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GRE Score Percentiles

The revised GRE scoring scale often leaves test takers (and admissions folks!) scratching their heads, trying to make sense of the 130-170 scale. Admittedly a perfect 170 on the new GRE just doesn’t have the same ring as an 800 did on the old test, but I guess 800 sounded weird back in my great-great-great grandparents’ day. Anyway, the ETS is kind enough to produce a score report with percentile rankings and a conversion chart. I’ve reproduced the charts of GRE score percentiles below:

Verbal Score Percentiles   Quantitative Score Percentiles

Score Percentile Score Percentile
170 99 150 44
169 99 149 40
168 98 148 36
167 97 147 32
166 96 146 28
165 95 145 24
164 93 144 21
163 91 143 18
162 89 142 15
161 87 141 12
160 84 140 10
159 81 139 7
158 78 138 6
157 73 137 5
156 70 136 3
155 66 135 2
154 62 134 2
153 58 133 1
152 53 132 1
151 49 131 1
Score Percentile Score Percentile
170 98 150 41
169 97 149 37
168 96 148 33
167 95 147 29
166 93 146 25
165 91 145 22
164 89 144 18
163 87 143 15
162 84 142 13
161 81 141 11
160 78 140 8
159 75 139 6
158 72 138 5
157 69 137 3
156 65 136 2
155 61 135 2
154 57 134 1
153 53 133 1
152 49 132 1
151 45 131 1


 

Now hopefully by knowing where you stand relative to your peers, you’ll be able to gauge just how well you stack up when it application season comes! Of course, if, for example you’re wondering about GRE scores for your engineering program, then your peers aren’t going to be exactly the same as the standard GRE test taker (think lots of math). And similarly, Harvard GRE scores and Stanford GRE scores and the like are going to have pretty high averages, so try to keep in mind the company you keep in applying.

Notes about “What are my chances?” comments

While I’d love to give everyone some kind of hard and fast number for your chances (it’s a nerve wracking, opaque experience, I know), I unfortunately can’t. This is because there are numerous factors involved in the admissions decisions and most of those factors aren’t the GRE. The best I can do is tell you below/at/above the score range, but that information you can see for yourself above. My universal recommendation is that you check where you stand compared to the tables above. Then have a look at the forums to see student experiences. Of course if you have questions about methodology or how to achieve certain scores, or pretty much anything outside of “what are my chances?” or “where should I apply?”, then I’ll be happy to answer them, otherwise, I unfortunately won’t be. :)

About the Author

Chris Swimmer is an analyst at Magoosh who divides his time between marketing and research projects and helping folks out with their math hang ups while studying for the GRE and the GMAT. Follow him on Google+! And you can follow him @chrisrswimmer on Twitter.

50 Responses to GRE Score Percentiles

  1. Yamil October 24, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    About how many questions can you miss on the verbal and quantitative sections in order to obtain a score in the range of 150-155 in each section?

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer October 25, 2013 at 11:42 am #

      Hey Yamil!

      Unfortunately it’s hard to say exactly, since the weight of the questions changes between sections. That means missing 10 in the first section is not the same as missing 10 in the second section. As 150-155 is around the average score, you should have a decent sized cushion to work with. :)

      Best,
      Chris S

  2. binc October 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    hey chris
    i have one week left to give my GRE. Iam not doing well on verbal and analytical section. In verbal I think iam not good in reading comprehension and in AWA, i always feel Iam short of ideas.Can you please help me with some good sources which can guide me in the next week to get a good score.
    Also my college is asking for a score more than 50 th percentile which i guess requires 300 marks in total.

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer October 18, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

      Hey Binc! First off I recommend taking advantage of all the resources on this blog. We’ve got loads of AWA posts so I definitely think that’s where you’ll get most of the information. Also check out this one week GRE study schedule. That should put you on the right track. :)

      Best,
      Chris S

  3. Michel Montaigne October 8, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    Hi Chris.

    You are a one man wrecking-crew when it comes to dispensing sage advice pertaining to the world of graduate studies :)

    I have my own scenario I would love for you to advise me on. I am going back to school after a lengthy hiatus to study political science or history (still deciding). I know I can score well on writing and the verbal section, but my quantitative score is going to be VERY low- and frankly, I don’t even want to bother cramming all that math garbage into my head (nothing personal for you math lovers, but I am a creature of the Humanities!).

