How is the GRE Score Calculated?

Students wishing to pursue a graduate program at their dream university or a degree from one of the international business schools will likely need to achieve GRE scores. One of the essential things candidates must know while preparing for the GRE test for graduate admission is the scoring process of the GRE, which helps them strategize their approach to answering test questions.

What is the Computer-Delivered Test Scoring Method?

The computer-delivered GRE test uses an adaptive scoring method. It means to say, the difficulty levels of the second quantitative reasoning section and the verbal reasoning section of the GRE test are based on the candidate’s performance in the first sections or measures. In calculating the GRE score, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) (the makers of the GRE) first calculates the raw scores. A candidate’s raw score is the number of questions he or she answered correctly on the GRE test. A scaled score is then calculated from the raw scores, which is what graduate schools look at.

What is the scoring method of the GRE Paper-Delivered Test?

The paper-delivered version of the GRE is not section-level adaptive. In contrast to the computer-delivered test, all test sections in the paper-delivered GRE are of comparable difficulty. Candidates get a raw score from each GRE section based on the number of correctly answered questions. A scaled score is then generated from the raw scores by an equating process to level out any differences between various test editions.

How are GRE scores calculated per section?

The GRE is composed of three sections namely Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning scores increase in one-point increments, whereas Analytical Writing scores increase in half-point increments. The cumulative GRE score is a combination of both Quant and Verbal with each of these sections scored between 130-170. On the other hand, Analytical Writing has a different score range of 0-6.

How is the GRE Verbal score calculated?

The candidate gets a raw Verbal score which is the number of questions they answered correctly in the Verbal section. The raw score is then calculated into a scaled score by the process of equating. Equating ensures that differences in various test editions and levels of difficulty do not affect the candidate’s score.

How is the GRE Quant score calculated?

The GRE quantitative score is calculated in the same way as the verbal score. The raw score is based on the correct answers and equated to a scaled version. Through the equating process, the candidate’s score will not be affected by the differences in test editions and difficulty levels.

How is the GRE Analytical Writing score calculated?

There are two writing tasks on Analytical Writing – the “Issue” and the “Argument” writing tasks. A trained reader reviews each essay and rates the writing based on its overall quality. The reader emphasizes critical thinking and analytical writing skills more than grammar and mechanics. Each Analytical Writing essay is scored using a six-point scale by the trained human rater. Aside from the human rater, an e-rater engine scores it based on ETS’s computerized program of assessing Analytical Writing skills.

What are the score levels in Analytical Writing?

The list of score levels in Analytical Writing with their respective descriptions can be found below:

Score Levels in Analytical Writing
Score LevelDescription
NSNo text was written by the test-taker.
Level 0This means that the candidate’s answers cannot be evaluated. The examinee simply copies the assignments, displays indecipherable text, or is in the foreign language.
Levels 1 and .5Deficiencies in analytical writing are evident. There is a fundamental problem in the writing in one or more of the following ways: content that is highly unclear or irrelevant to the assigned tasks; little or no development; severe and pervasive errors that make the writing incoherent.
Levels 2 and 1.5Analytical writing essays exhibit significant weaknesses. The writing is seriously flawed in one or more of the following ways: poor analysis; little development; poor organization; serious grammatical errors, which obscure the writer’s meaning.
Levels 3 and 2.5Shows some competence in analytical writing skills, but this essay has at least one of the following flaws: limited analysis or development; weak organization; poor sentence structure or grammar, resulting in ambiguous ideas or unclear sentences.
Levels 4 and 3.5Analyzes complex ideas effectively; produces reasons and/or examples to support main points; is properly organized; communicates meaning with reasonable clarity; displays satisfactory control of sentence structure and language usage, although there may be a few errors that impede clarity.
Levels 5 and 4.5Provides thoughtful analysis of complex ideas; provides logical reasoning and examples to support main points; is well-organized and focused; uses sentence variety and vocabulary to convey meaning clearly; demonstrates good control of sentence structure and language usage, but may make minor errors.
Levels 6 and 5.5Maintains insight and thorough analysis of complex ideas; develops and supports key points with logically persuasive reasoning and persuasive examples; demonstrates excellent competency with sentence structure and language usage, but may make occasional errors that do not affect meaning.

For each essay score level, the descriptions above correspond to the overall quality of the writing that is demonstrated in the analytical writing tasks. They serve as scoring guides and criteria for ETS rating each task. The test assesses “analytical writing,” so it should be noted that it places more emphasis on critical thinking skills than fine points of grammar or spelling.

How are the GRE Essays graded?

The analytical writing section has a score scale of 0 to 6, with 6 being the highest. The average score of the two AWA tasks is the final score given to the test-taker. The tasks are scored by trained human raters and a computerized e-rater. If the computerized e-rater and the examiner give similar scores, then the candidate’s score is the average of both scores. But, if the scores vary, another trained human rater is appointed to rate the essay. The final score is then the average of the scores given by the two human raters.

