Decoding GRE Exam Scores

GRE Scores

The Graduate Record Examination(GRE) is a computer-delivered test that features question types that closely reflect the skills you need to succeed in today’s demanding graduate school programs. The test gives you the flexibility to skip questions within a section, go back and change answers. You can also choose the questions which you want to answer first within a section. 

The Test measures your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills. The test is split into six sections: a 60-minute writing section consisting of an Argumentative Writing Task and an Issue Writing Task, two 30-minute Verbal Reasoning sections, two 35-minute Quantitative Reasoning sections, and one 30- or 35-minute experimental or research section which can be either quantitative or verbal. 

In this blog you will learn about different aspects of decoding GRE scores.

But First it is essential to understand the scores before going into how the calculation works. The scores are split according to the components of the GRE exam as follows;

Section Score Scale
Verbal Reasoning 130–170,in 1-point increments
Quantitative Reasoning 130–170,in 1-point increments
Analytical Writing 0–6,in half point increments

GRE Scoring Scheme

The GRE score is divided into two elements. The division is based on how the GRE is calculated. One method is to measure scores on a scale from 130-170, 130 being the lowest and 170 being the highest.Other is by calculating the score into percentile to see how you rank as compared to the other candidates. It also indicates the percentage of aspirants  who took that test and received a lower score.The percentile rank denotes the number of candidates who have scored less than you. For example, if you have a 90th percentile rank, it means you have scored better than 90 percent of the candidates who have appeared for the GRE examination. 

The highest total score of GRE is 340, whereas the lowest total score is 260.

If your GRE score is 170 in each of the components (Verbal and Quant), your percentile rank would be 99. This indicates that you have performed better than 99 people who have taken the test. Likewise, your percentile rank would be 96, if you score 165 in each of the components. A score between 320- 340 would count as an excellent score as your rank would lie between 90-99.Hence, your rank would be amongst the top ten percentile. A good score would be any score above 300 or 300 itself, this would rank you anywhere between 80-90 percentile. Your percentile rank would range from 50 to 55 with an average score of 150 in each section (Verbal reasoning and Quantitative reasoning).

We have discussed the first two sections of the GRE so far and their scoring pattern, we now move onto the third section, the Analytical Writing Assessment. Analytical writing assessment has a slightly different scoring pattern. The scaling score is from one to six with the score increasing by half a point increament. Your percentile rank is around 99, If you score a 6 and similarly your percentile rank is around 50, if you score a 4. The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections have objective-based questions so they are easier to score. On the other hand,the Analytical Writing Assessment, proves to be difficult to score in, as it is highly subjective and individualised. 

What is a Good GRE Score?

A good GRE score depends on the the programs you are considering and on the criterion set by the Universities you plan to apply for.Therefore, before you begin your preparation for the GRE exam,it is important to make note and do a thorough research of the criteria.This will not only help ease your preparation process but also provide you clarity when you set your target score. Continuous efforts will make a good score an achievable reality. 

Validity of scores

A lot of times, candidates are confused about the validity of their GRE scores. Candidates should note that their GRE scores are valid for five years following their test date.

Also there is an option of retaking the GRE but it might be expensive.Therefore,it is advised that you perform well in the first attempt itself.


Lastly, most candidates aim for an above average or an excellent score, which can prove to be very Frustrating. Set personal goals and targets to beat the stress and adhere to them while tracking your progress on a daily basis. Therefore, it is crucial to have all the right information before you begin the preparation process. 

As you have reached the end of this blog, you have all the necessary information on your fingertips. We mentioned how the GRE scoring scheme might intimidate you along the way in the beginning, but when broken down into different parts of information like we just did, it is not as complicated as you might think!

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