New GRE Scoring Analysis

This is what converting scores from the old to the new GRE can feel like

We have received numerous comments over the past several days pertaining to the new scores for the GRE and how to make sense of them. An important thing to keep in mind right now is that this is still a very new test, and as such it is difficult for all parties involved (including students, ETS, and universities) to get an accurate picture of what the first round of scores actually means. We are in the same boat, and so we are only able to offer some thoughts and guidelines for interpreting your scores on the new GRE at this time.

As more and more students take the test, our ability to measure scores will increase. For now, we will be attempting to provide some answers to a few of the most common questions we have been getting:

  • How do I make sense out of the estimated scores I received after finishing my new GRE test?

ETS has published a very helpful guide to evaluating and using scores from the new test that can be downloaded here:

-www.ets.org/gre/guide
-www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/concordance_information.pdf

Of special interest are the tables found on pages 19-21, which show the most precise estimations of the relationship between the old 800 point scale and the new 170 point scale that the makers of the test have released thus far. Another critically important statistic included in these tables is the percentile rankings. Especially given the newness of the test, these ratings will be used to determine what does or does not constitute a good score more than the raw numbers will. At least until everyone knows how well students generally perform on the quantitative and verbal sections of the new test, most schools will probably be using percentile rankings to convert between the old and new scales (i.e. 69th percentile on the Verbal Reasoning portion would equate to both a 530/800 and 155/170). A few further things to keep in mind. On the old GRE, students tended to score higher in quantitative reasoning than in verbal reasoning. The tables released by ETS show this same pattern, but it remains to be seen whether this will ultimately be true of the new GRE, and if so to what extent. At present, if you received an estimate of 500-600 on both sections when you took the new GRE, you should score between 153-160 on the verbal section (good for between the 62nd and 86th percentile), but only 144-148 on the quantitative section (between the 26th and 44th percentile).* Also, because of this difference, trying to add up your estimated ranges and then converting from an 800/1600 point scale to a 170/340 point scale can yield inaccurate and misleading results.

Remember, there is currently no definitive answer on what a “good” raw score is. It is probably a good rule of thumb right now to pay more attention to your percentile ranking in order to gauge how well you did. Of course, it is always helpful to seek to improve your score as a high score will always beat a low score. One of the proven ways to do this is to take a GRE prep course that is offered by Test Masters with a 10 point score increase guarantee on the revised GRE. Our goal is for everyone to reach their goals on the new GRE so that they can reach their goals further down the road.

Hopefully, this has been able to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the new GRE. We will be looking at some questions regarding how different schools view scores from the revised GRE in a future post. As always, if you have questions, please let us know and we will do our best to answer them as well as we can.

 

*according to the information provided by ETS in these tables

62 Responses to “New GRE Scoring Analysis”


  • Do you know when they will have information on the break down of scores by major? Maybe December 8th?

  • I really don’t understand why my estimate was so off for my verbal score. I was given a range of 630-730 on my verbal when I finished the test, however my score is a 155 (69%).

  • I agree with you Tiffany. I was given a Verbal estimate range of 600-700, and my percentile on the revised scoring report was good (84%), yet ETS estimate of my score on the old system was only 590.. . This is what I don’t understand. Grad schools still report their requirement according to the old system: a Verbal score in the 500’s for instance. but I worked out an equation that matches the author’s, where each point increment on the new scale equals 15 point increments on the old scale, which means my score on the old GRE would actually be 635. I just don’t see their logic.

  • Oh and my Verbal on the revised test was 159.

  • @Brian

    At present, ETS has not said when such a score breakdown will happen. They are still waiting to get more scores in first, and recommended that we check their website: http://www.ets.org/gre for any updates. Currently, it’s hard to say when that information will become available.

  • @TIffany and Cathrin

    One of the things that ETS has said is that there is no definite way to convert between old scores on the 800-point scale and new scores on the 170-point scale. Individual graduate schools may choose to come up with their own methods of conversion (especially while they are still getting applicants who took the old GRE), but most will probably rely on percentile rankings to convert.

    Basically, what ETS is saying is that they don’t know how well someone who scored a 590 on the old Verbal section would score on the new Verbal section. The best that they can do is to say that since someone who scored a 590 on the old verbal test scored better than 84% of everyone who took the old test, and someone who scored a 159 on the new verbal test scored better than 84% of everyone who took the new test, these scores must be roughly equivalent.

