Getting a post-graduate degree, like a master’s degree or doctorate, can be incredibly beneficial for professionals looking for more career opportunities. It can also help you gain advanced knowledge in your chosen field, potentially making you a valuable member of that field.
However, before all of these, you’ll need to get into a graduate school that offers post-graduate programs of your choice. One of the primary graduate school requirements is taking the GRE, a standardized exam that evaluates your preparedness for graduate school.
Getting a high score on the GRE can increase your chances of admission to a good grad school, so it’s imperative to do well on it. However, is it possible to get a perfect score on the GRE?
With that said, check out this article to learn more about achieving a perfect score on the GRE.
An Overview of the GRE
Before we dive into how you can get that perfect score, let’s take a closer look at what the Graduate Record Examinations, or GRE, is.
As you know, the GRE is designed to test you, not just on your theoretical knowledge of various subjects. It also tests you on the relevant skills and thinking you’ll need to do for your post-graduate studies.
The GRE is broken down into three sections, each designed to gauge different aspects of your abilities. The three sections are as follows:
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Verbal Reasoning
- Analytical Writing
Quantitative Reasoning features questions designed to measure your ability to understand, analyze, and interpret quantitative information.
This section includes solving mathematical problems, particularly in geometry, algebra, and basic arithmetic. Some data analysis is also involved, and there’s a strong focus on your skills for quantitative reasoning.
Meanwhile, the Verbal Reasoning section is designed to evaluate how well you analyze non-numerical data, such as written text, the meaning behind the vocabulary used, and the relationships among the various elements of communication, including sentences, words, and others.
This section also measures how well you’re able to create your own conclusions from the given data. This GRE section places a strong focus on your more complex verbal reasoning skills.
Lastly, the Analytical Writing part of the exam is designed to gauge your analytical writing and critical thinking abilities. This section includes the measurement of eloquence and the ability to support more complex ideas using logic and solid examples.
A Breakdown of the GRE Scoring System
|GRE Section||Score Range|
|Quantitative Reasoning||130 to 170|
|Verbal Reasoning||130 to 170|
|Analytical Writing||0 to 6|
Now that you’re more familiar with the GRE and what it covers, let’s discuss how the scoring system for this exam works.
As mentioned, the GRE is broken down into three sections, with Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning being scored similarly. For both Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning, the typical score range is between 130 and 170.
Each point is counted in increments of one. At the same time, the Analytical Writing section only covers a score range of 0 to 6 and is scored in increments of 0.5. Thus, for all three sections, the perfect score for the GRE is 340.
However, these score ranges are your scaled scores, and they correspond to a percentile rank. The latter is considered more crucial as this is how your performance on the exam is compared against the other test-takers.
There’s a slight difference in the percentile ranks for Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning. The same goes for the Analytical Writing section. For example, if you get a 170 scaled score, that corresponds to the 99th percentile for Verbal but only 96th in Quant.
Meanwhile, a scaled score of 6 in Analytical Writing corresponds to the 99th percentile in that section.
What Are Considered Good GRE Scores?
A good GRE score can certainly increase your chances for admission when it comes to graduate school applications. However, not all schools place the same weight on GRE scores, with some considering it more significant than others.
For example, some of the country’s top graduate schools might require a higher than average overall GRE score for your application to be considered. However, what’s classified as a “good score” often depends on your chosen school and program.
Of course, in terms of what’s considered a good score, getting a perfect GRE score of 340 is undoubtedly at the top of the list. Still, to put things in perspective, let’s take a look at what usually counts as a good score for most graduate schools.
|318 to 328||75th percentile||Good|
|300 to 317||50th percentile||Average|
|Less than 300||Below the 50th percentile||Below Average|
Getting scaled scores within the range of 163 to 170 for Verbal, 165 to 170 in Quantitative and 5 to 6 for Writing will put you in the top 10% of all GRE examinees. Getting a GRE score that’s at least 329 will make you one of the most competitive applicants in the field.
On the other hand, achieving a score in the ranges of 158 to 162 for Verbal, 159 to 164 for Quant, and 4.5 for writing will still give you a strong position. This puts you in the top 25% of all the GRE test-takers.
Average scores tend to be somewhere in the 152 to 158 range for Verbal, 153 to 158 for Quant, and 4 for Writing. These scores place you in the top 50% of the GRE examinees, but they might not be enough for more competitive programs.
Getting a Perfect GRE Score: Useful Tips
Now that you’re more or less familiar with how GRE scores work and how high or low certain scores rank, let’s discuss how you can get a perfect GRE score.
