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GRE Scoring Overview
The GRE has multiple stages, and based on the test taker’s performance of the first section, it will determine the difficulty of the following sections. A raw score, or the number of questions you get correct, is calculated, and a conversion process known as ‘equating’ is used to create a scaled score.
Analytical writing is scored on a range of 0 to 6, while the Verbal and Quantitative sections have a score range of 130 to 170. Each section is scored separately, and on average, the top 50% of test takers score in the high 150’s for both the Quant and the Verbal sections.
How Long Does It Take to Receive GRE Scores?
Your official GRE test scores for both the Verbal and Quantitative sections can be viewed immediately after completing the assessment at the test center, simply by choosing to report your scores.
Because the Analytical Writing portion of the assessment is scored differently, you’ll get to view those scores, along with the full score report, within 10-15 days from your test date.
How to Send GRE Scores to Schools
The Educational Testing Service, or ETS, requires you to create an account upon signing up to take the exam. After viewing your unofficial scores for the Verbal and the Quant sections of the assessment, you will be given the option to choose four institutions to transmit your scores to.
You also have the option to view any prior scores from the past five years, if you’re someone who has taken the exam more than once. You’ll be given the option to send scores from the current test, or any from the past, to four schools, of which will be designated by school codes that can be searched for easily through the ETS system.
Another option is to not send any scores. If you’re unhappy with your performance, or you’re unsure about which schools you want to report to, you have the freedom for up to five years to log into your ETS account and send your four score reports for free.
An important thing to remember is that the initial test fee only covers sending scores to four institutions, so it’s important to choose your most sought-after schools of which you’re applying first.
How Long Does It Take to Send GRE Scores?
Approximately 10 to 15 days after you complete your GRE, you will receive an email notification that states that your score reports have been sent to the schools of your choice. These are known as designated score recipients.
How Much Does It Cost to Send Scores?
The initial testing fee of $200+ allows participants to officially send scores to up to four schools of their choice. Sending your scores to additional schools can be done, but only after test day, by placing an order for additional score reports through your ETS account online.
Each report that you order incurs a $30 fee. Scores are valid for up to five years after your testing date, so something important to keep in mind is that you don’t need to know which schools you want to send scores to right away.
More Information About the GRE
The exam is made up three sections, Analytical writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. These three sections test your basic readiness for graduate level course work.
Analytical Writing Section
In the Analytical Writing section, you’ll be given 60 minutes to complete two tasks which require you provide an analysis of an argument, and then an analysis of an issue. This skill is the essay portion of the assessment, and ensures that you can clearly communicate your thoughts around complex topics.
The Verbal Reasoning section also allots 60 minutes to complete two sections. Each section consists of 6 text completion questions, 4 sentence equivalence questions, and 10 reading comprehension questions, for a total of 20 questions per section.
The goal is to assess a student’s ability to look at written material and examine sentence structure and vocabulary. Text completion and sentence equivalence questions are in a fill in the blank format, while the reading comprehension section asks participants to read passages and answer questions based on the reading.
For the Quantitative Reasoning section of the assessment, you’ll have 1 hour and 10 minutes to answer 40 total questions across two sections.
The quantitative comparison questions ask testers to compare two quantities and find the relationship between each of the quantities.
With problem solving, you will see traditional multiple-choice questions with five possible choices and only one correct answer. Variations of this style question might be “select all that apply” or “enter a numeric answer.”
Overall, the GRE is one of the most important pieces to a graduate school application. Although it is a time-consuming test, with a total test time of 3 hours and 45 minutes, it is a way to prove your graduate school readiness to any potential programs you might apply for.
An above average GRE score not only shows institutions that you’re ready for graduate level work, but might help your application stand out among everyone else’s. It might be an anxious time waiting for your scores to come back after taking the initial test, but you can get a good gauge of your performance based on the unofficial score report given at the end of your test session.
Although it is an expensive test, participants can breathe a little easier knowing that the test can be retaken, and that any scores from the previous five years can be reported.