    Do you think programs will look down on my low quantitative scores, even though I hope to encounter little to no math during my graduate scholarship?

    Thank you very much,
    From Tucson, AZ

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer October 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

      Hey Michel! I recommend cramming at least enough to get around 151 (the average score). Any lower than that and you might have a tough go of it. :)

      Best,
      Chris S

  4. Jeffrey October 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    I scored a 150 on quant and a 157 on verbal (after 5 years outside of academics not doing math) with a score pending for the AW. I am trying to get into an environmental studies or food studies PhD program. i concede that my quant score is low, but I will have my previous MS in food science, a published work, strong recommendations, and previous 3.5 GPA. Should I retest?

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer October 18, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

      It’s really hard to say since it varies program to program. For many PhD programs, research fit and ability is much more important than the GRE, so make sure that aligns and you might be able to overcome the math score. :)

      Best,
      Chris S

  5. Tripti September 26, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I am looking forward for an opportunity in PhD marketing in these following universities:
    1. University of Houston, Main Campus
    2. Rice University, Houston
    3. Texas A&M University, College Station

    My GRE Score is 304 (VB-151, QT-153), AW is still awaited, My toefl exam is scheduled in Nov,13 (Hoping for 100 above), Can u please suggest me that whether I should go for another GRE test.

    Thanks

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer September 27, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

      Hey Tripti! Unfortunately I’m not extremely familiar with the PhD in Marketing programs, particularly at those schools. Try to reach out to the schools to see what information you can find!

      Best,
      Chris S

  6. Ansh September 23, 2013 at 3:24 am #

    Hi Chris,

    In need of help. I scored 313 on GRE (V 154, Q 159, AWA 4.5). I am looking forward to PhD CS/MIS. There is lot of info on MS and required GRE scores but unfortunately not much info on PhD. Can these scores help me get a decent University. I have 4 years of Work Experience as a Test analyst in an US MNC.

    Should I retake GRE? That would be really difficult for me though. Please advise.

    Thanks.

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer September 27, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

      Hey Ansh! Essentially for PhD, you should just tack on a few points to both scores to whichever program you’re looking at. :)

      Best,
      Chris S

  7. Raj September 19, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    Hey Chris,
    i scored a 314 in the GRE (Q=162;V=152;AWA=4)
    I am looking to pursue a Masters in CS at USC, GaTech, Rutgers-New Brunswick and University of Florida- Gainsville.
    Could you help me out, whether or not my scores are appropriate for the universities where i wish to apply.
    Thanks alot for your time.

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer September 20, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

      Hey Raj! I’m not sure about Rutgers or UF, but you can check out the post I wrote about USC GRE Scores. That should give you an idea if you’re in the right direction. :)

      Best,
      Chris S

  8. Adam September 17, 2013 at 5:47 am #

    Hi Chris

    I am trying to figure out what my GRE score is worth. I got Q163 and V159. GPA3.7. I want to apply to a graduate program in bioinformatics. Where can I find information regarding average GRE scores in different universities in this subject?

    Thank you!

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer September 20, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

      Hey Adam! I’d check out US News to start and then head over to my post GRE Scores for Life Sciences Programs. It won’t line up exactly with your field but you can extrapolate the data a bit to to get a better idea of what you’ll need. :)

      Best,
      Chris S

  9. Karishma September 15, 2013 at 5:12 am #

    Hi,

    Do Engineering Colleges give a higher weightage to Quant scores?

    eg. If i want to pursue an MS in CS, and have a score of only 154 in verbal, will it affect my chances of getting in, even with a good score in quant of 168.

    Also, my essay score is pretty good, i got a 5.5/6. Will that in any way help compensate for my low verbal score?

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer September 20, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

      Hey Karishma!

      At that range I don’t think it matters so much. I’d focus on other parts of your app, especially your SoP. Solid writing there and a 5.5 on the AWA should work well to give the adcoms confidence. :)

      Best,
      Chris S

  10. James September 11, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    Chris,

    It looks like your table doesn’t match the concordance ETS table. Just an FYI.

    Thanks for the post.

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer September 11, 2013 at 11:22 am #

      Hey James! Good catch. Looks like the version I grabbed originally was an earlier release of the numbers from ETS. I’ve updated them to reflect the most recent percentiles, though they’ve shifted just a bit. :)

      Thanks!
      Chris S

  11. Adil September 10, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    Hey Chris, a score of 152 you listed on your table as 52%. But on the ETS it is listed as 49%. Does ETS update their ranking or did I miss something?

