offers hundreds of practice questions and video explanations. Go there now.

# How Much of a Score Increase is Possible on the GRE?

On Oct. 1st., 1932, the American baseball player Babe Ruth stepped to the plate. It was the sixth inning of the World Series, so a lot was at stake. Most players would walk gingerly to bat, take a deep breath and hope for the best. Ruth, upon coming to the plate, lifted his finger and pointed towards centerfield. The gesture was clear: he was going to hit a homerun. After a few pitches, he did just that, sending the ball an estimated 450 feet from home plate.

Now I don’t mean to encourage Ruth’s brash mix of hubris and chutzpah. Yet, given the gravity of the moment Ruth could have easily been content with a single. He aimed high—literally—and now his homerun has been forever memorialized.

If you are thinking of retaking the GRE, then don’t hope for a few more points. Aim much higher. If you scored 150 on Verbal, then look for a 160. If you score 137 in Verbal, then aim for 150. If you scored 162 on Math, then aim for 168. A lot of this is very dependent on what percentile you’re at and how much room you have for improvement.

You may fall short of your goal; even then, you may very well amaze yourself with your score differential. I’ve had a few Babe Ruths, so to speak, over the years, students who set what many would deem unrealistically high expectations. Their unrelenting determination and belief in their own capabilities made their score improvements possible (we can boast a Magoosh user who improved by 27 points!).

If you scored very well– ask yourself, is it even worth taking the exam again?

So the answer to the question posed in the title is wherever you want to point. That is, whatever score you believe you are capable of.

At the same time, there are constraints. Babe Ruth had a lifetime of practice to help him drive the ball 400 plus feet. Many of my students studied for months and months. Nonetheless, with even one month of prep you can still increase your score significantly.

All that said, you will need more than just raw willpower to help you hit a GRE homerun, to continue the metaphor. Use this blog as much as possible, digesting the tips and strategies. You will learn to tackle everything from a grueling three-blank Text Completion to stress management during the test. Most importantly, you will learn about the best way to go out about preparing for the test, so that when you sit down to the computer you will be able to make the most of your potential.

### More from Magoosh

By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

### 78 Responses to How Much of a Score Increase is Possible on the GRE?

1. root October 19, 2016 at 7:14 am #

hi
I took GRE yesterday and I scored 305 (Q 158 and V 147), I know where I am going wrong in verbal, almost every text completion and sentence equivalence are going wrong. Reading comprehension, it depends on the difficulty level. I also learned all the GRE 1000 words from magoosh and am able to retain around 70% of them. However, I felt that while answering most of the text completions and sentence equivalence, Im seeing words that are not there in the 1000 GRE words from magoosh. As I said where Im going wrong, I have no idea how to improve my verbal score. I also know where Im going wrong in quant (mostly ratio proportions, mixtures and aligations, number systems, standard deviation and probability. And again, I have no idea how to improve it. I already saw the related videos in magoosh, practised many questions but still im making the same mistakes in quant. As far as my AWA is concerned, Im not happy with my performance. I think my score will be around 2.5-3.5. How can I improve on all these issues given a time of only 21 days. I want a score of 320 approximately. Is it possible to improve from 305 to 320 in just 21 days given the above mentioned problems.

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 20, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

Hi there,

A 15 point increase in 21 days is quite ambitious, and we don’t see it happen very often. It’s great that you have identified some of your weak points. This can help you to target exactly what you need to do in these 21 days for maximum improvement.

The verbal section is testing your overall ability to process complex texts. This is a skill that takes time and effort to improve, and many people studying for the GRE spend months perfecting this skill! So the best thing that you can do to prepare for the GRE is to read, read, read as MUCH as possible! This will also help you with the vocabulary, since the GRE tests vocabulary in context more than just memorization or words (which is why you may have struggled with the vocabulary). You can see this blog post for some ideas on how to learn vocab in context, and this post with some ideas on what and how you should read.

The AWA also requires practice! We also have a whole section of out blog dedicated to improving on the AWA, including practice, tips and strategies! Check it out.

And finally, I see that you had a trial subscription in Magoosh linked to this email, but I wasn’t able to find your Premium account. If you don’t have a Premium account, you may not have seen all of the most relevant videos. In order to improve, you must know the strategies and concepts and get plenty of practice. If you don’t already have a Premium account, you might consider it. If you do, I recommend that you re-watch the videos and re-do the questions. The students who show the most improvement in Magoosh are the ones who watch every video and do every practice question multiple times 🙂

You can definitely improve in a few weeks, but a 15 point increase is quite ambitious. In order to drastically improve your score, you will have to dedicate a lot of time over the next few weeks learning and practicing. I hope this helps at least a little.

2. Nitish Ponkshe October 12, 2016 at 8:29 pm #

Hi,
I recently scored a 319 on the GRE 155 V and 164 quant.But I really need to hit a score near 330.Also 155 was a personal best for me in verbal.Can you suggest how I can be assured of a 160 plus in verbal.From the people who scored well on the verbal section I heard that they were prolific readers.I have never been into reading apart from my curriculum.plzzz help.I have plenty of prep time

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 14, 2016 at 8:46 am #

Hi Nitish,

Although there is no guarantee way to score a 160+ in Verbal, it will really depend on the time and hard work you’re willing to invest. If you aren’t using a test prep, I would recommend that you first sign up to strengthen your foundation. Please note that you can try a free trial with Magoosh! In addition, I would recommend identifying your areas of weaknesses, and checking out our blogs to learn more strategies for those areas. We have a lot of great free content! Finally, as you mentioned, one of the best ways to improve would be to definitely read (i.e., Economist, The New York Times, etc.)!

3. Shruti October 11, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

Hi,

I gave my GRE exam today and got a low score of 316 (QA – 165, VA – 151). I think my QA score was more or less reflective of my preparation, however, my VA score was extremely compromised. Not sure if it happened due to fatigue, test day stress or any other reason. But I am willing to retake the test in 21 days and need your guidance. I am targeting a score of ~330 (QA – 170, VA – 160+). I know it is a long shot but is it possible? If yes, could you guide me with the study plan. Just to highlight, I already completed the Magoosh GRE words (1000) and am able to retain 90 – 95%. Thanks for your help!

