What's a Good Score on the GRE?

woman celebrating her good GRE score

Understanding Your GRE Score

Getting your GRE score can be exciting. You've studied the material, completed the exam, and finally received your score. Now you're looking over your results, asking yourself, "What is a good score on the GRE?" The answer? It depends on the school and program you're applying to.

GRE Sections

While looking through your GRE test results, you will see your score broken down into multiple sections. You will receive an overall score and results for each section of the exam: analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. There will also be a section for your percentile ranks, which show how well you scored compared to other test takers.

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Analytical Writing Section Score

Scored on a scale of 0–6 in half-point increments, the Analytical Writing section of the GRE measures your ability to answer the prompt in a thoughtful, articulate manner and your overall writing ability and skill. How well you do this will affect both your final score and percentile.

Based on data from 2017 to 2020, the median Analytical Writing score is 4.0 out of 6. A score of 4.0 will typically have you above the 50th percentile, which many schools consider a "good" score and percentile. However, competitive programs may require higher scores for Analytical Writing.

Quantitative Reasoning Section Score

The Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE scores differently than the Analytical Writing section: scores range between 130 and 170 points on a one-point scale. Quantitative Reasoning tests your math skills and ability to solve problems with quantitative methods.

The average score for Quantitative Reasoning is 154 out of 170, with 153 to 158 considered "good." A score in this range generally means you're scoring above the 50th percentile relative to other test takers. Top-tier programs may demand 159 or higher for admissions.

Verbal Reasoning Section Score

The Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE tests students' reading comprehension. This portion of the exam features different sections that students must prepare for: Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, and Sentence Equivalence. The scoring scale for the Verbal Reasoning section ranges from 130 to 170 points in one-point increments.

A "good" score for the Verbal Reasoning section of the test ranges from 152 to 158, putting you slightly above the 50th percentile of fellow test takers. While this is a good score for many schools, top-ranking programs will require results of 159 or better.

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Aggregate GRE Score

From the data above, you can determine what would be considered a "good" aggregate GRE score, meaning the totals of all three sections added together. In many instances, a good total score for the GRE ranges from 309 to 320. Certain higher-ranking schools may desire a better score.

How to Improve Your Test Results

Improving Your GRE Score

Is your score not as high as you'd like it to be? Improving your GRE score may be as easy as using the right test prep materials and practice tests. Whether you have six months to prep or are trying to study for the GRE in one month, Grad Prep's selection of materials can help you hit your desired score.

Another way to improve your score is to create a dedicated study schedule. Having a set time to study each day can help you develop good habits leading to your exam date. You may also want to go over troublesome sections or review types of questions you struggled with on your exam the first time.

Practice Test & Study Resources

Online GRE Test Prep

GRE Scoring Breakdown

Understanding Percentiles

GRE Study Guide

GRE Sections