For students who are considering applying to business school, one of the questions they most want the answer to is “What score do I need on the GMAT or GRE to get into my target schools?”
In other words, you probably want to know what is a good GRE score.
You won’t find a single answer to this question that works for every student. Different backgrounds, different MBA programs, and different applications will produce different results for every person.
Fortunately, what we can do is give you enough information to determine for yourself what a good score would be, and more importantly, what kind of target GRE score you need to get for the schools where you want to apply.
We’ve looked in the past at what constitutes a good GMAT score; this week, we’re discussing the GRE.
Let’s get started.
GRE Scoring Basics
The GRE is scored on a scale of 130-170 for its two primary sections (Quantitative and Verbal). This makes the range of possible total scores for the test anything from 260 to 340.
According to ETS, the company that makes the GRE, the average score for all test-takers is around 302 (150 Verbal and 152 Quantitative).
ETS also publishes a table showing the mean GRE scores for a variety of different graduate education programs. The numbers make it easy to see that MBA programs value quantitative scores.
For almost all business majors, the average quant score was at least three points higher than the average verbal score; for banking and finance, the average score was ten points higher. The score needed to get into the top ten percent of MBA applicants was also higher for quant than verbal – 166 vs. 160.
GRE vs. GMAT in MBA Admissions
It’s only in recent years that the GRE has started gaining ground on the GMAT for business school admissions. While the test is accepted at all top business schools these days, most schools still report their average GMAT scores instead of their average GRE scores.
Fortunately, there are some score calculators that translate GRE scores into GMAT scores, to give you an idea of how the scores correspond. Comparing the percentiles for each score can also give you some insight.
ETS has even put out a GRE comparison tool for business schools. With this tool, schools and students alike can get a sense of where their scores fall within a school’s published GMAT averages.
For example, MIT Sloan lists an average GMAT score of 716 in its 2017 class profile, with a GMAT range of 670-760 for the middle 80% of their students.
According to the GMAT percentile rankings from MBA.com, a 716 would put a student at approximately the 93rd percentile for all test-takers.
GRE percentiles and conversion calculators suggest that a score of 328-330 on the GRE would be the equivalent of the 716 GMAT. Some schools do not use the conversion calculators at all and evaluate applicants on their GRE scores.
Your GRE Score is Only Part of the Picture
Some students know they want to go to a top business school, and work backwards from there to find out what GRE score they need to achieve to get in. Other students take the GRE first, and then try to find out what schools they can get into with that score.
Both methods have their pros and cons. What is important is doing your best possible work when it comes to both test prep and the application process.
It’s also good to remember that while the overall score is important, many MBA programs focus especially on the quantitative score. If you don’t have a strong math background reflected in either your transcripts or your work history, you’ll need a higher GRE quantitative score to offset your background.
International students will receive greater scrutiny on their verbal scores.
Admissions committees make their decisions based on a lot more than a single GRE score. Sending in the strongest application you can will significantly increase your chances of getting in to a top business school.
If you’re not sure whether your application is good enough, sign up for a free MBA application assessment from EXPARTUS. We’ll help you develop a comprehensive plan to highlight your personal brand throughout your application.