All about GRE Scores

GRE Test Pattern:

The Graduate Record Examinations or popularly known as GRE is an exam which is taken by the test takers to get admission in the various international grad schools. The GRE can be broadly classified into two types;

  • GRE general test
  • GRE subject test

The GRE general test is a standardized test with mainly three sections which are

  • Analytical writing
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Quantitative reasoning

On the other hand, the GRE subject test is taken by the test takers to establish their knowledge in a specific field. The different subject tests that are being conducted include,

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology
  • Literature in English
  • Physics

How score is calculated?

When it comes to the GRE general test the scoring pattern for each of the categories are described below;

  • Analytical Writing: For the Analytical writing part, scoring is done on a scale of 0 to 6 with half-point increment. That means one can get the lowest score of 0 and the highest score of 6. Also, you can score 4.5 or 5.5, but you can't get a score of 4.25 in the Analytical writing section. In this context to be mentioned, there are two human graders for the paper based GRE test. And for the computer based test, there is one human grader and one e-grader. And when there seems to be a conflict between the human and computer grading, one more human grader is called in.

  • Verbal Reasoning: the Verbal reasoning part, scoring is done on a scale of 130 to 170 with one point increment. That means, the lowest possible mark that can be obtainedis 130, and the highest one is 170. After 130, the next score would be 131. You can’t get 130.5. To increase your GRE verbal score within a month,you need to deal with as many practice tests as possible.Get Free verbal practice tests here.

  • Quantitative Reasoning: the Quantitative reasoning part, the scoring pattern is similar to Verbal, i.e. scoring is done on a scale of 130 to 170 with one point increment. To improve your GRE Quant score in a month, you must take the GRE practice tests. They would increase the level of familiarity and help you to achieve a good score. Get Free Quantitative practice tests here.

Alternatively, in GRE subject tests, the scoring is done on a scale of 290 to 990 with 10 point increment. That means, the lowest you can get is 290, and the highest you can get is 990. Scores would increase in the pattern of 290, 300, 310, likewise.The score sending procedure for GRE subject test is same as the GRE general test. The subject test scores are available after 4 to 5 weeks of the test, and you can send your scores for free to any four institutes of your choicewith the help of the score select option. To send your scores to more than four grad schools, you need to pay $27 for each application.

What is Score select option in GRE?

The GRE score select option gives a lot of control in the hands of the test takers. While registering for the GRE exam, you can select through the score select option which score you wish to send to the grad schools. It can either be the score of your latest GRE test, or it can be the best score among all the GRE tests you have taken. Therefore, the score select option gives a preference of choice to the test taker to decide his preferable score. In case you can't find your desired grad school on the list of universities, y ou need to inform to the concerned person, may be the person who monitors the testcenter.

What is GRE score report?

The GRE score report is basically the report which contains your official GRE scores. When it comes to the GRE general test, you would receive your raw scores of the Verbal and Quantitative sections right after your computer based GRE exam is completed. But these scores are not the official scores. To get your official GRE scores, you need to wait for 10 to 15 days. After almost 15 days, your official GRE scores would be available in your ETS account . For the paper based GRE test, there is no option to receive your raw scores, and you can only view your official GRE scores in your ETS account after 4 to 5 weeks. Now if you're wondering, how you can send your scores to the grad schools then let us tell you that there are two ways.

  1. The first option is to send your scores on the test day itself. To do that you need to opt for the computer based test. After the completion of the computer based GRE test, you would get your raw scores of the Verbal and Quant sections. You can send these scores for free of cost to four grad schools from the test center. And there are no restrictions with the score you are sending. You can send your latest scores, you can send your best score, or you can even send all of your scores. But you can't mix the scores of any two tests. You might have scored very well in Verbal, but the Quant score for that particular session of GRE was not up to the mark. In such a case, you can’t mix the two scores. We suggest you to send only your best GRE scores.
  2. The other way of sending scores is by getting additional scores. You can get additional score reports through your ETS account and send them to your desired grad schools. But to do that you would have to pay $27 for each new score report. ETS takes a maximum of 10 days to send your additional score reports.

In this context to be mentioned, sometimes your official scores might differ from your raw scores; but the difference would not be macroscopic, and so it is advisable to send your scores on the test day itself. To get an idea about the scoring process you might take the power prep tests one or two days prior to the test. In that way, you would get habituated and the impact would be reflected in your test scores.

What is average GRE score?

The average GRE score keeps changing as it depends on the question type and the number of test takers. But on an average, it can be said that the average GRE score varies in the range of 300 to 305. When it comes to grad schools, the average score differs on the basis of courses and subjects. But it can be said that the standard grad schools prefer 150 to 152 score in both Quant and Verbal sections. And for the Analytical writing section, a score more than 3.5 is considered to be good. When it comes to the best business schools in the world, they typically prefer scores in the range of 325 to 330, which is quite high compared to the grad schools. In this context to be mentioned that, if the students are aiming for the best grad schools or the best business schools, then they should not limit themselves within average scores and try to achieve better scores. Average scores would not help them to get admission to the top schools.

Are you targeting Harvard? If so then here is a list which we’ve prepared to help you in understanding the level of scores Harvard accepts. Take a look;

Subject Average Verbal Score Average Quant Score
Biology 157-162 159-165
Computer Science 150-155 156-162
Economics 158-164 165-170
English 161-165 154-158
Mathematics 158-162 168-172
Physics 160-165 157-170
Chemistry 157-162 165-170

To clear your doubts further, we’re listing here the average as well as goodand topscores for all three sections of GRE;

Name of section Top score Good score Average score
Analytical writing 5 -6 3.5 – 4.5 3.5 - 4
Verbal reasoning 162-170 155-161 150-154
Quantitative reasoning 165-170 155-165 150-155

How to interpret the scores of GRE practice tests?

