Since the Computer Science GRE exam was dropped, I have to take the normal GRE exam (sighs). I've looked at a few sample questions, and it's something I'm just not good at. I have a Bachelors in Computer Science with a 3.1 GPA (out of 4.0) I have two core questions:

  1. How well do I have to do to get accepted into most decent universities for a Masters in Computer Science?

  2. What is the best way to study and practice for GRE exams for a C.S. major?

UPDATE (02/18/2015):

I got my scores in for GRE. Verbal: 153, Quantitative: 160, Essays: 4.0. I'm not sure how good this is or not yet.

I studied for about 4 months. First 2 months it was little studying every week. The third month was studying every other everyday. The first 2 weeks of the 4th month studying everyday. The last 2 weeks were heavy studying.

  • Mysterious downvoter, why? Jul 22, 2014 at 14:27
  • 1
    try looking at thegradcafe's list of acceptance and rejection and gauge from that.
    – virmaior
    Aug 19, 2014 at 10:46

2 Answers 2


It's very good that you realize that the types of problems featured in the GRE are weaknesses for you. Now the challenge is how you deal with these weaknesses.

There are many GRE prep books and even software. There are teacher-guided courses. You should buy one or more and commit serious time over three months to prepare. Don't buy any that promise to give you "secrets to success" or "short cuts".

Most graduate schools publish the average GRE scores of their grad students. I think I found them in directories of grad schools, though some post them on their web sites, often under "FAQ" or "Prospective Students". If you are much below the average GRE, especially Math, then you should reconsider grad school or maybe apply to different schools.

But, most important, if you don't want to put the time and effort into improving your GRE, then it's probably a good sign that you aren't ready for grad school. If you want to get into a good grad school and do well there, you can't coast through without studying or working hard.

  • Thank for the advice early on. I took some time away from considering grad school before starting to take it more seriously. Feb 18, 2015 at 17:43
  1. How well do you have to do on the GRE? That depends entirely on how much weight the admissions committee gives to GRE scores. Some universities may not really care. Others may use GRE's as part of the screening process. Universities have not adopted a universal policy as to how GRE scores should figure into admission decisions.

  2. It doesn't matter if you are a CS major or any other major -- general principles of good study techniques for the GRE hold true for everybody. If you are an independent learning who is self-motivated and skilled at structuring your own study, then you can probably just get some good test prep books. If you need more structure, then you might benefit from paying for a course.

  • I actually never really studied for my classes. I was slacking a bit early on, then when I started taking it seriously life started acting up. I would review notes here and there and that would be usually good enough. GREs seem a bit less content involved and some what more reading/writing/logic skills involved.. Jun 17, 2014 at 1:16

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