A postgraduate degree can be highly beneficial in your professional career.
But, before getting the degree, you need to pass the standardized exam called the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). A high GRE score can make or break your graduate school applications. Many students want to know how to get a perfect GRE score.
I’ve been helping thousands of students get ready for the GRE and enroll in the grad school of their dreams for a decade.
Today I’ll share my tips and tricks so you too can have a perfect GRE score.
Summary of the Key Findings
- The perfect GRE score is 340.
- Having a perfect GRE score can help you get into your #1 school and increase the chances of getting a scholarship.
- Several techniques and strategies can help you get a perfect GRE score.
What Is a Perfect Score on the GRE?
There are three sections on the GRE:
- Quantitative reasoning: 130 to 170 points
- Verbal Reasoning: 130 to 170 points
- Analytical Writing: 0 to 6 points
On the quant and verbal sections, each point is counted in increments of 1.
But, in the analytical writing sections, the points are counted in increments of 0.5.
The perfect score for all three sections is 340.
An important thing to note is that GRE scores are scaled and correspond to a percentile rank.
This means your GRE score is compared to the score of other test-takers.
“Featuring question types that closely reflect the kind of thinking you'll do in today's demanding graduate-level programs, the GRE General Test lets you show schools you are ready to succeed.” ETS
There’s a difference in percentile ranks in quant and verbal sections.
A 170 scaled score is 99th percentile on the verbal section, but 97th percentile for quant.
A scaled 6 on analytical writing is also 99th percentile.
There are several advantages to having a perfect GRE score:
- You’ll stand out to the graduate school admissions committee — A perfect verbal, analytical writing, and quant score is something very few students manage to get, so this can significantly increase your admission chances.
- Better chances of getting a scholarship — Grad school is more likely to offer you funding if you get a perfect score.
You can get into the most elite schools - The most elite schools such as Harvard, MIT, and similar may expect you to get a perfect score.
Also Read: What GRE Score Do You Need for Harvard?
Tips for Getting a Perfect GRE Score:
Here are some tips that can help you get a perfect score.
Don’t underestimate the value of motivation. The highest GRE score needs a lot of preparation, which may negatively influence how motivated you are.
Preparation for getting perfect GRE scores is tedious and time-consuming.
You’ll have to be consistent in your study and stay focused.
My best advice to stay motivated is to be completely determined to get it and not think it would be nice if it happens.
Visualization is your best friend. Think about what you’ll be able to accomplish with a perfect or near-perfect score, such as getting into your dream graduate school or getting a scholarship.
Make this your motivation through difficult study times.
2. Adequate Practice Materials
Be careful which practice materials you choose. The internet is flooded with GRE prep, but not all of them are sufficient to help you get the highest score on the GRE.
Also, a bad quality GRE material can be counterproductive and prevent you from getting the perfect score.
Check out the practice tests and practice questions from the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
This is the best material as this is the institution in charge of the GRE .
ETS prep material will give you a picture of what you can expect on the actual exam.
You will also be familiar with how the exam is worded.
If you’re familiar with what the GRE exam looks like, you’ll have a higher chance of getting the perfect score on the test day.
Apart from ETS materials, you can also use material from some of the most reputable test prep schools.
My favorite is Magoosh, as it’s very affordable compared to other test preps, and you’ll get the most for your money.
3. Make a Study Plan
A crucial part of GRE prep is making a study plan. If you don’t have a study plan but just dive straight in, you’ll probably end up feeling overwhelmed, and you won’t cover every aspect of the exam.
When making a study plan, think about how much time you have or how long you want to study.
The general rule is the longer you study, the higher score you’ll have.
Avoid cramming a week before the test day.
Also, think about your current knowledge level. Take a practice test and make a study plan based on your score.
Dedicate time to improving the weak areas.
4. Work on Your Weak Areas
Identifying your weak areas can have several benefits:
- Knowing what area you struggle with the most will help you know where you are most likely to go wrong on the actual GRE. This way, you’ll know where to be extra careful.
- Knowing your weak areas will also help you not miss questions.
- Once you know your weak points, you can work on them and not repeat the same errors on test day.
Another piece of advice I give my students is to know their weak areas and specifically which questions they make a mistake on.
For example, do you feel pressured by time?
Do different answer choices throw you off? Are you making careless errors due to messy handwriting or feeling stressed?
Analyze your mistakes in-depth until you spot a pattern and stop making more mistakes.
5. Know How Many Wrong Answers You Can Give
To get a perfect GRE score, you can’t make many mistakes. Approach the test believing there’s no margin for error and that you have to answer every question correctly at the test center.
To get the highest verbal score, you can get none or one question wrong. In other words, you’ll have to answer every question in the GRE verbal reasoning section without leaving any blank.
As there are 20 questions and 2 sections, you’ll have to spend about a minute and a half on each GRE verbal question.
GRE quant, or GRE math, is even more strict. You have to answer every single quantitative comparison question correctly to get a perfect quant score.
There are also 40 questions, and you’ll have about a minute and 45 seconds per question on the quantitative section.
Finally, you’ll have to write an excellent essay in the analytical writing section. It has to be free of grammar errors and coherent.
You should use advanced GRE vocabulary, active voice, and varying sentence lengths.
You should get a 6 on the first essay and 5.5 on the second, so your overall score is 6 to get a perfect score on the GRE.
6. Time Management
Knowing how to allocate time correctly is important not only when preparing for the exam but on the exam itself.
You should practice answering correctly within the given time for the specific GRE section.
Use your prep time in a smart way, and always think about if what you’re doing to get perfect scores is working or not.
Always address the mistakes you make, and gauge how much time you need to answer each question.
If you’re taking too long to answer a question, practice until you become faster.
Don’t try to finish the exam too quickly, but leave a couple of minutes at the end of each section to double-check your answers.
7. Simulate Real Test Conditions
One final piece of advice is to simulate real GRE conditions before you take the real exam.
It’s closely connected to the above section.
Set out a day when you know you won’t be interrupted, and do a full-length practice test, including the two essays.
Time the test the same way the real GRE is timed, and take breaks as you will on test day.
How Hard Is It to Get a Perfect Score on the GRE?
It’s very hard to get a perfect score on the GRE. Such scores are seen as an anomaly, and few students manage to get them.
What’s the Perfect Score on the GRE?
The perfect score on the GRE is 340.
Can You Get a Perfect GRE Score?
Getting a perfect score on the GRE is difficult but not impossible.
If you work hard, make a study plan, and do practice questions, you can get above-average scores, which will make graduate schools notice your application.
Don’t forget to simulate real test conditions and get a good night’s sleep. With a lot of work and a little bit of good luck, you can have a perfect score and ace your college admissions.
To get a perfect GRE score, check out our list of the 8 best GRE prep courses.
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