I am applying to pure math grad school for Ph.D. this fall (usually top 20-25).

I just took my GRE test and found out that my Quantitative score for General GRE is 156. I am not sure about the percentile yet for this particular exam, but this is typically around 64th percentile among GRE test-takers.

Thus, if I want to present strong applications to math grad schools like UT Austin, UCLA, Columbia, Ohio State is the quantitative score enough?

The rest of my application is decent with about (3.7 gpa), research and publication. However I scored in the lower end of 600 for math gre. As you can tell I have high anxiety before such tests but I would like to avoid bringing up this point in my application as I am sure that the admission committee sees reason like this on its applications a lot.

  • Are you applying to masters or PhD programs? Applied or pure mathematics?
    – ff524
    Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 20:53
  • @OswaldVeblen: Would you please be able to post a link of the answer? I have tried to search for general gre quantitative scores for math grad school but didnt come up with any results
    – user104221
    Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 20:57
  • @ff524: It is for pure math Ph.D.
    – user104221
    Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 20:58
  • Related: academia.stackexchange.com/q/13678/19607
    – Kimball
    Commented Nov 26, 2016 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


Unsurprisingly, mathematics PhD applicants are rumored to have very high GRE general test quantitative scores.

I found a few links by web search where PhD programs list the average GRE scores for their students. (Everyone, please feel free to edit this to add more.)

These sites all show average quantitative GRE score is in the high 160s, which corresponds to about the 90th percentile (which was around 795 out of 800 on the old scale). So, if these statistics are accurate, the rumors are true.

Now, for the more personal side of the question. You asked if the scores are "enough". Most schools have no firm minimum score. If you have sufficiently good credentials, you can overcome the low GRE score. What you will need, certainly, are very good letters of recommendation.

I would include a statement about anxiety in your personal statement, because even if the committee has heard it before, they haven't heard it from you.

You may also want to make sure you have diversified your applications: don't just apply to top-25 departments. There are a lot of perfectly fine schools lower in the rankings, which may not be as broadly strong but which may be strong in particular areas of interest to you.

  • Thanks for the stats. If possible I will try to retake the test. Would you recommend including about anxiety in my personal statement or should I let one of my recommenders know and ask him if he can mention it in the recommendation?
    – user104221
    Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 23:20
  • 1
    I think that is up to you, but it is very appropriate to put it in your personal statement. My thought is that the committee will not be able to even think about taking it into account if you don't mention it. If you do mention it, you can't guarantee how much it will matter, but I don't think it will count against you given the test score. The fundamental situation is: if your test scores match their averages, then they don't help or hurt your application, but if they are lower than average you want other aspects of the application to be stronger to compensate. Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 23:26

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