How Much Should You Score in GRE?

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How Much Should You Score in GRE?

What’s a good GRE score? Does the GRE test score matter? Is your GRE score good enough to secure admission for you into the school of your choice? Planning your GRE score goal in a competitive academic admission cycle requires that you search for and read through the admission requirements or minimums (if available) of the school you wish to apply to.

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“good GRE score” is more often than not dependent on your choice of the study program as well as your choice of institution. Another important fact when considering “good GRE scores” is that the average GRE score is about 305, or 150 in Verbal and about 154 in Quant. But what’s considered a good GRE test score as mentioned earlier, is subject to the school’s academic requirements and study program and it ranges widely for differently graduate schools. Even different study programs at the same school have varied scores. All in all, certain factors will affect what a good GRE test score is for you.

What is the GRE Score Range (Quant and Verbal COMBINED)

GRE scores usually range from 130 to 170 per section. The maximum score obtainable is 340, which is a combination of all sections (Verbal and Quant). Because there is a low number of possible scores -only 41- that you can get on the GRE test, correctly answering just one more question could be enough to turn an already average score into a top competitive score.

Verbal 130 (Min) 170 (Max) 

Quant 130 (Min) 170 (Max)

Combined 260 340

Sometimes, it can prove to be a challenge when trying to contextualize your score, mainly because comparing Quant scores to verbal scores can feel like comparing lemons to apples. So let us take a look at sectional scores, breaking them down a little for the sake of simplicity.

What are Good GRE Scores

GRE In-Section Scores

The perfect GRE scores are 170 in each section, that is 340 combined. But be mindful that these scores are not independent of your study program and choice of institution. Depending on your study program, your score in one section may have more weight and more influence and strongly considered during admissions. e.g. students seeking entry into Journalism do not have to worry so much about Quant as much as potential students considering access for Engineering. However, scoring exceptionally high in both sections is a plus because it could project you towards getting scholarships.

Top Scores within this range will project you in the top 10% of all test takers

Verbal: 163-170

Quant: 165-170

Competitive Scores

Scores that within this range will position you in a highly competitive place in admission (usually 25% of all test takers)

Verbal: 158-162

Quant: 159-164

Average Scores

These scores will put you ahead of the majority (about 50%), but will not guarantee you are getting admitted when applying to a very competitive study program.

Verbal: 152-158

Quant: 153-158

Below Average Scores

Although scores within this range may be enough to get you into a variety of study programs, these scores are considered below average when juxtaposed to the population of those who wrote the test.

Verbal: 151 or below

Quant: 152 or below

GRE Score Percentile

Every GRE score is a collection of components: a ranged score (130-170) and a percentile rank. Your percentile rank is of greater importance than your ranged score because your percentile rank indicates how one GRE score compares to those of other test-takers.

For example, a ranged verbal score of 150 roughly translates into the 47th percentile, which means that you had a better score than 47 per cent of those who sat for the test. And worse than the corresponding 53 per cent of test-takers. In summary, a percentile score aptly describes the percentage of test-takers who scored lower than you. Some noteworthy points to take home are:

  1. It’s quite impossible to have a score above the 96th percentile in Quant: just 4% of students take the exam get a perfect score in this section.
  2. Regarding Verbal, the same cannot be said because only 1% of test-takers get a perfect score.
  3. The top 10% of test-takers score 162 and above in Verbal and 167 and above in Quant.
  4. The lowest scores are usually scored by the bottom 10% with about 139 in Verbal and 141 in Quant.

In terms of percentiles, the majority of test-takers will consider scoring within the top 10% of all test-takers. But in the end, a good GRE score is regarded as one that helps you get into the Program of your choice. 

What are Good GRE Scores

What is the GRE score range by Program?

A good score on the GRE is significantly varied by choice of the study program. For instance, applicants who were admitted to the top 10 Computer Science programs in 2020/2021 had an average GRE Quant score of 166. This score is pegged at the 89th percentile on the GRE. However, applicants who got admitted to the top 10 English programs had an average GRE Quant score of 157, pegged at the 64th percentile on the new GRE. You’ll agree that’s quite a significant difference, further buttressing the point that a good GRE score is considerably dependent on your choice of the study program.

What is the Average GRE Score

A lot of students make initial plans to pass in flying colours, aiming for the stars while preparing and think of their goals in terms of a perfect score (a score of 170). but in reality, many of such students do not need to attain such lofty score.

If evaluating your scores in terms of the general pool of test-takers is proving challenging, one way around it is by looking at the average GRE scores. How? By providing a bigger picture or collating data of everyone taking the test and showing you where the midpoint lies. The average GRE score broken down into its sections is 150 for Verbal and about 154 for Quant.

Average GRE Test Scores by Intended Graduate in Major Fields

While you are applying for graduate programs, the average score of all test takers is irrelevant, because for you. What is more, important is the average GRE score for your particular ProgramProgram at your school of choice, the score you need to surpass to get admitted -this is what’s considered a good GRE score for you.

A helpful baseline score is provided for you below, but bear in mind that these scores are averages for all schools. Therefore, to find the competitive GRE scores you need, I recommend that you do your research for the particular colleges or universities that you plan on getting admitted into.

Intended Graduate Field

Average Verbal Score

Average Quant Score










Arts and Humanities



Life Sciences



Physical Science



Other Fields



What are Good GRE Scores

What is a Good GRE Score for Graduate School?

By now, you’re very much aware that the school of your choice will have a lot of influence on what your target GRE score should be. Students admitted to the most competitive ProgramProgram at Harvard-Economics-had an estimated Verbal score of 163-167 and an estimated Quant score of 166-170. This statistic aptly summarizes the fact that discipline does make a significant difference to the relative weight adcoms give to each section of the GRE test.

On the other hand, it is juxtaposing the above statistics with that of a less competitive program at Harvard, less competitive programs admitted students with Quant and Verbal scores as low as 155-159. Therefore, you must understand that it all depends on the study program, as well as the choice of institution.

What is a Good GRE Score for Me?

Objectively stating a score will be misleading as I can’t say it enough: a good GRE test score is strongly dependent on your particular target school and choice of the study program. But providing a direct response in general terms, I will highly recommend above the 75th percentile in either section as a good GRE score. That’s about 161 or higher in Quant and 157 or above in Verbal.

Finally, several factors will affect your graduate school or business school application; these factors are the final determiners of whether your application will be accepted or rejected. Your GRE test score is but one factor other factors include your undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation, personal essays, research skills and statement of purpose will all influence your admission into the school of your choice.

Therefore, a stepping stone in the right direction is to research the academic institution where you have decided to apply to so that you can make the best GRE test plan for yourself.

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.