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 14, 2016 at 8:21 am #

Hi Shruti,

First of all, I’m sorry to hear that you did not reach your target score, but I’m glad to hear that you’re prepared to put in the extra hard work and time. Typically, we do recommend that students take a bit more time for their retake, and I will be honest that our students see an average increase of 8 points overall, so we cannot guarantee the increase that you’re looking for. Still, it’s definitely not impossible. Given your timeline, I would definitely recommend the 1-Month GRE Study Schedule (Daily). You can adapt the study schedule to better fit your needs and schedule. For example, if there is certain content that you’re very comfortable with, you can briefly review/skip the relevant lessons. With regard to test stress, I would recommend checking out our other blog posts regarding this as many students struggle with it. For example, check out this GMAT post, which is still relevant to the GRE! Good luck and happy studying!

4. Anushka October 3, 2016 at 4:16 am #

Hey Chris,
Your blog helped me a lot in my last minute GRE prep. i gave the exam a week back and scored 303 (V= 148, Quants= 155). I am rethinking of taking the GRE again in 3 weeks time. How do you think i should pace my preparation this time. i really need to score atleast 5 points higher in each section as I am aiming to apply for PhD in Biomedical sciences.

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 4, 2016 at 8:49 pm #

Hi Anushka,

I’m so glad to hear you find the blog helpful! I recommend that you first read this blog post: http://magoosh.com/gre/2012/how-to-study-for-a-gre-retake/ . It has some great ideas for how to get started with your retake studying! Your first job is to determine your strengths and weaknesses and make a study plan to cover those topics. You can check out our one month study schedule for a rough idea of how much you should be studying per day. If you are serious about a 5 point score increase in three weeks, you should be prepared to dedicate around 3 hours per day to your studies.

I’m not sure how you studied before, but I encourage you to check out our comprehensive GRE study program. We will provide you with all of the videos, practice problems and expert support you need for the test. On average, our students increase their scores by eight points! You can check us out with a free trial before committing 🙂

5. Rohit Badgujar September 26, 2016 at 7:34 am #

Hello, I scored 297 in PowerPrep and my targeted score is 310. I am about to give my GRE on 29th sept. Bit scared with Powerprep score. is it possible to fill this gap with 2 days preperation?

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 26, 2016 at 9:01 am #

Hi Rohit,

To be honest, it is very unlikely to improve your score by 13+ points in only a couple of days. Many of our students improve their scores by 8 points or more but after months of preparing for the exam. That said, it may be that you had a bad day when taking the PowerPrep exam and that factors outside of the questions themselves impacted your performance. I recommend reviewing all of the questions you got wrong on the practice test and determining why you got the question wrong.

Did you not understand the concept being tested? Did you make a calculation error? Did you misread the prompt?

Really analyzing your mistakes will help you avoid making the same ones on the actual exam and can really have a positive impact on your score 🙂

I hope this helps, at least a little!

Good luck on your exam 🙂

• Rohit Badgujar September 27, 2016 at 11:59 pm #

Giving quants alone gives me score of 160+. But while giving full length test I end up scoring 150-152 in quants.

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 28, 2016 at 8:26 pm #

Hi Rohit,

While it’s hard to say exactly why this happened, since there are many reasons why people get different scores in different practice tests, one issue might be test stamina. Taking just the quants section of the test (70 minutes) is much different than the 3.5 hour ordeal of taking the entire test with essays, two verbal sections and an experimental section. The GRE requires a huge amount of concentration, and it is hard to keep that same level of focus for the entire test. The best way to improve your stamina is to take several full-length practice test and get used to the length and difficulty. I also recommend this awesome GMAT blog (but 100% applicable to the GRE) about reducing stress and improving focus using breathing techniques: http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/zen-boot-camp-for-the-gmat/

6. Jeet September 20, 2016 at 2:47 am #

Hi Chris,
I got 314 on the gre. With only 155 on the quant (& 159 on verbal which i think is good).
All i want is an increase in the quant to 160+ since i will be applying or analytics courses and this quant score as i read is a bad quant score though i expected better but once i got the result it was only 155. I simply don’t understand where should i improve. One are is definitely pacing. But which part of my quant a, i terribly going wrong. If you are reading this kindly advise.

Regards

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 21, 2016 at 6:04 am #

Hi Jeet,

Congratulations on getting a strong starting GRE score even if you aren’t quite satisfied with it yet! As for where to go from here, pacing is a tangible thing you can start working on immediately, but without a more detailed understanding of your math weak areas, I can’t offer much other advice at the moment.

The best way to start getting an idea of your weaknesses is to build an error log. I recommend using a notebook to keep an error log. For each question you get wrong, write down the question number, the source, question type, and concept tested. Then write down answers to the following questions:

Why you missed the question?
Why the correct answer is correct?
What will you do to avoid this next time around?

Return to your error log often. Review your mistakes and errors before you take a practice test. You want your common mistakes and errors present in your mind when you sit to take a test so that you can consciously avoid them. If you do this enough, by the time you sit for the actual test, you will be aware of your common errors and “silly” mistakes and you will work to avoid them or notice them when they happen. When you have this type of understanding, you can also target the right spots rather than wondering, “how do I improve?”

Good luck! 🙂

• jeet October 3, 2016 at 12:33 am #

Hi Chris,
I looked at every detail during my early test. Mongosh is very accurate. It predicted 156-161. I solved some 140+ mongosh questions (and saw the video explanations for all the questions where i went wrong). I want my verbal score to be constant or maybe dip or increase by 1-2 points but increase by quant scores by 7 points. Given that i will take gre again in 40 days maybe. Can you please chalk out a 25 day rigorous plan. (2hr maths and 1 hr verbal). This would really help. Also give a concrete example of how to maintain a proper error log that will actually help. I am not complaining about 314 ( i started of with 292 or so) but i feel quant isn’t enough for engineering courses in decent universities even though i have 3.5 yrs of experience. Chris, kindly help me.

