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

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 GRE score improvement.

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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 home run. 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.

There’s a chance you may fall short of your GRE 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.


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  • Chris Lele

    Chris Lele is the Principal Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh. Chris graduated from UCLA with a BA in Psychology and has 20 years of experience in the test prep industry. He's been quoted as a subject expert in many publications, including US News, GMAC, and Business Because. In his time at Magoosh, Chris has taught countless students how to tackle the GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, MCAT (CARS), and LSAT exams with confidence. Some of his students have even gone on to get near-perfect scores. You can find Chris on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook!

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