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What score/percentile is considered "good" in the subject GRE?

anonamousanonamous Posts: 894Registered User Member
edited November 2010 in Graduate School
I just received my score on the Computer Science subject GRE:

790, 78th percentile, 50 correct, 13 incorrect and 7 omit.

This is much lower than what I had expected to get; I was very dissappointed when I got these scores. Is this considered good enough for Masters at top programs (Stanford, Berkeley, etc.)?

I also have a general GRE score of 410V, 800M, 4.0W. But my letters of recommendation are quite good and so are my grades.
Post edited by anonamous on

Replies to: What score/percentile is considered "good" in the subject GRE?

  • luce373luce373 Posts: 56Registered User Junior Member
    I think it depends on the field. I have been told by my professors and a graduate admission rep that for chemistry PhD admissions (which are more strict than Masters), the majority of the top scores are international students because curricula here aren't focused on standardized tests at all. So for domestic students, 50th percentile won't keep you out of top programs and 70th percentile and above is considered very good.
  • b@r!umb@r!um Posts: 9,412Registered User Senior Member
    You might get more accurate responses from faculty in your field. The importance and use of subject test scores seems to vary quite a bit between fields. In mathematics there is a similiar sentiment that most of the top scorers are international, but some of the top graduate programs (like Berkeley) flat out say that they rarely accept students with scores below the 80th percentile. Physics seems to be more lenient for domestic applicants but equally strict for internationals. No idea about computer science.
  • ConfusedgraduateConfusedgraduate Posts: 28Registered User New Member
    I think it depends on the field. I have been told by my professors and a graduate admission rep that for chemistry PhD admissions (which are more strict than Masters), the majority of the top scores are international students because curricula here aren't focused on standardized tests at all. So for domestic students, 50th percentile won't keep you out of top programs and 70th percentile and above is considered very good.

    ^ I have always wondered how this pertains to internationals who did their undergraduate in the US? I did not do too well in my Physics GRE.
  • luce373luce373 Posts: 56Registered User Junior Member
    I'm a domestic student, so I haven't asked around about cases like that. I think it'd be worth asking your professors to see what they think about your score and whether it will be okay for your situation.
  • anonamousanonamous Posts: 894Registered User Member
    Thanks guys for your reply. Unfortunately I'm an international student (Australia) so my professors don't know much about the GRE. I emailed the admission secretary in the department that I'm applying for at Stanford; she said 78th percentile is "reasonably good" and that I wouldn't need to retake it if I have strong general GRE and GPA. However, she also said that they have a good number of people with scores in the 90th+ percentile.

    Now I just have to hope that my recommendation letters will help get me in.
  • ramgorurramgorur Posts: 11Registered User New Member
    wow 78 perc. is a very good score. How did you prepare? is it "410V" or is it a typos?
  • anonamousanonamous Posts: 894Registered User Member
    ramgorur,

    thank you for the encouragement, although I'm a bit dissappointed with my score. yes I did get 410 in the Verbal section of the general GRE, but I'm more worried about the subject score than the verbal! I'm not sure how the verbal score is looked upon in admissions, but from most people I've talked to, it seems that this is used as a cutoff in the first instance.

    by the way, did you take the subject GRE test?
  • ramgorurramgorur Posts: 11Registered User New Member
    I had a plan, but I have graduated then in 2005, I have to re-study many CS topics, specially in Automata Theory, OS, Networking, etc etc. being remote from these topic for last 4-5 yrs and I am kind of exhausted already with GRE, SOP, RECO, TOEFL, university selection, feels like I am just applying for application's sake. moreover, I dont have time now.

    another point, I have heard that subject scores can be sent after the deadline, if it is true, may be will give a shot. How did you prepared ? do you have any good link that will help as a guide ?
  • anonamousanonamous Posts: 894Registered User Member
    I think you missed the test date in November already, and the next one is in April. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    To my knowledge, there is no single book that covers all the topics require for the test. I was comfortable with most topics such as programming, algorithms, theory, math, etc... But I was weak on architecture and OS, so I went to get a book on these topics from the library.

    I prepared for the test using past test papers that I found mostly online. I can send you some test preparation materials if you need, via emai perhaps?
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