310 GRE Score: Is This Good? What Schools Can You Get Into?

Getting an amazing GRE score can feel like winning the lottery. But what exactly is a good GRE score? Is 310 a good GRE score? Also, what kinds of programs can you get into with this score?

In this article, we go over how good a 310 GRE score is by analyzing percentiles and the average GRE scores of popular grad programs. We also explain how important it is to get a 310 GRE score and what steps you can take to increase your chances of getting (or possibly surpassing!) this score.

Feature Image: Frank Roche/Flickr

 

GRE Score 310: Is It Good or Bad?

First off, is 310 a good GRE score?

The reality is that most grad programs don’t look at your total GRE score but rather your individual Verbal and Quantitative scores. As a result, how good a 310 GRE score is will depend primarily on two factors:

Percentiles tell us what percentage of test takers you scored higher than on a particular GRE section. A higher percentile means you did better than most test takers, whereas a lower percentile means most test takers did better than you. Percentiles for the Verbal, Quant, and Analytical Writing (AW) sections of the GRE vary just a little each year with new tests and test takers.

How your section scores add up to a total GRE score of 310 can vary widely. For example, you could get 160 on Verbal and 150 on Quant, 158 on Verbal and 152 on Quant, etc.

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Typically, you’ll want to aim for a higher score on the section that’s more important to your field of study. In other words, Verbal scores are more important for reading- and writing-oriented programs, such as literature and history, whereas Quant scores are more important for math- and science-based programs, such as physics and economics. (We’ll go over this idea in more detail later.)

Now, what are the current GRE percentiles? Below is a table containing a 10-point range of GRE scores that are most likely to add up to a total score of 310, along with their corresponding percentiles:

Score Verbal Percentile Quant Percentile
160 86 74
159 83 72
158 80 68
157 76 65
156 73 61
155 69 58
154 65 54
153 61 50
152 56 46
151 52 42
150 47 38

Source: ETS GRE General Test Interpretative Data

As you can see, Verbal percentiles here range from the 47th to the 86th percentile, and Quant percentiles range from the 38th to the 74th percentile.

You might’ve noticed that Verbal percentiles are consistently higher than Quant percentiles for the same scores. This is due to the fact that more test takers tend to score highly on Quant than they do on Verbal, making Quant a more competitive test section. In other words, to get the same percentile on both Quant and Verbal, you’d need to score more points on Quant than you would on Verbal.

In terms of what’s generally considered a “good” GRE score, any score above the 50th percentile (median) is good, and anything above the 75th percentile is great. If we use this definition for a good GRE score, we see that most scores listed above would likely be considered good GRE scores. Additionally, a score of 157 or higher on Verbal and a score higher than 164 on Quant can be considered great scores.

Percentiles aren’t everything, though—in fact, what a graduate program wants in terms of GRE scores will be far more important than any general percentile will be.

 

How you envision the admissions committee reacting to your totally awesome application.

 

GRE Score 310: What Are Your Chances of Admission?

Knowing what kinds of GRE scores your programs want or expect is critical to giving yourself your best chance at getting accepted. What you’ll want to do, then, is find the average GRE scores of admitted applicants for each program you’re applying to.

If a program’s average GRE score is around 310, getting this score will make you a competitive applicant. If, on the other hand, a program’s average is higher—such as 315 or 320—you’ll want to get a score higher than 310 to make yourself more competitive and increase your chances of getting in. Finally, if a program’s average GRE score is below 310—such as 305 or 300—you’ll still have a great shot at getting accepted, even if you score a little lower than 310.

Check out our in-depth guide to learn more about how to set a GRE goal score based on the programs you’re applying to.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at some examples of just how competitive a 310 GRE score really is. The tables below are divided into three categories:

  • (1) Target schools—programs for which you’d be competitive with a 310 GRE score
  • (2) Reach schools—programs for which you’d need a GRE score higher than 310 to be competitive
  • (3) Safety schools—programs you’d have a very good chance of getting into with a 310 GRE score

 

Target Schools

School / Program Average GRE Score
University of Alabama at Birmingham — Nutrition Sciences PhD 310
NYU — School of Professional Studies 310 (recommended)
UT Dallas — Naveen Jindal School of Management 310
University of Iowa — Biomedical Engineering 310 (recommended)
University of Michigan, Dearborn — Industrial and Systems Engineering PhD 310 (recommended)
Louisiana State — Psychology 310
UNC Greensboro — MBA, Early Career Professional 310

 

Reach Schools

School / Program Average GRE Score
University of Florida — Biology >312
Arizona State — Geography MA 312
Colorado State — Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) 312
USC — Master of Public Policy (MPP) 313 (median)
Boston University — MBA 313
Tulane — Biomedical Sciences 313
University of South Florida — Cognition, Neuroscience, and Social Psychology PhD 315

 

Safety Schools

School / Program Average GRE Score
University of Houston — Computer Science 305 (recommended)
Elon University — Doctor of Physical Therapy 305
Texas A&M — Marketing MS 305
University of Georgia — Horticulture PhD 307

 

So, really, how important is getting a 310 GRE score? More important than holding this sign, I can tell you that.

