Looking for the Average GRE Score?

As students prepare to apply for colleges post-collegiate work, oftentimes their biggest fear is not achieving to the arbitrary scores on the GRE as set by the institution of their choice. To help keep students informed on what the GRE is and what scores they should be aiming for, the following guide has been designed so that students have all of the information they could possibly need on the Graduate Record Examination.

What Does The GRE Test Focus On?

Students attempting the Graduate Record Examination are graded in three primary skills: verbal, analytical and quantitative. While it’s a good idea to aim for a high percentage in all three of these areas, it’s important to remember that each school will place a different weight on the various scores, dependent on the field you wish to pursue with your post-graduate studies. Ideally, you’ll want to beat the average GRE score in whatever area your field is most specialized in.

Percentiles And The Average GRE ScoreAverage GRE Score

While it might be easy to assume that the average GRE score falls within the 50th percentile, meaning that half of the people do better just as half of the people do worse, this would actually be an incorrect assumption. In reality, the actual average GRE score differs from year to year as per the skills and abilities of the students undergoing the examination. Some years the average may fall higher than the 50th percentile, other years it could fall lower.

In fact, an average GRE score that falls in the 50th percentile is commonly considered to be a below average score. For competitive schools in the upper echelon of American education, students should aim to fall within the 90th percentile range or above.

What Do Schools Want?

As previously hinted at, each school has an average GRE school that students should strive to attain based on their own academic preferences. In general, students are compared to their contemporaries to find a cutting off point for a school. If there’s a particularly bad year where students are generally applying with a lower GRE score than past years, then the school will adapt its criteria to allow for this sudden dip in quality. Although, having said that, there are still some schools that have a minimum GRE score required to be even considered for further review of an application.

Despite these limitations, it’s important to focus less on dreams schools to attend and more on actual preparation for test. Going into the examination constantly fixating on landing in the 90th percentile is more likely to cause complications during the test than anything else. Of course, doing poorly on the test does not mean that it cannot be retaken. In fact, many universities allow for students to take the average of their various GRE scores when applying in order to help overcome a particularly bad test day. Still, as schools are concerned with consistency above all else, they are less likely to pay attention to a particularly good score if it is surrounded by otherwise consistently poor ones.

What To Do With A Poor Score

Luckily, a bad score can be cancelled, but this also includes any sections that may have been above average, so the decision shouldn’t be made lightly. As schools focus on consistency, it is a wise idea to cancel worse scores in anticipation of doing better on the examination in the future. In doing so, universities will look at what they think is consistency despite there being a few hidden missteps along the way. For those that choose to cancel their score, only to later regret it, there is a sixty day window to have the scores be re-instated.

Ultimately, there is no secret to attaining the perfect GRE score. Like all things in life, success on the test is determined by hard work and preparation.