"Is my GRE score good enough?"

on Aug 2, 2012 10:47:00 AM


It's probably the question I get from students the most: Is my GRE score good enough for the schools to which I'm applying? 

This is something that preys on the minds of all students seeking admission to graduate programs. Thankfully, it is a question that is easily answered--and you don't even need an expert to do it for you (although we'll gladly oblige if asked).

The score ranges that schools look for are no secret. In fact, most--if not all--reputable schools actively post these score ranges on their website for each program that require the GRE. And, if they don't, will gladly provide you this information if you call them.

Consider, for example, Harvard's Graduate School of Education. They post the GRE (and TOEFL) scores for the incoming class of 2011-2012 right on their website:

 

Harvard School of Education, GRE scrores, TOEFL scoers

 

There are others. The MIT Chemical Engineering Ph.D. program posts a handy chart with the average, median, and mode GRE scores for their applicants:

 

MIT Chemical Engineering GRE scores

 

The information is out there; you just have to find it (or make sure to call and ask for it if you can't find it). Schools want you to know how much you need to score--they want to make sure you have all the information.

So, once you know where your GRE should be, what do you need to do next?

  1. Take a GRE practice test. You can get a free one on our GRE Free Help Area.
  2. Score your practice GRE.
  3. Figure out how far away you are from your target GRE score (ideally, you want to be considerably above the averages for a school to really max out your admissions chances based on numbers.
  4. Determine how you want to study for the test to improve your score. You can study on your own with books, take a class, do private tutoring--there are many options available. However, make studying for the GRE a priority, so that you can be sure to perform at your peak on test day. 
  5. Take plenty of practice tests throughout your studies, so you can gauge your progress. After each test, analyze your answers so you can determine where you went wrong for each incorrect answer.

Start by finding out where your score should be, and then start studying to max out your GRE score. The information is right there, and prep options are plentiful. Good luck!

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Topics: Admissions Tip of the Week, Grad School Admissions