Regards,
Jeet

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 5, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

Hi Jeet,

Have you seen our 1 month daily study schedule? This takes 30 days instead of 25, but it is exactly what you are looking for! This schedule takes about 2-3 hours of dedicated studying a day, and you can easily adapt it to spend more time on the math section. This will take you through our comprehensive GRE program, and on average our users inmprove their scores by 8 points, which is exactly what you are looking for! You can sign up for a Premium account here. 🙂

As for the error log, take a look at this question. Let’s say that I miss it and want to put it in my error log. I would write the following:
Why you missed the question? I forgot the 1/k rule and couldn’t set up the equation correctly.
Why your answer is wrong? I did not set up the equation correctly.
Why the correct answer is correct? We find how much each pump will empty in an hour and add them together. Then, we convert this to hours and multiply by 60 to find how long it will take.
What will you do to avoid this next time around? I will read some blog posts on work rate and practice using these methods.

The log forces you to think about the question and really analyze it, and once you have enough entries you can start to see patterns! I hope this helps 🙂

7. Vishavjit singh September 10, 2016 at 8:28 am #

Hello,
I have given 2 official ets practice test with 312 in first(149 V ,163 Q) and 316 in second(152V,164Q)
I am aiming for( 155V,168 Q) and have exactly 1 month for prepration.
Can you please guide me how can i reach my aim?

Also, I have noticed that questions in quant that i get wrong are mostly due to silly mistakes.
Whereas in verbal i find difficulty to comprehend the Passage and lot of time gets waste in properly understanding it , leading to chaos at end.
Thanks,
Vishavjit singh.( india)

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 11, 2016 at 7:06 pm #

Hi Vishavjit,

Given that it appears that you have been studying, I would recommend using an error log to note which problems you typically get incorrect and why. You can also go through your previous mock exams and problems for some data. You want to determine what are your problem areas, so that you can perform targeted studying. For example, you mentioned that you struggled with passages. This exercise would also help you identify other areas you struggle with. Then, you can spend more time revisiting lessons and doing more problems related to these problem areas. In addition, you can also determine the common careless errors you make, and review the list before your exam. That way you can avoid these silly quant errors on test day.

If you are struggling with comprehension of passages, I would recommend that you work on active reading. Specifically, check out this blog post regarding strategies for active reading. I would highly recommend that you explore our blog for more strategies and tips.

8. Ariana August 31, 2016 at 11:51 pm #

Hi,
I just took the GRE for the second time and my score was just as bad as the first (1st time: 142 V, 146 Q) (2nd time: 144V, 144 Q). I need a minimum score of at least 150 in each category to apply to a majority of grad programs for physical therapy. I first went through all of Princeton review, I’m enrolled in magoosh and also have the ETS official guide to the GRE, took some time off after the first exam and gave myself a few weeks to study for this past exam. I feel like I have trouble really grasping the material and understanding the questions because each time I would take a practice exam, I would either be stuck on trying to figure out how to answer it or my interpretation of the question would be wrong. I also have trouble pacing myself and would take too long that my time would eventually run out.
I plan on retaking it 21 days from today in order to still have an opportunity to apply to some of the programs before the deadline. How can I improve my score enough to reach the minimum? Is it even possible for me to improve a 3rd time around? How can I stop myself from feeling defeated? Any insight would help and be very encouraging!

Ariana

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 5, 2016 at 9:43 am #

Hi Ariana,

Since you are a Premium Student, I forwarded your question to our team of tutors so that you get a more efficient and personalized response. You should hear back from them shortly! If you have a similar question in the future, please feel free to reach out to us at help@magoosh.com or through the “Help” tab when you are logged in to your Premium account 🙂

9. Shageenth Sandrakumar August 21, 2016 at 6:48 am #

Hi I am a student looking to apply to Schools with an average verbal score of 156 and quant score 162 while my gre score for verbal is 147 and my quant was 162, (My quant has always been relatively high 167 in a lot of practice exams, and my verbal varies from 140-152). I have already tried to do the Magoosh reading prep and have done all the reading questions that you guys provided during the summer and also have watched all ur videos, the only thing I wasn’t able to retain many words due to an insomnia problem I had to deal with over the summer. I honestly really would like to improve my verbal scores and was wondering if it was possible to reach this goal this in the span of two/three weeks?
If not do you think a little bit of studying for a couple of months might be better. But I will have classes for school, and research to worry about too. and also actual applications and essays to fill out as well.
I was wondering if there is an ideal way to raise my score, maybe one on one help or something along those lines, I really would like to at least meet my schools average!

The programs I’m applying to are bioengineering programs which have a higher standard for verbal scores than typical engineering programs.

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 21, 2016 at 6:18 pm #

First off, sorry to hear you lost some memory of GRE vocabulary over the summer– it happens to the best of us, but it can be very frustrating. (And insomnia and other anxiety really can be quite common as you prep for exams and school while dealing with the less structured pace of summer!)

You seem to have a pretty large variation in your verbal scores— 152-156 is a pretty big spread. To know where your Verbal score really is at, look only at the averages for ETS’s official GRE verbal practice. (See the official GRE prep page for a list of these materials.)

If your performance on real ETS GRE materials is in the 150+ range, then getting to your target score in a few weeks is very possible. If you’re at the lower end on ETS materials, down near 140, boosting your score all the way to 156+ in only three weeks is a taller order, but still potentially possible.

Either way, as you move forward, your key to success will likely be strategy and not vocabulary. You’ve already worked very hard to learn a lot of vocabulary words, and that’s good. But word lists will only get you so far. The best, most efficient way to give your Verbal score an extra boost at this point is to work on your GRE Verbal active reading skills, build strategies for the different GRE Verbal Question types, and practice reading GRE vocabulary in context.

