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The New GRE Scoring Scale: Your Updated Scores

The scores for the new GRE are finally here! In fact, they arrived a week early. That’s good news for those eager to submit their applications to their respective schools. For those hoping to know what the cutoff scores are for a given university, you have come to wrong place. Nobody knows the answer to that question. Most universities, I am sure, are unaware of exactly what the score cutoffs will be (we will have to wait until the U.S. News grad school ranking issue comes out).

In this post, I will address how the new scale varies from the old one (besides the obvious difference in score range). Were there any real surprises? Well, read on to find out.

Not as much asymmetry

On the old scale, a perfect 800 on the math worked out to 94%. A 730 on the verbal equated to a 99%. A 94% on the verbal side of things meant a measly 660 points. That’s nearly 140 points off.

Why is that such a big deal, besides being kind of weird?

Well, at the upper end of the scale for quant, it was difficult to determine who the top students were; after all, a 94% was the exact same thing as a 99%. For a program that stresses math skills, this could be a very significant ambiguity.

Luckily, ETS has fixed this discrepancy. Now, the perfect math score has become far more difficult to get, and the perfect verbal score has actually become easier to get.

How do things actually look now?

If you received a 750-800, you could have ended up with anywhere from 159 – 170. I know it sounds like asymmetry all over again, but remember – the only reason why this range is so vast is because the previous scale was skewed in one direction.

For example, an 800 math score equates to a 166. On the lower side of the scale, quant-wise, we have some other curious point conversions. For instance, a 350, 360, and a 370 all equate to 138. These three scores for one point are indeed common on the lower end of the scale.

Of course, I could go on to account for all quirks in the scoring range…but, that would make this post run far longer than necessary. Instead, click on this link:

On the verbal side of the fence, the logic has been flipped – a perfect score on the old verbal section, which was so difficult to attain, is now far less of an Olympian feat. An old 760 can now land you a perfect score. And, on the low end of the scale, each point value matches up with a 10-point increment from the old scale (e.g. 138 = 300).

What does this all mean?

Always look at your percentile ranking. That is, when you receive a score report, you will also receive a number indicating the percent of people you scored better than (on the chart above, look to the right of the score for the percentile rank).

If you score in the top 90% in both math and verbal, then you are a competitive candidate. Period. Less competitive schools may only require 50%. So, look at your percentile rankings. Remember that, because this new scoring scale is so new, universities will take a while to adjust to it. No one has all the answers.

But, if you scored below 30% in any section, then you may want to seriously consider taking the test again. Doing so is by no means the end of the world. On the old scale, I had a student go from the upper 800s to near 1400. Hard work can make all the difference. So, get started now!

Also, many of you have been asking us for suggestions of specific graduate school programs along with GRE help. is a great resource that we recommend: you can search for schools by region, state, and city according to which program you’re interested in.

We hope that helps a lot of you who many be feeling a little overwhelmed by the process of choosing schools and submitting applications. We wish you the best of luck!

By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

39 Responses to The New GRE Scoring Scale: Your Updated Scores

  1. Ashu October 14, 2016 at 11:57 am #

    how does a 3.0 in awa with 155v and 170q in gre affect chances in getting admissions for ms in cse?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 15, 2016 at 7:22 am #

      Hi Ashu,

      It’s hard to say as every program may be different. Given that you’re looking into CSE, the schools probably do place a greater emphasis on the quantitative section, in which you excelled. However, I would recommend that you contact some of your potential/target schools to get a better idea of the emphasis they place on the Verbal and AWA section.

  2. Shrinand August 20, 2016 at 7:45 am #

    how does a 2.5 in awa with 152 v and 168 q in gre affect chances in getting admissions for ms in cse

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 20, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

      CSE programs focus much more on Quants than the other parts of the GRE. And I’ve even seen some MS CSE programs that don’t even ask for an AWA score. So a lot of programs will definitely still be open to you, even with your trailing Verbal and AWA numbers. That being said, some highly competitive top school programs may want to see you raise your AWA, or possibly your verbal. Check with individual schools if you think a particular school might be picky about your scores.

  3. Kai July 16, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I am planning on taking the GRE this August, 2016, but am hoping/planning to take a gap year after I finish my Bachelor’s next spring (will be entering my Senior year this Fall). When I send the scores to the four institutions at the test center, will those institutions still have those scores on record by the time I apply for admission for Fall 2018, or will I have to pay extra and resend them?

    Apologies that this doesn’t have much to do with this thread, I found another thread that pertained more to my inquiry but was unable to leave a reply.