    Thus, my recommendation would be to put more stock in your percentile ranking than in your raw score right now. Remember, the conversion tables that ETS has released are meant to be estimates. Hope this helps!

  • Well, I did my second test today, and it was better than the first. Although, I don’t know the margin. Could you help me, Will?!

    How big is the difference between 159 (84%) and 161 in Verbal?
    And how about the difference between 154 (67%) and 158 in Quantitative?

    Is it possible to know how many questions one must get right to achieve those increase in points?

    Best.

  • @Regular Joe

    -A 161 in Verbal is in the 89th percentile*
    -A 158 in Quantitative is in the 79th percentile*

    As far as I know, there is not currently an easy way to know how many correct answers separate different scores. Part of this depends on whether you took the paper test or the computer test (the computer test is adaptive, with successive sections becoming easier or harder based on how well you performed on the session before). Which test did you take?

    *I’m basing all of my information on the tables ETS has released, which can be found here: http://www.ets.org/gre/guide

  • Thank you, Will.

  • By the way, I took the Computer-based test.

    Best.

  • I’m in the same boat as Tiffany and Cathrin, but on a little harsher scale. My estimated quantitative score on the computer was between 750-800 (99th percentile) and actually got a 158 (79th percentile). In my opinion, that’s a HUGE difference.

    I was also wondering if you could tell me how the computer-based test being adaptive would give an accurate score. It seems that if everybody does not have the same difficulty of questions, the scores cannot be compared to one another.

    I know these may not be answerable, but anything right now helps.

    Thanks!

  • @Max

    The information that ETS has released regarding how the computer-based test is scored can be found here: http://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/scores/how/

    Basically, they use “a process known as equating” to convert your raw score (the number of questions you answer correctly) into your actual score. This is supposed to account for the fact that the test is adaptive. Hope this is at least some help!

  • Hi Will,
    I took the revised test just today and at the end of the test, I got scores (not estimates either) that seemed to be based off the older score range. Isn’t that weird?

    I scored V: 600 and Q: 560. Based on the concordance, that means I scored within the 86% for V and 36% for Q. I’m shocked at how low of a percentile range the raw score (of 560) falls into, is it because people generally score higher on the Q than on V?

    It is make any difference to wait for the official score to arrive in 15 days or can I assume that my score will pretty much fall into that same percentile? I’m very disappointed and am thinking about holding off applying to schools for another year….

    Any input would great appreciated!
    Thank you

    • ma verbal is 134 and quants is 142 so wat i must do now….plz suggest me something

      • @Ramakrishna,

        Check out programs in areas that interest you and contact them to ask what verbal and quantitative scores are generally required. If your scores are good enough, your next step is applying to the programs that interest you.

  • @sun

    That is the first time I’ve heard that exact scores on the 800-point scale are showing up. I’m honestly not sure what to make of that. I would definitely recommend waiting until your official score arrives, since I’m not sure whether the score you saw is accurate or not.

    Historically, scores on the Quantitative section have been higher than scores in the Verbal section, and so that accounts for the large variation in your estimated percentile rankings. I would still wait for the official scores, and then look at your percentile rankings again.

    As far as applying to schools goes, I would check two things before making the decision about waiting or not. First, I would wait until the official scores come in, and use those. Second, I would contact the specific schools (and departments) you are interested in applying to and ask them if they have minimum GRE requirements and how they use the GRE in their admissions process. Once you know these things, you can make an well-informed decision. Hope this helps!

  • I just took the test today and got a 146 on verbal and 140 on quantitative reasoning. where does that put me in the percentile? As i was reading above, not too hot, but then below it wasn’t so bad…help.

  • Hi Will,

    Been following your site for a while now. Jus been trying to decipher these new scores, and really not been able to. Atleast I must give credit to the fact that u give more info than some of the other sites. Anyways just wanted your expert opinion on something. I have a got 156 on quant and and a 153 on verbal. I read these scores against the percentiles given on the ETS site. With the absence of many scores to compare against, jus wanted to know whether the above scores are good, considering that my choice of course of study would be a Masters of Public Policy in one of the Top 10 schools.

  • Hi Will
    I was just wondering if you have any idea on what the incidence of perfect scores are like. Mine are 168 V and 169 Q, and 5.0 A, and I’m wondering how many people applying to top Univs for Phds in econ/policy would have equivalent/better scores

  • i have scored of 151 verbal section and 152 in quantitative section and might score another 7 for AWA section.So is it a score above 1200 or below ??

