The Graduate Record Examination or GRE is an exam to be taken if you are applying for graduate and postgraduate degrees in universities across the globe. Most universities lay emphasis on a good GRE score to get into their programmes. So, if you’re wondering, what is a good GRE score or what is the highest GRE score? You should read this article.
In this article, we will discuss everything about GRE scores. From what is a good GRE score to the GRE score range for top universities, we cover all that you need to know about the test and its scoring method.
To begin with, we will provide a brief overview of how the GRE scores are divided among the three exam sections — Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing Assessment.
GRE Score Range
The GRE score for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections ranges from 130 to 170. The Analytical Writing Assessment, on the other hand, has a score range of 1 to 6. Hence, the minimum AWA score required in GRE lies in between the range 1-6. While the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning scores increase by one-point increments, the Analytical Writing increases by a half-point increment.
|Verbal Reasoning||130 – 170 with intervals of 1 (scaled)|
|Quantitative Reasoning||130 – 170 with intervals of 1 (scaled)|
|Analytical Writing Assessment||1 – 6 with intervals of 0.5|
The maximum score for Analytical Writing is 6, whereas the lowest possible score is 0. To know the maximum GRE score, you have to know the composite scores. The maximum composite GRE score is 340, whereas the minimum GRE score is 260. The composite score takes into account the scores of the Verbal and Quant sections, while the AWA section score is presented separately. However, the GRE cut off for each university differs, hence, you should check that before you apply to the institutions of your choice.
The GRE score range for the individual subject tests ranges from 200 to 900 and increases with 10-point increments.
The GRE scores are also calculated by converting them into percentile ranks. Percentile ranking denotes how you have ranked in comparison to the other candidates. If your GRE score is 170 in each of the components (Verbal and Quant), your percentile rank would be 99. This indicates that you have performed better than 99 people who have taken the test. Similarly, if your score is 165 in each of the components, your percentile rank would be 96.
What is a Good GRE Score?
Now that you have understood the GRE scoring scheme, let’s move on to what would be considered a “good” score. We have formulated a table for you to understand what would be considered a good GRE score, an average GRE score, and a poor GRE score.
Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning
|Score Range||Percentile Rank||Performance|
|320 – 340||85 – 99||Excellent|
|300 –320||50 – 55||Good|
|280 – 300||40 – 50||Average|
|Below 260||30 – 40||Poor|
|Score Range||Percentile Rank||Performance|
|5.0 – 6.0||92 – 99||Excellent|
|4.5 – 5.0||80 – 92||Good|
|3.5 – 4.5||38 – 80||Average|
|2.0 – 3.5||1 – 38||Poor|
As you can see, a 300 GRE score and more accounts for a good GRE score for MS. Average GRE scores would range anywhere from 280 to 300. And, since 260 is the minimum GRE score, anything below 260 will not guarantee you admission to the university of your choice.
However, these GRE scores vary from university to university. It also differs depending on the course of your choice. Hence, it is essential to make a note of the GRE scores set by the university for the course you want to apply to. This will not only help ease your preparation process but also provide you clarity when you set your target score.
Why is it Important to Choose a Target Score?
The tables above may have given you an idea of what is considered a good GRE score overall, but it is important to pay attention to the GRE cutoff for the specific colleges you have chosen to apply to. Each college will have a different cutoff score and you must try and score above it in order to be considered for admission at that college. So, what is the key to choosing the right target score? You may have several questions in mind such as, is 300 a good GRE score, is 320 a good GRE score or is 330 a good GRE score? To answer these numerous questions, it is essential to consider cut-off scores provided by the college, as opposed to randomly considering a number a good GRE score.
Often, colleges provide their cutoff scores in a range, such as 320-330, and other times, it is a single figure, such as 332. The safest bet to choosing your GRE target score is to choose the higher cutoff scores. If the range you have been provided with is 320-330, it would be wise to choose 330 as your target score to allow for some margin of error or unforeseen circumstances in the exam.
GRE Score Card
Once you have completed the GRE exam, you will receive a GRE scorecard or report. The scorecard is also directly sent to the institutions you will personally authorise. According to ETS, the scorecard consists of the following:
- Contact Information
- Date of Birth
- Intended Graduate Major
- GRE Test Scores and respective percentile ranks
- Authorized recipients
However, the scorecard sent to the institutions does not provide any personal information. It will include your contact information, your intended course, and the GRE test scores. It is important to note that the GRE score is valid for five years.
GRE Score Calculator
The GRE score can be roughly calculated on the basis of the questions you’ve gotten right. This is also known as your raw score. The Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning consists of 40 questions each. So, the highest raw score would be 40, provided you get every single question right. These raw scores are then converted, or scaled, to the score range of 130 to 170, the former being the lowest and the latter being the section-wise GRE highest score. The conversion takes place on the basis of the difficulty rate of each question. Since the GRE is an adaptive test, the difficulty level increases with each section.
As an example, if you manage to get 30 questions right in Verbal Reasoning, you are likely to score 160 in the section out of 270.
We have given you a comprehensive overview of what qualifies as a good GRE score. Once you acquaint yourself with the GRE scoring scheme and prepare and plan your test accordingly, it is only a matter of time before you ace the test!
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the maximum GRE composite score I can get?
The maximum GRE composite score is 340, and it consists of the scaled scores for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections.
- My AWA score is not included in the composite GRE score, then why is it important?
The AWA score might not be included in your final GRE score, but any college (you apply to) will assess your ability to logically reason and present a coherent argument based on your GRE AWA score. Therefore, it is important to prepare for the section and do your best.
- How long are my GRE scores valid for?
Your GRE scores are valid for 5 years. This applies to the GRE General Test as well as the GRE Subject Tests.