    Thanks in advance,


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 17, 2016 at 8:52 am #

      Hi Kai,

      Typically they can access your scores as long as they are valid, but institutions have different ways of dealing with student admissions data, so you will need to check in with them individually when you make your application in 2017/2018. 🙂

  4. Alyssa November 16, 2015 at 8:51 am #


    I just took my GRE for the second time. The first time around I received a 153 Verval (63rd %) 140 Quant (8th %), and 4.0 writing (56th%). After studying ridiculously hard this time I received a 145 quant (21st %) but did much worse on the other sections 3.0 writing, 149 verbal. Does it make sense to send all scores to my colleges? I’m applying to research based psychology PhD programs. I know it looks good that I did better on quant but since I did so much worse on the other two sections is that really an improvement overall? I’m not sure what to do.

  5. holly November 6, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

    Hi, I can’t seem to find an answer to my specific predicament anywhere. I took the GRE last year, and scored a 170 on the verbal (yay!) but only a 145 on the quantitative (meh). I took a prep course that focused on the math almost exclusively, but I guess it didn’t help me enough. I only got a 4 on the essay, but that was because I didn’t prepare adequately for it and got a case of nerves when it popped up on my screen first. I’m confident that if I took the test again, I could easily replicate my perfect verbal, and I think with a little preparation I could get a perfect score on the essay. I’m not so sure I could significantly improve my math score – I took that test after months of math prep and my score was still lackluster. I haven’t heard anyone talk about what it means to have such a lopsided score – obviously I am planning on going into more of a liberal arts degree, not math or science oriented, so how much does my bad math score hurt me when I have such a stellar verbal? I’m planning on applying to journalism, communications, and possibly English programs. Some of the programs I’m looking at offer the option of including your GRE score but don’t require it. So does that 170 look great enough that it offsets my 145 (assuming I retake and do very well on the essay)?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele November 10, 2014 at 11:31 am #

      Hi Holly,

      The good news is I don’t think any of the liberal arts programs you are applying to care much about the quant. The “stellar verbal” is what will delight them. The not-so-good news is that a ‘4’ essay score is something that will stand out negatively, esp. in such a writing-heavy field as journalism.

      Since you can get a perfect verbal score, take the test again and aim for that near perfect ‘6’. That way your scores–at least the ones they care about–will shine.

      Best of luck 🙂

  6. Mike November 5, 2014 at 9:23 am #


    Is it possible to guesstimate the correlation of GRE M and V scores? Here is why I would like to know. For scores of 165V and 161M, I can see that I am about 95-96th and 91-92nd percentiles for sociology (based on GRE data). Of the ~1900 soc aspirants every year, this leaves me wondering about competitiveness in top 10 programs. Were the corr coeff zero (highly unlikely), the combined score of 326 would put me a top handful of soc applicants. But if the two scores are highly correlated, I would be knocked out of the top 50 applicants. Quite a difference! Thanks for any guidance you can provide. The Magoosh online course was great, by the way.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele November 6, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

      Great question–love the keen statistical eye! The thing is I’ve often wondered the same thing, and really haven’t gotten that clear of an answer. My hunch is that they are correlated somewhat strongly, especially in sociology (verbal stuff with lots of statistics :)).

      As to say where you are on that list of 1900 is really tough. If I had to guess, I’d say somewhere between 70 – 100. Plenty competitive for top programs 🙂

      Hope that (somewhat) helps!

  7. Beth Ranucci July 30, 2014 at 11:23 am #


    Since everyone else is asking you what you think (who are you, again? ha) – I took the GRE and was sorely disappointed with my 155 V and way more so with my 148 Q. I believe I did really well on the essay portion, which I didn’t get back yet. I want to enter a speech pathology program (at the age of 50), and only put in 2 days of prep for this test (and some of the math I hadn’t seen in 30 years!). Do you think it’s horrible? I got a 102 in my stats class this summer, and a 99 in physics, both prerequisite courses I needed, never taken in my undergrad years. I don’t have the time or money to retake the GRE – do you think my current grades will help make up for the poor math score? Also, I will be getting excellent recommendations from both of those professors, I’m sure. I had a 3.0 throughout college, at a well-known prestigious smaller college, with some hefty math classes in there, back then. Hopefully all of that will be considered??

  8. Bill Tuck March 16, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    I scored an 800 on the old scale in 1992, and at that time I believe that you broke the 99th percentile with a 720. The main thing to remember is that regardless of your score, you are being ranked relative to your peers, so the numbered score itself doesn’t matter provided relative rank can be displayed. What the new math scores so is allow the top end scores to be disambiguated, which is actually important, because the old scoring system didn’t allow for those percentiles to be shown.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 20, 2013 at 9:38 am #

      Exactly! The GRE needs to have a finer distinction between top quant scorers if it wants to compete with the GMAT. With the verbal, there has been a reversal in this trend. (I suppose no more need to separate the hyper-literate wheat from the hyper-literate chaff). I guess that is a good thing as towards the end of the old GRE, there were some ridiculously obscure vocab words that functioned only to maintain the integrity of the 720 = 99% scale.

