The revised GRE scoring scale often leaves test takers (and admissions folks!) scratching their heads, trying to make sense of the 130-170 scale. Admittedly a perfect 170 on the new GRE just doesn’t have the same ring as an 800 did on the old test, but I guess 800 sounded weird back in my great-great-great grandparents’ day. Anyway, the ETS is kind enough to produce a score report with percentile rankings and a conversion chart. I’ve reproduced the charts of GRE score percentiles below:
Verbal Score Percentiles Quantitative Score Percentiles
How your GRE percentile affects admissions
Now hopefully by knowing where you stand relative to your peers, you’ll be able to gauge just how well you stack up when it application season comes! Of course, if, for example you’re wondering about GRE scores for your engineering program, then your peers aren’t going to be exactly the same as the standard GRE test taker (think lots of math). And similarly, Harvard GRE scores and Stanford GRE scores and the like are going to have pretty high averages, so try to keep in mind the company you keep in applying. Basically, it’s important to understand that different programs look at GRE score percentiles in different ways.
Notes about “What are my chances?” comments
While I’d love to give everyone some kind of hard and fast number for your chances (it’s a nerve wracking, opaque experience, I know), I unfortunately can’t. This is because there are numerous factors involved in the admissions decisions and most of those factors aren’t the GRE. The best I can do is tell you below/at/above the score range, but that information you can see for yourself above. My universal recommendation is that you check where you stand compared to the score percentiles above. Then have a look at the forums to see student experiences. Of course if you have questions about methodology or how to achieve certain scores, or pretty much anything outside of “what are my chances?” or “where should I apply?”, then I’ll be happy to answer them, otherwise, I unfortunately won’t be.
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