10. Christy July 29, 2016 at 3:25 am #

Hi Chris,
I gave my exam a week ago, I got 161 in quants and 146 in verbal. I am taking the test again next month. Please give me some tips to get 155+ in verbal and 165+ in quants. And I suck at reading comprehension…need some advice on that too.

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 2, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

Sorry to hear that your last GRE scores weren’t quite where they needed to be. The best way to boost your Quant and Verbal scores depends partly on your own strengths and weaknesses. As a general rule of thumb, though, I can tell you that skills in mental math, estimation and various shortcuts (statistics shortcuts, squaring shortcuts, etc…) are very helpful in improving your GRE Quants score. I can also tell you that studying vocabulary in context and developing your active reading skills can help a good deal in Verbal.

11. siddharth July 25, 2016 at 12:14 am #

How can I increase my verbal score form 156-157 into 160 I have only 1 week for gre

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 28, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

Hi Siddharth,

First, unfortunately, there’s no magic way to drastically improve your verbal score overnight. The verbal section is testing your overall ability to use and understand the English language. That’s a large task and one that takes a lot of time to fully prepare for. That being said, you can definitely use this final week and leverage your current knowledge to continue to improve your score!

I recommend that you do a mixture of mock exams and more focused review. If you haven’t already, complete the ETS Powerprep Test and make sure to practice your https://magoosh.com/gre/2012/pacing-on-the-gre-verbal-sections/. Try to learn 10 new vocab words a day using our https://gre.magoosh.com/flashcards/vocabulary or vocab eBook, and continue to review the most common GRE words that you have already mastered. Review the practice problems you have done to identify any weaknesses, and review relevant strategies. If you keep working diligently in this last week, you can definitely see an improvement in your verbal score!

12. Clara July 17, 2016 at 9:18 am #

Hi Chris, thanks for all your posts, they all have been really helpful for my two months GRE preparation. I took my GRE 2 months ago, scoring 170 Q and 158 V, with AWA 3.5. I am very satisfied with my Q and V, but I worry that my AWA could influence my admission to top engineering PhD program badly. Do you think it is worth retaking? Thanks!

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 20, 2016 at 4:47 am #

Hi Clara,

Firstly, on behalf of Chris and the rest of the team at Magoosh, you’re very welcome! It’s great to hear the posts helped you over the course of your GRE prep 😀 Secondly, congrats on taking the exam and on your scores! Earning top marks on the Quant Section is quite impressive 🙂

Now, based on your scores, I’d say that it’s not worth retaking the exam. You have strong scores in the Quant and Verbal sections, while your AWA score reflects the average for Engineering programs. It’s important to remember that programs take more into consideration than just your GRE scores. You’ll want to make sure that all parts of your application, especially your statement of purpose, are in tip-top shape. Instead of studying for a retake, it would probably be better to focus on these other aspects. With that said, I’d recommend researching the programs you’re interested in to see if they provide more specific details about GRE scores and other application requirements. Go through US News and then check the internet for schools that seem like a good fit, and check out forums for more specific advice. There are always people willing to help there 🙂 Finally, if you still have questions, don’t be afraid to reach out to admissions committees, professors, and/or current students.

I hope these perspectives help! Good luck with your applications 😀

13. Evan June 29, 2016 at 12:46 am #

I would just like to say that although I could not afford any of these services, I was able to increase my score by 7 points using free practice test and some magoosh math tips.

14. sriram May 26, 2016 at 10:34 am #

Hey Chris. I’m trying to write the GRE in about 2 weeks. I’ve taken around 4 mock tests so far with an average score of 310. Do you think I can improve my score in the final test?

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 27, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

Two weeks is definitely enough time to improve your score at least a little. You may even be able to improve your score significantly, especially if test strategy problems are holding your score back a little. (Test strategy really can be learned quite quickly.) One word to the wise, however– if the mock tests you’ve taken aren’t official GRE practice tests from ETS, they may or may not reflect your real GRE performance. Make sure you’re taking some authentic ETS practice tests so that you can gauge your possible GRE score as accurately as possible. (Some very GRE-like mock tests from sources such as Magoosh or Manhattan are potentially helpful too… but there’s nothing quite like the real deal from the company that actually makes the GRE.)

15. Prasad Bhagwat May 18, 2016 at 4:31 am #

Hi Chris,

I wrote GRE twice. I had got (146 verbal +162 quant) in 2014 and (151 verbal + 159 quant) in 2015. I was wondering what could possibly have gone wrong in quants. There were few unsolvable questions appeared in quants. (Really!!). I got admits only from low ranked universities though I had good profile. Should I consider rewriting GRE again? Can I improve my quant score to 165+ ?. I am really worried about kind of quant questions appeared in my last GRE exam. Those kind of questions are solvable in given time only if you have solved them before.

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 25, 2016 at 2:10 am #

Whether or not you should retake the exam depends on many factors, including the average test scores for the programs you’re really interested in pursuing. That said, I’d recommend contacting the schools/programs you’d like to attend to determine how you can improve your chances on being accepted, if you decide to go through the application process again. Standardized test scores are only one factor that schools consider, and you should definitely keep that in mind as you pursue studies at the graduate level 🙂

To help you evaluate your performance on the Quant Section, I recommend that you first look over your previous GRE to see what areas you struggled in. ETS has a great resource for students that will breakdown their test into question types, pacing time, and question difficulty: GRE Scoring Services. Improving your score is definitely possible, although it will require a lot of hard work. You’ll first want to make sure you have a solid grasp of all of the fundamental concepts that are tested on the GRE. Having a strong base is essential to be able to solve more advanced questions quickly and accurately. I recommend checking out this blog post for ideas on how to do GRE math faster.

