GRE Percentiles: What is a Good GRE Score? (2023)

GRE percentiles are indicators of how well your score in the test can compare to that of others who sat for the same exam with you.

An in-depth understanding of it gives you clarity of what score range you should aim for and guide you to construct your personal study plan.

This article will help you with all there is to know about a good GRE score and percentiles.

What Do GRE Percentiles Really Mean?

GRE percentile scores are scores that can compare to the results of your counterparts in a certain group.

The percentile ranks show the percentage of test-takers who got a lower score than you. For instance, if your result ranks within the 80th percentile, it means you have outperformed about 80% of those who sat for the test globally.

However, the percentile ranking is based on GRE scores from those who took the test within the last three years.

To increase your chances of admittance, strive for a score that is at or slightly above the median for your prospective graduate school programs.

Is There a Thing as a Good GRE Score?

Yes, there is a thing as that. But, remember what score you deem good for yourself varies from what stands as a good score to another.

So, deciding what GRE score is good for you would depend on the following; your graduate school application, personal goals, and perhaps, the GRE distributions of your target program.

Hence, a good GRE score is one that would get you into your choicest graduate school program. For instance, you’d be in the 80th percentile with a Verbal Reasoning score of 159 or a Quantitative Reasoning score of 163.

Ergo, you’d be in the top 20% of all GRE test takers with this very score.

What Does a Low or Poor GRE Score Mean?

A low GRE score is defined as one that falls within the 25th percentile or below. In terms of GRE verbal percentiles, this equates to a scaled score of 145; in terms of quantitative percentiles, this equates to a scaled score of 147.

What makes up a poor GRE score is subjective, but it is most easily characterized as a number that is significantly lower than the median of the graduate school programs for which you are applying.

How is the GRE Graded?

The GRE general test process score calculation since each GRE component includes a raw score that is turned into a GRE scaled score. The scaled score is used to calculate the GRE final grade or overall score.

The number of right answers determines the raw GRE verbal and GRE quantitative scores. After that, the raw GRE is scaled from 130 to 170. Then, you can determine your GRE score by using a GRE score calculator.

They grade each essay on the GRE Analytical writing assessment on a six-point scale by one highly qualified rater.

If both the human rater and the e-rater have similar GRE scores, the final GRE AWA score is the average of both of their scores. If the results aren’t satisfactory, a second human score is used.

GRE Scores for a Business School in 2023

You’re thinking about taking the GRE for business school and want to know what score you’ll need to get into some of the best schools.

GRE scores are just as competitive as GMAT scores for most of the top business schools; do not think that a higher GRE score will give you an advantage in the admissions process.

The table below shows the GRE scores for the best MBA programs.

MBA ProgramQuantVerbalGRE Total Score
Stanford University164165329
Harvard University163163326
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)161161322
MIT (Sloan)162161323
University of Chicago (Booth)163161324
Northwestern University (Kellogg)163163326
Berkeley (Haas)161161322
Columbia University000
Yale University164164328
NYU (Stern)160162322

Average GRE Scores for Law School

Although an increasing number of law schools are now taking the GRE in place of the LSAT, you will certainly realize that it isn’t the best alternative.

The table below includes a list of institutions that take the GRE and the converted GRE score if you still want to take the GRE for law school.

Law SchoolGRE Total Score
Yale Law School332
Wake Forest University School of Law314
The University of Virginia School of Law328
The University of Southern California, Gould School of Law319
University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School328
University of Chicago Law School328
The University of California, Los Angeles School of Law324
University of California, Davis, School of Law314
University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law314
Pepperdine University Rick J. Caruso School of Law312

How Long are GRE Scores Valid?

GRE scores are valid for only about five years and when they expire, you can never retrieve them through your GRE account nor will you be able to send them to the schools you applied to.

What are the Score Percentiles for Different Fields of Study?

As is the norm, the GRE assesses prospective graduate students from various fields, so, it shouldn’t be surprising that percentile rankings for subgroups of individuals pursuing various disciplines vary.

While ETS does not publish explicit distinct GRE score percentile rankings for individual subjects, they publish data on the score distribution and the tables below can be of immense help.

VERBAL SCORE135140145150155160165170
Life Sciences<14164168899799+
Physical Sciences414294665839499
Social Sciences<14133357819499+
Arts and Humanities<1261737648697

To be competitive on Verbal, you’ll need a considerably better score. With a 155, you are only better than 37% of other potential Arts and Humanities students! While a 165 would put you ahead of 98 percent of Business applications, it would only put you ahead of 86 percent of Arts and Humanities applicants.

Percentiles on the GRE Quantitative Section by Discipline

QUANT SCORE135140145150155160165170
Life Sciences<14174272909799
Physical Sciences<1381731527491
Social Sciences18244770859498
Arts and Humanities29255074899799+

Higher Quant scores are required to be successful in math-heavy disciplines when compared to other applicants.

For a potential Arts and Humanities student, a 160 is the 89th percentile Quant score but only a 48th percentile score for an Engineering student!


If you want to compare yourself to the overall GRE test-taking population, the percentile provides you with a solid picture of how you did.

While GRE percentiles are helpful, they aren’t the beginning and end in determining what scores you’ll need to get into your program. They’re only one technique to convey scores in a simple, understandable manner.



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