How to Calculate Overall GRE Score

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How to Calculate Overall GRE Score

GRE here, GRE there! If you wish to study in a high reputation school, you’ll see the acronym GRE a lot. The graduate records examination has to be one of the most respected global exams. However, many candidates do not know how to calculate the overall GRE score. Not because they are unserious or unsmart, calculating the GRE course is not that straight forward.

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The Educational Testing Service is the primary organizer of the Graduate Record Examination. The first GRE test took place at the University of Wisconsin in 1938, but as of today, almost all schools in the USA and Canada require their potential candidates to write the GRE test. Mostly, people looking for graduate admission are the ones who write the GRE test. So, if you’re looking to get into the top universities, you need to get familiar with this test.

Knowing about the GRE test is not enough; understanding the scoring style is another necessity. Of course, the Educational Testing Service oversees all marking guides of this test. However, it’s not okay to sit back and trust your GRE scores. Sometimes, you need to understand how they came about the score. In this article, I’ll be showing you how to calculate the overall GRE score. Likewise, I’ll describe from experience what you should expect from each GRE section.

What Subjects are on the GRE

What is the GRE Test Pattern?

Before you can decide to understand how GRE scores you, you need to know what the GRE is. The Graduate Records Examination is a test that challenges the basic reasoning of candidates. There are two types of GRE tests, which are;

1.GRE General Test: Usually, most candidates write the GRE available test on a computer system. However, they can decide to write a paper test in locations where a computer is unavailable. This test looks to check your proficiency in writing, calculations, and English vocab. There are three sections in this GRE general test that you need to complete under 3hrs and 45 minutes. These sections are;

  • Analytical Writing Section: In this section, the examiners expect you to write two essays within a thirty-minute time-frame for each. One of the articles is informative, while the other is a debate essay.
  • Verbal Reasoning Section: In this section, the examiners are looking to test your English vocabulary skills. The verbal reasoning section has forty questions, including comprehension and text completion. The examiners have divided equally into two sections. Each of the sections has a thirty-minute time-frame.
  • Quantitative Reasoning Section: In this section, the examiners are looking to test your understanding of calculations and problem-solving. This quantitative reasoning section has forty questions that you have a time-frame of 70 minutes. The quantitative sections have two subsections which have twenty questions each.

2.GRE Subject Test: Some schools with expertise in some specific courses won’t want you to submit just the general GRE test. For this reason, the Educational Testing Service organized a GRE subject test. This GRE subject test checks your proficiency in particular subjects that relate to your chosen course of study. The courses offered are chemistry, physics, biology, psychology, mathematics, and English literature.

How to Calculate Your GRE Score

Each section of the GRE has its own specific marking styles. Let’s take a look at the score pattern for each section.

Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning Sections

The reason why I picked both sections side by side is that they have very similar scoring patterns. Likewise, both scores have two sections with twenty questions each. And the quantitative and verbal reasoning sections have marks very similar to regular examinations. There are two types of scores for these sections. The score types are;

  • Raw Score: As the name implies, your raw score is the number of correct answers you get correctly.
  • Scaled Score: Now, GRE understands that you may get some questions wrong because of minor and neglectable parameters. Therefore, to reduce the possibility of this little mistake, GRE scales your raw score. The scaling of raw scores uses a process known as equating. What this process does is essentially reduce the impact of some variations on your final score.

So you see, the first score you get is a raw score, which will be equated to scale, neglecting minor variations. The same process happens in both the verbal reasoning section and the quantitative reasoning section. The range of score you can get begins from 130 and ends at 170: this score range increases and decreases in sums of one.

Analytical Writing Section

The scoring pattern of this section is a bit different. Here, there’s a possibility your score comes from a computerized program and a human, or it comes from two humans. To score this section, there are two situations;

  • Firstly, a human reader trained by the Educational Testing Service to mark your essay according to critical thinking and writing skills about the topic at hand scores your paper. Likewise, a computer program the ETS created also marks the two pieces you write. If the scores match, then the average score is your total score.
  • If your computer score and the human score doesn’t match, another trained personnel will score your essays. Now, your score is the average of the two scores by human readers.
  • The score range is between 0 and 6, and it increases by 0.5.

How to Calculate the GRE Subject Test

The scoring process for the GRE subject tests depends on each subject. Every subject has a different amount of questions; therefore, they have dynamic scoring patterns. However, the score range increases in tens between 220-990, and some specific subjects have subscores between 20 and 99.


As you can see, the best way to know how to calculate the overall GRE score is to understand the scores of each section. Because, unlike some other exams, your GRE score report comes with each score for each section. Sometimes, quantitative and verbal reasoning are added to give a scale of 340. Likewise, your score report has a test taker report that also presents your score in a percentile. It’s just a way of telling you the number of candidates that scored lower than you.

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.