How is the GRE Scored?

In 2011, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) revised the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) exam. In addition to modifying the test structure and the types of questions utilized, the scoring scale was also revised. Previously, test-takers received marks between 200-800 on the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections and between 0-6 on the Analytical Writing component. While Analytical Writing remains the same, the new system is as follows: 

Quantitative Reasoning: 130-170, one-point increments

Verbal Reasoning: 130-170, one-point increments

Analytical Writing: 0-6, 0.5-point increments

On both the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections, scores range from 130 to 170 in one-point increments. It is thus possible to receive a mark of 148 or 163. However, results in these sections are reported separately. While students may discuss their GRE scores by combining the two portions, the score reports distributed to students and universities do not total them. These GRE practice tests may help you become more familiar with this scoring as well.

For both components, the GRE adapts if the test-taker is completing the computer-based exam. If you do well on the first section of Quantitative or Verbal Reasoning, you will be presented with a second more difficult portion; if you do not perform well, the next section will be the same or easier. This is a significant difference from the previous version of the GRE, in which each question was adaptive, and thus test-takers could not move between problems within a given portion. 

In order to calculate the final result for Quantitative Reasoning or Verbal Reasoning, a raw score is determined based on the amount of correctly answered questions. In a process ETS calls “equating,” the raw score is slightly adjusted for difficulty. This ensures all test-takers receive an equal result, regardless of the version of the test they take. 

When completing the computer exam, these scores are available immediately after the test, as they are computer generated. ETS refers to this as your “unofficial score report." Here is some great information on how to improve your GRE score that may interest you, or you may also want to consider working with a GRE tutor.

For Analytical Writing, results range from 0-6. They are reported in 0.5 increments. Unlike other aspects of the GRE, the two written essays are graded by at least one human reader. In addition, ETS now utilizes a computer program to assess each essay. If the human reader and computer program slightly disagree on what score to assign, the human reader’s mark is awarded. However, if they significantly disagree, a second human reader is asked to evaluate the essay, and the final score is an average of both readers’ grades.

Due to this process, the scores for Analytical Writing are available 10-15 days after the test is taken. They are reported as part of the official score report by ETS.