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Readers Respond: Does A Good Score Even Matter?

Responses: 69



Math 165 Verbal 165. Harvard mph. Good enough? Considering how competitive Harvard grad school is. ANSWER: Definitely! You're above the 90th percentile for each score, so you have a great shot at an Ivy League school. Hopefully, your GPA is equally as stellar. Good job!
—Guest eb

Not sure what to do

Hi I have 156 for quantitative and 154 for verbal, which is identical to my SAT scores. What can I do? I'm thinking of NYU or some other rather good grad sch in NYC. My GPA is 3.0 ANSWER: SAT scores range from 200 - 800 per section, so there is no way that your scores are identical, first of all. Second, your GRE scores are above average, but not by a bundle (around the 64th percentile Verbal and 74th for Quantitative). Your admission to a prestigious university like NYU will depend on your intended major and experience, too. Your GPA is a little on the low side, though, so it may be a good idea to retake and get your Verbal score up a bit if you truly have your heart set on NYU!
—Guest JerNJ

PhD worthy?

I am looking to get a PhD in Business (probably Finance as that is the field I am currently working in) as my long term goal is to teach at a college level. I received a Quant: 158 and Verb: 152. My GPA in my Masters was a 3.8. I am by no means looking at getting the degree at a top school but what are the chances of getting accepted in any school. My verbal score has me a little worried. ANSWER: Your Verbal score is definitely mid-range, but the bigger question is your experience. If you have a lot of experience, but don't happen to be a superior tester, you may get in. A PhD program takes many things into consideration. But, as I always say, it never hurts to retake if you can afford it, especially if you're dedicated to putting serious time into test prep. If I were you, I'd retake after prepping for several months to see if I can get into the best possible position for acceptance. You could be competing for one or two spots in a good program, and the admissions decisions could rest on that score. Good luck to you!
—Guest Andrew

Great scores, except AW...

I received 164 Verbal (94th percentile) and 160 Quantitative Reasoning (84th percentile). I was shocked when I received my Analytical Writing score of 3.5 (29th percentile), especially as many of my professors and employers have told me I am one of the best writers they know. I am trying to get into a biotechnology program at a top tier university. Will the 3.5 hurt me? Should I retake the exam? Is it worth asking for a score review? The GRE is not required for the program I am applying to, but may be requested. My undergraduate GPA was 3.386 and my recent GPA for prerequisites for the program is 3.96. ANSWER: Christina, you should have no problem at all. The AWA assessment will not hurt you in the least with your high GPA and stellar GRE scores. If you're truly worried, then schedule a retake, but I honestly think you'll be just fine. Requesting a Score Review could do nothing at all - your score often stays the same. Good job on the GRE!
—Guest Christina S

Tired of it looming over my head

Took the GRE test Feb 2012 and received a 152 verbal, 144 quantitative, and 4 analytical (56, 26 & 48 percentiles, respectively). A series of life events left me with only 3 weeks to study for the test but since I spent hundreds of dollars due to having to cancel and resched the test 3 times in the last year, I decided it was then or never. I have a 3.85 undergrad GPA and I'm being ambitious by having my top choice schools be UC Berkeley and Stanford University. I am also going to be taking the GRE Psychology subject test but the test has yet to be taken (will take it in 2 days!). I was thinking about retaking the Revised GRE but an old professor once told me that from what she has seen from her students, retaking the test only improves your score 2-3 points and is therefore not worth the trouble. Should I retake the test and spend more time and money risking minimal improvement or can I offset the mediocre scores by hunting for a psychology-related internship? Thank you for your help! ANSWER: I disagree with your professor because appropriate test prep can improve your test scores by many points. That's good news for you, because if you're aiming that high for your university, you're going to need to retake. An internship will not offset scores that are less than mediocre (the 26th percentile brings you down), when most applicants for these schools are scoring in the 75th percentile or above. Prep seriously for the test if those schools are your favorites, and reapply with better scores. You seem bright; go for it! Best of luck to you!
—Guest Driving Me Crazy

Do I have any chances?