If you're a potential GRE test taker, then you probably know that there are tons of GRE practice tests available in the internet. Some of these tests are free, and some are paid. These tests can help you in a large way to boost your GRE scores. But you need to be careful in choosing the practice tests. Not all GRE practice tests show the right score. If you're practising with the mock tests of Kaplan, Princeton and ETS, then you can be sure that your scores are calculated correctly. Other than that, you should be very alert. The practice tests offered by McGraw Hill are also very effective as they try to maintain the difficulty level of actual GRE tests in order to make sure that the students are properly prepared for the exam. The scoring patterns of these tests are also accurate.

How to get a good score in GRE?

The secret to get a good score in GRE is to practice more and more. There are various study plans available in the internet and you can choose one, concerned with your time limit. If you’ve a duration of 6 months in your hand, then here is a 6-month GRE study plan

Normally, most of the test takers start preparing for GRE before three months. Here we're providing the link to a 3-month study plan.

In case, if you only have a time period of 1 month left to prepare yourself and you're getting anxious, then there is a solution for that as well. Here is 1-month GRE study plan.

Without proper preparation, it is impossible to get a good score in GRE. So, never even think of sitting for the GRE test without the right level of preparation.

What is GRE percentiles?

ETS awards score percentiles to all individuals appearing for GRE. The percentiles vary from 1 till 99 in the Verbal Section and from 1 till 97 in the Quantitative Section of the examination. Scoring a 99 percentile means you are in the top 1 percent of the test takers and you are ahead of 99 percent of the test-taking populace

If you’re confused and can’t understand how to calculate the GRE percentiles for the Quant and Verbal sections, then here is a table that would help you in figuring out the whole thing;

Score Verbal Percentile Quant
170 99 97
169 99 96
168 98 94
167 98 92
166 97 91
165 96 89
164 94 87
163 93 84
162 91 81
161 88 78
160 86 76
159 83 73
158 80 69
157 76 66
156 73 62
155 69 59
154 65 55
153 61 51
152 56 47
151 52 43
150 48 38
149 43 35
148 39 30
147 35 27
146 31 24
145 27 20
144 24 17
143 20 14
142 17 12
141 15 10
140 12 8
139 9 6
138 8 4
137 6 3
136 4 2
135 3 2
134 2 1
133 2 1
132 1
131 1
130

Source:https://www.prepscholar.com/gre/blog/gre-score-percentiles/

You can notice from the above table that, the percentiles for Verbal and Quant modules are different. A perfect score 170 is considered as 99 percent ile for Verbal section, whereas 170 is considered to be 97 percentile in Quant section.

Everything you need to know about the scoring pattern of paper based GRE?

Apart from the computer based GRE test, there is another mode of GRE exam and it is called the paper based GRE test. There are still some test takers who're more comfortable with pen and paper. And also there are certain test centers where it is still not possible to arrange computer based tests; the paper based GRE test is handy for those places. These tests can be taken by test takers only thrice a year and in the months of October, November and February. The scoring pattern of paper based test is similar to the computer based test. But the disadvantage of the paper based test is, test takers can’t view their raw scores or unofficial scores right after the exam. We’ve already mentioned that for computer based GRE test, the unofficial scores of Verbal and Quant are visible to the test takers right after the test and they can send them to universities as well. But this facility is unavailable for the paper based test and you can only view your scores on your ETS account after 4 to 5 weeks. So, if you’re planning to sit for the paper based GRE test, make sure that you would be able to meet the deadlines of your desired grad schools and plan your schedule accordingly.

In this context to be mentioned, the GRE test does not penalize you for wrong answers. Your score would be calculated onlyon the basis of the number of questions you’ve answered correctly.

What is raw score in GRE?

The raw scores in GRE are the unofficial scores you receive after the completion of your computer based test. The raw scores are typically based on the number of questions you’ve attempted in the test. As you know, there are 40 questions in both Verbal and Quant sections each. The raw scores are based on how many right answers you’ve given. But when your official scores appear on the ETS website, you'll see that your scores are scaled on a scale of 130 to 170. Also, the raw scores depend on the overall difficulty level of the question paper. You by yourself can make rough estimates and convert your GRE raw scores into official scores. For example, if 35 out of 40 questions are right, then you can expect the official score to be 165 out of 170. This is applicable for verbal and quant sections. But for the Analytical Writing section, it is hard to make a prediction. That is because this section is descriptive and the raw scores are not available after the completion of the exam. But keep in mind one thing, predictions can sometimes mislead you. There is always the probability of change in the official scores.

How long are the GRE scores valid?

The GRE test scores are valid or reportable for the next five years. If you’ve taken your GRE test on or after 01/07/2016, your GRE score would be valid till 01/07/2021. That means 2016 scores are reportable or valid till 2021. But a GRE score which was earned prior to July 2012 the score is not part of the reportable history, i.e. score earned prior to July 2012 are no longer reportable.

While concluding, we must tell you that there are certain business schools which also support GRE scores for admission. On an average, more than 60% of the top business schools are now accepting GRE scores to enroll students in MBA courses. Also, not all graduate courses require GRE scores. Here is a URL to the graduate programs which don’t require GRE

The test takers require to be calm and believe in themselves. We wish you all to get good scores in GRE.