I'm applying to MS / MS-PhD programs in CS this fall.

I don't have a good GPA (2.86 on a scale of 4). I have experience as a research assistant under a professor and also a couple of good projects.

Right now I'm working as a developer, so I have around 5 months of experience. I have a GRE score of 314 on 340. I'm giving subject test to improve my chances of getting into a grad school. What score can be considered 'good'? I don't have much time to prepare and I am a little rusty on some of the topics, what is the good advice for a crash course for subject test in, say a week or so?

  • Concentrate on getting a good LoR from your job, prepare yourself in "rusty areas" (graduate school is hard), try to snoop around potential research areas and look for like-minded faculty
    – vonbrand
    Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 17:29

6 Answers 6


Sorry man, no more GRE CS test will be given :(

  • What the ****. Seriously, this hinders C.S. students chances for getting into grad school Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 21:43
  • 1
    @CyberneticTwerkGuruOrc I doubt it. I don't know anyone who has taken that subject test (CS is my field).
    – mikeazo
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 13:03
  • @mikeazo A lot of my science-majored friends had to take subject GREs because those are preferred for their school choices and degree programs. Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 13:12
  • 1
    In computer science it wasn't very common at all. I think when I was applying for schools ~2008, the CS subject test was not required for anyone who did their BS in CS in the USA (for USA based MS programs). A few schools required it for international students.
    – mikeazo
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 13:20

As @davidshen's answer points out, my answer is now moot, because the GRE subject test in computer science is no longer offered.

For most applications to strong departments, there is no good score on the GRE CS subject test; there are only bad scores. A score below the 50th percentile is a red flag, indicating significant gaps in your undergraduate CS background. (The raw score is completely meaningless to most people, even those of us who work on admissions committees; only the percentile score matters.) But graduate school is about research, not standardized tests, so no GRE score is good enough to get you accepted.

There are a few exceptional circumstances where a high GRE score actually gives some useful information.

  • As Daniel says, a score in the 90th percentile or better can partially make up for a poor GPA. (It worked for me; my GPA was worse than yours.) It's probably not enough on its own, though. (It wasn't for me.)

  • GRE scores are useful for calibrating GPAs of students from unknown schools.

On the gripping hand, many graduate programs (like mine) don't require GREs; their admissions committee may not even think to look at your GRE score unless you point it out in your statement of purpose.


Looking here it looks like the CS subject is scored out of 980, so I am not sure what test you are talking about. "Good" is a subjective term. These tests assume you have a strong background to start with, so even a low score could be considered "good". That said, if you are trying to make up for weak grades to get into a top university, anything less than 90 percentile will likely not cut it.


About the GRE General Test:

While a competitive score in the quantitative and verbal section of the GRE General Test depends on the program, here you can see the details of Duke University's graduate admissions. The average scores for the last admissions are shown in the new scale of the GRE (up to 170).

About the GRE CS Subject Test:

Here you can find some suggestions.


I do not have a good idea about the GRE subject scores but a "good" general GRE score differs from one school to another. In general it helps if you decide on which schools you plan to apply for before taking the GRE tests.

MS/PhD admission do not just rely on GRE scores. They also look at previous institutions, recommendation letters, research experience and GPA (although not in that order). For many PhD applications students often talk to the professors who they want to work with. From my personal experience students with GRE score lower than recommended can be accepted if they show promise.


Admissions at Grad schools take many things into consideration for giving admissions.There is no good or bad GRE score. With your GRE score of 314 ,you can get admission in to a top university if you impress about your research,have good LORs from Professors ,good SOP.So admissions depend up on many criteria,not just GRE, 314 is ok score, so work on building up good SOP and good LOR'S

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