Pre-PA students have no idea how a good CASPA application looks. You might know what you’re required to submit: your GPAs, GRE score, proof of patient care experience, etc.
But you don’t have the benchmarks. How well do you need to do on the GRE to get admitted? Here’s the answer.
Do GRE Scores Matter to a PA School?
Yes, they do matter to some PA programs. In fact, these usually have minimum cut-off scores that are around the 50th percentile mark.
Some PA programs, however, have no GRE requirements at all.
In essence, your score usually matters—a lot—if schools require the GRE. But if you’re applying to schools that don’t require it, it may not influence your application at all.
20+ PA Schools: Average Scores on the GRE
Here’s a list of the top 25 PA schools in the United States and the medium points their accepted applicants scored :
|Physician assistant school||GRE Quant Reasoning Score||GRE Verbal Reasoning Score||GRE Analytical Writing Score|
|University of Iowa||159||158||4.5|
|Baylor College of Medicine||154||161||4.5|
|University of Utah||Doesn’t require GRE|
|George Washington University||152||158||4.5|
|University of Colorado||Doesn’t require GRE|
|University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center—Dallas||149||155||4.0|
|Wake Forest University||148||154||4.5|
|Drexel Uni||Doesn’t require GRE|
|Oregon Health and Sciences University||Doesn’t require GRE|
|Interservice Physician Assistant Program||Doesn’t require GRE|
|University of Southern California||150||154||4.0|
|University of Washington||152||156||4.5|
|Quinnipiac University||Doesn’t require a GRE score|
|Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science||153||155||5.0|
|Stony Brook University—SUNY||Doesn’t require a GRE score|
|University of Nebraska Medical Center||Doesn’t require GRE|
|University of Wisconsin—La Crosse-Gunderson Medical Foundation-Mayo School||157||158||5.0|
|University of Wisconsin—Madison||Doesn’t require GRE|
|Rutgers University School of Health Professions||Doesn’t require GRE|
|University of Florida||150||155||4.0|
The average GRE test-taker applying to the top PA school scores:
- Verbal - 153
- Quantitative - 156,8
- Writing - 4.29
What is a Good GRE Score for PA School?
Some schools have a minimum GRE score their applicants have to meet. But that still doesn’t tell you what a PA school considers a good GRE score.
Based on what we’ve seen above, here’s what a competitive GRE score for a top PA school looks like:
- Verbal - 153+
- Quant - 156+
- Writing - 4.2+
But these are the average numbers for only the best programs in the U.S. Here’s what the situation looks like when we combine all PA universities, regardless of their rankings:
(Source: PAEA Research: Program Report 35)
While the verbal score remains more or less the same for all PA schools, the average quantitative scores tend to be a few points lower.
This means you should shoot for a combined score of 300 or higher for the verbal and quantitative sections.
Can You Get Into One of These Schools With a Low GRE Score?
In most cases, no. The majority of PA schools usually put a lot of emphasis on the GRE. We’ve also seen that PA school applicants usually score high on the exam.
However, the GRE won’t be the only thing a PA program will look at. Here’s what else they’re considering during the application process:
- Your statement
- Science and overall GPAs
- Healthcare experience
- Prerequisite coursework
- Work experience or volunteer work
If you think you’ve done (or will do) poorly on your exam, focus on better satisfying another requirement.
Can a Good GPA Compensate for a Low GRE Score?
You have high science and overall GPAs... but you’re afraid your GRE score will ruin your chances of getting admitted.
Fortunately for you, GPAs are quite important for PA school applications. And yes, good GPAs can help you compensate for a low score on the GRE.
Here’s what one of the top physician assistant programs says about this:
“The GRE is less heavily looked at than the GPA and PCE. However, a really low or really high GRE score can certainly hinder or help significantly. “
- Duke Uni 
There you have it.
Programs might require the GRE but still put more emphasis on other parts of your application. Unless, of course, you really mess up your test.
A PA school applicant that scores below the 50th percentile isn’t likely to get into any prestigious programs—or any programs for that matter.
If that’s the case, consider retaking the test and applying to PA universities later.
Undergraduate GPAs from Accepted PA Students
Students who were accepted to a PA school have an overall GPA of 3.5. Their science GPA hovers around 3.5 as well .
Tips: How to Get a High GRE Score
Does taking the GRE sound like a sweaty nightmare to you? It doesn’t have to be.
Here’s how to prepare, so you don’t have to worry about your results:
- Take the GRE practice tests. Find the best GRE practice tests and solve them before the test day. This will help you understand the questions better and how the ETS system adapts your exam according to your skills.
- Determine what to study. Go through the test content on the ETS website to determine what you’ll be expected to do and know.
- Plan. Don’t take shots in the dark. Make a study plan instead to ensure you’ve covered all the subject areas you’ll be tested in.
The Bottom Line
If you’re required to take the GRE to get into a school, the chances are that school puts at least some emphasis on your score. That means you must do your best on the exam.
It’s good to have some benchmarks beforehand. Instead of trying to satisfy the minimum requirement, try to do as well as an average GRE test-taker for your school.
Return to our list of schools when planning your test prep. It will guide you throughout your studying—and help you determine your chances of getting into your dream program. Your master’s degree could be just one test away!