How to Interpret GRE Scores

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How to Interpret GRE Scores

For every graduate student with intentions to enlist at a business or graduate school overseas, the GRE General Test is an acceptable pathway for such individuals. It is a recognized and standard method for assessment all over the world, more so thousands of prospective graduate students write the GRE Subject Tests which measures the level of students understanding of a particular field of study.

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Whether you decide to go for the General Tests or Subject Tests, knowing how to interpret your score and understanding the GRE scoring pattern will go a long way in helping you improve your performance and your chances amongst test takers.

The method used in calculating the GRE score is a bit complex, and it involves the conversion of raw scores into a scaled score to help differentiate the scores from different test editions when been compared with each other. In this article, we will simplify all the processes engaged on how to interpret your GRE score in simple terms.

The Following Steps Are Guides On How To Interpret Your GRE Scores:

For you to know how your GRE test score is interpreted, you have to understand that it is different for both categories of GRE Tests, hence the breakdown.

GRE General Test: The key to understanding the GRE scores in this category, is to realize that there are three GRE scores reported for the test.

Section Score Scale-

Verbal Reasoning 

130–170, in 1 point increments

Quantitative Reasoning 

130–170, in 1 point increments

Analytic Writing 

0–6, in half-point increments

The Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections of the GRE General Test have a GRE score ranging from 130 – 170, with 1 -point increments. This means that, as a test taker, you can have scores from 131, 137, 152, etc., but not scores with decimals or infraction form like 134.8, 156.3, etc.

Whereas the Analytical Writing has a GRE score range of 0 – 6, with 0.5 -point increments, meaning you can see scores with decimals or fraction form like 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, etc. In a case whereby you did not answer at least a question within a measure, you will be awarded a No Score (NS) report for such an effort.

It is worthy of note that the GRE Test scores are generally valid for five (5) year’s from your GRE test administration date.

Interpreting GRE Scores (General Test): Analytical Writing Sections

  • Computer-delivered essay evaluation:

In the Analytical Writing section of the computer-delivered GRE General Test, each essay is firstly evaluated by a professional reader, on what is called a 6 -holistic point scale. The essay is scored based on its overall quality hence the word Holistic. The next step is to score the essay by an e-rater scoring engine, and this is a machine used for scoring created by ETS. If both GRE scores (General), one by the scoring machine and the other by a human, are within close range, the final GRE score is the gotten from the average of the two scores. But, if both scores show a considerable variation, the score from the e-rater is ignored. The second score is obtained from a human. Therefore, the final GRE is gotten from the average of two scores obtained from a human.

  • Paper-delivered essay evaluation:

Two professional readers evaluate the essay under the paper-delivered test and the average gotten is the final score. Should there be any considerable variation between both scores thereby exceeding 1 point on the scale, a third professional reader adjudicated the disparity.

  • Single Analytical Score:

Under the section, the average of both essays is gotten and rounded up to get a single Analytical Writing GRE score which is documented on a 0 – 6 point scale, in 0.5 increments. Should a candidate attempt just one out of the two essays, the un-attempted one will be graded as zero.

The Analytical Writing section scores are meant to access your level of critical thinking and analytical writing skills, and not so much focused on your grammatical prowess. Here is a Guide for Issue and Argument tasks on the GRE Score of the Analytical Writing Section.

Score Interpretation










Seriously Flawed


Fundamentally Deficient


Off-topic response


The essay response is blank

GRE Subject Tests Scoring process

As stated earlier, the GRE Subject Tests are done three times a year at paper-delivered test centres, and the scoring is done in just two steps:

1.The Raw GRE score for Subject Tests:

This score is gotten by deducting one-fourth (¼) of the number of questions failed from the number of questions answered successfully. Therefore, the raw score gotten is a formula score, and it is adopted to discourage guesswork from test-takers.

2.The Formula or Raw GRE score is then modified to a scaled score: 

This is done through the equating process, which serves as a reason for variations in complicated levels across different test editions.

The Scale of GRE Subject Test scores 

To better understand the GRE Subject Tests Score, this scale is essential;

  • The entire score of GRE Subject Tests falls between the range of 200 – 990, in 10-point increments, it is different from that of the General Test with 1-point increment.
  • Furthermore, sub-fields gain sub-scores. Let’s take, for example, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry Cell, and Psychology; all gain sub-scores on the score scale from range of 20 to 99 score scale, in 1-point increments.

N: B- The sub-scores help to recognize the strength and weaknesses, which can be used for guidance and placement bases.

The Percentile Rank

The percentile rank gives you the related percentile rank for each GRE score, and this is the percentage of test-takers within a period and had a lower GRE score. So it gives the percentage of the test-takers that had a score lower than your scaled score.


with all of the above-listed tips on how to interpret your GRE scores, I am sure you will have no problem henceforth when you decide to interpret your GRE Test Score and have a glimpse of what you should be expecting.

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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.