Monday, November 03, 2008

Chart of the Day: GRE Scores By Academic Field

The chart above sh0ws GRE scores by graduate field (click to enlarge), ranked by the total score.

Source:
EconPhd.net, based on 2002 data.

According to GRE, the mean Verbal Reasoning score is 462 and the mean Quantitative Reasoning score is 584, for the 2004-2007 period.

30 Comments:

At 11/03/2008 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then we wonder why we have problems in educaton and public administration.

Hydra

 
At 11/03/2008 2:48 PM, Blogger Sotosoroto said...

The only reason an architecture student would want a PhD is if he planned a career in academia. I wonder how those of us architecture majors who got out of school as quickly as possible (to become a practicing architect, naturally) would score on the GRE.

 
At 11/03/2008 2:58 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Then we wonder why we have problems in educaton and public administration"...:-)

Maybe Charles Murray can explain it better...

 
At 11/03/2008 3:36 PM, Blogger Marko said...

Philosophy in da House!

 
At 11/03/2008 3:41 PM, Blogger Marko said...

It occurs to me that the cut off for voting tomorrow should be around 1700 combined, at most. Oh well, diluting the franchise helps the spread of socialism . . .

 
At 11/03/2008 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a skewed sample for business students as almost all business PhD programs (finance, accounting, marketing, and management) require the GMAT, not the GRE.

 
At 11/03/2008 6:39 PM, Blogger KauaiMark said...

I guess that bottom score explains the actions of the school administrator in this story:

Halloween drawing scares teacher
http://joannejacobs.com/2008/11/03/halloween-drawing-scares-teacher/

 
At 11/03/2008 7:33 PM, Blogger Jen said...

What I find interesting is the fact, the bottom categories are all applications that require a good balance of analytical and people skills. Meaning - you have to be good at a little bit of everything and not just one thing. A reasonable explanation?

 
At 11/04/2008 9:19 AM, Anonymous Unscripted Thoughts said...

Hmmmm...have to wonder about something. If Economics scores so well, WHY then have Economists been unable to convince the Pols the we are shooting ourselves in the foot with national policies supporting an economy based on consumption (and going into debt up to our eyeballs for more) and shuffling paper rather than making things?

 
At 11/04/2008 8:50 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Because the Economists can't communicate it so well, only scoring 10th in verbal. What they need to do is recruit the philosophers, who had the top verbal scores. Just got to wait for all those old Marxists to die off.

 
At 11/05/2008 6:44 AM, Blogger The Chinese Capitalist said...

It doesn't surprise me one bit that public administration majors score the lowest, by a wide margin. This is yet another reason why I have no faith in government, bureaucrats are the dimmest, least capable people yet they're expected to make important decisions and regulate the rest of us all? Regulators need to be smarter and more informed than the people in the industries they regulate. Unfortunately, most fail those two requirements. True, top level decision makers aren't usually public administration majors, but the fact that only a government worker of some importance would bother getting a PHD in public administration and their obvious lack of talent scares me. And the second worst scores belong to education PHD candidates, again those looking for a career in government. No wonder our educational system is such a mess.

http://chinesecapitalist.blogspot.com/

 
At 11/05/2008 7:19 AM, Blogger BGC said...

Are these the scores for people intending Medical School or Law School?

 
At 11/05/2008 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe, with a poor quantitative score, won't the philosophers just sit around talking about what they don't understand?

 
At 11/05/2008 11:49 AM, Anonymous matt said...

I took the GRE a few years ago, and I have to say that table looks pretty dubious. The analytical writing section is on a 5 point scale, not 800.

Also, the important stat is what percentage of people you beat, not your raw score. For example, I got a perfect score in quantitative, but that only beat 92% of test takers. I got a 720 in verbal and beat 98% of test takers. Thus the two raw numbers are hard to compare and a total can be misleading.

 
At 11/05/2008 12:00 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

matt: The GRE changed in late 2002, and the multiple choice analytical reasoning section was eliminated in favor of a new test of analytical writing, and the scoring was changed to a 6-point scale. The data in my chart is from 2002, before the change.

 
At 11/05/2008 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the GRE really a good measure of anything? As a chemical engineer who took both the GRE (to get into my masters chem eng program) and the GMAT more recently (for my current MBA program) I found that both of these tests mean very little to anything. They are at best 8th grade math and Freshman English.
Ironically the toughest part of the GRE math section was that I forgot how to do long division because it had been so long since I had done it.

 
At 11/05/2008 5:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many of those in the top ranked professions are Americans?

 
At 11/05/2008 11:28 PM, Anonymous bastser said...

Doesn't this just tell us something about the limitations of the GRE? It's a test that seems to consistently put people headed for the sciences on top of people studying the humanities. So what's really being tested by the GRE is capacity to be a scientist. Unless we really think that every scientist could easily make it as a historian/sociologist/etc. this is a ridiculous test. But if you think that it takes capacities to be a good historian that scientists don't have (and that certainly seems likely/obvious to me) then this test is just silly.