 

How Important Is Getting a 310 GRE Score?

How important getting a 310 GRE score is will depend mostly on what programs you’re applying to.

Some programs, especially very competitive and highly ranked ones, will place a lot of emphasis on GRE scores during the admissions process. Why? The more competitive a grad program is, the more factors it will need to consider in order to effectively evaluate applicants and make admissions decisions.

So if one of the programs you’re applying to has a 310 GRE score average and is well ranked or highly selective (or both), you’ll definitely want to get at least a 310. Not hitting this cutoff could severely reduce your chances of getting admitted since you likely won’t be perceived as being on par with other applicants.

Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for master’s programs to place slightly more emphasis on GRE scores than doctoral programs do. This is likely because doctoral programs often evaluate applicants more on their relevant research and work experience, whereas master’s applicants—usually with far less experience in their fields—are evaluated more on standardized test scores and other application factors.

It’s also important to note that for some grad programs, such as MFA programs, GRE scores usually aren’t required or aren’t given huge consideration. Some of these programs even outright state that they don’t give much attention to GRE scores during the admissions process. So even if you got a “low” GRE score, as long as you have a strong portfolio, transcript, statement of purpose, etc., your odds of getting in should still be pretty good.

Another factor you’ll want to consider is which GRE section will be more relevant to the field you plan to enter. Most programs will focus more on one GRE score—Verbal or Quant—with many programs not paying any attention to the less relevant score, no matter how low or high it might be. Generally, Verbal scores are more important for programs in the arts, humanities, and social sciences; Quant scores are more important for STEM programs.

For example, a well ranked English MA program would likely prefer high Verbal scores and at least average Quant scores than it would the opposite. Therefore, scoring something like 160 on Verbal and 150 on Quant (adding up to 310) would look better than scoring 155 on both Verbal and Quant (also adding up to 310).

 

How to Score 310 on the GRE

In order to score 310 on the GRE, you’ll need to first come up with a foolproof GRE study plan that’s tailored to your weaknesses. You already know what your goal score is (310), so all you need to do is find your baseline score (that is, the score you start out with before doing any test prep). To find this score, simply take an official GRE practice test.

Once you have your baseline score, it’s time to calculate roughly how many hours you’ll need to study for the GRE so you can hit your goal score on test day. The following table can help give you a rough idea of how many hours you’ll need to study based on the total point improvement you wish to make.

Note: The point improvements listed below are for the GRE as a whole and not per section. So if you studied 80 hours to improve 10 points, you could wind up raising your Verbal score 8 points and your Quant score 2 points, or your Verbal score 4 points and your Quant score 6 points (and so on).

Total Point Improvement # of Study Hours
5 points 40 hours
10 points 80 hours
20 points 160 hours
30 points 240 hours

Next, divide the number of hours you’ll need to study by the number of weeks you have before your GRE test date. Doing this will give you the approximate number of hours you’ll need to study for the GRE per week.

For example, if I’m planning to study a total of 40 hours over the course of two months (eight weeks), I would be studying five hours per week (40 hours / 8 weeks = 5 hrs/week).

As you study, make sure you’re doing everything you can to hit your target score of 310. Here are some of our top GRE study tips to get you going:

  • Get familiar with the GRE test format: Knowing the general structure of the GRE, such as what kinds of questions and content you’ll face on it, will let you feel more self-assured and prepared on test day.
  • Study with high-quality resources: Prepping effectively for the GRE isn’t just about studying consistently but also using the right materials. You can’t go wrong with official GRE resources and highly rated prep books.
  • Know whether Verbal or Quant is more important: As mentioned above, most grad programs will strongly value one section score over the other. If you’re aiming for 310 on the GRE, instead of simply aiming for 155 on both Verbal and Quant, spend a little more time prepping for the section more relevant to your field.

If you’re hoping to score even higher than 310, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Take time to closely analyze your mistakes: You can’t expect to raise your score if you don’t understand what kinds of mistakes are holding you back. Go over your practice tests and questions to figure out where you’re going wrong and how you can change your approach on test day.
  • Target your weaknesses: There’s no point in studying primarily the areas you’re already good at since doing this won’t raise your GRE score. Instead, figure out the specific skills and question types you struggle with the most and then drill these more often.

 

Good luck on the GRE! Here’s a ladybug for some extra luck.

 

What’s Next?

A 310 is a good GRE score—but maybe you want to aim even higher for your programs. Get tips on how you can reach a 320 GRE score as well as a 330 GRE score.

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What’s a good GRE score in general? And what are the current GRE percentiles? Our expert guides will tell you everything you need to know about how your GRE score compares with those of other test takers.


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Author: Hannah Muniz

Hannah graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in English and East Asian languages and cultures. After graduation, she taught English in Japan for two years via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.

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