    Thanks

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer September 11, 2013 at 11:23 am #

      Hey Adil! It’s fixed now. Looks like they updated it slightly. Thanks!
      Chris S

  12. Susan September 10, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I just took the GRE and scored 158V/158Q, I want to apply for an MBA program at probably the top 10 business schools (Harvard, UPenn, Haas). GPA: 3.6.

    Should I take the GRE again? I’m not sure what the averages are for Business school, I see a lot of different #s. What score do I need to break in order for me to have a shot at these schools? I know there are many other factors that determine acceptance, but just score alone, what does my score mean?

    Thanks!

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer September 13, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

      Hey Susan!

      Your score is unfortunately a bit low for the top MBA programs. Check out this post for more help with what the GRE scores are for business programs. :)

      Best,
      Chris S

  13. Jason September 3, 2013 at 7:25 am #

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for this blog and your insight.

    GRE: V- 154 Q-158 AWA-3.5
    Undergrad GPA:3.35
    Extracurricular: Very involved; SGA President, Fraternity, etc.
    Work Experience: two years in government consulting

    What do you think about my chance getting into a top MBA program? My number one choice is Harvard!

    Thanks,

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer September 6, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

      Hey Jason! Check out this post for a better idea of GRE scores for MBA programs:

      GRE Scores for Business Programs

      Best,
      Chris S

  14. Rakesh August 30, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

    hey chris,
    i got a 304(158quant+146 verbal) on my gre recently.
    i want to pursue cs(as major) in ms.what are my chances of getting funding in these universities:-
    1.north carolina state university
    2.univ of north carolina,charlotte
    3.univ of tennessee
    4.east carolina university

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer September 6, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      Hey Rakesh! I unfortunately don’t know what it will take to get funding in those schools, as even in the lower ranking unis, funding for CS can be hard to come by. Good luck though!

      Best,
      Chris S

  15. Erin August 27, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    I just completed the GRE today and received a 154 in V. and a 147 in Q. Obviously, I do not know the scores for the AW section yet. I will admit due to an overly busy schedule I was not able to put in as much study time as I would have preferred. I feel as though I could have scored slightly better in the V, but as for the Q I know I gave it my all. I am in the process of applying to Library and Information Science programs some of which require the GRE and others do not. Interestingly enough the program that requires the GRE does not list any necessary scoring ranges. I have an unbeatable undergraduate GPA–4.0, so there is some disconnect here. I am not sure if my performance was a result of having too many irons in the fire, anxiety, or both, but my question would be do you think I should retest? I take myself very seriously as a student and do not want my scores to deter any admissions boards members.

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer August 30, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

      Hello Erin! Unfortunately those scores might deter more than a few admissions committees. I don’t know the level of schools you plan to apply to, but both your scores would probably fall below the average for the top 100 programs in your field. That’s not to say it’s guaranteed to be one way or another, as there are a lot of variables to be considered, but your score is not going to help you in any way. Your GPA is great, and if it’s from a top tier uni, even better. Check out this post for more help with the retake decision:

      Should I Retake the GRE?

      Best,
      Chris S

  16. Bruno August 18, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    Hi, Chris,

    I would really like your feedback. I got 155V 168Q (still waiting for the AWA), but during my test the computer crashed 3 times! I think these problems damaged my verbal score (since when they let us continue, I had to read the texts again and lost lots of time). Do you think this verbal score will hurt my chances at a top10 in neuroscience/neuroeconomics? I’m a internatinal student, so maybe they don’t expect a high verbal score, but I don’t know exactly how this works.

    Thanks!

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer August 23, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

      Hey Bruno! That’s really terrible. I read about this happening to others and those people reached out to ETS to reschedule a test. It’s a bit laborious convincing ETS that you deserve a free retake, but if you push hard enough, it might just work. Anyway, to your point, I can’t really say for certain how much the score considerations change based on your native language, I’m sure it varies from program to program, and even case to case. Reach out to the schools you’re interested and see if they can shed some light. :)

      Best,
      Chris S

    • Michael August 26, 2013 at 9:53 am #

      Hi Chris,

      Do you have any hard data on school reported GRE scores for Masters vs PhD students in public policy/admin? It is hard to discern this from sites I have looked at. I got my master’s many years ago and am looking to pursue a PhD in the field. I recently took the GRE after a pretty intensive focus on the quant. Unfortunately, effort was not reflected in my score (Q156). I was shooting for 75th percentile, which seemed like a good cut off point. At this point, I am not sure I want to re-endure the torture of the test, to try for extra 2-3 points in quant (I took GRE a little over year ago with minimal prep and received a Q155).

