When it comes to prepping for the GRE, the most important thing to keep in mind is your target GRE score. The entire point of studying for this brutal exam is to get a score that qualifies you for admission into your desired graduate program. Knowing your goal before you start your prep will help you focus your efforts on the aspects of the test that are most difficult for you.
GRE Scores Infographic
Identify your own target GRE score with the help of our new GRE Scores Infographic!
Just scroll to your discipline to see the average, good, and great scores for programs in your field of study. 🙂
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Determining Your GRE Goal Score
It’s important to keep in mind that a good GRE score is different for everyone. For one thing, your GRE score is only a small piece of your application. If the rest of your resume is stellar, then your GRE score might just be a small factor that gets your application past the first reviewer.
Different academic disciplines and sub-disciplines have different GRE requirements (an engineering program is going to require a higher math score than a philosophy program), so it’s important to take into account the average GRE scores for programs within your specific discipline.
In addition, different universities have different GRE score requirements, so it’s important to identify your target schools before prepping for the GRE. If you’re aiming for a top university, then you might need to study your way to an exceptionally high score.
You can call or email your admissions departments to ask for the average GRE scores of their most recently admitted class. You might also want to speak with an admissions officer about their specific admissions requirements. Some schools will even put you in contact with former and current students, who can give you a better idea of the types of students that the program is looking for (GRE scores, educational background, work experience, future goals, etc.)
Prep with Your Target GRE Score in Mind
Once you’ve determined your target schools, and assessed the range of GRE scores that your program prefers, identify your goal GRE score.
Your goal score should be higher than the average GRE score for your program. There are two main reasons for this:
- First, you want to give yourself some wiggle room in case you can’t quite reach your goal score. If you fall a bit short, then you can decide whether or not it’s worth retaking the GRE. Admitted students with below-average GRE scores usually have an incredible application to make up for this deficit – impressive work/research experience, a compelling story, a strong college GPA, etc. Always consider your application as a whole when determining whether your GRE score is good enough.
- Second, you want to improve your odds of acceptance by impressing the admissions committee with a higher-than-expected GRE score. If the average Math score for your program is 153, and you score a 158, then you automatically have a leg up on the competition. Admissions committees like to see that students can excel at standardized tests, in addition to having excellent, well-rounded applications.
GRE Scores and Admissions
Here’s the most important takeaway: the GRE is a tough exam that’s meant to separate strong applicants from the rest of the pack. Succeeding on the GRE is a matter of determining what score you need in order to make sure that your application is noticed and considered by your target programs.
There’s no one-size-fits-all “good GRE score.” But, with some research (and the help of our handy GRE Scores Infographic), you can figure out your own personal target score, and focus your prep with that goal in mind.
If you need help reaching your target score, let us know! We can help determine whether Magoosh GRE Prep is the right fit for you. 🙂
PS. Are you also studying for the TOEFL? Be sure to check out our TOEFL Scores Infographic on our TOEFL blog. 🙂