 
At 11/06/2008 1:54 AM, Anonymous Neil D. said...

I took the GREs 4 years ago, and I am convinced that the aggregate GRE scores are essentially meaningless. The test itself was so unremarkable that I cannot even remember what the test material was. What I think is far more significant are the GRE subject tests (the chemistry test was among the most difficult exams I've ever taken). A comparison of those, while not nearly as straightforward as the general tests, would be interesting.

 
At 11/06/2008 9:30 AM, Anonymous Alex Bensky said...

It's been a long time...a long, long time...since I took the GRE's. I have no recollection of the test matter. However, although I hadn't had a math class since tenth grade geometry I brought up my math score from 560 to 600 and despite lots of English and history courses my verbal score went down fifty points to 720. I have no idea why that happened.

For what it's worth I took it in order to apply to graduate school in history and after I figured out what the market was likely to be for a white male in American history, I turned to the dark side and went to law school

 
At 11/06/2008 11:58 AM, Blogger MensaRefugee said...

Is the GRE really a good measure of anything? As a chemical engineer who took both the GRE (to get into my masters chem eng program) and the GMAT more recently (for my current MBA program) I found that both of these tests mean very little to anything. They are at best 8th grade math and Freshman English.
-----------------------------

The point is, even at the '8th grade math and english' level - ability varies.

You dont need a test of complicated Integral Calculus, when you can extract the same information from 8th gade stuff.

In fact, you get more from the 8th grade stuff, because everyone knows the underlying theory - in the calculus - some test takes cannot be blamed for being ignorant.

 
At 11/06/2008 7:09 PM, Anonymous Thomas Browne said...

You may find it amusing to compare this chart with the one ranking fields by political correctness. Spoiler alert--it's the inverse.

 
At 11/08/2008 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, let's see if you are in one of the scientific professions then you know enough about science to know that this is simply data without an interpretation or theory. God help us if we ever really become a "data driven" society in which we think that data will tell us in some unequivocal way what to do about the world's problems. As Einstein and many before and after have noted, you still need to come up with ideas, explanations for what is going on and THEN you test. instead, we now start with data (like this table) and then assume we know what's going on. But even if you think you know what this table means consider Richard Feynman's notion that a theory should explain more than the data that led you to think of the theory in the first place.

 
At 11/09/2008 6:51 PM, Blogger Bevan said...

Isn't this a little flawed as a higher percentage of social science majors - like poli sci or sociology - take the GRE than - for example - engineering students? Only an exceptional engineering student will go on to grad school, whereas many social science majors will because they need to in order to make more money.

 
At 11/14/2008 7:28 PM, Blogger Regina said...

all i can say is whoohoo! I just got home from taking the GRE and I have a 660 in verbal and a 710 in math. I'm still waiting on the essay scores. I was curious where i stood compared to other applicants in my desired field (Nurse practitioner) and it looks like i'll be fine!

 
At 11/26/2008 9:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As to our problems in public administration and public education -- we get what we pay for.

 
At 12/06/2008 9:07 PM, Blogger G said...

I just took my GRE yesterday. I am not a believer in standardized testing in the least. Foremost, I have excellent grades from undergrad, from a very reputable institution, and solid experience. Now, I am forced to place a number next to "Verbal" and "Quantitative" and be judged accordingly. I did terrible. Did I pay for a fancy course? No. Did I have sufficient time to devote to studying? Probably not. Did I apply myself on test day? Yes. I left feeling as though I didn't accurately coach myself to beat the test and my score reflects that. I am fortunate that I am applying to a school that is relatively non-competitive and that I can make up for my scores in other ways. But seriously, what a ridiculous freaking test. It was really junior high and high school math. I would have rather had calculus. At least it is fresher in my mind.

 
At 12/12/2008 1:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Studies show that the GRE does not measure the ability of a graduate candidate to do well in a Masters or PhD program. It appears to be irrelevant. What is covered on the test has nothing to do with the skill set for graduate school. It is a hoop. By the way, I would disagree that the math on the GRE is no harder than eighth grade math. As an older grad student, I can tell you that I have never seen some of that math before. What is taught changes over time and the GRE is designed to test those out of college for two years or less. I got my Masters degree twenty years ago.

 
At 11/16/2009 7:46 PM, OpenID jseliger said...

The original data source seems to have devolved into a spam site. Do you know where else such data might be found?

 
At 12/15/2009 5:39 PM, Blogger Mary said...

I recently took the GRE and I scored relatively well, but I do not believe that this test measures much of anything very accurately. With less than a minute per question, it is a race against the clock, not a test of aptitude. I can do the math and I have a strong vocabulary. Without a stop watch, I was scoring in the 1400 range. But under such tight time constraints, I did not have the time necessary to accurately work the problems. There is never any need to work at such a ridiculous speed. Additionally, I question their computer-aided scoring rubric. Missing one question at the beginning of the test can hurt your score considerably even if you correctly answer more difficult questions later in the test.

 

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