Update: We’ve updated this post with new information released in 2015 from the US News and World Report! ETS has not released new information since 2014, so we don’t have any updates regarding those particular stats. What I noticed is that the scores in the “Average GRE Scores for engineering – accepted and aspiring” table all went up a bit in each category (just one point, typically)– this is to be expected, as students get more familiar with the exam :).
Applying to graduate school and wondering what’s the average GRE score for engineering programs? Want to know what score you need to get accepted to the best engineering schools, like those at MIT? Unfortunately, the average scores vary greatly by school and not all schools are forthcoming with their admittance scores. Luckily for you, each year, the US News and World Report is kind enough gather whatever score data they can get from graduate schools and put it all together for us in a nifty little book and website.
For engineering programs, the report tells us the average quantitative GRE scores for admitted students in the top 100 engineering programs. Everyone knows that for engineers, math is more than a little important. While we can’t exactly infer the average math scores across all programs nationwide with just this data, we can compare it to the data released by the ETS that show scores by intended major.
Average GRE Scores for engineering – accepted and aspiring
|Accepted and Intended||Avg Quant Score||Percentile|
|Top 10 Engineering||165.0||90th|
|Top 100 Engineering||162.2||83rd|
|ALL GRE test takers||151.4||50th|
(The first five rows from this table show data from the US News and World Report’s 2016 graduate program rankings. The last two rows show data from ETS.)
You can see that for aspiring engineering majors, the bar is pretty high for your quantitative GRE scores. If the average for the top 100 engineering programs is 162.2 and the average score of all engineering program aspirants is 159, there’s not a whole lot of breathing room for the rest of the programs. But you should remember that averages include scores above and below the average, so a 157 in math won’t kill your admission chances, but it will put you behind your peers.
Verbal score for engineering?
So where’s the verbal data? Well according to the ETS, the average verbal score for engineering aspirants is 149, which puts it right at the average for all GRE test takers. What does that mean for you? Well, while an average GRE quantitative score will put you at a major disadvantage in your application, an average verbal score will put you right in the middle of the pack. That’s not say don’t study for verbal! Definitely check with your intended schools and see what information they reveal about the weight of verbal scores. It could be that scoring in the 75th percentile puts you ahead, or it could be that only your quantitative score is important. That might ultimately be a mystery, but just keep in mind that scoring around average in verbal won’t be killer.
Average GRE scores for engineering focus
The ETS also breaks down the scores by intended engineering focus:
Again, you can see there’s not a whole lot of flexibility in scores, but that’s not surprising, given the quantitative nature of engineering.
What GRE score do you need for engineering?
While there is no magic bullet score that will get you in to the best engineering schools, a quantitative score around 159 will put you in average company. Therefore, you should try to get into the 160s. Again, that’s not a ton of breathing room, but, hey, you want to be an engineer? You should probably be pretty decent at math.
How do you get a score good enough to get in?
The answer to this tough question depends on your available time and skill level in math (and verbal!). First you’ll need a good study plan, probably a math focused one. A lot of Magoosh students have used these schedules to great success. You’ll also need some good GRE resources. Be careful, there’s a lot of GRE prep materials out on the market to sift through, and a lot of it’s not great. My colleague Chris Lele has reviewed the major GRE prep books and it’s worth a read. And of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend checking out Magoosh, as our students regularly experience strong gains in quantitative scores.
Due to the overwhelming response in the comments, I’ve had to shut them off, so some final advice for those in search of whether or not your scores are good:
1. Remember that schools assess more than your GRE
2. The internet is your friend. Go through US News and then check the internet for schools that seem like a good fit.
3. Snoop on the forums for more specific advice. There are always people willing to help there.
4. If you still have questions, don’t be afraid to reach out to admissions committees, professors, current students.
Good luck everyone!