What is Considered a Good GRE Score?

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What is Considered a Good GRE Score?

A critical thought in the mind of any test-taker is, what score is good enough?. As far as GRE is concerned, a good score depends on many factors, and those factors shall be discussed below. This article will answer the question of “what is considered a good GRE score?” and explain how the scores are calculated and other related issues.

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What is a Good GRE Score in Terms of Test-Taking Population?

It is difficult to tell what an excellent overall GRE score is because of the differences in the expectations for each program. However, to be safe side, it is essential to answer as many questions as possible correctly. Still, if you wish to know a particular general score against every other test-taker, it can be seen on the official GRE score percentile. The percentile ranking reveals the percentage of test-takers you scored better than and those that scored better than you. For instance, a 20th percentile means achieving better than 20% of the overall test-takers. The average or 50th percentile in verbal reasoning section is scoring 150, and quantitative reasoning is a score of 152.6 for a 47th percentile and 153 for a 51st percentile. The average score for analytical writing is 3.5.

What is Considered a Good GRE Score 1

General Overview of Score Rankings for Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning Sections

One thing to take note of is, the scores for quantitative reasoning are a bit higher than that of the verbal reasoning section. The percentiles for quantitative are lower than that of verbal for the same score. For example, a score of 165 on verbal gives a 96%, while a score of 165 offers 89% on quantitative, that means you only 4% of the overall test-takers scored better than you on verbal, while 11% scored better than you in quantitative with that same score.


Another thing to take note of is, there is a cluster of test-takers scored at the middle point. An increase with five points between 159 and 155 gives you a 21 points increase in percentile for both verbal and quantitative reasoning sections. Still, a rise of five points at any other part of the scoring scale only gives a 3 or 8 points increase in percentile respectively for both verbal and quantitative sections. That means, there are a little more points to gain if you are starting closer to the middle of the scoring scale.

A view of the scores compared to other test-takers means, the 25th percentile with about a 144 on verbal and 146 on quantitative is a low score. The 50th percentile with a score of about 151 on verbal and 153 on quantitative is an average score. While a 75th percentile and above with a score of 157 above on verbal, 160 above on quantitative is a good score. The 90th percentile with a score of about 162 on verbal and 166 on quantitative is an excellent score.

What is Considered a Good GRE Score

General Overview of Score Rankings for Analytical Writing

The scoring scale for analytical writing is quite different from that of verbal and quantitative reasoning. The least score here is 1.5 and gives one percentile while the highest score is 6.0, which offers 99 percentile. The big points occur at the middle of the scale between 3.0 and 4.5 while the ends of the scale have smaller percentile changes.

It may be difficult to tell what a good score is but you can match your score with all other GRE test-takers. The higher the percentile, the more the people you performed better than. However, it is not about the number of people you performed better than but what is considered a good GRE score for you?

What is Considered a Good GRE Score for You?

The perfect GRE score for you is one that is good enough to get you admitted for the program(s) you want to attend, provided all other qualifications are met. Admissions committee make use of GRE scores to let go of the weakest applicants. A low score would weaken your chances, but a high score places you at an advantage.

However, a high score does not automatically guarantee your acceptance into your desired program because some other factors like GPAs, recommendations, research experience, and so on plays a significant role in getting you admitted. These requirements are unique to each school, so know the requirements for the school(s) you are applying to. A good GRE score may not necessarily be all you need to get the admission you seek, but it creates a lot of advantages, including helping you qualify for scholarships and fellowships.

What is Considered a Good GRE Score

How to Determine What GRE Score You Need

Graduate programs are different from each other. There are no rules for what a good GRE score is like that of undergraduate programs. What is a good GRE score to you may be a bad score for someone else. Determining a good GRE score depends on some factors.

  •      Level of Program: The program level could either be a Master’s or PhD. A PhD candidate requires higher scores than a master’s candidate. This is because there are limited spots available for a PhD program than for the master’s plan, and the qualities required for PhD applicants are usually higher. So it is necessary to acquire a higher GRE score for a PhD program to increase your chances of getting admitted.
  •      The Program’s Discipline: This also another essential factor to consider before taking the GRE test. Different program disciplines require other GRE scores, and some are particular about your performance on specific sections. For example, Mathematics, engineering and physics programs are expected to have high scores in quantitative reasoning and do not expect so much from the verbal reasoning section. For humanities-based programs, it is generally expected to have a higher score in verbal reasoning. It may not put more pressure on how well you perform in the quantitative reasoning section. So a good score for an engineering program may not be a good score for a literature program and vice versa.

Generally, programs of all types care less about the analytical section, but it is unwise to leave it blank or perform poorly in that section.

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