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Hi all!

 

I'm relatively new to this forum, and I was hoping to gather some general insight as to what is a "good" GRE verbal score. I know that it's a number and definitely not the most important part of the application. However, at what percentile/scaled score is the score "good enough" and not worth spending more time on, just to increase it by a few percentage points.

 

I am hoping to apply to top tier schools this application season. Maybe I'm just obsessing over a number, but my perfectionist side always feels like I can take it again to "get a higher score."

 

(Apologies if this topic has been discussed elsewhere)

 

Thanks!

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Yes... This question gets asked in varying forms all over the place here...! :)

Here's a recent similar thread with a good Magoosh link I found for checking out score ranges by major and by school tier ranking.

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It is a common question here, but I don't really blame you for asking. Even though I took the GRE general back in May, just yesterday I had a mini fret session over whether or not my scores were good enough, and searched old threads on the topic for the umpteenth time.

 

A verbal north of 160 / 85% seems to be a pretty good benchmark for most programs. Better is better, of course, but these things are relative.

Edited by Wyatt's Torch
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Lol!

 

Me too!

 

Story of half the perusers here I'm sure...

 

I had generally thought that as long as you break 160 on both scores it should be quite good ...so my 158 quant gets me nervous about funding now, though not necessarily admission.

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I had generally thought that as long as you break 160 on both scores it should be quite good ...so my 158 quant gets me nervous about funding now, though not necessarily admission.

 

It is true that sometimes the total score can be an issue for university funding at some institutions, but I'll go ahead and mention that I had 161 verbal, 144 quant, and a 5 on the writing. I still got full funding. Obviously, individual experiences will vary, but there's hope :D

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It is true that sometimes the total score can be an issue for university funding at some institutions, but I'll go ahead and mention that I had 161 verbal, 144 quant, and a 5 on the writing. I still got full funding. Obviously, individual experiences will vary, but there's hope :D

 

Yayyyy, your post made my day!

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Yayyyy, your post made my day!

 

Mine too, actually, considering that those are nearly identical scores to my own.

 

Again, rationally I knew all of this before, but every once in awhile I have those little moments where I despair over the weakest parts of my application. (Not helped by having one of my letter writers consistently misspell my name in every email he sends me!)

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Thanks all for your feedback!  It definitely makes me feel better hearing these responses. It's just nerve-racking when most schools explicitly say they don't publicize average or minimal scores. The ones that do say things like "an average of 166 or higher are positive additions to an application," which just leaves you wondering so much....

 

Wyatt, I totally understand what you are saying. In the past week, I've also been freaking out about my GRE score, when I know that a stronger writing sample and SoP matters more in the end. 

 

Simply, the GRE/GPA are the only quantitative additions to an application, and it's so easy to fuss over those numbers since it's difficult to discern how "good" your writing sample is relative to other applicants.

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One thing to keep in mind (and this is more "educated speculation" than anything definitive) is that the top tier programs would probably get far more applications than they already do if they didn't post relatively stringent guidelines. Seeing that "166" on Harvard's site is probably enough to drive away 1/3 of all would-be applicants who have scores that are below that threshold. I also suspect that's why most of the tippy-top programs (someone else here used that term and I'm stealing it) still require the subject test: it weeds out a lot of candidates that might otherwise send in an application on a wing and a prayer. Doing the subject test and paying for multiple scores to be sent to an institution is a way to help streamline the process for the more serious applicants.

 

This is just a hunch, of course...but it seems (to me) to make sense.

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I just want to share this because I just found this out : you don't lose points for incorrect answers on the general GRE as you would on the subject test. 

 

I'm sure most of you know this, but I did not, so there it is! Thank Jesus for this feature because deciding whether to guess or leave a question blank took up more time than it should have when I was taking my practice test. 

 

Does the whole tiered feature of the general GRE freak anyone else out? I'm worried that I'll completely mess up the first section and then get an easy second section which would ruin my chances of redeeming my score. Ugh.

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Does the whole tiered feature of the general GRE freak anyone else out? I'm worried that I'll completely mess up the first section and then get an easy second section which would ruin my chances of redeeming my score. Ugh.

 

It sure freaked me out, both in test preparation and during the actual exam: when I took it this past weekend, my second verbal section was way, way easier than the first--which caused me to, if not panic, at least have a moment (or three) of genuine "awww crap." But then the fifth section I got was a verbal one that was considerably harder than any of the others (or any of the practice sections I'd taken) and I got a score I'm really happy with, so I'm assuming that middle section was the research one. That time I spent--not that it was a lot; but not that 35 minutes is a lot of time, either--pondering that and being concerned and then telling myself to focus on the test section at hand was time I could have spent answering actual questions.

