Understanding GRE Percentiles

Understanding GRE Percentiles

When applying to a premium business school in the US or anywhere globally, it is necessary to find out the cut-off scores for the programme you are interested in. Each programme offered at a particular university has its cut-off scores mentioned on the institution’s website. Although an institution may ask for both GRE and GMAT scores, how do you compare your GRE scores to that of the GMAT? Read this article to learn more about GRE score conversion to percentiles and why this conversion is necessary. Before we begin, let us briefly understand the GRE and its structure.

What is the GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination is a globally conducted standardised test that is administered by ETS. Accepted by most business schools and universities globally, the GRE is an essential admission requirement most students have to meet to gain admission into their preferred masters or doctoral programmes. Scored on a scale of 260-340, the GRE exam duration is about 3 hours and 47 minutes and is divided into three sections. The different sections of the GRE include analytical writing assessment, quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning. All three sections of the GRE are divided into two parts each. While the AWA section is one hour long, the quant and verbal sections are 60 minutes and 70 minutes long, respectively. Furthermore, the AWA section is scored on a scale of 0-6 and the quant and verbal sections are both scored on a scale of 130-170.

Now that you know a bit about the GRE structure, let us understand the importance of the  GRE percentiles and the conversion of the GRE scores to their respective percentile.

Understanding GRE Percentiles

When applying to a university, GRE percentiles help you to understand how your scores compare to that of other GMAT participants. Since a university may accept both the GRE or GMAT for a particular master’s programme, using GRE percentiles you can easily understand how you’ve performed when compared to that of other test-takers. For instance, if you scored in the range of 165-170 on the GRE verbal section, then you have achieved a GRE 98 percentile score on this section. Similarly, a score within the range of 165-170 on the quant section yields a percentile between the 86th and 96th range. Hence, a percentile helps you understand how you’ve fared on the test when compared to other test takers during a given time frame. Furthermore, GRE percentile scores vary from section to section even if your scores are within the same range, as you may have noticed in the example above.

Now that you know what the GRE structure is and what is the benefit of relying on GRE percentiles, you’re better positioned to plan your GRE preparation and set your targets accordingly.

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