290 GRE Score – Is 290 a Good GRE Score?

Wondering where a 290 GRE Score stands in the admissions race? Let’s clear your uncertainty.

  • Understanding the GRE Scoring System: Comprehend how scores are broken down across the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing sections.
  • Scoring Implications of a 290 GRE: Get a grasp of the acceptance possibilities for various programs with a score of 290.
  • Re-evaluating a 290 GRE Score: Insight on whether to keep or cancel your score, and strategies for improvements.

Knowing where your 290 GRE score fits in the greater picture is the key to planning out your academic journey.

Understanding the GRE Scoring Scale: From 260 to 340

The GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, is a critical milestone in the path to graduate school entry, with a unique scoring scale from 260 to 340. Before we delve into the specifics of a 290 GRE score, it’s essential to understand how this scoring system works.

The Scoring Breakdown

The GRE score comprises three sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Each section is scored differently, and these scores are combined to formulate your composite GRE score.

  1. Verbal Reasoning: The Verbal Reasoning section assesses your ability to understand, interpret, and analyze various types of written material. Each question carries equal weight, contributing to a final score between 130 and 170, in one-point increments.
  2. Quantitative Reasoning: The Quantitative Reasoning section evaluates your proficiency in mathematical concepts coupled with problem-solving skills. Similar to the Verbal section, your performance garners a score between 130 and 170.
  3. Analytical Writing: Different from the other sections, the Analytical Writing section measures your capacity to write analytically, evaluating the core of an argument. This section is graded on a scale of 0 to 6, in half-point increments.

Significance of Section Scores

Each program has a different emphasis on each section. For instance:

  • Humanities & Social Sciences Programs: Higher emphasis on Verbal Reasoning and Analytical Writing.
  • STEM Programs: Quantitative Reasoning scores are given more prominence.

Being familiar with the structure of GRE scoring will guide you towards a focused preparation strategy, keeping in mind the demands of your prospective programs.

Is 290 a Good GRE Score?

After familiarizing yourself with the GRE scoring structure, you may ask, Is a 290 a good GRE score? The answer to this question is complex, relying on multiple factors such as the average GRE scores, the percentile ranking, and specifics of the programs you are interested in.

Comparing to Averages

For context, the average GRE scores for Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning are 150 and 153, respectively. Therefore, a composite score of 290 falls below the average.

Percentile Ranking

Percentile rankings specify the percentage of test-takers you scored higher than. For example, a percentile rank of 90% means you scored higher than 90% of test-takers. Although the exact percentile can fluctuate, a 290 GRE score typically falls below the 25th percentile. Depending on your aspirations, this low percentile may categorize a 290 score as less than ideal.

Program Requirements

Evaluating a GRE score as “good” or “bad” is highly dependent on your target programs’ requirements. Therefore, a 290 GRE score could be satisfactory for some programs, while others may demand higher scores.

Is 290 a Bad GRE Score?

Labeling a 290 GRE score as “bad” is subjective, dependant on the parameters you’re considering. Here’s some context to assist in this evaluation.

Two-fold Analysis

A 290 GRE score equates to approximately 145 points in the Verbal section and 145 in the Quantitative section. Comparatively, this rests below the 25th percentile for both sections, typically considered lower than desirable.


While achieving a 290 score might disappoint some test-takers, it’s crucial to remember that a GRE score alone doesn’t deem you eligible or ineligible for a program. Various elements like GPAs, recommendation letters, and personal statements significantly impact your chances of acceptance.

How Hard Is it to Get a 290 GRE Score?

With an understanding of the GRE scoring and the implications of a 290 score, let’s explore the level of effort needed to achieve a 290 GRE score.

Study Plan

Acquiring a 290 GRE score necessitates a robust study plan tailored to your strengths, weaknesses, and the requirements of your target programs. Typically, at least 1-3 months of dedicated test preparation is advocated for, with 2-4 hours of daily studying.

Individual Proficiency

Securing a 290 may be easier or harder depending on your current proficiency levels.

  • Verbal Reasoning proficiency: If you’re already comfortable with verbal reasoning, sharpening your skills for the GRE could demand less time and effort.
  • Quantitative Reasoning proficiency: An existing foundation in quantitative reasoning will affect how hard it is for you to garner the needed points in this section.

In essence, achieving a 290 GRE score demands dedication, a clear study plan, and consistent effort, tailored to individual strengths.

Can You Get into Business School with a 290 GRE Score?

Navigating the requirements for business school entry is a challenging task. For such prospects, one must ask “Can you get into a business school with a 290 GRE score?” Here, we break down the probability and the other factors at play.