What is section-level adaptability?

The GRE computer-delivered test monitors how well test-takers answer questions. Depending on the test taker’s answering ability, the system adjusts the level of difficulty of the test questions. For instance, the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are both section-level adaptive, which means the computer will choose the difficulty level of the second section of a measure based on the candidate’s performance in the first section.

How Does Adaptive Testing Impact the Score?

An example of how adaptive testing impacts the score is this: test-taker A got 11/20 on the first Verbal measure and got a nearly perfect 19/20 on the second Verbal measure. Test-taker B, on the other hand, got a 17/20 in the first Verbal measure and 13/20 on the second. Both A and B answered 30/40 correctly, yet test-taker A’s score will not be as high as B’s. This is because the GRE is a section-level adaptive test and test-taker B had to answer more difficult questions in the second Verbal measure. Both candidates have the same number of correct answers, yet B will have slightly higher final and actual scores.

How is the GRE total score calculated?

The total score of a candidate for each of the GRE sections (Quant or Verbal) can range from 130 to 170. As for the Analytical Writing section, the candidate’s score can range from 0 to 6. In contrast to the SAT, these scores are not just added to create one single score. Once the GRE score report is delivered to the score recipients, it will be composed of three separate scores for Verbal, Quant, and Analytical Writing.

What is the GRE Score Calculator Percentile?

The official score report will contain the candidate’s total/overall score in the analytical writing, verbal, and quantitative sections. Aside from the total scores, the official scores will also contain the associated percentile score of the candidate in each test section. The score percentile will tell the candidate what percentage of GRE test-takers scored lower than they did. For instance, the candidate scored in the 90th percentile in the verbal section. It means that their score was higher than 90% of all GRE test takers.

What is the GRE score percentile?

By using the GRE score percentile, candidates can assess where they stand in relation to other test-takers in a selected comparison group. For example, if they scored in the 96th percentile, it means they outperformed 96 percent of all other test-takers.

What is the GRE General Test Score Percentile?

The score percentile for the GRE General Test can be found below:

GRE General Test Score Percentile
GRE ScoresQuantitativeVerbalScore LevelsAnalytical Writing
16174880.0 – 1.5

The chart above illustrates the GRE score percentiles for Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Analytical Writing which is based on test results from candidates who took the GRE test between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2020.

What is the GRE Subject Test Score Percentile?

The score percentile for the different GRE Subject Tests are as follows:

GRE Subject Test Score Percentile
GRE scorePhysicsPsychologyChemistryMathematics

The chart above illustrates the GRE score percentile of candidates who tested between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2020.

What are the GRE scorecard details?

The GRE scorecard for the GRE General Test and Subject Test contains the following:

  • Date of birth
  • Contact information (Full name, phone number, and email)
  • Gender
  • Intended graduate major
  • General Test scores or Subject Test scores
  • Associated percentile ranks
  • Authorized score receipts or fellowship sponsors and the scores reported to those institutions
  • The cumulative score record reported within the recent five years (the only scores valid)
  • Test dates

Test-takers who are interested in seeing a sample score card can view it on the official website of ETS. The candidate can send their score to colleges for free. However, the limit is only up to four institutions, and if they want to send additional score reports to more than that, they would have to pay $27 per score report.

What is the process of converting raw GRE scores to scaled scores?

Equating is the process of converting raw scores to scaled scores on GRE tests. A raw score is counted for each of the two measures, namely the quantitative and verbal sections. The raw score is equivalent to the number of questions the test-taker answered correctly. After the raw score is calculated, it is then converted into a process called equating.

What does GRE scoring mean for you?

The GRE score percentiles mentioned above can help candidates determine their target GRE scores. Many institutions set acceptance score requirements for their programs. Hence, if a candidate aims to gain admission to a top business school or any fields of study they aspire to get into, a good score goal should be set. Candidates who understand how to calculate GRE scores will have an advantage in obtaining a high score.

How to improve your GRE score?

To boost your GRE score, focus on targeted preparation. Familiarize yourself with the test format and types of questions. Develop strong time management skills for each section. Strengthen vocabulary through consistent reading and word drills. Practice problem-solving for math and analytical sections. Take practice tests to track progress and identify weak areas. Utilize online resources, prep courses, and study groups for added support. Prioritize review of mistakes to learn from them. Maintain a balanced study schedule and manage stress through exercise and relaxation techniques.

Will a GRE prep course improve score?

Enrolling in GRE courses online can enhance your scores significantly. These courses offer targeted strategies, practice materials, and expert guidance, optimizing your test-taking skills. However, success depends on dedication and consistency in applying learned techniques. While not guaranteed, a prep course can certainly boost your chances of achieving higher GRE scores.