Average GRE Scores At The Top 50 U.S. MBA Programs

Yale School of Management added 2 points to its combined average GRE score in 2021 to tie Stanford for highest score. Photo by Harold Shapiro

No. 1-ranked Stanford GSB and No. 10-ranked Yale SOM were 1-2 in combined GRE average score in 2020, but they share the crown in 2021, each with 330. Harvard Business School was third with 326. Stanford and Yale were the only schools to report a 165 average in the Quant portion of the test, for which 170 is a perfect score (Kellogg, the only school to report medians, reported a 165 as well). Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business, ranked No. 16, and UC-Davis Graduate School of Management, ranked No. 52, reported 164 Quant averages; the lowest Quant scores were reported at UC-Irvine Merage and Miami Herbert Business School, each with 153.

In the Verbal section of the test, where 170 is also perfect, Stanford and Yale again paced all schools with 165 averages, followed by Harvard and UCLA Anderson School of Management, each with 163. The lowest Verbal score was at Pittsburgh Katz School of Business, which reported a 152.

The GRE also includes a writing portion, scored on a 0-6 scale. Stanford led all schools with a 5.1 average; the GSB was also the top school in this section of the GRE in 2020, along with Virginia Darden, both scoring 5.0. The lowest writing score in 2021 was reported at Pittsburgh Katz (3.7), while Penn State Smeal and Texas A&M Mays Business School each reported a 3.8.


Diving into the numbers a bit, it's clear that GRE scores dipped in 2020 (mirroring the effect the pandemic had on GMAT scores). In 2021, they rebounded. Eighteen of the top 25 schools reported a total score increase year-to-year, and 32 in the top 52. Comparing 2020 to 2019, the total number of schools with score increases was just 21. The biggest gain in the top 25 came at UCLA Anderson, up 10 points to 326; in the top 50, Utah Eccles, up 11 points to 317; and out of every school P&Q examined for this story, UC-Davis was up the most, 12 points to 326.

Only eight schools — and just one top 25 school — saw their GRE total average score drop from 2020 to 2021; last year, looking at 2019 to 2020, that number was 21.

An illustration of the difference a year can make: In 2020, UCLA Anderson dropped 10 points, losing 5 points off both Verbal and Quant; in 2021, Anderson gained it all back by adding 5 points each in Verbal and Quant. On the flip side, the biggest two-year decrease was a 12-point drop at UC-Irvine Merage, which fell to 310 — one year after gaining 11 points with a 6-point jump in Quant and 5-point jump in Verbal. Giveth, taketh, etc.

Across the period from 2016 to 2021, only four schools have seen their combined GRE score drop, while 19 of 52 have seen increases, with an average gain 3.7 points, including 11 schools in top 25 (average gain: 2.9 points). Last year only 10 schools could claim to have grown their GRE average across the previous five years. Only 14 schools — and just four in the top 25 — lost ground over the last six years, with the biggest drop-off coming at UC-Irvine Merage, which declined 6 points in that span to 310.

In 2020, the number of schools that could claim to be up in both a two- and six-year window was just eight; in 2021, it was 15.

See pages 4-5 for more granular GRE score data.


In a reversal from 2020, more schools are reporting higher Quant scores than Verbal in their GRE averages. Twenty-four schools, and 11 of the top 25, had higher Quant than Verbal scores; only 10 schools, and four in the top 25, had higher Verbal scores. Fifteen schools, and 10 in the top 25, had the same score in each. In 2020, schools with higher Verbal scores had the lopsided advantage, with 23 in that boat and only nine in the Quant ship. (A similar number of schools had the same scores in each portion: 16.)

The biggest disparity between Verbal and Quant scores came at Pittsburgh Katz, which reported a 158 Quant and a 152 Verbal. CMU Tepper reported a 164 Quant and 159 Verbal, similar to 2020 when it was 163-158.

Some interesting changes in scores at the B-schools with the biggest year-over-year jump in the percentage of submissions:

  • Utah Eccles +28 points to 40%: Score up 11 point to 317
  • Florida Warrington +17 points to 62%: Score up 3 to 313
  • Wisconsin +15 points to 30%: Score up 1 to 313
  • Penn State Smeal +14 points to 33%: Score up 2 to 313

See the next pages for data from 2016 to 2021 on GRE scores, submission rates, and trends at the top 52 U.S. MBA programs.


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