– Since the GRE score scale is considered one of the least intuitive scales available, helping students understand the GRE scoring scale system is the first step in achieving high scores on the GRE.

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GRE raw and percentile scores

GRE scoring scale system can be scored by these following sections: Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. Both of these sections are calculated on a scale of 130 – 170 each. Based on that scale, 130 is the lowest score and 170 is the highest score.

There is also the Analytical Writing (AW) section, which is scored on a smaller scale from 0.0 to 6.0. Here are the average scores for all sections of the GRE based on ETS 2018 data:

  • Verbal: 150
  • Quant: 153
  • AW: 3.50

In addition, students must also familiarize themselves with the percentile scale of GRE. Percentile scale helps students compare their results with all other GRE test takers.

For more: GRE exam preparation for beginners

A high percentile means you do better than the majority of test-takers and your chances of being accepted into a prestigious university drastically increase. However, the lower the percentile you get, the lower your chances of being admitted will be. The following is an overview of the GRE scores and what these scores represent:

Percentile Verbal Quantitative GRE scores interpretation
99th 169-170 170 Excellent
90th 162 166 Very Good
75th 157 160 Good
50th 150-151 153 Average
25th 144-145 147 Below Average
10th 139-140 141 Poor
1st 132 and below 134 and below Very Poor

Regarding Analytical Writing section, you can follow the following transcript:

Percentile AW score GRE score interpretation
99th 6.0 Excellent
98th 5.5
92nd 5.0 Very Good
82nd 4.5 Good
59th 4.0 Average
41st 3.5
17th 3.0 Below Average
7th 2.5 Poor
2nd 2.0 Very Poor
1st 1.5 and below

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How high is GRE score?

The two charts above are just a general example of how to understand the GRE scoring scale system, but whether your GRE score is “good” or not depends on the grad program you intend to apply for. This is why context is critical for understanding GRE scores.

If you apply for an MA humanities program, such as English, History, and Foreign Languages… then your Verbal score will be given more weight than your Quantitative score. On the other hand, if you are applying for a Science program such as Math, Computer Science, Physics…, your Quantitative score will be more valuable.

What about the AW score? AW scores are usually given less importance, but for some programs like Creative Writing MFA, AW scores are more emphasized.

For more: Standards for bilingual academy – A place to share all the experiences of Test Prep exams (SSAT, SAT, ACT, GMAT, GRE…) for students preparing to study abroad. If you have any questions, please contact us directly via email or hotline for free advice.