Average GRE Scores: Full Statistics

The average GRE scores for 2022 were about 151 for verbal reasoning and 157 for quantitative reasoning. Average GRE scores varied by section and field of study.
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Data Summary

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    The average GRE scores in 2021-2022 were about 151 (151.3) for verbal reasoning and 157 for quantitative reasoning.[1]
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    The average analytical writing score was 3.4, but this section is not included in your total score.Note Reference [1]
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    The number of GRE test-takers appears to be decreasing, going from over 700,000 in 2011 to around 342,000 in 2022.Note Reference [1], [2]
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    Average GRE scores differ by program and field of study.
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    Highly selective law programs typically have GRE scores of 159-170.
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    Students admitted to top MBA programs typically have GRE scores of 161-167.
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    Increasingly, graduate programs do not require the GRE at all.

Roughly 341,600 individuals looking to apply to graduate school took the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) in 2021-2022.Note Reference [1] Graduate programs use the GRE to gauge test-takers' reasoning and analytical skills.

The GRE is a general graduate admissions exam, unlike the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), or the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which are particular to professional schools in medicine, business, and law, respectively.

Recently, the GRE has been declining in popularity. However, many graduate programs still accept the GRE, and in many cases, prospective students can take it in place of the GMAT, and, more recently, the LSAT.[3]

If you are considering applying to graduate school, you may need to take the GRE. Read on to find out more about average GRE scores by school and section in this report.

Average GRE Scores

There are two sections on the GRE: verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning. Each section is worth up to 170 points, and the highest total possible score is 340.[4]

In 2021-2022, the average verbal reasoning score was about 151, and the average quantitative reasoning score was 157.Note Reference [1]

The average analytical writing score was 3.4 out of 5 for tests taken in 2021-2022.Note Reference [1] The analytical writing section is separate from your total score.

While the GRE has two sections, the test is graded as a whole. In other words, you can't take your best score for one section and combine it with your best score for the other section from another test.

Average GRE Scores by Section, 2021-2022
Section Average
Verbal Reasoning 151.3
Quantitative Reasoning 157.0
Analytical Writing 3.4
Source: ETSNote Reference [1]

GRE Percentiles by Section

Percentiles matter because they show how you fared against other test-takers. Some programs state GRE percentile cutoffs rather than a specific score. The master's in education program at California State University, Northridge, for example, requires applicants to score within or above the 50th percentile on at least one of the GRE sections if a candidate has a GPA below 3.0.[5]

Percentiles also allow admissions committees to compare candidate profiles across different exams. If one candidate took the GMAT and another took the GRE, for example, they could look at percentiles to see where each candidate stood amongst other test-takers of the same application cycle. Between 2018 and 2021:

  • Those who scored a 162 or higher on the verbal reasoning section of the GRE were in the top 10% of test-takers.
  • Test-takers who scored 160 were in the 85th percentile, or top 15%.
  • Those who scored 152 were in the 50th percentile.
Verbal Reasoning Section Percentiles, 2018-2021
Score Percentile
169-170 99
165 95
162 90
160 85
159 81
157 74
156 71
155 66
152 52
150 43
148 34
147 30
Source: ETSNote Reference [4]

You must score higher on the quantitative reasoning section to break into the top 10% of test-takers. A score of 168 or higher was required to put you at the 90th percentile between 2018 and 2021. Those who scored 155 and higher were in the 50th percentile of test-takers.

Quantitative Reasoning Section Percentiles, 2018-2021
Score Percentile
170 96
168 90
166 84
165 81
163 76
161 70
159 64
158 61
156 54
155 51
154 47
152 40
Source: ETSNote Reference [4]

Earning a perfect score on the verbal reasoning section put test-takers in the top 1%, but a perfect score on the quantitative reasoning section put them in the top 4%. This difference shows that collectively, GRE test-takers tend to perform better on the quantitative reasoning section, making it harder to get in a higher percentile.

Unlike the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning section scoring scales, the analytical writing scale goes up in half-point increments.

Between 2018 and 2021, a score of 5.0 or higher put you in the top 10% of test-takers. However, a one-half point drop to 4.5 put you in the top 21%. This means that every half-point has a big impact on where you stand against other test-takers. A score of 4.0 put you at nearly the 50th percentile.