I hope this helps as you consider retaking the GRE again. Best of luck in your studies! 🙂

16. sara January 25, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

Hi Chris. I recently took the GRE and did terrible, 149 V and 148Q. I have a 3.9 undergrad GPA and a 4.0 grad degree ( didn’t need the gre for that program but am now wanting to enter a different program.) However, I’ve never been great at standarized tests. I have been using Magoosh to study, but I’m not seeing improvement as these are close to the same tests scores I was getting on the magoosh and ETS practice. I am working 40 hours a week and taking an online psychology class so following a schedule is difficult. I tried following the Magoosh 3 month program but couldn’t keep up with it exactly but tried as close as I could. Do you have any suggestions on how I should study this second go around?

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 7, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

Hi Sara,

Sorry for the late reply! I’m here now. 🙂

While you’re not proud of that first score, you are evenly strong in each skill and with careful study, you can definitely improve upon that starting point! One huge aspect of the GRE is learning how it will ask you questions and then adapting your strategy to fit these often odd requirements. That’s definitely something you can do, and a lot of our strategy-related blog posts will help you with that.

As for your study plan, it sounds like trying to complete that volume of work in your busy life was hard. I would recommend trying to take a shorter plan and stretching it to fit your time window instead of frantically trying to do more material than you can effectively work on. You also need to identify exactly what is causing you trouble by carefully going through your mistakes and compiling a list of the types of questions you miss and why. This will help you to shape your studies as you work toward your improved score! 🙂

17. Aya January 11, 2016 at 4:37 am #

Hello Chris!

I just took my GRE exam yesterday. I scored 140 verbal and 154 Quant. I am good at quant but I just need to get used to very tight time on solving quant questions. However, I don’t have any clue regarding my verbal. I need a serious help on tactics for reading comprehensions and solving complete statements with 3 correct blanks because on my practice I used to guess true 2 out of 3 blanks mostly!

I am planning to retake the exam on 1st of may which is 3 months and more for planning ahead. what do you suggest?!

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 12, 2016 at 9:43 am #

Hi Aya,

Improving your verbal is definitely possible! That having been said, it’s certainly not something that’s going to happen overnight. Working on your verbal score is really about improving your overall English comprehension abilities, and, like learning any other language, this is something that can take some time. But 3 months is a good time frame!

Let’s start with the “big picture.” To improve your verbal score, it’s essential to read, read, read as much as possible. This will improve your knowledge of vocabulary in context as well as your processing of complex sentences and overall reading comprehension. Make flashcards of key words you don’t know.

If you haven’t seen them, here are some suggested reading materials:

I recommend you read actively at least 1 hour per day — that’s 1 hour in addition to your GRE studies and following the study plan.

When you practice reading, you need to be doing active, focused reading. Please see this blog post for tips on this reading strategy.

For short term improvement, high-frequency word lists are also helpful! You’ll want to master the 1000 words in Magoosh’s flashcards. It’s important to realize that memorizing vocabulary is no replacement for reading, but learning high-frequency GRE words can help as well, especially in the short term. You want to do both!

Now, verbal strategy. Here are four very relevant articles you should go through carefully. You don’t have to go through all of these now, but, at you cover these topics in the study plan, please read these articles. These are valuable resources.

18. Sam December 15, 2015 at 4:11 am #

Hi Chris,

I had taken the test about a month back and got 301 ( 155 in Quants, 146 in verbal and 3.0 in essay). I took a re-test yesterday, and got 289 (136 verbal and 153 in quants).

I referred to the following materials :

– Magoosh online prep ( videos + additional questions )
– questions from princeton review.
– and gave about 10 online mock tests, mostly my marks where around 310.

Can you please let me know if my approach is incorrect or if there’s anything really that i’ve missed out on?

Also I’m planning to apply for fall 2016, is there any chance that i can get into a reputed University with a GRE score of 301.

Do you suggest i take another test?

Regards,
Sam

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 8, 2016 at 9:55 am #

Hi Sam,

Whether or not you should retake the GRE depends on a few factors. Please see these blog posts that address retaking the test:

We can help you improve your score if you decide to retake. On average, our students raise their scores by about 8 points, but many have raised them much more than that. 🙂

It sounds like you’re struggling more with verbal than with quant stuff, so I’m going to focus my response on the verbal section.

If you haven’t already, I would recommend checking out our study plans. Find one that fits your schedule and area of focus — the study guide will also guide you through your quant prep.

If you’re looking for additional strategy and practice, several of our study plans recommend that you supplement your work with Magoosh with some books from the Manhattan GRE series. These books are an excellent source of strategies for approaching different types of GRE questions, so purchasing one or more of them could a great supplement to your work with Magoosh. You can read our review here if you haven’t seen it already.

Purchasing one book from the series also provides you with access to 6 online practice tests, which are great for perfecting your pacing strategy and getting realistic practice.

Now, I will give you more advice about studying for the verbal section specifically.

First, let’s start with the “big picture.” To improve your verbal score, it’s essential to read, read, read as much as possible. This will improve your knowledge of vocabulary in context as well as your processing of complex sentences and overall reading comprehension. Make flashcards of key words you don’t know.

If you haven’t seen them, here are some suggested reading materials:

I recommend you read actively at least 1 hour per day — that’s 1 hour in addition to your GRE studies and following the study plan.

When you practice reading, you need to be doing active, focused reading. Please see this blog post for tips on this reading strategy.

For short term improvement, high-frequency word lists are also helpful! You’ll want to master the 1000 words in Magoosh’s flashcards. It’s important to realize that memorizing vocabulary is no replacement for reading, but learning high-frequency GRE words can help as well, especially in the short term. You want to do both!

Now, verbal strategy. Here are four very relevant articles you should go through carefully. You don’t have to go through all of these now, but, at you cover these topics in the study plan, please read these articles. These are valuable resources.