Hello! I took GRE three times for two years. First time I got VERBAL-330, QUANTITATIVE-550. It was too bad so after a month I took it again and I got VERBAL - 490, QUANTITATIVE - 550. I know that my quantitative score wasn`t good so I decided to take the exam one more time. A month ago I received my scores VERBAL 145, QUANTITATIVE 155. As you can see I improved my quantitative, but my verbal score decreased. I am a non-native. Please can you tell me do I have any chances for admission in any US university and which scores they will take into account? I would like to apply in computer science. Thank you! ANSWER: Acceptance depends on the school to which you're interested in applying. Better schools require better scores. Your Quantitative score is the most important considering your intended major, and I'd think that if your GPA was high enough in your core classes, then the admissions officers might take your non-native English speaking status into account for the Verbal score. If your GPA is mid-range or low, then I'd consider giving it a shot one more time after prepping seriously for the exam. After July 2012, you'll be able to choose which scores to report!

is this a good score for some?

I got a 152 on the verbal and a 139 on on the Quantitative. I had a 3.0 GPA in college (obtained while being in the military). I'm trying to get into several archaeology programs (possibly an anthropology program). My math score is weak I know. But is my verbal score good enough to do what I want to do? ANSWER: Your Verbal score is not high enough to counter a 10th percentile in Quantitative. Prepare as much as possible for the GRE Quantitative section and try again. I can't think of a program that would accept a GRE score in that range, unfortunately, especially because your GPA is not perfect. If you'd truly like to get into grad school, you're going to need to give it another shot!
—Guest tman

GRE score Non native speaker

Hi, I took a GRE test in february 2012 and scored 144 V, and 151 Quant, and 4 A . I would like to ask if these scores are enough to open me the door to a Masters in Public Administration in USA? I am non native speaker, so would they consider this fact while reviewing my GRE score? Should I retake a test? Need your advice please. ANSWER: Your Verbal score is in the 26th percentile, so my first instinct is to tell you to retake. However, the university to which you're interested in applying may also require the TOEFL to prove English proficiency, and if you meet the minimum score requirements on that, they may take that into consideration. Your best bet is to contact the schools to which you'd like to apply and ask them their policies because every school is different! Good luck!
—Guest Halley

Wait or not?

Hi this might sound crazy, but I went and took the GRE without prep to have a baseline. I grew up in Italy and the math part was especially hard because I haven't done math in ages and I hardly knew the technical terminology. My scores were verbal 154 and quant. 145. The master's program I'm trying to get into is psychology oriented and requires a min of a combined (old) 1000. I'm just really worried that my math will hold me back. The deadline is approaching and I wonder if I should retake the test or wait for an answer first. Thanks in advance :) ANSWER: You'll definitely have some statistics classes and other math classes in a Psychology program. With your Quantitative score only being in the 26th percentile, I'd definitely recommend a retake, but only after you prepare for the test. You get better when you learn the strategies behind the test questions. Best of luck to you!


Hi! I just finished the GRE - Verbal 159, Quant 156, Writing undetermined for the next 10 days. My GPA is 3.77 cumulative. I am interested in Columbia School of Social Work among others. Feedback? Thanks! ANSWER: Your percentiles are 74th for Quant and 84th for Verbal, both of which could put you in the running for Columbia. Your GPA is definitely on the high end, but some other things will matter since your score is great (but not exceptional). Your references, interview, internships/experience will all play a major role in getting you in! Columbia is one of the biggies, so you really have to impress with a higher GRE to get in unless your experience gives you a bit more punch.
—Guest Erica

