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GRE Scores for Business Schools
6 Things You Should Know

Last Updated On: May 3, 2021

Are you looking to further education by going to business school? Applying to a business master’s program is a big step. You’ll be among 100,000 other prospective students doing so.

One important component of the admissions process is the GRE General Test. Let’s take a deep look into what kind of average GRE scores will get you into your school of choice.

Do All Business Schools Accept the GRE?

A male teacher evaluating GRE exam on his laptop

The GRE general test is a widely accepted test providing fair and valid feedback for the schools. All business schools and some law programs accept GRE scores during admissions. You’ll need to have at least one form of test scores to apply, such as the GRE or the GMAT.

These are fair and valid assessments that college and MBA admissions trust. These tests are products and services that measure your knowledge and skills fairly.

Business schools advance education by providing fair chances for applicants. That’s why they accept average GRE scores when linked with a really good personal essay.

What is the GRE?

Think of the GRE as a tougher version of the SAT. Where many students took an entrance exam to get into a bachelor’s program, the GRE is specifically for test-takers looking into graduate school. This particular test is taken by students from all over the world for both business and other graduate programs.

The GRE features questions that are closely related to the kind of thinking that will be expected of you in business or law school. The three sections for the GRE are:

  • Verbal Reasoning - This portion measures how one can pull information from a text. You’ll be given questions about the main idea, vocabulary, and author’s point of view.
  • Quantitative Reasoning - This portion measures one’s math reasoning skills. The math section asks you to answer questions related to basic algebra and some more complex geometry concepts. To be able to ace this part you should closely follow a good GRE math study guide.
  • Analytical Writing - This portion measures your ability to write about complex ideas. Can you answer a prompt succinctly and by using relevant reasons and examples?

Each section is given a GRE score of 130-170 or 0-6 in the case of the writing portion. Most of the top business schools accept a range of GRE scores.

GRE and Business School

A teacher using a laptop on a table

Now that we know a bit more about the GRE general test, let’s discuss the relationship between the GRE and MBA programs of other business schools.

How Important is the GRE?

Getting into graduate or business school will require more than just good undergraduate grades. You’ll need more than just strong academic skills to succeed in a master’s program.

Most MBA programs looked for effective letters of recommendations and a convincing personal statement. So how do the top business schools see the GRE? Do they find it important? Let’s take a deeper look.

Many test-takers fear that an average GRE score will tank their chances of getting into some of the top MBA programs. But the good news is this: the GRE doesn’t play as significant a role as you might assume.

The first thing to remember is that when applying to a graduate school of business they will be looking at all parts of the test equally. So, having a low or average GRE score in one area can be balanced out with another.

When taking the GRE, don’t stress, and remind yourself that the admissions office of places like Harvard Business School will be looking at more than just your GRE Verbal score or your GRE Quantitative score. Average GRE scores are not the end of the world!

You can visit the following link to learn more about the importance of GRE tests.

What’s an Average GRE Score?

When you take the GRE, you should have an MBA program or business school in mind. This is due to the fact that many schools have different average GRE scores for their particular program. The top business schools have applicants with higher GRE scores than a middle-of-the-road school of business.

Most test-takers have a GRE score around 150-152 on both the Verbal and the Quantitative portions. However, if you are wanting to get into a good school of management or MBA program, you’ll need to aim for at least 160. An average GRE score might not be enough for some of the top MBA programs in the country.

“Any path you take, if you commit with passion you can be successful. By going to business school, certain opportunities may open up to you sooner. But it's who you are and how you take advantage of your opportunities that matter.”

 

- Dan Rosensweig, President and CEO of Chegg.

Top Business Schools Ranked

Here’s a list of the top 10 business schools in the United States of America and the corresponding GRE verbal and quantitative scores you’ll need to gain entry. These are the average GRE scores for their particular programs.

  1. Wharton UPenn: 163 Verbal and 162 Quant
  2. Harvard Business School: 165 Verbal and 163 Quant
  3. Stanford: 165 Verbal and Quant
  4. Dartmouth: 163 Verbal and 161 Quant
  5. UC - Berkeley: 165 Verbal and 164 Quant
  6. Yale: 165 Verbal and 163 Quant
  7. Michigan Ross: 161 Verbal and 159 Quant
  8. Duke: 161 Verbal and 159 Quant
  9. Virginia Darden: 164 Verbal and Quant
  10. Cornell: 160 Verbal and Quant

Do Some Schools Prefer the GMAT?

It’s important to know that the GRE isn’t the only test in town. The GMAT is a trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council and was specifically developed for business schools.

GMAC creates products to advance quality testing. Their product and services measure knowledge and skills, promote learning, and are highly researched.

Unlike the GRE, the GMAT scores range from 200-800. If you have strong quantitative and analytical skills then the GMAT is for you. Prior to 2015, most business schools gravitated towards the GMAT.

However, more and more business schools are looking for applicants with more diverse backgrounds giving you the option to take the GRE instead. Which test you decide on will depend on the school you want to attend and what they require for admissions.

You can read our post on GRE vs GMAT if you wish to learn more.

3 Takeaways from GRE Scores

A table with a test paper on it

When looking at the scores, GRE and GMAT, certain things begin to pop out that are important to note. Let’s take a look at the three main takeaways.

More and more individuals looking to further their education are choosing a business school. That means the application progress is becoming quite competitive with a GRE or GMAT score that used to be acceptable now being too low.

Open up the ETS website in a new window, and you’ll find that they have dozens of tests a month and people taking the test from all over the world. You’ll also find that the average GRE scores are constantly fluctuating with each new acceptance class. [1]

2. Higher Verbal than Quantitative Scores

You might have noticed that schools are accepting students with higher verbal than quant scores. Verbal skills promote learning in students that will carry over into all other areas.

Someone who excels in analytical reasoning will catch on quickly to a variety of topics. A couple of valid assessment research found that a higher verbal score correlated to a higher success rate in a graduate program.

You might have noticed that a university from your state didn’t make our list of top 10. The criteria of a top business program vary, and it all depends on what you are looking for.

These particular universities were chosen because they support education and professional development and measure knowledge and skills in distinct ways. Many business programs at state universities are great and still require an average quant score to get in. GRE scores were not the only factor considered in these rankings.

What Happens if You Score Low?

Sad female student with her thumbs down as she is not satisfied with her GRE score

Bad days happen, and you might come away with a lower quant score than you expected which brought down your overall composite. Maybe compared to other GRE scores, yours is somewhat below. It’s okay!

You can take the test again, and you won’t be the only one. Roughly 25% of GRE test-takers will sit twice for the assessment.

You could also start focusing more of your energy on the other parts of the application process.

Create a profile with standout community service and work experiences, as well as, a top-notch personal essay. A strong application is more than just GRE scores.

Final Thoughts

Applying to graduate programs can be nerve-racking with so many MBA options before you and having to reach a goal score. However, we recommend taking a step back and thinking about why you are choosing a business school.

Is it because your current job likes to promote learning and performance? Or to learn more about research and related services for your job?

Many working individuals go back to school for education and professional development. Knowing the why behind your decision will give you confidence as you sit for the GRE or GMAT.

References:

  1. https://www.ets.org/gre

About the author

Aria Miller

Aria Miller

Aria had a keen eye for details since she was a small child. It comes as no surprise that she’s chosen to pursue a career as a professional editor. She is very passionate about helping others achieve their full potential, which is one more reason she enjoys helping young people prepare for their exams.

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