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6 October 2023

5 minutes read

How to Pass the GRE and Find Average GRE Scores Without Studying

Are you contemplating taking the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) without studying? You’re not alone. Many test-takers wonder if it’s possible to achieve average GRE scores without extensive preparation.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore this question and provide valuable insights into the GRE, including how to approach the exam without studying.

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Understanding the GRE

The GRE is a standardized test commonly required for admission to graduate programs, including MBA programs and various other graduate-level courses.

It assesses your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills. Understanding the GRE format is essential before considering taking it without preparation.

GRE Sections

The GRE is divided into three main sections:

1. Verbal Reasoning

The verbal reasoning section evaluates your ability to analyze and evaluate written material. It consists of reading comprehension, text completion, and sentence equivalence questions. This section tests your vocabulary, critical thinking, and reading comprehension skills.

2. Quantitative Reasoning

The quantitative reasoning section assesses your mathematical abilities. It includes questions on arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. This section measures your problem-solving and quantitative reasoning skills.

3. Analytical Writing

The analytical writing section requires you to write two essays: an issue essay and an argument essay. It evaluates your ability to articulate complex ideas, support your arguments, and maintain a coherent and focused discussion.

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Can You Pass the GRE Without Studying?

Let’s address the burning question: Can you pass the GRE without studying? The short answer is yes, it’s possible. However, there are several factors to consider.

Factors to Consider When Taking the GRE Without Studying

  1. Prior Knowledge: Your existing knowledge in verbal and quantitative concepts plays a significant role. If you’re already strong in these areas, you have a better chance of scoring well without studying.
  2. Time Management: Managing your time during the exam is crucial. You must pace yourself to complete all sections within the allotted time.
  3. Guessing Strategies: Familiarity with the test format helps you make educated guesses when you encounter challenging questions.
  4. Taking Practice Tests: Even if you’re not studying extensively, taking a few practice tests can help you get familiar with the GRE format.

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Average GRE Scores Without Studying

To find average GRE scores for test-takers who didn’t study extensively, it’s essential to look at the data. Keep in mind that the GRE scoring system ranges from 130 to 170 for both the verbal and quantitative sections, with a separate score for the analytical writing section.

On average, test-takers who attempt the GRE without extensive preparation tend to score in the mid-range, around 150-155 for both verbal and quantitative sections. The analytical writing score may vary more widely.

What the Scores Mean

Understanding GRE scores is vital to gauge your performance, even if you decide not to study extensively. Here’s a breakdown of what the scores mean:

Verbal and Quantitative Scores

  • 130-139: Below Average
  • 140-149: Average
  • 150-159: Above Average
  • 160-170: Excellent

Analytical Writing Score

The analytical writing score ranges from 0 to 6, in half-point increments. A score of 6 indicates outstanding writing skills, while a score of 0 means the writing is either off-topic or completely illegible.


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Tips for Passing the GRE Without Extensive Studying

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s delve into specific strategies to pass the GRE without dedicating countless hours to study.

1. Prioritize Your Strong Areas

Identify your strengths in the verbal and quantitative sections. Focus more on these areas and aim to excel, compensating for any weaknesses.

2. Time Management

Practice time management during the exam. Allocate a specific amount of time for each section, and stick to it. Don’t dwell on challenging questions; move on and return to them if time permits.

3. Educated Guessing

When you encounter difficult questions, use educated guessing strategies. Eliminate obviously incorrect answer choices and make an educated guess if necessary. This can help you avoid wasting time on a single question.

4. Familiarize Yourself with the Test Format

Take at least one or two practice tests to get accustomed to the GRE format. This will reduce anxiety on the test day and help you navigate through the questions more confidently.

5. Review GRE Vocabulary

If you have some time to spare, consider reviewing GRE vocabulary words. A strong vocabulary can be beneficial, especially in the verbal reasoning section.

