If you are planning to pursue a graduate programme abroad, the GRE exam is your way in. Most of the Universities abroad require you to submit your GRE scores. So, have you been wondering what the GRE cut off scores of your dream universities are? We will answer this question as well as provide information on the GRE scoring scheme and also tell you what a good GRE score is. Keep reading!


GRE scoring scheme 


It is important to understand the scoring scheme before you start preparing for the exam. This helps you set target scores or personal goals and work towards them along the way.


The GRE score is divided into two components based on how it is calculated. The first component being scaling scores and the second being percentile ranking. The percentile ranking helps you understand how you have fared as compared to the other candidates. For example, if your percentile rank is 78th, it means you have performed better than 78 percent of the total number of candidates who have appeared for the exam. 


The scoring for each component is as follows: 


  1. Verbal Reasoning – 130-170
  2. Quantitative Reasoning – 130-170
  3. Analytical Writing Assessment – 0-6 


While the scoring increases by a one-point increment for both Verbal and Quantitative reasoning, the scoring increases by a half-point increment for the Analytical writing assessment. As per the scaling scores, the highest total score would be 340, whereas the lowest total score would be 260.  However, are  you still wondering what would count as a good or even an average score? We have explained that below. 


What is a good GRE score ?


A good GRE score is imperative to get into the University of your choice. But how do you determine what is a good score? Any score above 300 would rank you in the 90-100 range, and this would make it an excellent score. A good score would be an average of all the components, which would be 300 or a little over 300 and this would rank you in the 70-75 range. An average score would be anything below 300, as that would rank you in the 50-60 range. These numbers might be overwhelming to process, but keep in mind, your target score should be influenced by the requirements set by the University and the specific programme you wish to apply for. This is where GRE cut off scores come into the picture. These cut off scores help you understand what score will help you seal the deal with the Universities. 


GRE Cut off scores for Universities  


Most Universities abroad have certain guidelines for admission into specific programmes. One such prerequisite is a good GRE score. While there is no official cut off score for the exam set by ETS, most universities have one and they tend to vary as per specific program requirements. The top ranked Universities expect higher GRE scores in order to admit worthy candidates into their programmes. The GRE cut off for Universities in the US  are higher as compared to the rest, hence it is recommended that candidates applying to the US vigorously prepare for the examination. 


The GRE cutoff scores for some of the top universities in US are as follows:


          Top Universities          Verbal Reasoning    Quantitative Reasoning 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)                           158                                              162
University of California Berkeley (UCB) 154 160
Oxford University 160+ 160+
University of Michigan  154 161
Purdue University  158 163
Texas A&M University 157 158-164
California of Technology (Caltech) 149 150
University of Toronto  150 150


Exceptions in 2021


Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of students had to defer their admissions to 2021. This has in turn created a surge in applicants applying to universities in the US this year. Owing to the repercussions on the economy caused by the pandemic, some of the universities have waived off the GRE cutoff scores. Here is a list of the universities who have waived off the scores: 


  1. University of Washington, Seattle
  2. University of Minnesota
  3. New York University
  4. Boston University ( Exempted only for applicants applying to Master of Science and Engineering degree programs)
  5. University of California, San Diego 
  6. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


Hopefully we have provided answers to a couple of questions regarding the scores, scoring schemes and GRE cutoff scores. Moreover, once you have a strong grasp of the fundamentals of scoring schemes for the GRE, setting up a target score and working towards achieving it will be easy. 


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