GRE Total Score, Range, and Percentile Ranking

GRE Total Score, Range, and Percentile Ranking

September 19, 2022

The GRE General Test is a standardized test developed and administered by the Educational Testing Service, sometimes known as ETS, that measures graduate school applicants' general academic preparedness. Some graduate programs require applicants to take the GRE General Test and a GRE Subject Test that tests technical knowledge in a specific field, such as physics, psychology, or mathematics.

Why is the GRE an Important Exam?

Graduate schools come in a wide variety, each with a unique set of desirable qualifications and requirements for applicants. This is in contrast to undergraduate institutions. The GRE percentiles benefit schools since they allow for comparing individuals who took the exam.

As a result, students working toward a master's degree in engineering will be evaluated alongside those working toward doctoral degrees in anthropology. Various graduate schools will have different GRE criteria for students in terms of percentiles because GRE percentiles might characterize a spectrum of test-takers with varying interests and qualifications.

Having a clear understanding of and being able to interpret your GRE scores might be a challenge. The Verbal and Quantitative portions of the GMAT combine to form the final score. The GMAT test, which assesses verbal, quantitative, analytical writing, and integrated reasoning abilities, is a reliable indicator of performance in the first year of graduate management study. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are ranked on a scale and are related by percentiles. You can register for either the GRE general test or a subject test. These tests use a unique scale to determine their overall GRE scores. Every single GRE score is comprised of two different parts: a scaled score and a percentile rank. The quantitative and verbal portions of the General Test of the GRE are scored on a scale ranging from 130 to 170.

GRE score by sections

On the other hand, the total score for the Subject test is based on a scale that ranges from 200 to 990 and increases by 10 points at each step. The Subject test does not offer sectional scores as the General Test does.

The ETS GRE first computes the raw scores before calculating your final score (based on the number of questions you answer correctly in your GRE test). The calculated raw scores are then transformed into scaled scores. Equating, based on the difficulty of the questions you attempted, is the method used to convert the data. The GRE test is a section-level computer-adaptive test, so some questions might be given more weight than others (for Quant and Verbal).

A different scoring system is used for the analytical writing section. One professional rater and an e-rater each score your performance on the two tasks—Analyze an Issue and Analyze an Argument—to determine your grade. By averaging these two scores, you can decide on your ultimate score. If the two ratings don't agree, the essays are rechecked by a second qualified rater, and your final score is the average of the two raters' submissions.

This blog will explain what your GRE scores and percentiles mean, as well as how to analyze them so that you can maximize your potential. Content as a bonus regarding the GRE's policies regarding the cancellation and reinstatement of results.

GRE Test Structure & Format

There are two ungraded sections and three scored sections. The first component will consist of analytical writing essays, in which test-takers must compose two essays, one issue-based and the other argumentative. The Verbal and Quantitative sections each have 20 questions divided into two parts.

In addition, the identified or unidentified unscored experimental part and the number of questions in the section vary depending on whether they occur in the Math or Verbal section. The test takes approximately three hours and 45 minutes to complete.

GRE scores are necessary for postgraduate admission, and most universities require applicants to submit them as part of their application requirements. In addition, admissions committees and fellowship boards use the results to identify applicants who are qualified for the program and are strong candidates. In contrast to other graduate examinations, GRE scores are useful in various ways for universities and institutions.

Some utilize the GRE scores as a crucial criterion for admission, while others use them as entrance requirements. It is essential to understand that the GRE is the world's most widely recognized graduate admissions exam, and it can determine whether or not you are admitted to graduate school.

Why is the GRE an Important Exam?

Graduate schools come in a wide variety, each with a unique set of desirable qualifications and requirements for applicants. This is in contrast to undergraduate institutions. The GRE percentiles benefit schools since they allow for comparing individuals who took the exam.

