GRE Scores: Know How are Your GRE Scores Calculated

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Yocket Editorial Team

Updated on Sep 23, 2021

Exams Know-how | 11 min read
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GRE scores are key for students aspiring to pursue a Graduate School degree across disciplines or Business School degree from universities abroad. The aspirants preparing for the computer-based GRE test essentially need to understand the GRE scoring system to strategize their answer plan. 

Taking a thorough look at the GRE scoring system, understanding the section-level adaptability method and gaining section-wise scoring knowledge will allow you to ace your paper.

Do you know why your GRE test marks vary?

Calculating the total GRE scores isn’t just about adding numbers. The process is extremely systematic and employs the twin accuracy processes of equating and section-level adaptability.

What is section-level adaptability?

The computer system of GRE,  monitors the speed and ability of the test takers’ as they attempt questions. Based on their answering capacity, the monitor adjusts the difficulty levels of the test. Doing so, you will be assessed on questions you answer as well as the difficulty level you worked upon. 

  • The number of questions correctly answered are the raw scores.

  • There are no deductions made for wrong answers. However, multiple answers to one question or unanswered questions cause deductions. 

  • The final score is then equated to the level of difficulty one has answered upon. 

  • Each section of the GRE is presented with a score range. Students who score within the range secure a  GRE percentile and a ranking. Using this score, students can enroll in various colleges abroad.  

For example, if you score 163 in Verbal Reasoning & 167 in Quantitative Reasoning, you can apply for an admission in Princeton University.

 

How are GRE scores calculated per section?

Section Score Range

Verbal Reasoning

130-170, 1 point increment

Quantative Reasoning

130-170, 1 point increment

Analytical Writing

0-6, half point increment

As mentioned above, the GRE score calculation for Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning is on a scale of 130-170, in 1 point increment, while Analytical Writing has a score scale of 0-6, in half point increment. The scores put together give you an overall score. 

For Example: The total GRE score is calculated on a scale of 260 to 340. Since, both, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are measured out of 130-170 each. 

So, if you score 145 in Verbal Reasoning and 150 in Quantitative, your raw score comes up to 295.

GRE Scores Calculation for Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning:

Here is a list of the various factors that affect the calculation of your GRE scores for Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative based on your answering capability:   

  • Number of questions you answer

  • Speed of answering

  • Difficulty level of answering 

  • Questions in Verbal Reasoning tests you on your ability to comprehend passages and answer

  • Quantitative test questions are based on mathematical problems and statistics

  • Both the sections have a score range between 130-170

GRE Scores Calculation for Analytical Writing:

Analytical Writing test examines the student’s critical thinking capacity, analytical writing and prolificacy in articulating a complex idea. The essays are marked by an examiner and a computerized e-rater.  

  • If the score given to you by the examiner and the computerized e-rater are similar, then the average of the two becomes your score. However, if the scores vary, then another examiner is appointed to mark your essay and your final score then is the average of scores marked by both the human examiners. 

  • The average score of the two essays is your final score for the Analytical Writing section.

  • The scores are marked in a 0-6 range. 

Score Level Test Assessment

Score Level 0

The examinee's analytical writing skills cannot be evaluated because the responses merely attempt to copy the assignments, are in a foreign language or display only indecipherable text.

Scores 0.5 and 1

Fundamentally flawed - content that is extremely confusing or mostly irrelevant to the assigned tasks; little or no development; severe and pervasive errors that result in incoherence.

Scores 1.5 and 2

Displays serious weaknesses in analytical writing. Serious lack of analysis or development; flawed structures or language usage.

Scores 2.5 and 3

Limited analysis or development; weak control of sentence structure or language usage, with errors that often result in vagueness or lack of clarity.

Scores 3.5 and 4

Provides competent analysis of ideas; is adequately organized; demonstrates satisfactory control of sentence structure and language usage, but may have some errors that affect clarity.

Scores 4.5 and 5

Provides generally thoughtful analysis of complex ideas; develops and supports main points with logically sound reasons and/or well-chosen examples; is generally focused and well organized.

Scores 5.5 and 6

Sustains insightful, in-depth analysis of complex ideas; develops and supports main points with logically compelling reasons and/or highly persuasive examples; skillfully uses sentence variety and precise vocabulary to convey meaning effectively.

To give you a clear idea, here is a table of tentative average GRE score range you might have to aim for in Verbal and Quants to secure an admission in colleges abroad. Please note that these are tentative values and might vary from course to course or university to university.

 

 

Example: To attend a B-school abroad, you must aim to secure a Verbal Reasoning score 150 & about 153 Quantitative in your GRE.

 

What is a good GRE score?

A good GRE score depends on the universities you are targeting. However, according to ETS and various institutions, scoring around 300 makes a good score. Which means, if you score about 150 (46th percentile) in Verbal and 153 (49th percentile) in Quantitative section of GRE, you will still score around 300. 