Now, about whether your score will get you into the schools of your choice — unfortunately, we don’t have nearly as much expertise and experience in graduate school admissions as we do with GRE prep, so I’m afraid we can’t be of much help. Here are a few blog posts to help you evaluate your scores:

Additionally, I’d recommend directly contacting the schools/programs you’re interested in to see if they can offer any insight, or check out the programs’ websites to see if they have any info! This website is also a great place to start your research:

I hope that helps! Happy studying 🙂

19. Arpita November 18, 2015 at 12:02 am #

Dear Chris,
I took my GRE 2 days ago and my score was a disappointing 290.I have 147 in verbal and 143 in quant.I want to score above 315. It may seem impossible but I am willing to put in hard work.I did not study well for my GRE.

• Dani Lichliter November 19, 2015 at 10:22 am #

Hi Arpita,
Thanks for writing in! I would definitely recommend following one of our study schedules! It will help you stay on track and diligent about your studies.
Best of luck!
Dani

20. Ajay November 9, 2015 at 3:46 am #

I took the GRE for the second time last week and received a score of 149 Q and 156 V. I’m nonetheless disappointed as I was aiming for at least a 154 on Q. I don’t believe that the test is inherently difficult in and of itself but rather the time constraints on the section makes it hard to pace through each question. I actually thought that I was going to do better on quantitative than verbal.

I’m going to take it again since I won’t be applying for graduate school until the fall of next year. I really want to cross into the 150s even if it’s just by 2-3 points. Do you think that’s feasible?

21. Srinivas September 26, 2015 at 1:02 am #

Hi,

I took the GRE yesterday and scored 154 in Quant and 156 in Verbal. As a non-native speaker of english, i genuinely thought English was my weakness going into GRE but i instead bombed in Quants. In retrospect it makes sense considering that my GRE preparation with Magoosh by and large only involved watching the lessons without doing much practice and it showed in the examination. I also believe that i am a terrible test taker and in the first quant section i didn’t even have the time to read last 4-5 questions (largely data interpretation). Even in Magoosh quizs (One that comes after the lessons), it took me some 1 minute more than the other users to solve the problem. Is there any way that i can manage the time better ?

The program i am applying to requires,on average, atleast 164+ in the quants.As my Verbal score conforming with the average verbal score required for the program, i just want to improve my quant score. Realistically is it possible to improve my Quant score by 10+ marks in a month, if i worked hard on my test taking ability? Thanks.

22. elisa September 15, 2015 at 10:29 pm #

hi,
i took my gre last week after prepping with kaplan for 3 months. I bombed my test V-148 and my Quant is 141. I am so discouraged to take the test ever again. I wanted to ask if Magoosh if you guys can help me to re-take the test, though I am very reluctant after the kaplan experience.
I am open to any suggestions!

• Jessica Wan September 17, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

Hi Elisa,

We’re sorry to hear that you’re discouraged after your test. We hope to be able to help!

One of the best ways to see if you like our product is just to try it out! You can try out Magoosh for free here (https://gre.magoosh.com/subscribe/1-week) to see if you find the material engaging and helpful.

I’d also suggest taking a look at our study plans (http://gre.magoosh.com/study-plans) and see if they might be a good fit for you.

We wish you all the best with your re-take!

Jessica

23. Aly August 16, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

My verbal score is 152 and quantitative score is 158, going to take the GRE again in less than two months. Aiming for verbal 155-158 and quantitative 165.

24. Rishika August 3, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

Hi Chris,
I recently took my GRE. My overall score was 303. 154 in verbal and 149 in quant. The Quant score is really holding me back. I had used Barron’s study material but it wasn’t upto the mark for the Quant section. I got 111 in Toefl and my college gpa is around 3.5. Do you think I should retake the test?.. By how much can my quant score increase in a month’s time?.. I want to apply to San Jose state university for masters in computer science. Would really appreciate your advice 🙂

25. Meher July 13, 2015 at 11:02 pm #

Hi Chris ,
I gave my Gre on July 13th and scored a 322( 162 -quant 160 verbal ) . I am planning to retake it in September . But few of my friends are advising against it . I strongly believe that I can improve my quant score by say around 4-5 points. Do you think it would be worthwhile to retake it ?
Thank you (:

• Rehan June 15, 2016 at 1:28 am #

I certainly do. I hope by this time you would have taken the GRE. So please share your story with us. 🙂

26. shwetha June 7, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

Hi,

I have scored a 153 on verbal and 159 in quant, w:3.5. My TOEFL score is 114 and i am looking forward to doing MS in EECS. I think my GRE score isn’t really up to the mark and i am considering taking it again. I have a strong profile in terms of extra-curricular activities, community serive, gpa, project. So i really wanted to know if my GRE score could hamper my chances at a top-ranked university ( I have UCB in mind!) and if i should really bother about taking it up again.Also which universities are best for EECS?

• Peter July 2, 2015 at 9:11 am #

Hey I’ve taken the GRE twice now and my scores on both sections have remained remarkably stable. I’m hoping to improve my math and verbal scores each by 10 points. Do you think that is possible with hard work and dedication?

• Elayne September 25, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

How did your scores pan out? Were you able to increase your scores in each section?

27. A January 3, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

I took the gre cold turkey and got a 137 Q and a 147 V…pretty horrible..I have a 4.0 gpa in college just a horrible test taker and didnt answer more than 20 questions..Can i improve dramatically in one month? or should i take a one on one class elsewhere thanks

• Chris Lele January 7, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

Hi A,

You can definitely improve a lot in one month. Your 4.0 shows that you are a hard worker, which will pay off when you use Magoosh. Everything you need to do well on the GRE is here. Technically, you can use Magoosh AND get some extra help if you have identified some weak areas and need a tutor to focus specifically on those.