Analytical Writing Section Percentiles, 2018-2021
Score Percentile
6.0 99
5.5 97
5.0 91
4.5 79
4.0 54
3.5 37
3.0 13
2.5 6
2.0 2
1.5 1
Source: ETSNote Reference [4]

Number of Test-Takers Has Significantly Decreased

The number of GRE test-takers appears to be trending down, going from over 700,000 in 2011 to around 342,000 in 2022.

  • 2011 had the highest number of test-takers, with over 700,000. But after 2014, the number of test-takers dropped.
  • 2022 had the fewest test-takers, with under 342,000.
  • The large drop in the number of test-takers from 2019-2020 could be due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to testing center shutdowns and other disruptions.

Average GRE Scores in the Last Decade

  • The average verbal reasoning section score has remained relatively consistent over the past 11 years, staying in the 150-151 range.
  • The average quantitative reasoning section score has increased significantly, going from 151 in 2011 to about 157 in 2022.
  • Test-takers in 2022 earned the highest overall score since the GRE revision in 2011, although the verbal reasoning score slightly decreased in 2022.

Average GRE Scores for Graduate Schools

Since many graduate programs use the GRE in admissions, you may want to narrow in on average GRE scores by field of study. In this report, we explore average GRE scores for different graduate majors, as well as law school, business school, and health and sciences programs.

Average GRE Score by Graduate Major Field

The following table is based on the GRE scores of seniors and non-enrolled college graduates who took the exam between July 2021 and June 2022.

  • Humanities & arts and law had the highest average GRE verbal reasoning section scores.
  • Humanities & arts also had the highest average analytical writing section score of 4.0.
  • Engineering and the physical sciences had the highest average GRE quantitative reasoning section scores.
  • Physical sciences had the highest overall score when you total the averages of both the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections.
Average GRE Score by Major, 2021-2022
Intended Graduate Major Field Average GRE Verbal Average GRE Quantitative Average Analytical Writing
Business 150.6 155.3 3.5
Education 147.4 145.5 3.5
Engineering 150.2 159.6 3.4
Humanities & Arts 154.8 149.8 4.0
Law 151.6 151.9 3.7
Life Sciences 149.5 149.4 3.7
Physical Sciences 151.4 160.2 3.4
Social & Behavioral Sciences 152.8 151.6 3.9
Source: ETSNote Reference [1]

Remember, GRE requirements differ depending on the program. For example, Yale University's graduate school of arts and sciences requires test scores for economics, East Asian languages and literatures, and architecture. However, scores are optional for philosophy, applied math, and archaeological studies.[7]

Departments across different schools also differ in their requirements. For example, while Yale requires students applying to the mechanical engineering program to submit GRE scores, Columbia University's engineering department does not require the GRE.[8]

Be sure to check out not only your school's general GRE requirements but also your specific program's. Also, find out if your program of choice plans to drop its GRE requirements. A growing number of schools no longer require standardized test scores, and sometimes programs will state on their website that the GRE will become optional in the following application cycle or two.

Average GRE Score for Health Sciences Programs

The GRE can be used for several health sciences programs, but it's often not required. In this report, we explore physician assistant (PA), physical therapy (PT), speech-language pathology (SLP), and master of science in nursing (MSN) programs and their GRE requirements.

While programs may or may not require applicants to submit test scores, they all have a set of prerequisites — or coursework to be completed before starting classes. Some of these courses are listed below each field. However, the exact prerequisites differ between programs.

Average GRE Score for Physician Assistant (PA) Programs

Many top physician assistant programs no longer require standardized testing, including Emory University, University of Colorado, and Drexel University.

Some of the top programs that do require GRE scores list the averages on their websites:

  • For George Washington University's incoming class of 2022, the average GRE score for the verbal section was in the 80th percentile for all test-takers (around 159). The average quantitative score was in the 60th percentile (around 158).[9]
  • For Duke University's incoming class of 2022, the school listed its 25th-75th percentile for the verbal section as 154-161 and for the quantitative section, 151-158.[10]
  • The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas' class of 2019 had an average total GRE score of 307.[11]

While most programs no longer require test scores, most do require a list of undergraduate science courses a student must take before applying. The required courses differ by program, but generally include courses in biology, chemistry, and human anatomy and physiology as part of the prerequisites.

Average GRE Score for Physical Therapy (PT) Programs

As with many physician assistant programs, many physical therapy programs do not require GRE scores. Instead, they may place emphasis on clinical hours that demonstrate an adequate amount of exposure to work in the field.