Various universities have different requirements. You can look into their acceptance score and apply accordingly. For instance, Harvard, accepts an average score of 160 in Verbal Reasoning and about 167 in Quantitative Reasoning for admissions. While, Princeton accepts students with a score of 162 - Verbal and 166 - Quantitative. 

If you’re aiming at a 90% GRE score range, you need to score between 160-166 in both these subjects. 

Once you’ve received your scores, the next step is to apply to universities. However, if you need some time off or are hoping to take a break for a while, you must check up on the validity of your GRE scores.

 

How long is my GRE score valid?

Students appearing for computer-based test receive their GRE results within 15 days of attending the exam. Whereas, students who tend to write the paper-delivered examination take about six weeks to receive the score mail. 

The GRE score validity period is about five years. Which means, if a student attempts the GRE examination on August 1,2021, he/she can use these marks until July 31, 2026 to get an admission in his/her desired college. This validity period of GRE score grants students the freedom of joining their desired university in about five years. It also gives them the required time to reappear for the exam if they aren’t satisfied with their GRE exam total marks. 

However, if you’re wondering about how many years is my GRE score valid for universities? The answer is tricky and subjective. As ETS considers that students must be granted a validity period for their GRE scores for five years, not all universities agree with the same validity period. Some of the universities accept scores of GRE within a timeframe of 2-3 years, which is why you need to be sure of the validity of the score for the university, acceptance dateline and additions while you are choosing your university.

 

All about sending GRE scores:

After your exam, GRE score sheets are available for you online. A copy of your scoresheets is mailed to your registered address too. Students receive their GRE score sheets after 15 days of attending the examination. To reflect your total GRE marks, scales are printed on the score sheets for better understanding.  

ETS generates two different kinds of score sheets i.e., one being the Test takers ScoreCard (GRE Scorecard), the other is the Graduation Institute ScoreCard (Recent GRE Test Scorecard). Both of these are your official GRE score reports, with a minor difference between the two.

Test-takers Score Card:

This is a GRE score card with your complete GRE record.

What does it contain?

  • Identity information (Name, Contact, Gender, Intended Graduate Major)

  • Most recent GRE score (Verbal Reasoning , Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing, along with score percentiles for each of them)

  • Test scores history: Dates, Scores and Percentages of previous GRE Scores

  • Scores of any GRE subject tests attempted

  • List of scores, dates and schools you might have submitted your scores to

Sample Score Card:

Graduation Institution Score Report:

This is a personalised scorecard with all the relevant information you would select during the test.

What does it contain?

  • Identity information (Name, Contact, Gender, Intended Graduate Major)

  • Most recent GRE score (Verbal Reasoning , Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing along with score percentiles for each of them)

  • In this scorecard, you have the same information as the test-takers score card. The difference though is that only the GRE test scores that you have selected to submit to multiple universities are published here.

For example, if you don’t wish to disclose the marks of your previous GRE scores, select only the MOST RECENT test option, and the scorecard generated will hold information of only the recent GRE test you appeared to.

Sample Score Card:

How to send my GRE scores to universities?

Students can send their GRE scores using ScoreSelect, a service provided by ETS to reach out to their desired colleges swiftly. However, students can utilise the same service to strategize sending GRE total marks wisely. 

  • Pick the information you wish to submit to universities using ScoreSelect. 

  • Using the same, GRE aspirants can send their marks to four universities for free. 

  • Selected colleges receive your scores after 10-15 days of your examination.

ScoreSelect free submission to universities can be proceeded in two ways i.e, You can choose to send the GRE score to the University on the TEST DAY or AFTER THE TEST DAY.   

ScoreSelect options you get on the test day: 

  • Send NO scores

  • Send ALL scores from the last 5 years

  • Send only the MOST RECENT score

ScoreSelect options you get after the test day:

  • Send ALL scores from the last 5 years

  • Send ANY scores from the last 5 years 

  • Send MOST RECENT score

By opting for any of these score submission options, students can be assured that the selected universities are notified. However, it is recommended that you choose wisely and submit your score to universities that provide your desired courses.

How much does it cost to send GRE scores to universities?

If you wish to send GRE scores to more than 4 universities, you can do so using the ETS services. However, after that, you will be required to pay your GRE score reporting fee. This cost to send GRE scores is USD$27 for each institution you wish to apply to.

How to send GRE scores for free?

Conduct your research on how much score you can expect and the universities that accept your scoring range. Fix on top four Universities and send your GRE score for free via ScoreSelect.

 

While you’re mapping your way to various colleges across the world, remember that you need to stand out of the crowd to get the best. Hence, a good GRE scoring plan is the way to do it. It will help you seek an admission in a college you desire. Have your score scale research in hand, examine your college options and send scores to crack a seat. All the best!