GRE scores are overrated

I just took the GRE on got a 159-Quantitative and a 160-Verbal. I'm pretty psyched about those scores, but I think people put too much stock into standardized testing. I know a lot of people who study for the GRE for weeks and weeks, memorize tons of vocabulary, and take hundreds of practice sections. But what are you really proving when you study for a test like that? You aren't showing your natural intelligence. You're just showing how well you can cram for one stupid test with really specific types of questions. I think people should spend less time studying for tests and more time gaining work and volunteer experience. I myself studied for the GRE for about 2 weeks, a couple of hours every day, mostly reading through a test prep book. I took 1 practice test and did pretty poorly on it, but come actual test day I felt prepared and confident. That being said, I'm hoping to get into Berkeley's School of Public Health with my 159-Q/160-V GRE score, and 2.5 years of lab experience. FROM K.ROELL: Congrats on your scores, Ian! Although the GRE isn't the only factor determining your admittance, it is certainly one of the big ones. Getting a great GRE score can make or break someone's acceptance into his or her first choice, especially if the GPA isn't where it should be. Good luck to you with Berkeley. You should have a great shot, especially if you've worked on your extracurriculars!
—Guest Ian

Can I get them??

new gre score-Q165--V154..analytical not out yet...gpa 3.3/4...aiming for MS EE at 1----UCBerkeley, Caltech, Mich Ann arbor, Upenn....2----texas-austin, Purdue, Illinois Urbania, UToronto3---duke, visconsil, Carniege,..apart from other requirements, is it sensible to apply to these 3 groups with that score..Do I have at least a chance for grp1 above?? ANSWER: There's always a chance, especially with that killer Quantitative score and an Electrical Engineering interest. You need to check out the EE programs from each school you're interested in, though, to see if they publish minimum requirements or "average" admittance scores for accepted students. UC Berkeley, for instance, has students scoring at an average of the 90th percentile on the GRE (you're above that for Quant, and well below it for Verbal), and their absolute minimum GPA accepted is a 3.0. Since your GPA just makes that cut, it could be tough to get into that school, but if you were in a difficult program at a great school for undergrad, that would come into play, too. Do your homework, and check out the averages of incoming students to the EE programs at every school. Then, if your scores aren't where you want them to be to get in, retake it.
—Guest Shivam

How about these scores for non-native!!!

Hi guys, do you think that universities consider whether you are a native English speaker or not when reviewing your GRE scores? Because I studied hard and all what I got is 140V, 151Q, and 3.5 in writing. Imagine your self doing the GRE in Spanish!! that is the same situation for us! It's not fair! ANSWER: If I had to take the GRE in Spanish, I'd be lost, that's for sure. Keep in mind, though, that when you apply to a university, your GRE scores are just one of the factors taken into consideration. I'd recommend taking the TOEFL to prove English proficiency, and asking admissions officers whether or not your GRE scores will be ranked highly if your first language is something other than English. Every university has a different policy regarding students with another language as their first.
—Guest Ali


Hi, I took the Revised GRE and scored 136 for verbal,151 for quantitative and 3.5 for analytical writing. My GPA is 3.8. I am going to take up toefl next month, and am looking at applying to universities (pharmacy schools) in USA for masters or PhD. Will I be eligible to apply to pharmacy school in the United States? ANSWER: Your Verbal score is very, very low, and your Quantitative score is right around the 50th percentile - average. Check with your admissions counselor about TOEFL test results - most schools have a minimum score they'll accept. Perhaps your Verbal score will be overlooked because you test well on the TOEFL. Overall, though, I'd advise you to study and retake to try to improve that Verbal score by a number of points!
—Guest Nehani

Math Major

I am a math major with physics/econ minors, and got GRE scores: Quantitative-161; Verbal-159; Analytical Writing-4.5. Looking into engineering schools with a 3.4 GPA roughly. How do these scores compare to the old test, and are the percentiles good enough for most schools? ANSWER: Your Quantitative score puts you in the 86th percentile (very good!), and your Verbal score puts you in the 84th percentile (also very good!). A 161 Quant is roughly a 770 on the old format and a 159 Verbal is about a 590. Anywhere north of 70% is going to be very acceptable to most schools across the country. Your GPA in a tough field is excellent, so any school would be lucky to get you!
—Guest Nikki B
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