Weightage of GPA vs GRE Score for University Abroad


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on May 09, 2023 02:59 PM IST

Most of the students get confused between GPA vs GRE scores and their weightage on the college applications. Check out the article to know how universities divide the weightage of scores between the GRE and GPA. 

Weightage of GPA vs GRE Score for University Abroad

A key element to studying abroad is the requirement of presenting appropriate scores in different areas and tests. Universities across different continents and countries will specify their requirements to enrol international students based on their academic and professional records. GRE and GPA are two parameters that define the academic prowess of a candidate, cementing their eligibility for a course or programme.

Being two different parameters, the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and the Grade Point Average (GPA) will highlight two different aspects of a candidate. And therefore, both parameters will carry different weightages depending on the different requirements of the courses.

For instance, the GPA of a candidate will highlight the institution-level prowess of a candidate such as their ability to understand and retain crucial information on certain topics. Whereas, GRE scores will highlight a more rounded ability of the candidate, shedding light on their verbal, mathematical, analytical and general knowledge and skills.

In this article, we will elaborate more on the differences between GRE and GPA scores and their weightages for universities abroad and other important details that you should know about the topic.

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GPA Score

GPA score has been in the education system for a long time as an accumulative grade. This score counts each and every score a candidate has obtained during their degree. Since its score calculating process is comprehensive, this Grade Point Average score tells much more than what a GRE score can say.

The applicants should note that the GPA score is quite contextual and comes with a completely different challenge for an Ivy League student to get an A grade as compared to students from different universities. Some of the majors or specialisations can be more challenging as there is no particular scoring process or system that can ascertain every grade A score in each subject having the same value. Hence, this is what makes a GPA score very contextual.

Along with standardised test scores, universities abroad admit students based on their Personal Statements or Motivation letters, etc.  With so much to learn about studying abroad, we recommend registering with us and connecting with our team of study abroad counsellors who are dedicated to helping you find and apply to your dream university abroad.

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How is GPA calculated?

Each and every grade a candidate receives, whether in numerical, letter-grade or percentage system, shows a quality point. In foreign countries like the United States, the quality point is always on a scale of 4.0 or between 0 and 4. The highest grade one can get on the scale equates to the highest score on the scale.

For instance, an A is the highest a student can achieve in class. Now, according to the school they attend, A is equal to 4 or a multiple of 4 (8 or 16). After a few classes these points will keep on adding up and at last, will get divided by the total amount of credits of all the courses they have taken. After calculating, the number the student will get is their GPA.

Some universities have a dedicated help desk for international students or an admission office to help the candidates in converting their scores as per regulations defined by the country or university.

Difference between GPA and CGPA?

While both GPA and CGPA calculate the performance of a student in a course, there are certain differences between them. The main difference between both of them is that CGPA measures a candidate's performance throughout the course including the semesters and units, but GPA only measures the performance of a single unit or semester.

Furthermore, foreign universities prefer GPA scores over CGPA scores to assess students' consistency in the course duration they have pursued. Another difference between them is that GPA makes use of grades such as A, B and C, while CGPA measures on a scale of 1-10.

In India, universities use a 10 GPA method. While a 4 GPA method is mostly used in countries like the USA called the US grading scale. CGPA, on the other hand, makes use of a uniform system.

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GRE Score

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE Exam) is one of the most significant tests for study abroad aspirants. GRE scores are required by almost all universities and colleges during the admission process for graduate-level programmes in countries like the US or Canada. The test, administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), includes six sections that test a candidate's learning, writing and thinking ability. A well-versed GRE preparation can help the applicants to fetch good scores easily. A higher GRE score can help the candidates to get added advantages during the admission process.

A higher GRE score may get the applicant GRE scholarships as several graduate colleges and universities offer merit-based scholarships. For this, universities generally refer to academic and standardised test scores. Fetching 158 in the verbal and quantitative section and 4.0 in the writing section can be a good score to submit. However, it is advisable to try your best and aim for high scores to get into top consideration during the admission process.

Is GPA or GRE Important?

Both GPA and GRE are undoubtedly important and we will discuss why. Ultimately, top universities and colleges require an applicant who will work hard, have knowledge of what they are doing and eventually, succeed academically at school.

Now the question is how will these universities and colleges evaluate a candidate based on the above-mentioned factors? So far, the universities use GPA as the safest way to calculate and assess the score. The reason is that the candidate's GPA is solid proof that they have worked hard and dedicated their time in a particular program to secure those grades.

Those are not just marks but can also be treated as a test of the candidate's focus, patience and perseverance over a long time. Thus, even if the applicant's grades are just a part of their overall profile, they do play a vital role and universities give a lot of weightage to them.