Required courses may also include human anatomy, human physiology, statistics, and physics. However, different programs will have different sets of prerequisites.

Out of the top PT programs, the majority now do not require the GRE. Many do not even consider scores.

The University of Pittsburgh, Northwestern University, University of Southern California, and Emory University all list the GRE as either optional or no longer factored. The University of Delaware simply states that its minimum GRE requirement is a score at or above the 50th percentile.

Average GRE Score for Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) Programs

Most top SLP programs do not require the GRE, including programs at the University of North Carolina, University of Pittsburgh, Northwestern University, University of Wisconsin, Madison, University of Arizona, and Boston University.

Some schools may consider scores if they are sent. However, this is specific to each school. The University of Iowa, for example, does not require or factor in GRE test scores.[12]

Vanderbilt University's SLP program does require test scores. For the incoming class of 2019-2020, the average total GRE score was between 317 and 319, and the average GPA was 3.9.[13]

Note that GRE requirements may differ within departments at the same school. For example, GRE scores are required for all Ph.D. applicants. However, it is optional for master's program applicants.[14]

Average GRE Score for Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Many top MSN programs no longer require the GRE. Some programs accept scores, while others will not even consider them. The GRE is not required for MSN programs at Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Washington, and Vanderbilt University.

Other schools have specific conditions. For Yale University's School of Nursing, applicants do not need to submit GRE scores if they have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Those with a cumulative or weighted GPA lower than 3.0 are required to submit GRE scores and must score above the 50th percentile on all sections to be eligible for admission.[15]

The Ohio State University also requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 but does not require the GRE.[16]

Emory University states that there is a preference for candidates with GPAs of 3.0 or higher. It does not require the GRE.[17]

GRE Score by Law School

Most law schools now accept the GRE in place of the LSAT. As with the LSAT, top programs require near-perfect GRE scores. The median verbal reasoning section score for Yale Law School, for example, is a perfect 170.

GRE Scores for Top Law Schools
School Median GRE Verbal Median GRE Quantitative
Yale University 170 168
Harvard University 168 166
Columbia University 168 163
Stanford University 167 165
New York University 167 165
Duke University 166 165
University of Chicago 166 162
University of Pennsylvania (Carey) 165 164
University of California, Berkeley 165 159
Cornell University 164 169
University of Virginia 164 165
Source: ABA[18]

Average GRE Score by Business School

The majority of MBA programs accept either the GMAT or GRE. The vast majority of accepted applicants appear to have submitted GMAT scores. For the University of Chicago, for example, 26% submitted GRE scores, and 73% sent in GMAT scores.[19] Dartmouth University's Tuck School of Business had a slightly more even split with 38% submitting the GRE, and 62% submitting the GMAT.[20]

Average GRE Scores for Top MBA Programs (Class of 2024)
School Average Total GRE Score Average GRE Verbal Average GRE Quantitative
Yale University (School of Management) 330 164 166
Columbia University 328 161 167
Stanford University 327 164 163
University of Chicago (Booth) 327 163 164
Harvard University 326 163 163
New York University (Stern) 325 162 163
Northwestern University (Kellogg) 325 162 163
University of California, Berkeley (Haas) 324 161 163
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) 324 162 162
Dartmouth University (Tuck) 324 162 162
University of Virginia (Darden) 319 N/A N/A

Frequently Asked Questions About Average GRE Scores

How many times can you take the GRE?

You can take the GRE test once every 21 days and up to five times in a 365-day period. Keep in mind that canceled scores count toward your limit.[21]

Scores are sent to your designated score recipients roughly 10-15 days after your test date.Note Reference [21] Make sure to check your program's application deadlines to make sure your scores are processed in time.

What is the highest GRE score?

The highest total GRE score is 340. There are two sections — verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning — and each section score ranges from 130-170.[22]

There is also an analytical writing section, but it is scored from 0-6 and does not count as part of your overall score.Note Reference [22]

Can you superscore the GRE?

No, you cannot superscore the GRE. Superscoring means mixing and matching your section scores from different times you take the test. For example, if you scored higher on the verbal reasoning section of one test, you would superscore by submitting that section score with your quantitative reasoning score from another test.

You cannot mix and match your best section scores for the GRE. Instead, you must submit whole test scores with both the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections.

The GRE does offer something called ScoreSelect in which you can now choose which scores you want to send to your school if you took the GRE multiple times. Without ScoreSelect you must choose to send all scores from the past 5 years or your most recent one.[23]