      Thanks for your insights :)!

  9. pranav June 4, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    Hi , i gave my GRE today and a got a score of 309. Quant – 162 and Verbal – 147 . How would you rate this score according to the old pattern ? Is it competent enough to apply to universities for Computer Science programs for MS ? I am looking for Fall 2013 admissions . Also which universities do you think are good enough to accept this score ?I know it depends on my profile but still which universities would lie in the range of this GRE score where getting an admit would be comparatively easier ?

  10. Amy May 5, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    Hi Chris. I took the GRE today: 170 Math, 148 Verbal. I am trying to get into Statistics program in University of California(like UCI). Could you please assess my scores and their competitiveness?
    I know 148 is really low, but I am not sure whether it is important to the Statistics program.
    I’ll really appreciate for you reply.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 7, 2012 at 11:23 am #

      Hi Amy,

      Congrats on the perfect math score :).

      I think that should really stand out and help you get into the Statistics program. Were you going for your Ph.D. or Doctorate in statistics than your verbal score would probably be more important (the applicant pool is more competitive and there are more expectations in terms of published research, etc.).

      Hope that helps!

  11. Jeff April 22, 2012 at 1:08 am #

    Hi Chris. I just took the GRE today: 160 Math, 155 Verbal. I am trying to get into an Orthodontics program right out of dental school and one of the programs, wanted at least 600 in every section with a 5.0 on the writing. I was wondering if you could assess my scores and their competitiveness. Since the new scale is a little confusing, I was wondering if the percentile ranges can change based on who is taking the test with you. A number of my classmates who took the exam got around 150s in verbal as well. My math score is great because its correlated to a 760 on the old scale, which I thought I would never accomplish, but the verbal score makes me a little worried. Your feedback is much appreciated. Thanks.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 23, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

      Hi Jeff,

      Congrats on your scores :).

      Your math score is definitely competitive. For the verbal section, 155 equates to about a 530. That is a little low for your goal. Though it is much easier–at least percentage-wise–to get a high a 600 in math than it is a 600 in verbal. Percentage wise you are at a 69% verbal and 84% math. That is not too bad, and I don’t think that should hurt your chances too much. If you are unsure, perhaps taking the test at getting +80% on verbal wouldn’t be a bad idea (which is only 158/159), which equates to a few more questions correct.

      Hope that helps :).

  12. Adina December 6, 2011 at 5:59 am #

    Hi, Chris

    I just took the GRE revised yesterday and I scored 155 on Verbal and 145 on Quantitative. The scores are not great, but not very bad either. The bad thing with the new GRE is that you are allowed to take the test again only after 60 days.
    On the positive side, the format is much friendly. I like the fact that on the Verbal sections, it’s more important to understand the meaning of the text than to memorize countless new words. You can skip questions and answer them later. And on the Quant. section you have the mini computer so you can calculate faster and correct.
    I hope my scores will be good enough for the school I’m applying because I can not take the test again and improve my results.
    Have a nice day!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris December 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

      Hi Adina,

      Those aren’t bad scores. When it comes to retaking the test there are a few questions to ask yourself:

      1. Did you have an off day? (any variety of factors from nerves to a cold)

      2. Did you prep close to your potential?

      3. Did you prep with the best resources?

      If you answered yes to the first and no to either of the last questions, I would definitely give it a shot…if you will still be able to take the test in 60 days. If not, best of luck. And remember, essays are also part of the application process.

      Good luck!

      • Laura December 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

        I was happy to hear you thought Adina’s scores weren’t bad. I just took the exam today and got a 157V and 148Q, so my scores were very close to hers. I was severely disappointed in my performance because the scores translate to 77%V and 44%Q. Interesting thing is I am a first year grad student and have aced all my courses so far. Leads me to believe the GRE is not a great predictor.

        • Chris Lele
          Chris December 20, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

          Hi Laura,

          A 77% V is definitely good. Unless you are taking engineering, math, or comp. sci. classes the quant score isn’t too important. It’ll be interesting to see if any studies will come out in the future determining to what extent, if any, the new GRE correlates with graduate school GPA.

          Good luck in grad school, and keep up the good work!

  13. Chris November 14, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I just took the GRE today, 166V and 152M.

    I think puts me around 700V and 660-670M?

    The scores will probably be good enough for my applications. I am applying for PhD Microbiology programs though, so I may retake them again for a better math score.

