The Must-Know in GRE
Do you want more? Are you taking your GRE test soon and want to be ready to understand the results? Or do you have them right in front of you and are wondering “what the heck is this?” Don’t worry, in this post I will be giving you the ins and outs of the GRE scores. Once done reading you’ll get a perfect score explaining GRE scores to your friends and relatives.
- a Verbal Reasoning score reported on a 130–170 score scale, in 1-point increments
- a Quantitative Reasoning score reported on a 130–170 score scale, in 1-point increments
- an Analytical Writing score reported on a 0–6 score scale, in half-point increments
Any section in which you answer no questions at all will be reported as a No Score (NS).
Scoring – percentile
- Your performance benchmarked against the performance of others. The higher the percentile, the better you compare to. E.g, if your score is in the 40% percentile, then 40 % of students have a lower score than you. If you are int he 75 % percentile, then 75 % of test takers have a lower score than you.
- Percentile ranks can be used to compare relative performance among the measures.
- The conditional standard errors of measurement (CSEM): confidence interval in which test takers ‘true scores’ fall.
- Good scores depend on your abilities and requirements for your academic program
- Examples: history, marketing, strategy, medicine, lawyer
Are you taking your GRE test soon and want to be ready to understand the results? Or do you have them right in front of you and are wondering “what the heck is this?” Don’t worry, in this post I will be giving you the ins and outs of the GRE scores. Once done reading you’ll get a perfect score explaining GRE scores to your friends and relatives.
What is the GRE
The GRE is a test of your general verbal and quantitative reasoning abilities. The GRE has been purposefully created for students who want to apply to business schools, a graduate or MBA student. Specifically, it measures:
- Verbal reasoning: Your ability to analyze and examine the written text. Verbal reasoning is important for your future career in all aspects. Think about simple tasks like writing or reading emails. It might sound like a small task, but clear communication is crucial for you and your team’s performance.
- Quantitative Reasoning: Your ability to solve basic number problems using math concepts you learned in high school. There is no way that in today’s data-driven world you’ll be able to have a successful career without understanding numbers.
- Analytical writing: This measures your critical thinking and analytical writing skills. It focuses on your ability to clearly articulate complex ideas. This is an equally important skill to have for your future career. Think about when you need a budget to run a new project at your company. In some way, you need to convince your manager to give you the money.
The verbal and quantitative reasoning abilities are scored on a scale from 130 to 170, in 1 point increments. Analytical writing is scored on a 6 point scale in half points increments. The average scores of the more than 1 million test takers for verbal reasoning is 149.97, for quantitative reasoning 152.57, and for analytical writing 3.48. This gives you some indication of how good the average student is. Not surprisingly, the average student who intends to graduate in a humanity field is better in verbal reasoning and analytical writing, than your average engineering student. On the other hand, the average engineering student tops the chart in quantitative reasoning. Keep these discipline-specific differences in mind when analyzing your score. Depending on what you want to study, you might be at the top, or the bottom. But don’t let a ‘bad’ score turn you off to study a field that you are passionate about. A lower than average score just means that you might have to work harder than your fellow student. Or you just had a bad day, you are allowed to take the test again.
There is no such thing as a good GRE score
After several years of schooling, you know for certain that there are top scores and bottom scores. And yes, the GRE also has low scores and high scores. But a low score doesn’t mean that you have to throw away your study dreams and take on any job that comes across your way. You might not attend the business school of your choice, but don’t despair and search for business schools that accept your GRE score.
More importantly, admission officer doesn’t only consider GRE score. And this is good. As an educational scientist, I can tell you that basing admission decision on the basis of one data point, such as the GRE score, is bad. You are more than the GRE score. So if your GRE score is too low for the school of your choice, consider what type of students do they look for. Is it students with international experience? Aspiring leaders? Innovators? Reflect on your life and see how you can prove to your dream school that they should admit you.
That being said, it’s always nice to compare yourself to others. So if Stanford Business School is your goal, you should aim for a total score of 329 (164 for verbal reasoning and 165 for quantitative reasoning), and 4.9 for writing skills. But maybe Stanford Business school isn’t for you. For studying at INSEAD your score should be between 163 – 164. This is comparable to the score needed to study at other top European business schools (IESE Business school, University of Cambridge: Judge, HEC Paris, Copenhagen business school). However, not all business schools in Europe state the required GRE score.
Using the GRE Score percentile to compare yourself
What you will also see on your score report are percentiles. Now, percentiles sound like percent, and it is similar, but it is not the same. I’m not gonna provide a technical explanation, suffice it to say that percentile helps you to compare yourself to others. The percentile tells you what proportion of test takers have a lower score. For example, if you score falls in the 20th percentile, then 20 % of test takers have a lower score than you. But, if your score is in the 95 % percentile, then 95 % of test takers have a lower score than you. If 100 students took the test, and you would align them up based on their test scores starting from the right, you would be far on the left side as you received a higher score than 95 other students.
Now that you understand your GRE scores better, head off to EDUopinions and read the reviews of different business schools. If you are not sure what business school to attend, IESE has excellent reviews from previous students on EDUopinions, but EDEC in France is also doing pretty well according to former students who provided their review on EDUopinions. Or just type in a city or country and check out the reviews.