All You Need to Know About the GRE Scoring System


It’s apparent that once a student desires to study abroad, the first thing that comes to his or her mind is the GRE test. GRE is like a passport to US admissions and every student wants to take maximum advantage of the exam during their admission time. Every year, the number of students taking this demanding exam surpasses the next year. What begs the eye is how does the scoring system work? Let’s debunk the GRE scoring system through this article.

Albert Einstein was right when he quoted ‘You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.’ GRE is no different in this regard. Before dreaming of scoring well, you have to understand the pattern and the rules of the test.

Let’s divide the whole system into six parts and then try to understand one after the other.


Key Areas of the GRE Test


The key areas of the GRE test that one has to learn are

  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Analytical writing

These three areas will decide where a student stands at a graduate level and provides a scholastic analysis of how likely he or she is going to succeed in the graduate program. There is a strong impetus about why the GRE pattern is the way it is. Because at a graduate level, you shall be tested on a variety of modules, research, and dissertations, where you will be assessed on skills and abilities such as reading, writing, researching, and analyzing various materials at the master’s level. In order to succeed in the mentioned areas, one needs to have good problem-solving skills that can only be achieved through a GRE.

GRE Format

It’s not enough to know just the key areas, because one needs to understand the meticulous nature of the test. The test consists of 6 sections.

  • Analytical Writing – 1 section (always the first section of the test)

– Analysis of an issue ( 30 min)

– Analysis of Argument ( 30 Min)

  • Verbal Reasoning – 2 sections

– Verbal Section A

– Verbal Section B

  • Quantitative Reasoning – 2 sections

– Quant Section A

– Quant Section B

  • Experimental/Research Section – This can either be a Quant or a verbal section and this section cannot be identified. Although this section does not cater to the final score of your GRE, you have to take this section as any other section.

Once you know the format it becomes easy for you to focus on the areas where you feel comfortable and pick your strengths and weaknesses. This is like a SWOT analysis. Try and find which areas that you need to focus on more on and which areas you might need a touch base on. In this way, your scores can be strengthened by the right approaches.

Section Level Difficulty

Did you know that your next section depends on how you performed the previous section? This is called section level adaptive where the desired result always starts with how you performed the first section. We say, how about getting more points in the first section so that you get a more difficult section the next time. The more difficult the section, the more marks you gain even though you didn’t perform on all questions.

Let’s Discuss the GRE Scoring System


GRE has three component assessments; They are Analytical Writing, Verbal, and quantitative reasoning. The scale range for these three components is as follows: Verbal – 130 – 170, Quantitative reasoning – 130 – 170, and AWA – 0 – 6 with 0.5 point increment. The total composite score ranges between 260 – 340 while the AWA score is not added to these scores.

How GRE is Scored?

The GRE scoring system for both the quantitative and verbal reasoning sections is similar as the number of questions per section remains the same. Basically, the final score zero in on to a two-step process –

First – The Raw Score

In this step, we calculate the raw score by crediting each correct answer with one point that a test-taker got to right answer the GRE, regardless of either the first or second section.

For each section, one point for Quant and another point for Verbal is computed on a scale of 0 to 40 because the student gets to answer two sets of twenty questions for both.

Second – Final or Scaled Score

The one-point raw score is given to all the questions which the test taker correctly answered. Besides, we must also consider the difficulty level when we assess these scores. Thus, the resultant score is obtained by scaling the existing raw score concerning the level of difficulty. Specifically, since there is an overall variation in the difficulty level between the first and second section questions, the difficulty level based on sections also amounts to the final score.

What is the GRE Percentile?

Your GRE score percentile gives us an idea about how our scores are compared to all the other GRE test-takers. For instance, if you get a higher Percentile, then your score will be compared to the other test-takers. If you get a 99th GRE percentile score, then you scored better than 99% of the rest of the test-takers, while you are in the top 1%.

Luckily, ETS is kind enough to give us a glimpse of GRE percentile scores. Click here to visit the site.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q1. What is a good GRE score to get into the desired University?

While the 75th percentile is a pretty good GRE score, the 90th percentile is considered excellent.

Q2. Will I be able to score close to a perfect score if I attempt to get an easy second session?

No. Even if you get all 20 questions right in the second easy section, your score may not go beyond 155. The best hope is to try to attempt as many right answers in the first section and continue to do well in the second hard section.

Q3. Will AWA be added to the Verbal score?

No ! Because AWA has its own score ( 0 – 6).

Q4. What is a 50% percentile in GRE?

It means you scored 50% better than other GRE test takers.

Q5. What happens if I get less than 50% GRE percentile?

It’s not advisable because you will be under the bottom half.


Find Your Dream University

If you are planning to study abroad and searching to match your profile with the best suited university, experts at Manya Education have gathered important information of top Universities from abroad. Surely, this information will help you narrow down your quest for universities.

You can access accurate & authentic information related to rankings, application fees, average tuition fees, cost of living, scholarships, latest updates, and much more from more than 1000+ universities. You may also search for universities by name, country, or courses in common specializations, such as Physics, Finance, Business, Language and Culture, Agriculture, Environmental Science, Computer and IT, Media and Communication Marketing.

Manya Education offers end-to-end study abroad services encompassing admissions consulting services, test preparation, English language training, career assessment, and international internship opportunities to study abroad aspirants.

For more information, call our Study Abroad Helpline 1800 102 4646.

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