A good GRE score depends on the institution you are targeting. You first need to figure out the average GRE score range for your targeted college. Based on that, you can decide – what is a good GRE score for you? However, there are other parameters you need to consider while calculating a good GRE score for you.
Before moving forward, let us look at the average GRE score and range for the General and Subject test.
The GRE score range from 130-170 scale, in one-point increment for both a quantitative and verbal section. For analytical writing, the score range is 0-6, in half-point increment. On the other hand, every subject test yields a score on a 200-990 score scale, in 10 points increments.
According to the ETS performance statistics, the average GRE score for Quantitative reasoning is 153.39, Verbal reasoning is 150.37, and Analytical writing is 3.58. Thus, the total score will be 303 (45th Percentile).
Similarly, for the subject test, the average GRE score for Biology is 665, chemistry is 689, literature in English is 542, mathematics is 664, physics is 714, and psychology is 619. So, anything above the average subject score can be considered a good GRE score.
Note that the percentile rank associated with GRE general and subject test are different. To understand in detail, read our updated article on what your scores mean in 2021.
Here is an overview of what is generally considered as a good GRE score, an average, and an excellent one for the general test:
|What is a good GRE score?||Below Average Score||Average GRE score||Good GRE Score||Excellent GRE Score|
|GRE Percentile||25th Percentile||50th Percentile||75th Percentile||90th Percentile|
*The values presented are estimated values.
In this article, we help you derive a good GRE score for you and illustrate a three-step process to calculate it.
GRE Score Range
Before moving forward, let us take a look at GRE score range.
The GRE scores range for the general test is from 130 to 170 per section. Remember, the total score is calculated only based on your Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning section. The max score is 340, and the combined scores range from 260-340.
Here is the GRE score range for each section:
|GRE General test||Scored scale|
|Quantitative reasoning||130-170, in 1-point increments|
|Verbal reasoning||130-170, in 1-point increments|
|Analytical reasoning||0-6, in half-point increments|
The score range for the subject test is from 200 to 900, in 10 point increment. The scores are calculated independently for each test and should be compared only with other scores on the same subject test. For instance, a physics test score of 720 in 2021 should be considered equivalent to a 720 physics test in 2020.
Did you know apart from the GMAT Exam, many MBA aspirants tend to take GRE. The acceptance and popularity of GRE for MBA admissions have been increasing in the last few years. Are you confused about whether to take GMAT or GRE? Check out this article on GRE vs. GMAT.
Now that you know the GRE score range let’s derive what is a good GRE score
What is a Good GRE score?
To calculate a good GRE score, it is essential that you first know the average GRE score of individuals who have taken the test.
Average GRE score for General Test
As discussed earlier, the average GRE score for Quantitative reasoning is 153.39, Verbal reasoning is 150.37, and Analytical writing is 3.58. Thus, the total score will be 303. This data is based on the performance of all individuals who tested between July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2019.
Here is the percentile ranking:
|GRE Section||Average GRE Score||Percentile Ranking|
From the above table, we can determine that the average score for the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning section only accounts for 48 (153.39) and 45(150.37) percentile, respectively.
This means that you scored better than 45 out of every 100 test-taker on Verbal reasoning.
A 45th percentile is just an average score and not an excellent one. It will not be a good score for highly competitive programs as the average score for the Grad schools is above 303.
Generally, a 75th percentile is a pretty good GRE score, and a 90th percentile is an excellent one.
Thus, we can say that a score of 318 and above is good, whereas a score of 329 is an excellent one. A score of 300+ is considered average, and a 292 score is considered below average.
Score Percentiles for GRE General test
Here is the percentile ranking for the General test:
|GRE score||Quant Percentile||Verbal percentile||Score Level||Analytical Writing|
*This data is based on the performance of all individuals who tested between July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2019.
Average GRE score for Subject Test
Similarly, you need to consider the average score for its six disciplines for the subject test.
|GRE Subject Test||Average score||Percentile Ranking *|
|Literature in English||542||46th|
*the percentile ranking is approx. value
From the above table, we can say that if you score a 689 in chemistry, you scored 57th percentile. This means that you scored better than 57 out of every 100 test-taker on Chemistry.
Thus, anything above the average mentioned for each subject test type is a good GRE score. Similarly, anything below the average is not a good score.
Score Percentile for GRE subject test
Here is the percentile ranking for the Subject test:
|Score||Chemistry||Biology||Literature in English||Mathematics||Physics||Psychology|
*This data is based on the performance of all individuals who tested between July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2019.
But knowing the average GRE score of individuals who took the GRE is not enough to calculate a good GRE score for you. Why?
Let us assume you want to get into Harvard Business school, and you took the GRE general test. Based on the ETS statistics, we now know that for individuals who took GRE in the past the average score is 303 (153 + 150). However, getting into Harvard is very competitive, with an average score of 326 for its incoming class of 2022. So, a good score to get into Harvard would be 326 or above.
