GRE Scoring

Excited, happy man looking at his GRE scores on a laptop screen.

Your GRE Score at a Glance

What’s Included in Your Results

Your official GRE test results include an overall score as well as three separate scores for the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing sections of the exam.

Combining the points for each portion of the test gives you your GRE total score, as well as determining your percentile ranking that shows how well you scored compared to other test takers.

Scoring Criteria

How Are the Different Sections of the GRE Evaluated?

While the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections of the GRE go through a similar scoring process, the analytical writing portion of the exam undergoes evaluation from a trained human reviewer as well as a computer-based scoring system.

Learning how each GRE section is scored helps in understanding what constitutes a good score for each part.

Analytical Writing

How Your Essay Is Graded

A trained rater scores each analytical writing essay on a six-point scale based on the overall quality of your writing and how well you responded to the given prompt.

A computerized e-rater scores your essay as well, and if the results are similar, you'll receive an average of the two scores. Otherwise, your score will be the average between the first human rater and a second human reviewer.

Determining Your Score

Again, GRE scores range from 0 to 6 on this section of the exam. Once the human raters and computer program score your essay, the results are rounded to the nearest half-point interval.

Essays that showcase a strong ability to think critically and express complex ideas using standard written English typically earn higher analytical writing scores.

Verbal & Quantitative Reasoning

Answered Prompts & Point Values

Scoring for the verbal and quantitative reasoning portions of the GRE depends on the number of correct responses you give. Both these test sections are also level adaptive, meaning the questions increase in difficulty and point value depending on how you answered the earlier prompts.

How Your Raw Score Is Calculated

Raw scores for the quantitative and verbal reasoning portions of the test come from the number of questions you get right. Your raw score then goes through the equating process, which accounts for variations in difficulty across different test editions to calculate your scaled score.

For both these sections, the GRE score scale ranges from 130 to 170 with one-point increments.

Evaluating Your Results

What Is a Good GRE Score?

Many graduate programs have their own guidelines for what makes a good GRE score. Since each school sets its own standards, defining which GRE test scores are good across the board can be challenging.

As a general rule, aim for higher than average GRE scores, which fall around:

  • 150 for GRE verbal reasoning.
  • 152 for the quantitative reasoning portion.
  • 3.4 for the writing section.

What Score Do I Need for a Good Percentile?

Admissions committees often consider GRE total scores in the 75th percentile to be good scores. To earn this ranking, your test results will need to be roughly:

  • 157 on the verbal reasoning portion.
  • 160 on the quantitative reasoning section.
  • 4.5 on the analytical writing essay.

A GRE total score of about 318 will place you in this percentile as well.

How Long Are GRE Scores Valid?

Your GRE scores are valid for up to five years from your test date. When sending out your official GRE test results, remember that it takes around five business days to process any score requests. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to receive and send out your GRE scores before they become invalid.

Study Resources

Online GRE Test Prep

Understanding Percentiles

GRE Sections

GRE Study Guide