Hope that helps, and let me know if I can answer anything else 🙂

28. Nissan October 30, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

I am taking the test tomorrow and haven’t studied at all. My only practice test was V: 147 and Q: 157. I am confident that these scores are no where near what I could get and that I just procrastinated/didn’t take it seriously for too long. With another test date in a month on Nov. 28th, will Magoosh significantly raise my score? I will be happy with a V:155 and Q:165

• Chris Lele October 31, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

Hi Nissan,

Magoosh can definitely raise your score in a month time–esp. if you’ve done very little prep. I say go for it 🙂

29. Devon October 21, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

Hi! My name is Devon and I just took a practice GRE test cold online under timed conditions. I scored a 163 on the verbal and a 158 on the quantitative section. These are the exact average scores for the PhD program I want to get into, so I was happy to have gotten them on my first try. My question is, how much do you think someone with my scores might be able to improve? I took the LSAT after months of practicing (and thousands of dollars spent) and only improved 2 points. With that test I once again started with a very solid score, but I was hoping to at least 5 points better on the actual test to have a shot at scholarships at the best law schools.

I want to set myself up to be as competitive as possible for top fully funded PhD programs, but I don’t want to waste time/money if its not likely to pay off. Let me know what you think.

Much thanks!

Devon

• Chris Lele October 27, 2014 at 8:40 am #

Hi Devon,

You can definitely improve more that 2 points, esp. if you took that practice test without any prep. The truth is that many people take expensive test prep programs without noticeable improvement. I know this is going to sound kind of “salesy” but check out our testimonial page. Students are going up pretty significantly. And the good news is we are only \$99.

You can do it for even cheaper than that. Our blog is free. As are our apps. You can pick up a manhattan guide for 20 bucks or so and get access to 6 free tests. With all that prep at your fingertips, a mere two points shouldn’t be a problem :).

Hope that helps, and good luck with the Ph.D program 🙂

30. Jennifer September 15, 2014 at 11:26 am #

Hi there,

First off thank you for such a great site. I am planning on ordering the premium Magoosh study plan package and already have the Manhattan GRE 5 pound book of problems. I took the official GRE yesterday for the first time and scored 153 Q 159 V with zero preparation except for taking two power prep tests and a mgre test both timed, The lawn all of these I scored slightly higher on quant (158). I am trying to apply to graduate programs in economics and need to improve my quantitative score substantially (verbal at least 5 as well). Considering I had no preparation whatsoever is it even possible to raise my quant score over 10 points? I am planning on following the 2 month study plan.

Thanks,

Jen

• Chris Lele September 15, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

Hi Jennifer,

It sounds like you definitely have a shot of raising your quant score by 10 points, esp. since you barely prepped the first time around. But for competitive econ. degrees you may need even a 165 do be competitive yourself. With 2 months, Magoosh and the 5 lbs. book, you should be in pretty good shape.

Let me know if you hit any snags/plateaus while prepping 🙂

31. Preeti Bora April 10, 2014 at 6:42 am #

Hi Chris,

I scored 313 in GRE in my first attempt.I have admit from the school which i wanted.But I am also looking for scholarship with School and they need a score of 325 for that.

I want to re-take GRE,should I?

I scored 313 after studying for a month last time.And I guess I was glued to tricky questions in Quant last time and wasted some minutes.Also In Vocab I focused too much on Vocab and went to exam even without preparing for RC’s…

If I work in these areas,does it makes sense to re-take GRE?

How can Magoosh help ?

Thanks,
Pragati

• Chris Lele June 16, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

Hi Preeti!

I’m so sorry but it seems this comment fell through the cracks. I’m only just seeing it
:(.

Again, my sincere apologies. To answer your question: you can definitely improve, esp. because you identified exactly what needs to be done. Focus on RC (which is half of the verbal) and improve pacing on the quant side.

Magoosh can you help there because we have such a vast trove of questions. Our specific lessons videos on RC can help as well.

So def. take the GRE again (if you haven’t already). And best of luck 🙂

32. Steve April 5, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

Hi Chris,

My name is Steve Dang and I plan on taking the GRE test on the 6th of July. I am very nervous not only because I score a 140 on the Magoosh verbal portion, but also because the programs that I am applying to this summer requires a minimum 150 Verbal for my application to even be considered. I have the Magoosh program, I am currently taking 18 units so it is kind of hard to use that 6 month stud plan at the moment. Do you think 1 month of pure studying will be enough to raise my score by ten? and is it really necessary to memorize all those words provided by Magoosh to attain that 150?

thanks

steve

• Chris Lele April 8, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

Hi Steve,

Good questions! I think one month is a very aggressive time frame to increase by 10 points. That said, you aren’t trying to go from 155 to 165 but have many points you can make up. Also, it seems that you are a native English speaker, so you should, with some practice, improve. My guess is you’ll need to tweak your approach a little. A good GRE tutor–though not necessarily easy to find–can easily help you change up your strategy. Combine that with some serious vocab study sessions (you should learn all the Magoosh words) can definitely propel you passed 150. In one month? Well, that depends on how hard you work. But it is possible.

Hope that helps!

33. Gabe March 10, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

Hi Chris,
I am writing to you for advice. I took the GRE for the first time last November, and had gotten a cum of 309: Q score of 154 and a V score of 157 with an ASA of 2.5. I retook the GRE in February of this year and a cum of 298: Q score of 144 end of the score of 154 with an ASA score of 3.0. I’m trying to get into nurse anesthesia school. My undergraduate GPA though it is a 2.693. I’ve made up for that with my 13 years of critical care experience, national certification. I’m emailing you to find out what I can do to improve my ASA score. I tried using the various textbooks Kaplan and Barron. Essays have never been my strong suit. What can you recommend? I’ve read lots of them from your examples as well as others. I felt this last time that I really had written 4.0 essays. From what I’d written and what I’ve read I was truly surprised by my score. I had seen Lester more grammatically inappropriate examples receive higher scores than I had. HELP. I want to take it one more time to see if I can’t improve my ASA score.

• Chris Lele March 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

Hi Gabe,

Those are strong GRE scores, and from your writing in general I can tell that you are clearly capable of getting more than a 3.0.

