GRE scores are
required for admissions to most colleges in U.S.A., some colleges in
Canada and a few in other countries.
Your GRE score is
the single most important factor in your admission to the top program.
No matter how good your undergraduate GPA is or how inspiring your
statement of purpose is; you do not stand a chance in the top program
without a good GRE score.
What is a
Good ‘Ball Park’?
In most of the
top programs, ‘ball park’ starts at about 1300. This is not a strict
cutoff. However, with scores less than 1200, your chances of getting
into the top program are minimal (Unless of course, you wrote a research
paper challenging Einstein’s Theory of Relativity)
As a good
estimate, if your GRE score is within a school's median 80 percent
range, even if it's 60 points below the school's median, you have a
reasonable chance of being admitted. If it's below that 80 percent range
you still have a shot, but it's a long shot. Most programs print their
80 percent ranges in their brochures. For those that don't, you can make
a rough estimate by assuming the range starts about 60 points below the
median and ends about 60 points above it. As long as you are within that
range, you have a reasonable chance of being admitted.
of GRE Score
The GRE score is
further divided into verbal, quantitative and analytical writing
assessment scores in your score report. Separate scores, particularly
for quantitative section, are very important. Most engineering programs
put strong emphasis on quantitative ability and consider your math score
to be a reflection of your quantitative skills. A good balance in the
quantitative and verbal scores would be ideal; however, if you have to
be stronger on one section of the test than on the other, it is
definitely better to be stronger in quantitative sections.
A good balance
would be getting in the 700s in each section. Your GRE score card will
have the following breakup:
||Low - High
||400 - 1600
||200 - 800
||200 - 800
We have seen that most international
students perform well in the quantitative section as compared to the
verbal. Students who have strong mathematics background should invest
time in improving their verbal scores to achieve the desired balance in
with less than 1000 score, we would recommend one of the following:
attribute your low score to lack of effort, preparation or coaching,
you should definitely take the GRE again. A better GRE score along with
good credentials in other key criteria will greatly enhance your
chances of getting into a good program.
many candidates, who do not perform well in limited-time,
high-pressure exams. If you are one of those candidates, you may not
score high by re-taking the exam. No problem! You just need to put
extra effort on your statement of purpose highlighting your research
capabilities. For some of you who need guidance with writing
application essays, we strongly recommend our consulting services.
require you to take the subject GRE for the field of study that you are
interested in. The requirement depends solely on the school and varies
across the board. Once you have short-listed the schools that you would
like to apply to, we advise you to go through the school web-site to
confirm whether or not they require a subject GRE. More information on
the test materials can be found on Subject
If you are not
happy with your GRE score, you can take the GRE test any number of times
until you get the score you want. Most schools that we are aware of
consider only your highest score. We do not know of any top or mid-tier
school that takes an average of two or more scores.
transcript’ will provide only your three most recent scores. It does
not matter if you send your transcript after every test or after you
score the number you want. The application will ask you to specify the
score you want the admissions committee to consider. Please remember
that you cannot mix the sectional scores from different tests. In other
words, you cannot take the quantitative score from one test and the
verbal score from another.
A Word of
We cannot stress
enough on the importance of taking GRE seriously. There is no substitute
for good preparation and it is very much worth the effort. Please
consider taking preparation courses that help you achieve your goal. The
more practice tests you take, the better you get. For international
students, we would also recommend paying extra attention to the verbal
ability section. And, of course, if you don’t do well the first time,
don’t be afraid to take the test again.
For more details
on GRE, check out About
For GRE preparation, check out GRE
Fourth Issue - Academic Record