As a result, students working toward a master's degree in engineering will be evaluated alongside those working toward doctoral degrees in anthropology. Various graduate schools will have different GRE criteria for students in terms of percentiles because GRE percentiles might characterize a spectrum of test-takers with varying interests and qualifications.

How Are Points Allotted on the GRE?

Calculating your GRE score throughout the GRE general exam procedure is very involved because each portion of the GRE has a raw score, which is then turned into a scaled score for the GRE. The scaled score is employed when determining the final grade for the GRE or the total score on the GRE.

The verbal and quantitative portions of the GRE are scores based on the total number of questions answered correctly. The raw score acquired on the GRE is then converted to a scale ranging from 130 to 170. Candidates can readily determine their results on the GRE if they use a score calculator.

Each essay submitted for the GRE Analytical writing assessment is graded by one rater who has received extensive training and uses a six-point scale. An e-rater®, which ETS developed, is then used to evaluate the essay once more. If the GRE score given by the human rater and the e-rater are pretty similar, then the final GRE AWA score will be determined by taking the average of the two scores. A second human score is utilized if the two results do not coincide.

Please refer to the following table to understand GRE percentiles based on GRE scaled scores.

Percentile rankings for GRE test

Score Percentiles for Analytical Writing

Percentile rankings for GRE Writing section

The question now is, precisely what are these percentile ranks?

Your scores are compared with those of other people who took the test within a specific comparison group using a percentile score. In this section, the percentile ranks show the percentage of people who have taken the test with a lower score than yours. For example, if your score were reported to be in the 80th percentile, it would imply that you performed better on the test than 80 percent of the others who took it worldwide.

GRE Subject Test Percentile Score

Four GRE topic tests are available for chemistry, mathematics, physics, and psychology, respectively. The scores on these specialized examinations range from 200 to 990, with each succeeding level increasing by 10 points. Each section of the GRE subject test is given a score between 20 and 99, with an increase of one point added to the total score after every quarter. When determining the overall GRE score for a subject, the subscores are factored in alongside the total score.

The GRE score percentiles for the subject test are as follows:

GRE Subject Tests score percentiles

Once again, you will see no rankings for scores between 200 and 300. This implies that none of the candidates scored lower than 300 on any subject tests.

Explanation of GRE Percentiles and Graduate College Admission

The minimum percentile on the GRE required for admission to various colleges and programs varies. The percentiles given for each area of the GRE will differ from one another.

For example, to pursue a postgraduate degree in economics at the University of California, you must have a verbal percentile score of at least 60th and a quantitative percentile score of at least 70th. On the other hand, to get into the Graduate School of Education at Harvard, you should have a score in the 50th percentile for the Verbal component, while your scores for the Quantitative section can be in the 30th percentile.

It is essential to know that most colleges prefer applicants with scores benchmarked between the 50th and 60th percentile. In a similar vein, the entrance percentiles required for the two separate programs that you are contemplating attending are not the same. For example, you may anticipate that most math programs will demand a quantitative score in the 95th percentile. Still, the program may require the same percentile score for the verbal component. This would be an unrealistic expectation.

Final Words 

The maximum GRE overall score is 340; however, section scores are typically provided individually.

The maximum and minimum scores for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections, respectively, are 170 and 130. The scoring system uses one-point divisions. The scale for analytical writing is 0-6, with half-point increments. Scores on the GRE Subject Tests range from 200 to 990 in 10-point increments. The average scores on the GRE are far lower than the GRE total score because it's quite difficult to achieve a perfect score on the exam.

On the GRE, you can make a few mistakes and still receive a perfect score, but keep in mind that the GRE is only one part of your graduate school application. Instead of concentrating all of your energy on attempting to earn a perfect GRE score, spend your time putting together a good application in several areas. Even if you received the highest GRE score possible, it probably wouldn't help you get into graduate school if the rest of your application was lacking. In a similar vein, less-than-perfect GRE scores are probably not going to hurt you too much if you have strong credentials in other areas, such as your college grades, letters of recommendation, etc.

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