Expert guidance to interpret GRE scores

Expert guidance to interpret GRE scores

The GRE or the Graduate Record Examination is an exam conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) which aims to measure the candidate's verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills, that have been developed over a long period of time. The scores of this examination are mandatory to gain admission to most graduate schools in many countries around the world, mainly in the USA.


Generally it is said that GRE scores can make or break an application. An engineering student usually begins the application process in the sixth semester while students pursuing a three-year degree programmes like B.A, B.Com, B.Sc start the process after the completion of the degree. In both cases, since there is little or nothing to be done in terms of academic scores, the GRE assumes enormous importance is the only 'flexible' component in the process.

Typically, a student would take about three months to prepare for the GRE test. However, it is recommended that the student should begin preparations for taking the test even earlier if possible and put in every effort to obtain an excellent score in their first attempt itself. Special effort should be given to the Verbal section of the GRE test as Indian students generally fail to score well in this section. If the student feels that the GRE test score is too low, he/she can retake the test. If retaking the test is not possible, then the students can apply to Universities with their first attempt scores itself.

To better understand the category of Universities that a student can target with their GRE scores and good academic background, the GRE scores are divided into three categories/range:

a. 320 - 340: This score falls in the high range and on obtaining such a score, a student automatically has the option of applying to top universities. A student scoring 320 or above will most certainly have an excellent academic track record and this will allow him/her to apply for renowned and prestigious universities worldwide.

b. 300 - 319: Most students tend to score within this range. Students obtaining such a score can apply to several top universities but would have to balance the list with applications to other universities as well. Students who score in this range have an average to above average academic performance. However, there are instances where a top ranked student with a strong academic record may not be able to crack the GRE test.

c. 299 and below: Scores in this range are considered to be on the lower side and may not be adequate for getting an admission in a university abroad. Students are therefore advised to retake the GRE test or apply to those universities where low GRE scores are accepted or those where the GRE score is not mandatory or has been waived.

All queries regarding the GRE test and application process, particularly important questions like, when to take the test, or whether to retake it if the situation demands it or on issues such as guidance with interpreting test scores and selecting the appropriate universities can be sent to

The author of this article, Binita Parekh, leads a team of dedicated and highly qualified counsellors and staff at Beyond Boundaries Education Consulting Services which offers advice and guidance to students for successful applications to prestigious academic institutions, enabling them to achieve and bring their dreams to fruition.

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