      Any ideas, suggestions, appreciated. Verbal is not a problem for me (V170) but sense I get is admcoms value quant scores much more for these programs.

      Thanks.

      • Chris Swimmer
        Chris Swimmer August 30, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

        Hey Michael! Unfortunately almost all data on GRE scores isn’t hard, but some kind of conjecture. In my series on GRE scores, I’ve come up with a way to figure out a likely range of scores, but even then it’s still just doing the best I can with the limited information provided. Just a quick look at some of the top programs from Public Administration from my GRE Scores for Elite Universities post shows that you’d fall into the range of appropriate scores. This however is a melange of Masters/PhD level, so your quant should be higher than what you see in the average, since you’ll be expected to do more research. Unfortunately I can’t say one way or another about retaking it. All I can say is that not all studying is equal. I wouldn’t count yourself out of a better quant score. Studying for the GRE isn’t about being intensive it’s about being focused on reducing your weaknesses. :)

        Good luck in your applications!

        Best,
        Chris S

  17. Shivu Gururaj August 14, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    Hello, Please suggest me possible universities for my profile for MS IN CS fall 2014. It will majorly help me decide.

    Gre=299( verbal-146, quant-153) [not taking GRE again]
    awa-3.5
    toefl- expecting 90
    10th= 94.88%
    12th=87.5%
    Engineering (CSE) 72.2% with no backlogs [cgpa-3.75/4]
    [college- BMS Institute Of Technology (vtu)]

    working for Oracle Financial Services Software from august2013.

    ExtraCurriculars:

    1.Author of One research paper published on “international journals”

    2. Author of One technical paper *presented* in national conference

    3.Brand ambassador for “cognizant technology solutions”

    4. Campus ambassador for “springFest” iit_kharagpur

    5. Social work = currently member of civil defence , government of karnataka. (also have 5 days training certificate along with membership certificate)

    8.Android and windows phone app developer.published one application on respective platforms on Microsoft and Samsung official websites.

    10.Cordinated and organized few events in college
    and I was the Official Broucher Designer for our college fest

    11. Working for an NGO which helps school students education.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer August 16, 2013 at 11:48 am #

      Hey Shivu! That’s quite a lot you’ve got going for you! I can’t recommend any universities in specific for you to go after, but rather offer some advice. Really think hard about what you want to do after grad school. “CS” isn’t specific enough. Life goals, ambitions, etc. Know all of that about yourself. Then start looking at CS programs (US News is a good place to start) in depth and you’ll see which program can get you where you want to go. I’d also check out the forums online, search for other people interested in the same area and you’ll find a wealth of information. Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Chris S

  18. kalyani August 6, 2013 at 6:53 am #

    hi..
    I am planning to do MS in top universities from us. I took my gre today, n got V-140 and Q-160 n now waiting for the A score. what do u think? should i try for the second attempt? or shud i send this score? Because i am taking my BTECH degree in civil engineering from the very prestigious college and even my cgpa is 8.01 out of 10 where topper is of 8.50. and many people say that for civil the competition is less. so shud i try with this score?

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer August 9, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

      Hey Kalyani! That verbal score is definitely a bit on the low side and might give some adcoms pause, but it’s tough to say for certain since an application is a lot more than just a GRE score (and your undergrad GPA). Check with the programs directly to see if they can shed some light for you. :)

      Best,
      Chris S

  19. Pawan July 29, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    Hi,
    I’m planning for MS in Aerospace Engineering. Took my GRE today and scored 310 (Q-158, V-152) awaiting the AW. Is it good enough to get into any of the top 10 colleges for fall 2014?
    CBSE 10th – 91.2%
    CBSE 12th – 95.4%
    and a CPGA of 9.24/10 of the first 3 years (one more year to go).
    Any help is appreciated.

  20. JN July 24, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    Hi :) I’m a student looking to apply to a masters program in political science. I took it one year ago and it’s time to decide to take it once more before I start applying to MA programs in the coming months. I scored a 156V, 155Q, and a 5 in the writing section. I feel like if I do take the time to write another exam, I feel the score I might obtain at best will only be marginally better. At the same time, I feel like it’s taking a risk because I may score lower than a 5 in the writing section. I feel like my scores are on the fence when it comes to the right course of action to take. Any advice?