Thus, while calculating a good GRE score, you should also consider your targeted institution’s average score. The same is applicable for the GRE subject test.
How to calculate a Good GRE score? Three-Step Process
How to calculate a Good GRE Score?
Here is a three step process to calculate a good GRE score:
Research the average GRE score at your targeted institution
The first step to calculating a good GRE score is to do some research into your target institution:
1. Average score for last year’s incoming batch
2. Last year’s class profile
By doing so, you will get an idea about the score you need to target.
Evaluating your candidacy competitiveness
You also need to evaluate your candidacy and analyze the candidate pool competitiveness. For example, if you are an engineer from India, which is an over-representative pool, you might need to score a few points higher than the average of your targeted institution.
Generally, to derive a good GMAT score for MBA Admissions, we add at least 20 points more.
Thus, if you want to get into MIT Sloan and your applicant pool competition is high, you might have to get a few points higher than the average to get into the program.
Determine a Good GRE score
After considering the average score for your targeted institution and evaluating your candidacy competitiveness, you can arrive at a good GRE score.
For example, the average score for Stanford GSB class 2022 is 329. So, if you aim to score more than the average, it increases your chances of getting into the b-school.
Remember, most of the test-takers scores range from 150 – 154 (43.95%), which is close to just 36- 51 percentile for Quantitative reasoning and 45-63 percentile for Verbal reasoning. Similarly, approx., 36.8% of test-takers scored between 145-149. But this is below the average and will not get you into top business schools.
To get into a top business school, you need to be among the top 7% – 27%. This means you need to score above 160 in each section.
Thus, anything above a 75th percentile score is pretty good. And a 90th percentile score is an excellent score.
Arrive at your targeted GRE score!
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What is a Good GRE score for a scholarship?
The main purpose of the scores is to help the business school/ graduate programs evaluate your application. If you get a higher score than other applicants, your application will stand out, and you will have a better chance at landing a scholarship.
A high score does not guarantee a Scholarship
Some business schools use scores as a criterion to give out Scholarships. However, there are other components of your MBA application that are also taken into consideration. For example, the Indianan Kelley MBA program offers merit-based scholarships awarded on the following criteria – Academic performance, professional experience, and Application strength.
On the other hand, business schools like HBS do not look at your scores to earn scholarships. Harvard MBA Scholarship is given based on the financial need of the student. It does not offer merit-based scholarships.
Check out the list of MBA scholarships for Indian and International students here.
Also, many business schools like Kellogg School of Management automatically consider admitted students for merit scholarships. Only those who have demonstrated excellence in one or more areas of their application have a chance to get a scholarship.
Let’s say the graduate school you are applying to considers the GRE score for giving out Scholarships.
Under such circumstances, firstly, consider other parameters used to evaluate scholarships based on merit. Once you are aware of that, follow these three steps:
- Check the scholarship page of the institution you are applying to. The majority of the institutions don’t specify the scores needed. However, you will get to know the types of Scholarship they offer and the parameters for evaluation
- Reach out to people who have availed of the Scholarship and ask them about their score
- Research the institution’s average score and target at least a few points higher than the average to stand out. For example, if the average score at Yale is 330, to increase your chances to get into Yale, we can add say 2-4 points, i.e., 334. This score might get you admission to Yale. However, to get a scholarship gaining a few more points can increase your chances. i.e., 337 (334+ 3) higher might help you get a scholarship
Thus, a high score can increase your chances of getting one.
Did you know 9 out of 10 MBA admission decisions are made using a GMAT score? Start your GMAT Preparation by registering for our FREE Trial. We can help you with a personalized study plan and give you access to quality online content to prepare. We are the most reviewed GMAT Preparation company on the GMATClub with more than 170 reviews as of November 2020!
FAQs – What is a good GRE score?
GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination and it is conducted by Educational Testing Services.
Know all about the GRE Exam 2021 here.
The total score that you can get on the GRE general exam is 340. It is calculated by adding up your Verbal and Quantitative reasoning scores.
The Total GRE score range falls between 260 – 340. There are three scores that are reported for the general test:
1. Verbal Reasoning
2. Quantitative Reasoning
3. Analytical Writing
For the subject test, the score range is between 200 to 900.
Learn how to interpret your GRE scores in 2021.
The average GRE score for individuals who tested between July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2019:
Quantitative Reasoning: 150.37
Verbal Reasoning: 153.39
Analytical Writing: 3.58
If we compare GRE with GMAT, another standardized test that you can take to get into business schools, we notice that the overall difficulty level is the same. However, the GRE verbal section is slightly harder than GMAT whereas GRE Quantitative reasoning is slightly easier than GMAT Quant.
Know which exam should you take GRE or GMAT.