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Which GRE score is "better"?


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Hi everyone.  Thanks in advance for your feedback.  I recently took the GRE twice (in December and in January), and am not sure which score is a better score to send to admissions committees.  I'm not dissatisfied with either score (and I recognize this is a high class problem to have), but I've heard conflicting commentary from peers and mentors, and wanted to see what other people thought.  I work full time and am not applying anywhere this year (target matriculation is August/September, 2014), so I don't need to send scores immediately.  With work and family commitments I don't have the time to properly prepare to write it again, so I am committed to using one of these scores.


I took the test in December and was thrilled with my verbal and writing scores, but wasn't sure if the quantitative score was strong enough for my file to get a serious read at some of the top schools for domestic policy/administration (HKS, WWS, Harris, Goldman, Ford, NYU, etc.).  I didn't take any math classes in undergrad, and took my only economics course pass/fail as I was already taking too many credits that semester (I do have an A in a graduate-level stats class I took while working), so I thought getting a higher quant score was important.  My long-term goal is not to end up in a quant-heavy field but to build public-private partnerships to address challenges to social welfare, but I didn't want to be deemed quantitatively unprepared.  So I studied math a lot, wrote the test again, and got my quant score up just a little bit, and saw my verbal and writing scores drop (my own fault, I hadn't continued studying anything but math).


Is one score clearly "better" than the other?  Are the effectively the same?  Would you send one to one school and another to another school?  If so, why?  My instinct is that Test 2 is the better score, but I don't really know.  Thanks in advance for the thoughts and guidance (and again I recognize that this really isn't a life-threatening problem in any way).


Test 1 (really strong in verbal/writing, weaker in math):

Quant: 158 / 74th percentile

Verbal: 167 / 97th percentile

Writing: 5.5 / 96th percentile


Test 2 (shows more competence in math and strong but less stellar in verbal):

Quant: 161 / 83rd percentile

Verbal: 163 / 91st percentile

Writing: 5.0 / 92nd percentile

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Thanks everyone!  This was helpful.  Out of curiosity, ZacharyObama, is that a guess or do you know that some schools review multiple scores?  For those of you who have already applied, do the applications list fields to enter multiple scores, or only for one sitting?  Thanks again.

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Some schools actually mention in their appication instructions that they pick the "best scores" for each section and have the fields to enter more than one.


Even if this is not the case, you can alsways incude both sets of scores as additional documentation / in your CV or resume etc. and send both sets of scores in the official report.

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