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer July 26, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

      Hey JN! Since you’ve got a couple months, you should commit to studying for a certain period of time and then try a few practice tests. If you see an increase in score (even if slight!), then dedicate yourself to studying more and then sign up for the test. There’s not much to lose. You could also sign up for Magoosh Premium, since we have a 5 point increase guarantee! ;)

      Best,
      Chris S

  21. Baller30389 July 17, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    Hello, Chris,

    I am very interested in your feedback. I took the GRE last year and earned a 149 in Verbal, a 152 in Quant, and a 5.0 in AW. After months of studying long and hard (with numerous practice exams – including the ETS practice exam), I took the GRE again. I received the same exact scores – a 149 in Verbal, a 152 in Quant, and a 5.0 in AW.

    The test I took this year was after I spent many hours studying, and after I scored above 70th percentile in all categories on numerous practice exams (including the ETS practice tests).

    I had a decent undergraduate GPA of a 3.81, and I have two years of solid work experience (it will be three years when I begin a graduate program). I’m interested in applying to part-time business schools (all of the schools I’m looking at denote that they want their applicants to have a cumulative GRE score of 75th percentile or above).

    Do you think I should take the GRE again?! Or, is it not worth it since I received the same exact scores both times (without studying for the first time and with a lot of studying for the second time)?

    Thank you in advance for your feedback!

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer July 26, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

      Hello! If the schools explicitly state they expect your score to be in the 75th percentile or above, then you should try to get as close to that as possible! While it may be disheartening to study and still not increase your score, remember that how you study is just as important as how long you study! Check out these resources for more help:

      Best GRE Books
      GRE Study guides
      Ultimate GRE Guide

      Good luck!
      Chris S

  22. Yasir July 1, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Hi,

    I am planning for admission in the Next spring (Jan 14). But i am not able to get any slots for writing the GRE Computer Based test before November. So , i wanted to know can i start applying to colleges now itself and send the scores later. Will that be considered like the normal process? Because if i apply in November, then it’d have already crossed the deadline for most of the colleges.

    Please suggest.
    Thanks

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer July 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

      Unfortunately most universities will consider your application incomplete without the scores and so when the deadline passes you won’t have completed applications. My recommendation is to reach out to the admissions committees of the schools you want to apply to and let them know your dilemma. Hopefully they can work something out for you. :)

      Best,
      Chris S

  23. bostonmaine June 16, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    Does this mean a perfect verbal score on the new GRE is considered less of an achievement compared to the old GRE, and a perfect quant score a greater achievement? Did the verbal section become easier and the quant harder?

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer June 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

      You got it right! It was a much greater accomplishment to get a perfect score on the verbal of the old GRE. Conversely, it is much more difficult to get a perfect math score on the new GRE. Luckily schools know this as well. :D

      Chris

  24. Arnab April 24, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    Hi… recently I gave GRE and scored 302 ( Q 155, V 147, AW – 3) . I want to do MS in USA, but only when I get a scholarship in any form, otherwise it won’t be possible for me bcoz of my weak financial aid. My scores uptill now are 10th – 83%, 12th – 82.6% , BE – 72.64% ( C.E. stream) , currently working in a software firm as Web Developer and have 2.8 yrs of experience. Do I have any possibility to have
    any good institution for MS so that after my degree completion I can easily get a job there? Beside this, I came to know about integrated PhD from other sources, which includes MS(1.5 yrs) + PhD (2.5 yrs) thus overall making 4yrs course and heard its easy to get scholarship in PhD programme as compared to MS. I am preferring for MS but if that can’t be done ( may be bcoz of financial lagging or academical results ) then I will go for the later i.e. PhD. Please guide me.

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer July 3, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

      While many things in life can be made on a financial basis, I really strongly disagree with making education decisions purely on financial reasons. It’s certainly easier to get scholarships for your PhD, but remember that getting your PhD is not the same thing as getting a masters. You have to really want a PhD to survive the rigors of the program. I’m not saying don’t go for it, just make sure you know what you’re getting into. Additionally, the requirements for GRE scores will be even more stringent in PhD programs than masters. It might worthwhile to look into retaking the GRE. :)

      Best,
      Chris S


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