    Thanks for the good prep material,

    • Chris Lele
      Chris November 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

      Hi Chris,

      I’m happy Magoosh could help with your score. I’d recommend trying again to see if you could up your math score. Now that you know the test experience you’d be at an advantage your second time around.

  14. Utsav November 12, 2011 at 1:56 am #

    If you are saying they have imposed a limit of 168 as the top score in quant section, you may not be right. I got the following:

    1) Quant: 168; 96 percentile
    2) Verbal: 161; 89 percentile

    A little concerned about my verbal scores; I’ll apply for comupter science, so dont know how important that would be. Also is analytical writing all that important? I mean do colleges look at that?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris November 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm #


      Sorry, that was a little misleading. Basically, you can still get 170. Based on the old score of 800, 166 was max. Now there is more ‘fine-tuning’ at the higher end of the range. Typically, verbal isn’t too important for Comp Sci. and you are basically at the 90 percentile anyway. Unless you get below a 4.0, I don’t think AWA is that big of a deal.

  15. Chris November 10, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Do they also attach an overall percentile score to your combined verbal and quant sections like the GMAT? If so, any info on the breakdown of that scale?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris November 10, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

      Hi Chris,

      As of yet, no. But I imagine that they may do so, hopefully in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

  16. Rachel November 9, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    I am in the group who is to have scores published tomorrow according to ETS, but I looked at my account today. I have scores listed but only in the new format, however there is a note on The ETS site that says reports will have both old and new scores.

    My score for quant is in the middle of the range they gave after taking the test and about what I expected. My verbal is lower than the bottom of the range they gave. After testing I was given a range of 620-720 (89-98 percent) but my score report shows 86 percent. Could that be right, could my score actually be outside of the given range? Have you heard of this happening to anyone else?

    • jellybean4 November 11, 2011 at 7:36 am #

      Yup. My projected range for the verbal section was 690-790 but I ended up with a 164 (660-670 on the old scale). I was definitely hoping for something higher, but it’s not too bad I guess.

      • Colleen November 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

        The same thing happened to me with my verbal score (not quant): I received a score range of 750-800 at the end of my exam in October, but I ended up with a 166 (700 on the old scale). What gives, ETS?

  17. Ramsey November 8, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    One thing i don’t understand is if it’s much harder get a flawless maths score now, then why is there no 170 on the maths? why is the full grade being “pushed down” from a full grade to a 166?
    In the verbal for example, on the old scale, 730 was still a 99th percentile because the verbal was so difficult, so if the new maths is harder than the old one, following the same logic, wouldn’t less than 6% of people get a 166 (full grade i mean).

    Also, one extra question…i took the GRE, and made 2 mistakes, in the 2nd section of the exam (1st section is 20/20 i believe), what would be ur very rough estimate of my grade in maths over 800 (and over 170 if you like from the concordance table).

    Great blog though, pretty professional!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris November 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

      Thanks for the positive words!

      Yeah, this whole thing is still pretty confusing for everyone. The old 800 now equates to an 166 on the new scale.

      As for the last part, I’m not sure. Curious – how did you now you got 20 out of 20 right? On math its always so easy to make a simple error. I remember blazing through a really easy graph problem just to go back and realize I had bubbled in the wrong answer. Anyhow, it’s really difficult to say without knowing your performance on the second section exactly what you’d get. I’m guessing you could probably miss one (at max two) and get near 170. I really want to know this number as well. But for now, we’ll have to wait for ETS to release something definitive.

      I hope that somewhat helped!

  18. kakaburra November 5, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    I remember you sharing your experiences in new GRE, just curious, but how much did you score on the new GRE?

    • Margarette Jung
      Margarette November 7, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

      Chris scored a 331:

      165 on Math which is between 790 and 800 (93rd percentile)
      166 on Verbal which is around 700 (97th percentile)

      He scored pretty well, considering he was focusing was on absorbing the new test material and format (with less focus on actual score, since he’s not applying to grad school) so that he could report back with helpful information for our blog readers!

  19. Zaur November 4, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    according to concordance information here for ETS GRE , it’s clearly obvious that the new scoring administration of exam will put in strong disadvantage the previously administered exams. As such my 800 score in quant, around 94% per old administration, will not be able to show my competitiveness with some one’s scoring 170 and 99% in new administration. The same works psychologically with score pattern recognition in the verbal score counting. I may be attached the perfect score of 170 in new administration but earn less percentile according to discontinued old administration.

    I cast my vote for new GRE.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris November 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

      Yes, that’s right – for verbal you can get a 770 old score and still get a 170.

      It will be interesting to see how universities will use the new score to judge the competitiveness of candidates.

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