GRE General FAQ

What is the highest possible GRE score?


What is the score distribution?

Scaled Score Verbal Reasoning % Quantitative Reasoning  
800 99 94  
780 99 99  
760 99 80  
740 99 80  
720 98 75  
700 97 71  
680 96 66  
660 94 62  
600 86 48  
580 82 44  
560 77 39  
540 72 35  
520 67 31  
500 62 28  
480 57 24  
460 52 18  
  AWA Writing Score Writing %  
  6 98  
  5.5 92  
  5 81  
  4.5 63  
  4 41  

How does GRE figure test scores?

For multiple choice sections:

The common (GRE Verbal and GRE Quantitative) multiple-choice portions of the exam currently use computer-adaptive testing (CAT) methods that automatically change the difficulty of questions as the test taker proceeds with the exam, depending on the number of correct or incorrect answers that are given. The test taker is not allowed to go back and change the answers to previous questions, and some type of answer must be given before the next question is presented.

The first question that is given in a multiple-choice section is considered to be an "average level" question that half of the GRE test takers will answer correctly. If the question is answered correctly, then subsequent questions become more difficult. If the question is answered incorrectly, then subsequent questions become easier, until a question is answered correctly. This approach to administration yields scores that are of similar accuracy while using approximately half as many items. However, this effect is moderated with the GRE because it has a fixed length; true CATs are variable-length, where the test will stop itself once it has zeroed in on a candidate's ability level.

The actual scoring of the test is done with item response theory (IRT). While CAT is associated with IRT, IRT is actually used to score non-CAT exams. The GRE subject tests, which are administered in the traditional paper-and-pencil format, use the same IRT scoring algorithm. The difference that CAT provides is that items are dynamically selected so that the test taker only sees items of appropriate difficulty. Besides the psychometric benefits, this has the added benefit of not wasting the examinee's time by administering items that are far too hard or easy. This occurs in fixed-form testing.

For the GRE essay:

Your essay will be scored on all the elements of the writing – structure, grammar, tone, etc. Two trained readers will score your essay, each giving it a rating from 0 (lowest) to 6 (highest). The average of these is your writing sub-score.

When can I view my scores?

At the end of the exam, you will be asked if you want to see and keep your score or not. If you answer "yes," you are given your score immediately on your computer screen and it is entered into your ETS record. If you answer "no," you are not given your score and no score is entered.

How long does it take to receive a score report?

Requested score reports are sent to schools within 10-15 days after the exam. All non-cancelled GRE testing administrations will be listed (and usable) in your ETS record for 5 years.

After I view my scores can I cancel reporting them to ETS?


How do I report my scores and what are the costs?

At the end of your GRE administration, you will report your scores to ETS, and you can choose to submit your scores directly to up to four institutions without additional cost.

For any additional score reports, the cost is $23 per report.

Can I send my multiple choice scores without the writing scores?


How long are my GRE scores valid?

Your GRE scores are valid for five years. At this time, it is not possible to order score reports from a GRE administration prior to July 1, 2003.

Can I request that my Analytical Writing Assessment be re-evaluated?

You can have your AWA re-evaluated within six months of your GRE administration. It costs $55 and entitles you to have your essays read by different testing professionals. Your scores will be available in about four weeks. Please find instructions for having you AWA re-assessed on

Which scores are reported if I test more than once?

All released GRE scores will be reported to your chosen institutions.

If I report multiple scores to a college will they take my best score or an average?

At this time, admissions departments will tend to favor one of the following two approaches to multiple GRE scores: 1. Evaluate all scores and put emphasis on score increases (meaning that several, similar scores would be detrimental to your application), or 2. Evaluate all scores and choose the highest score in each section. Taking an average of the scores is uncommon.

Who can see the essays I wrote?

If you choose to send your GRE scores to ETS, your essays will be distributed to any and all programs for which you apply.

What if I cancel a score and later decide to reinstate it?

You can request that ETS reinstate a cancelled score within 60 days of your test date for a fee of $30.