As a GRE test-taker, and a postgraduate or a PhD aspirant, the question of what a good GRE score is would have crossed your mind multiple times. Really, how much should you score? Should you aim for a 320+?
A quick and simple answer to the question above is that your target score should depend on the universities to which you are applying. Understand that there is a range of courses available and that the number of universities offering postgraduate and PhD programs has increased multifold, increasing the amount of research that you would need to do pick both the right university and the right course. There is no hard and fast rule that only students who score above 320 get an admit. Your admission depends on a lot of other factors, apart from the GRE score.
How is the GRE scored?
The GRE consists of 3 sections: Verbal, Quants, and AWA. It is rather simple to understand the scoring pattern of the GRE:
- Verbal Section: 130-170 (1 point increments)
- Quants Section: 130-170 (1 point increments)
- AWA: 0-6 (0.5 point increments)
The information above means that the lowest you can be scored on the GRE is 260 in the Verbal and the Quants section together, and the highest is 340.
Most competitive exams, including the GRE, use a percentile measure to understand where you lie with respect to all the students taking the exam. A 90th percentile would mean that you score more than 90% of the candidates who have taken the exam. This puts your score into perspective and gives you a ranking. Percentiles are sometimes more important than your scores, but these go hand in hand. Better your score, higher your percentile.
GRE Scores: An overview
In order to understand how the GRE scores have varied over the different fields of study, we encourage you to take a look at the following link:
The above link is a great guide for all students who are looking at pursuing masters.
How to use the guide?
The guide is a detailed overview and gives you a clue based on the field of choice. Look at what course you would like to pursue and see how other students have historically performed.
Parameters to consider
Your university and your target score
Universities have cut-offs, and knowing these can help you frame your routine. Communicate with the university over emails, or calls and find out what score you need to get into a particular course.
Depending upon the course that you are applying for, universities may give more weight to either your holistic score or a particular sectional score. Remember that there are cut offs for the AWA section as well.
As we have already mentioned, the GRE score is one component of your overall application. A well-rounded application showcases good undergraduate projects, probably work experience, consistent GPAs, and other extracurricular activities. These are indicated in your transcripts, letters of recommendation, certificates and statement of purpose.
All the best with the GRE and your future!