GRE Scores FAQ’S

Posted on 27/04/2018

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.

Scoring general:

Any section in which you answer no questions at all will be reported as a No Score (NS).

Scoring – percentile

Scoring:

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:

GRE Scores

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.

Written by
Katerina Bohle Carbonell, Ph.D, writes on topics related to higher education and people management in companies in high ranking international journals and on her personal webpage. She obtained her Ph.D in organizational behavior at Maastricht University. She currently teaches at Northwestern University’s and works on products and services to increase the use of data-driven decision making at Maastricht University.