Resources › For Students and Parents What's a Good GRE Score? Here's How to Tell Share Flipboard Email Print Caiaimage / Paul Bradbury / Getty Images For Students and Parents Test Prep GRE Test Prep Test Prep Strategies Test Registration Study Skills SAT Test Prep ACT Test Prep LSAT Test Prep Certifications Homework Help Private School College Admissions College Life Graduate School Business School Law School Distance Learning View More By Tara Kuther, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, Fordham University M.A., Developmental Psychology, Fordham University Tara Kuther, Ph.D., is a professor at Western Connecticut State University. She specializes in professional development for undergraduate and graduate students. our editorial process Tara Kuther, Ph.D. Updated November 04, 2019 So you received the results of your Graduate Record Exam. To determine if you did well, you'll need to learn about how the GRE is scored and how all test-takers are ranked. Nearly 560,000 people took the GRE in 2016-2017, according to the Educational Testing Service, a nonprofit group that developed and administers the test. How well you did on the GRE depends on how many questions you answered correctly and how you stacked up against all of the other test-takers in the U.S. and around the globe. The GRE is a critical part of your graduate school application. It is required by nearly all doctoral programs and many, if not most, master’s programs. With so much riding on one standardized exam, it’s in your interest to prepare as best you can and fully understand your test results when you receive them. GRE Score Range The GRE is divided into three parts: verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing. The verbal and quantitative subtests yield scores ranging from 130 to 170, in one-point increments. These are called your scaled scores. Most graduate schools consider the verbal and quantitative sections to be particularly important in making decisions about applicants. The analytical writing section yields a score ranging from zero to six, in half-point increments Kaplan's, which provides higher-education training materials and programs, breaks down the top scores as follows: Best Scores: Verbal: 163–170Quantitative: 165–170Writing: 5.0–6.0 Competitive Scores: Verbal: 158–162Quantitative: 159–164Writing: 4.5 Good Scores: Verbal: 150–158Quantitative: 153–158Writing: 4.0 Percentile Rank The Princeton Review, a company that offers college test-preparation services, notes that in addition to your scaled score, you also need to look at your percentile rank. Princeton Review says this is more important than your scaled score. Your percentile rank indicates how your GRE scores compare to those of other test takers. The 50th percentile represents the average, or mean, GRE score. The mean for the quantitative section is 151.91 (or 152); for verbal, it's 150.75 (151); and for analytical writing, it's 3.61. Those are, of course, average scores. Average scores vary depending on the academic field, but applicants should score, at a minimum, in the 60th to 65th percentile. The 80th percentile is a decent score, while a score at the 90th percentile and above is excellent. The tables below indicate percentiles for each of the GRE's subtest: verbal, quantitative, and writing. Each percentile represents the percentage of test-takers who scored above and below the corresponding score. So, if you scored 161 on the GRE verbal test, you would be at the 87th percentile, which is a pretty good figure. This would mean you did better than 87 percent of the people who took the test and worse than 13 percent. If you scored a 150 on your quantitative test, you would be at the 41st percentile, meaning that you did better than 41 percent of those who took the test but worse than 59 percent. Verbal Subtest Score Score Percentile 170 99 169 99 168 98 167 97 166 96 165 95 164 93 163 91 162 89 161 87 160 84 159 81 158 78 157 73 156 70 155 66 154 62 153 58 152 53 151 49 150 44 149 40 148 36 147 32 146 28 145 24 144 21 143 18 142 15 141 12 140 10 139 7 138 6 137 5 136 3 135 2 134 2 133 1 132 1 131 1 Quantitative Subtest Score Score Percentile 170 98 169 97 168 96 167 95 166 93 165 91 164 89 163 87 162 84 161 81 160 78 159 75 158 72 157 69 156 65 155 61 154 57 153 53 152 49 151 45 150 41 149 37 148 33 147 29 146 25 145 22 144 18 143 15 142 13 141 11 140 8 139 6 138 5 137 3 136 2 135 2 134 1 133 1 132 1 131 1 Analytical Writing Score Score Percentile 6.0 99 5.5 97 5.0 93 4.5 78 4.0 54 3.5 35 3.0 14 2.5 6 2.0 2 1.5 1 1 0.5 0 Tips and Advice Aim to learn vocabulary, sharpen your math skills and practice writing arguments. Learn test-taking strategies, take practice exams, and if you can, enroll in a GRE prep course. There are also some specific strategies you can use to raise your GRE scores: Answer every question: You aren't penalized for incorrect answers on the GRE as you are on other tests, such as the SAT, so there's no harm in guessing.Use the scratch paper: You will not be allowed to bring paper with you to the testing center, but you will be provided with scratch paper. Use it to help solve math problems, outline your essay, and write down formulas or vocabulary words you've memorized before the test.Use a process of elimination. If you can rule out even one wrong answer, you'll be in a much better spot for guessing if it comes to that. Additionally, try to pace yourself, spend more time on difficult questions, and don't second-guess yourself too often. Statistics suggest that your first answer choice is usually correct as long as you've prepared well for the exam and have a solid knowledge base. How Do GRE General Scores Compare to Prior GRE Scores? GRE vs. GMAT: Which Test Should MBA Applicants Take? GRE FAQs: What You Need to Know About the Graduate Record Exam What Is a Good MCAT Score? LSAT Scores and Percentiles: What Is a Good LSAT Score? GRE to GMAT Conversion: How Does Your Score Compare I Think I Got a Bad GRE Score. Now What? GRE vs. MCAT: Similarities, Differences, and Which Test Is Easier Good ACT Scores for College Admission What You Need to Know About the Executive Assessment What Is a Good SSAT or ISEE Score? GRE General Quantitative Reasoning Scores GMAT Scores for Top Business Schools 2020 LSAT Test Dates and Registration Deadlines What's a Good ACT Writing Score? Are Your SAT Scores Good Enough?