What Is a Good Score on the GRE?

Before sitting for the General Records Examination, you may wonder what is a good score on the GRE. This is a type of standardized test that is quite similar to the SAT or ACT but is open to students currently in college. Many graduate programs require that you take this test and submit your score as part of the application or admissions process. Each section on the exam is worth a set number of points.

Sections on the Test

One of the first things you should know before taking this test is what each section includes. The first section is the verbal reasoning section, which includes a number of multiple-choice questions. You’ll generally read a short passage or paragraph and then select the best option from several choices to respond to a question. The quantitative reasoning section requires strong math skills and also includes multiple-choice questions. This test also consists of an analytical writing portion that asks you to analyze a question or statement and write a short essay.


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Total Number of Points Available

A perfect score on the GRE is a 346. Both the verbal reasoning and analytical reasoning portions of the test are worth 170 points each, and the analytical writing section is worth an additional six points. You can only score a round number on the first two sections, but you can earn half a point on the writing portion. The minimum that an individual can score on the total test is 260. You cannot score less than 130 points on the first two sections, but you can score a zero on the last portion. According to the Educational Testing Service, the score you receive on the test is valid for five to six years, depending on the date you took the test.

What is a Good Score?

A good score on the GRE depends on where you want to go to graduate school. Ivy League schools will often only accept those who score above 300 on the complete test, but other schools accept those who score in the 250 range. You can take the GRE without completing the writing portion, and many colleges do not require an analytical writing score in their applications. Graduate schools often look for students who earned at least 140 on each of the two main sections.

Improving Your Score

If you receive your GRE score and are unhappy with that score, you can take the test again. That is why most students take the exam in the middle of their junior years. This gives them time to register and take the test again that summer or in the following fall. There are lots of GRE testing materials available, including books and guides, as well as online resources. You can take practice tests that include the same questions found in previous exam editions. Some students also find it helpful to enroll in GRE test prep courses run by those who scored highly on the exam.

Taking the GRE is mandatory for many students hoping to attend graduate school. This standardized exam tests your knowledge and skills in English, math, and writing. A good score on the GRE is usually in the high 200s or the low 300s, which can help you get into your dream grad school program.