6. Practice Writing Essays

For the analytical writing section, practice writing essays on various topics. Familiarity with the essay format and practice in articulating your thoughts coherently can make a difference.

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Strategies for Each GRE Section

Let’s explore strategies for each GRE section to help you maximize your performance.

Verbal Reasoning

  • Reading Comprehension: Skim passages quickly to grasp the main idea. Focus on understanding the structure and key points of the text.
  • Text Completion: Use context clues to fill in missing words. Look for words or phrases that provide clues to the correct answers.
  • Sentence Equivalence: Identify synonyms and antonyms in the sentence. Select answer choices that maintain sentence meaning.

Quantitative Reasoning

  • Basic Math Skills: Ensure you have a strong foundation in basic math concepts, including algebra, geometry, and arithmetic.
  • Data Interpretation: Practice interpreting data from charts, graphs, and tables. These questions are common in the quantitative section.
  • Problem Solving: Develop problem-solving strategies, such as identifying patterns and breaking down complex problems into manageable steps.

Analytical Writing

  • Structural Organization: Focus on the structure of your essays. Use clear introductions, body paragraphs with supporting evidence, and concise conclusions.
  • Evidence and Examples: Support your arguments with relevant evidence and examples. This demonstrates your ability to think critically.
  • Clarity and Cohesion: Ensure your writing is clear and cohesive. Use transitional phrases to connect ideas logically.

The Importance of Practice Tests

Even if you’re considering taking the GRE without extensive study, taking practice tests is crucial. It helps you become familiar with the test format, time constraints, and the types of questions you’ll encounter.

How to Use Practice Tests Effectively

  • Simulate Test Conditions: Take practice tests under timed conditions to replicate the real GRE experience.
  • Identify Weaknesses: Use practice tests to identify your weaknesses and areas where you need improvement.
  • Learn from Mistakes: Review incorrect answers and understand why you got them wrong. This will help you avoid similar mistakes on the actual test.
  • Build Confidence: Consistent practice builds confidence and reduces test-day anxiety.

Retaking the GRE

If you decide to take the GRE without studying and you’re not satisfied with your score, you can retake the exam. However, there are some important considerations:

  • Score Improvement: Make sure you have a plan to improve your score. Identify your weaknesses and focus on them during your preparation.
  • Retake Policy: Familiarize yourself with ETS’s retake policy. There are restrictions on how often you can retake the GRE, so plan accordingly.
  • Study Effectively: If you’re retaking the GRE, consider a more structured study plan to address your weaknesses and improve your performance.


While it’s possible to pass the GRE without extensive studying, your success depends on factors like prior knowledge, time management, and familiarity with the test format.

To achieve the best results, consider a balanced approach that includes some preparation, even if it’s minimal. Understanding the average GRE scores for test-takers who didn’t study extensively can give you a realistic benchmark for your performance. Good luck with your GRE journey! Remember, with the right strategies and a positive mindset, you can achieve your goals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Is it possible to pass the GRE without studying?

Yes, it’s possible to pass the GRE without extensive studying, but your prior knowledge and test-taking strategies play a crucial role in your success.

Q2: What is the average GRE score for test-takers who didn’t study?

On average, test-takers who don’t study extensively tend to score around 150-155 in both the verbal and quantitative sections.

Q3: How can I improve my GRE score without studying?

Improving your GRE score without studying extensively involves time management, educated guessing, and familiarity with the test format.

Q4: Are there any resources for GRE practice tests?

Yes, there are various online resources and official GRE practice tests available for free or at a cost.

Q5: Can I retake the GRE if I’m not satisfied with my score without studying?

Yes, you can retake the GRE if you’re not satisfied with your score, but keep in mind that there are limits to how often you can retake the exam.

Q6: How long should I spend studying for the GRE?

The recommended study time varies, but typically, 2-3 months of focused preparation is advisable for most test-takers.

Q7: What are the best study materials for GRE preparation?

There are many GRE prep books, online courses, and official ETS materials available to help you prepare effectively.

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