I’m curious as to see what you are doing wrong in your essays. I think the biggest mistake students make on the Issue of the AWA is by simply taking one side and then choosing a few half-baked examples (or no real examples at all beyond mere hypotheticals) to back up their points. First off, show that there are two sides two the issue–two extremes, if you will. But that you see the truth as more in the middle but closer to one side. The key is to clearly explain why this is the case (Don’t just say the truth is somewhere in the middle).

Secondly, and this goes for both the Issue and the Argument, make sure you right a lot and are as specific as possible. If you get think of anything and get stuck, practice at home writing yourself out of vague generalities/examples. Remember, always try to provide as much support as possible. But it is better to develop a point fully, then just the list of a bunch of cases that support your thesis.

Without really seeing your essay it is hard to say how you can improve. Have you checked out urch.com or thegradcafe.com? Both are forums where you can post your essay, and where someone may give you feedback.

Good luck, and I hope to write some more AWA-specific posts over the next couple of months. Make sure to go through all of the other AWA-related posts on this blog. I’m sure there is still some helpful stuff there that you’ve yet to read :).

34. Yael January 18, 2014 at 5:55 am #

Hi Chris!
First of all I’d like to thank you all for this site. It’s a huge help.
And second, I just took the GRE powerprep (the test they offer for free in the ETS site) and got 157V 159Q.
This score is without studying at all yet, just to see if I am close to getting what I need for a Phd in Literature in a very good university.
According to everything I read on Magoosh I’ll need at least 165V for the schools I want.

So my question is, do you think I can improve from 157V to 167V? Maybe I should add that my first language is not English (does is matter to them?) and that my Undergard is not from and English speaking country. I think most of my mistakes were do to lack of vocab.

What so you think?

Thanks!

• Chris Lele February 24, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

Hi Yael,

If you scored 157 V with absolutely zero prep, then you have a chance of getting 167–even if English isn’t your first language. Spending the next few months working on vocab and honing your test taking skills can get you within striking distance of your goal.

Good luck!

35. Carlos Samyan December 16, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

Hi guys,

I just wanted to thank you for creating Magoosh. I paid \$99 for the materials you provide in preparing for the GRE and I am in love. You guys have helped me so much. So far I have almost completed the quant. section and my range is from 161-166. My test is on Jan. 17 and I’m aiming for a 167 on quant! Thank you again!

Will definitely recommend…

• Chris Lele December 17, 2013 at 10:40 am #

Great Carlos!

Thanks for the kind words :). Happy the prep is going well.

Good luck test day!

• Jolene February 23, 2014 at 7:58 am #

Hey Chris,
So I took the Gre the first time and got a 141q and a 145v and 4w. One of my schools want 147v and 150q. Do you think it’s possible to improve that much?

36. Sepehr December 25, 2012 at 9:46 am #

Hi, I took Gre two times.With studying Barron`s+ETS+BigBook i got Quantitative=153 in both of them,but i wanna get 159!! i have two months to my next exam,and i`m studying Nova+magoosh for quantitative section and 1100 words+kaplan for verbal with this schedule can i get higher than 159 in q and 145 in verbal sections?If not, what should i do to get best results?
thanks alot

• Chris December 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

Hi Sepehr.

That plan sounds good. However, I would warn against using Kaplan for verbal. The questions are nothing like the actual test, and, in general, are poorly written. Manhattan GRE verbal is a little bit better, though they focus too much on obscure words. Only Magoosh’s Verbal questions were written after the new GRE came out, so our questions actually reflect what you’ll see test day.

Also, for both Quant and Verbal (but esp. Verbal) take advantage of the Magoosh blog. There are many useful tips and strategies. Much of this insight is gleaned and conveniently distilled in our ebook:

http://magoosh.com/gre/gre-ebook/

Good luck, and with enough prep (don’t forget to take ETS timed test), you’ll get that 159 :).

37. som December 19, 2012 at 5:32 am #

V=150 44%
Q=156 68%
AW=3.5 30%

38. simon December 19, 2012 at 5:24 am #

Hi Chris

I took my score this week.
V:150
Q:156 ( I really ruined my Q score.I do not know why?)
W:3.5
Overall:306
Last year : 290
I used your package.Thank you and you staffs so much. Right now I am bewildered. there is another paper-base at my country for February.My Math is strong.Do not laugh at me.I do not know whats happen for my Q.So that I am sure in another exam I can boost my Q.But I am not sure because the February exam and the score will come after 50 days.I fear I lose my deadlines.Mostly they are in 15 January. Pulse, after 17 November I did not read vocabulary for GRE until now.I was wondering if you’d mind giving me some piece of advice.What should I do?I mean it mays at another exam I boost my math but my verbal decrease.Please help me.I am in a junction.
Simon

• Chris December 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

Hi Simon,

I think you should definitely try to take the test again. If you are confident you can do better on quant, you will do better. I also think that you should apply now with the scores you currently received. Then, just as a back up, take the test again Feb. The best case scenario, you are able to get into the program of your choice based on your Nov. test. If you do not get in, then you will be able to reapply based on your Feb. score.

And remember, Magoosh will be with you, helping you reach a verbal score that is even better than the last test.

Good luck, and let me know what you decide to do :).

39. J December 16, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

I like this post. The attitude mentioned describes me to a tee.

It is my personal belief that one should always shoot for the moon. In 6th grade I remember my classroom had a poster and it said “shoot for the moon, if you miss, you’ll be among the stars”.

Cheesy right? It sure is. But, I never forgot that. As someone who was not a good student early on in life, does poorly on standardized tests, and takes a while to learn things, I have had a rough road with education.

That being said, I have come to realize that no matter where you start, as long as you are doing things beneficial to help you learn, you really go as far as you want to go.

The more you’re willing to fight through the areas you do not understand, the better off you’ll be. I’m not sure exactly when I will take this test, but whenever I do, I know for sure I will have no regrets.

If you give any endeavor all your effort in an intelligent way, I think that should be viewed as success in and of itself.

• Chris December 17, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

J., Thanks for those awesome positive words. It is exactly that attitude that will get you to the stars :).

Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!