While it’s not really necessary to get a perfect score of 340, it’s still an unusual occurrence. So, naturally, achieving this feat will only impress grad school admission offices, thereby increasing your chances for acceptance.
So, what steps can you take to reach this goal?
1. Keep yourself motivated.
This might seem like an obvious tip, but the preparation it takes to make getting a perfect score possible tends to be tedious and time-consuming. Because of this, you will really need to stay as motivated as possible.
This is especially true for those moments leading to the exam when you’re just not feeling entirely up to the task of achieving this particular goal. Therefore, keeping yourself motivated throughout the process and reinforcing your determination to achieve it is crucial.
For this, you can remind yourself of your goal every time you feel like quitting. Why did you start it in the first place? What will having a perfect score help you accomplish? You can even visualize what the results would be to help you out.
2. Be strategic with your studying.
Getting a perfect GRE score is no easy task, and you might have limited time to study and prepare for it. Because of this, it’s essential to approach your study sessions and prep time with a strategic mind.
This means you don’t just dive into the process of studying with no clear idea of how you’re going to approach it. Instead, doing so involves ensuring you have a specific study method or strategy to help you perform your best on the exam.
Refining your studying strategies will help ensure that you’re covering everything you need to for the exam. However, on the other hand, diving right into it might only lead to you missing some of the subjects necessary to ace the exam.
There are many strategies you can employ. For example, you can take a diagnostic GRE test to help you gauge what your current level of knowledge is. From there, you can adjust your studying techniques to help you cover your weaknesses and further enhance your strengths.
3. Identify the areas you need to improve on.
In line with the previous point, one way you can employ better studying strategies is to identify the subjects you struggle with the most. Doing so will allow you to see where you might go wrong on the actual GRE, which will prevent you from getting that perfect score.
Additionally, knowing where else you can improve won’t just help you work on your weak points. It can also help you identify in what parts you’re most likely to miss questions and prevent a perfect score.
Moreover, identifying where you might make a mistake and working on them will help you reduce the chances of repeating those errors.
There’s a tiny margin for error if you want a perfect GRE score, and it’s so tiny that it’s almost non-existent. So, being thorough enough with your preparation and knowing where your weaknesses lie can help you achieve your target score.
4. Make sure you’re using only high-quality prep materials.
The internet is a vast resource of information, so you can easily find plenty of GRE prep material online. However, the problem lies in the fact that not all of them are comprehensive enough to prepare you well for the actual GRE.
Additionally, using poorer quality GRE prep materials might even work against you and prevent you from getting that perfect score. Therefore, it’s imperative to use only high-quality prep materials when you’re studying for the GRE.
These materials will help give you a more accurate and precise picture of what you might encounter on the actual exam. Because of this, you’ll have higher chances of getting a perfect score, especially if you’re already more or less familiar with how the exam is.
The best prep materials you can use are the official ones from Educational Testing Service (ETS), the institution behind the GRE. They offer plenty of GRE prep materials, including practice tests and study guides, that will help you familiarize yourself with the exam.
Aside from official materials, it would be best if you also opted for study materials offered by the country’s most reputable test prep centers. Some examples include Manhattan Prep, Princeton Review, and Kaplan.
5. Manage your time wisely.
Proper time management is crucial if you’re aiming to get a perfect score on the GRE. This is vital not just when preparing for the exam but also during the exam itself. To get a perfect score, you’ll need to ensure that you answer every question correctly and only within the given time.
This means you’ll need to more or less instinctively know just how long it will take you to answer each item. So, during your preparation period, it’s best if you become as familiar as possible with the material.
Doing so will help you gauge how long it takes you to answer specific questions and help you improve if you’re taking too long. Additionally, finishing the exam too quickly can also result in avoidable mistakes, so it’s essential to develop your test-taking rhythm before the actual exam date.
Nevertheless, it’s ideal to have at least a few minutes at the end of each section to double-check your answers and ensure you’re confident in what you’ve put in. This can help you spot any mistakes you’ve made that can potentially derail your goals of achieving a perfect score.
Scoring high on the GRE can be one of the best ways to increase your chances of getting accepted into excellent graduate schools in the country. These chances are further amplified if you manage to achieve a perfect score.
However, this is easier said than done, so it’s best to strategically approach both your studying and the exam. This allows you to increase the likelihood of getting that perfect 340 on the exam.
A perfect GRE score is, by no means, necessary, nor will it guarantee your acceptance. However, it’s a rare enough occurrence that achieving this feat will definitely impress and awe any graduate school admissions office.
Hopefully, the information mentioned above has helped you learn more about how you can reach your goal and gave you a clearer idea of what to expect on the actual exam.