 

Moral of the story: all of my worrying and fretting--like, I'd assume, the vast majority of all the worrying and fretting that has characterized my progress through this process, and that I know other people struggle with, too--was ultimately unhelpful, unproductive, and misplaced. Just go in, do your best, kick its ass, and go from there!

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Though anecdotal, my scores weren't exactly glorious in either the General or Subject exam. 156, 142, 4.0 (though having taught comp, I get what they're looking for now). I took the exam for MA program applications and just didn't have time to retake it for PhD apps. I won't even mention the Subject score. Moral of the story: they aren't the end of the world. Did they keep me out of Harvard? Likely. But I got into a handful of programs and am quite content with where I am.

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Yeah I screwed myself with the panicking too. My second quant section was a mess, and I kept kicking myself over it, saying dangit, I got the easy one... Dangit dangit dangit.... And then trying to refocus and tell myself to stop kicking myself... But I'd inevitably go back to it.  I would say at least one good full minute in total was wasted on that.  If you include how it affected my problem-solving, it probably took a cumulative 3-4 minutes in gearing up back up or re-engaging in the problem at hand.  

 

Like unraed, my last quant section was more on par with what I'd seen the first go-round, and I am sure the middle section was the research section because the questions were of a very different style and wording than the other two Q sections, and also as compared to the PowerPrep questions.

 

The real second (third) quant section was also still easier, but not by very much, and I still had a hard time doing due diligence on keeping track of time, such that I had to hasten my problem solving and partially estimate the last two questions or so.

 

Research section or not - it's my own fault I have this time issue... and I know if I'd done more timed practice tests, I would've been better prepared.

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Though anecdotal, my scores weren't exactly glorious in either the General or Subject exam. 156, 142, 4.0 (though having taught comp, I get what they're looking for now). I took the exam for MA program applications and just didn't have time to retake it for PhD apps. I won't even mention the Subject score. Moral of the story: they aren't the end of the world. Did they keep me out of Harvard? Likely. But I got into a handful of programs and am quite content with where I am.

 

This gave me such a breath of fresh air. I'm currently in a panic cramming for the subject test (where I'm scoring very, very poorly - haven't had any time to study with the start of my MA), and it's SO GOOD TO HEAR that we don't have to be perfect on these absolutely stupid standardized tests that say nothing about whether or not we have interesting ideas. Thank you for this.

Edited by queennight
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I ACTUALLY HATE ETS I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY THESE TESTS ARE EVEN NECESSARY A;SDLKFAWH;EOIFY;XOICYB

 

It just seems to me like such a waste of effort and energy. The GRE General is bad enough (it literally is a bizarre vocab test mixed with a strange computer marked essay), and then the GRE Subject comes along and shoots you in the face with what feels like a metal hockey puck. Not to mention that the Subject test is teaching us to study summaries rather than read the entire books/works discussed (if you have the luxury to take the time to read these books before the exam, I envy you) - as much as I love ThugNotes like the rest, it's such a foolish way to appreciate the classics. You could spend a year or two studying for this exam and never finish reading all the books. I understand schools are looking for well-rounded entrants, but memorizing the Canterbury Tales when I'm interested in Romantic/Victorian poetry seems absolutely ridiculous to me. NOT TO MENTION THAT I'D LIKE TO HAVE A LIFE TOO BUT OH WELL I'M COOL

 

These exams have done my head in. I guess that's the point, but I'm insanely burnt out. This process is exhausting! Not even potential medicine students take TWO STANDARDIZED EXAMS just to apply. Not to mention the three references, the VARYING WORD COUNT (because standardizing essay sizes for schools would be too much to ask for), the personal statement, etc ... at this stage, it feels like an uphill battle. I UNDERSTAND SISYPHUS SO MUCH NOW

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But just think how much that newfound, hard-won mythographic knowledge will help you on the subject exam!

If ETS asked us all to write an essay on relating this application process to Sisyphus, I feel we could all potentially ace this!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Guys, how much do these schools care about your quant score? I got a 160 verbal, 151 quant  just doing the diagnostic, but I've sort of cornered myself and only have a couple weeks to study now =[ 
What should I be focusing on? How much do English programs even care about the quant score?

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