help them figure out how high they should aim for on the GRE.

Setting a GRE target score

The director of graduate admissions at the University of North Georgia, Melinda Maxwell, advises candidates applying to her institution's graduate program to shoot for low math scores and high verbal scores of 310 to 315.

"We are looking for someone in the 300-305 range at the very least," she says. Having a GPA between 310 and 315 will help you to be competitive for admission."

Based on data collected by Educational Testing Service, a nonprofit organization that administers the GRE, the mean verbal reasoning score was 150.05 among all entrants from July 1 2014 to June 30 2017. While the mean score for quantitative assignments was 152.80, the mean score for analytical writing was 3.5.

It's common knowledge that math-based graduate programs look for students with high quantitative scores and put less significance on their verbal scores. In contrast, humanities graduate programs typically seek students with high verbal scores. The GRE quant section is crucial for applicants to math-intensive graduate programs, so they should study hard to achieve a high score.

Having good GRE scores to qualify for one graduate program might not make someone a competitive candidate for another one, according to Andrew Selepak, director of the graduate program in social media at the University of Florida.

The applicant should know the GRE minimum score required by the program they hope to enrol in, wrote Selepak. Some schools may require higher or lower GRE scores. "However, a few points higher or lower during the application process can make all the difference, so applicants should not only keep this in mind when applying but also know what the minimum score is."

Percentiles and Their Importance

The percentage of your score on the GRE is equal to - or even more important than - your actual score. It is due to the adaptive nature of the exam. While numerical scores can vary with time and from year to year, percentiles consistently show the top candidates.

Students should aim to achieve an overall score over the 50th percentile as well as in those sections relevant to their course of study at the start of the test.

How important GRE scores are

Maxwell says that students should prepare thoroughly for the GRE as part of their graduate school application. But those who don't perform as high as expected on GRE tests shouldn't automatically assume low GRE scores will prevent them from going to graduate school, says Stein.

As she says, despite everything that you do, it is only part of you. The test does not reveal everything about you that your application file can disclose about your candidacy for a particular program."

Experts say that grad school applicants who score low on tests can sometimes compensate by writing excellent admission essays and submitting a compelling resume.

If you have strong college grades or extensive work experience, Maxwell says that you may be able to waive standardized tests in most graduate programs. Candidates who are worried about the GRE should check if they qualify, he advises.

She explains that some candidates may be eligible to obtain test waivers based on impressive work experience. Some business and educational programs look at the work experience and say, this person has succeeded in this field, hence we will waive the test requirement," Maxwell added.

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