Understanding Admission Requirements

The admission process for business schools is multi-faceted. Admission committees consider other aspects, along with GRE scores, such as:

  1. Undergraduate Academic Performance: Your undergraduate GPA is a significant parameter.
  2. Work Experience: Relevant work history could potentially give you an edge.
  3. Personal Statements: Laying out your motivation for choosing a specific course or program can make your application stand out.
  4. Letters of Recommendation: Strong endorsements from academic advisors, professors, or employers validate your qualifications and potential.

A 290 score might make cracking the top business schools a tough task, but it does not mean it’s impossible. Gauge the average GRE scores of accepted students in your target schools to get an idea.

School Rankings and 290 GRE Scores

Renowned business schools generally display higher median GRE scores. For such programs, a score of 290 may be less competitive. However, not all schools are created equal. If your prospective school is not ranked in the global top 50, a 290 score might not be a severe obstacle.

While a high GRE score can significantly impact your chances of admission, it is not the sole determinant. So, a 290 GRE score does not automatically close off your opportunities to attend business school.

Should You Cancel a 290 GRE Score?

The potential to cancel your score plays a pivotal role in your GRE strategy. You may consider canceling a lower score such as 290, but it is important to weigh all aspects.

Before Canceling Your Score

Before canceling a GRE score, you need to be aware of factors such as:

  • Timing and Retesting: GRE allows retests at specific intervals (21 days between tests, capped at five times in a calendar year). Be sure to manage your time adeptly if you decide to retake the exam.
  • Test Score Improvement: Re-evaluating your study strategies and possibly investing in lackluster areas might help boost your scores.
  • Cancellation Implications: One cancellation leaves a lasting mark on your GRE score reports, ensuring that you cannot completely erase a low score.

Review your preparation strategy and consider all the factors involved before making a decision to prevent any regret in the future.

Tips to Improve Your 290 GRE Score

While a 290 GRE score may provide a decent starting point, ample room for improvement still exists. Let’s delve into strategies to inflate this score to a more competitive level.

Crafting a Personalized Study Plan

Building an effective study plan is the first step towards improving your score. A study plan should include:

  • Subject-Specific Strategies: Cater your approach based on the section. For instance, the Quantitative Reasoning section calls for rigorous math practice, while the Verbal Reasoning section requires an extensive vocabulary.
  • Time Management: Design a daily study schedule focused on your goal score, current proficiency, and the time until your next test.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Regular practice tests can give you a realistic estimate of your GRE score. They provide an opportunity to:

  • Identify Strengths and Weaknesses: Pinpoint areas to focus on before the test day.
  • Mock Test Experience: Familiarize yourself with the exam’s time constraints, structure, and types of questions.

Learning from Mistakes

Reviewing incorrect answers in practice tests is as vital as taking the tests in the first place. It allows you to:

  • Reflect on Your Mistakes: Understand where you went wrong in your problem-solving process.
  • Avoid Repetition: Use your mistakes as a learning tool to avoid repeating them on the actual test.

Remember, consistent study and preparation are crucial to improving your 290 GRE score.

290 GRE Score to GMAT

You might be curious about how a 290 GRE score translates to a GMAT equivalent. This conversion can help you assess your position if you are considering or comparing both tests.

GMAT Equivalency

Adopting the official GMAT to GRE conversion chart, a 290 GRE score roughly translates into a GMAT score of 390.


Your GMAT score plays a pivotal role in the decision-making process for business school admissions. A 390 GMAT score is quite below the average score of 570 for admitted candidates. Nevertheless, several prominent B-Schools have a wide GMAT score range and consider other factors such as work experience, leadership qualities, and extracurricular achievements.

By converting your GRE score to a GMAT equivalent, you gain a better understanding of where you fall against other applicants.

GRE Scores 260 to 340


Conclusion: Embracing Your GRE Score & Planning Your Business School Journey

Scoring a 290 on the GRE should not deter you from your quest for higher education. Plenty of students scale from the 200s to 300+ scores with a well-rounded study plan coupled with steady persistence.

Remember, your GRE score is not the lone determinant of your admission to a business school. The admissions committee looks beyond your score to gauge if you’re a good fit for their programs. Actively leverage other factors such as a strong SOP, relevant work experience, and contributions to the community to make your application robust.

Navigating your journey with a 290 GRE score involves prudence—keep your score if it aligns with your target program, retake the GRE if you’re confident in improving, and lastly, embrace where you stand currently. As the adage reminds us, persistence is key.

Best of luck!