Let us say a candidate scored a 9.5 on a scale of 10 GPA in India, such a score would make his job much easier. An 8+ GPA on a scale of 10 will no wonder give the applicant a very good chance to secure some solid admits. Though again, the doors are not closed for them yet, even if they are not able to secure a decent GPA. If the student has some relevant work experience along with a fantastic Statement of Purpose showing off their goals and vision properly, they can still get admitted to your dream university or college.

Now the question arises of whether GRE scores are useful or not. So, the answer is yes as there are several GRE Participating Universities around the world. Also, there are several other good universities that have a score requirement of 170 in GRE Quant or a decent 320+ score. So, getting a high score would help a student if compared to overall GRE scores for Masters in Engineering courses.

However, keep in mind that a student's low GRE score will make the university question their aptitude and ability to manage the curriculum. So, having a good GRE score can also save you at times while applying to foreign universities.

Do universities prefer GRE or GPA?

International students must know that universities abroad have no preference and hence they prefer both GRE scores and GPA scores. There are certain colleges and universities that clearly mention their eligibility criteria regarding the scores and tests they want the candidate to submit. However, if given a choice, it is better to present both GPA and GRE. It helps the university to understand the candidate's abilities and academic knowledge.

In some cases, candidates who score low marks in GPA, but a good GRE score are also in a safer zone. However, still, universities need some extra proofs or certifications that can prove that the candidate is a good fit for the particular course and university.


With the detailed information provided above, it should be clearer which of the two academic elements carries more weightage. However, to make it easier, let’s discuss it in brief. GRE exams are important to enrol in a number of graduate programmes, however, GPA’s are important for all programmes. The GRE requirements will be defined individually for different programmes, which will be similar for the GPA requirements as well.

Therefore, before applying to any programme abroad, it is important to go through all the requirements, including the GPA and GRE requirements. Each university will specify the minimum score requirements for each course. While it is advisable to keep high GPAs while in school, bachelor’s or master’s, candidates will be able to improve their GRE scores since it can be taken multiple times.

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Is GRE score or GPA more important?

A GRE score and GPA both are important for your college application. Your GPA is one of the most essential aspects of your graduate school application. GPA score when combined with your GRE score, has the biggest impact on your chances of admission to universities abroad.

Does a good GRE score offset a low GPA?

Yes, it can be said that a good GRE score may offset a low GPA. A high GRE score may assist in making up for a low GPA if you properly prepare for the test. This aptitude exam assists in determining your level of graduate school preparation. Even better than your GPA, a high GRE score might convey your potential as a graduate student.

Are GRE scores a good indicator of university acceptance than GPA scores?

Both the GRE scores and GPA scores are good indicators of university acceptance. However, GRE Verbal Section scores are a better predictor of first semester grades than graduate GPA. On the other hand, GRE scores demonstrate some reliability in predicting academic success but not programme progression or research productivity.

Does GPA matter when applying to graduate school?

Yes, GPA does matter when applying to graduate school. In fact, a high GPA is often a prerequisite for admission to many schools. A minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a grading scale of 4.0) is typically required for master's programmes.

Does cumulative GPA matter for graduate schools?

Yes, a cumulative GPA does matter for graduate schools. The term cumulative GPA or CGPA also applies to an overall GPA. While it is possible that graduate schools would focus on your overall GPA first but your major GPA may also make a difference in your acceptance rate.

Does CGPA matter for the master's programme?

No, a CGPA does not matter for the master's programme. If your GPA or CGPA is poor, it could put you at a disadvantage when compared to other applicants when only your GAP score is taken into account. However, if you have a high GRE score and a compelling statement of purpose, you might very well beat the competition.

Is CGPA 7.5 a good score for MS in USA?

Yes, CGPA 7.5 is a good score for MS in USA universities. A recommended CGPA of 7.5 to 8.0 and a GRE score of 315 to 320 are required for academic profiles in order to be accepted at the best universities for MS programmes in science and technology.

Can I get into Harvard University with a 3.3 GPA?

Yes, it can be said that you can get into Harvard University with a 3.3 GPA if the applicant can prove in their application that they are exactly what the university is searching for. In certain cases, admissions hookslike being an athleteallow candidates to get into Harvard even with a low GPA.

Is 320 a good GRE score?

Yes, 320 is a good GRE score. An average score of 320 or above may qualify you for your preferred programme, including computer science. However, the university you are applying to and the number of other applicants having strong grades will always affect your chances of being accepted.

Can I convert SGPA into a percentage?

Yes, you can convert SGPA into a percentage. For this, the overall SGPA should be divided by the number of semesters you have taught. Furthermore, you can calculate your percentage by multiplying your GPA by 10 and then subtracting 7.5 from the total. For detailed conversion, read our article on How to Convert SGPA into Percentage?

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