  • Hey all! Sorry for the tardiness of these replies. I was working on getting a post done before Thanksgiving on the revised GRE and admissions (which can be found here: http://www.newgre.org/gre-2011/revised-gre-admissions/ ).

  • @Becca

    A 146 on the Verbal section comes out to 31st percentile, and a 140 on the Quantitative section is in the 12th percentile. In addition, you can look this up for yourself here: http://www.ets.org/gre/guide

  • @AJ

    That’s a tough question to answer, especially with only the information that is currently available. Honestly, I would recommend contacting the department of Public Policy at one or more top 10 schools and asking them what they think. Of course, other factors like GPR, extra-curriculars, research experience, etc. play a role in admissions for these schools as well.

  • @Rahul

    Beyond the percentile rankings (98th on Verbal and 94+ on Quantitative), ETS has not released information on perfect scores, nor have they released information breaking down scores by program being applied to. It’s possible that you could get that the incidence for a specific university’s Ph.D program in econ/policy.

  • @Abhishek

    The answer to your question depends on which school/institution is measuring your scores. Using only the tables released by ETS (which can be found here: http://www.ets.org/gre/guide ), your scores can be translated roughly into a 460-470 on the Verbal section and a 660-670 on the Quantitative section. If you add those up, you get 1120-1140 total. However, this completely depends on which school is measuring, so if the school you want to apply for requires a 1200 minimum, I would give them a call and ask them how they convert from the old 800-point scale to the new 170-point scale before concluding that your scores are too low.

  • today i gave the gre…scored 147 in verbal and 160 in quant. is it a good score?? is der any chance of getting admission in some gud college?

  • @Mitul

    A 147 in the verbal section comes out to the 36th percentile and a 160 in the quantitative section comes out to the 84th percentile. What field of study are you interested in applying for? Some departments weight the verbal section more heavily and some weight the quantitative section more heavily.

  • i am interested in computer science

  • Hi Will! I just got done with my test and my scores came out to 153 in verbal and 147 in quantitative. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous for a test and tbh I feel a little sick right now thinking about it because the scores don’t sound too good…Your article is the only link that’s been able to give me some answers on how I may have done. Could you give me any estimate of my scores place?

  • @Mitul

    Depending on the school, your scores seem to be around the borderline for computer science. Using the ETS chart, your scores convert to roughly 760 on the quantitative section and 410 on the verbal section. However, not all schools will use the ETS chart to convert scores in the same way, and so it’s difficult to tell. Also, some schools may only care about your quantitative score, while others might require a higher verbal score as well. As an example, the University of Houston’s computer science program requires a 450 on the verbal section and 750 on the quantitative. Again, because these scores are under the 800-point system, your scores may or may not meet these requirements. I would recommend getting in contact with a few schools and asking them about their requirements for computer science.

    Hope this helps!

  • @ellie

    Here are your percentile rankings based on the chart released by ETS (which can be found here: http://www.ets.org/gre/guide).

    -153 in verbal comes out to the 62nd percentile
    -147 in quantitative comes out to the 40th percentile

    Hope this is helpful!

  • I got a 168 Q 153V. Do I have a chance at a top economics program?

  • @steve

    A 168 in the quantitative section is certainly a competitive score, and many top economics programs will weight the quantitative score more highly than the verbal score. However, as a counterexample, the department of economics at Princeton reports that the average GRE scores of their applicants on each section is 780-800 (obviously, this is still under the old scale, but the point is that they look at both sections). I would recommend getting in contact with one or two programs that you are interested in applying to and asking them about your scores.

    The short answer is: this depends largely upon the individual schools/programs. Hope this is helpful!

  • my gre score :
    vrebal 133/170(78.23%)
    quant 148/170(82.35%)
    awa 2/6(33%) do i have any chance to get in top 25 ranking universities in u.s. for MS in wireless networking or telecom stream. im final year B.E. stud with 61% aggregate.

    plz reply

  • i wrote the new gre. i had 147 verbal and 147 quantitative, is it a good score for a phd program in business administration

  • @smita, sammy

    For a basic overview on how to measure your revised GRE scores when applying for graduate school, let me refer you to a pair of articles I’ve written on the subject:

    http://www.newgre.org/gre-2011/clarity-scoring-gre/
    http://www.newgre.org/gre-2011/revised-gre-admissions/

    Hope these are helpful!

    -Will

  • Got 160Q and 156V. Which Economics PhD programs do you think would take me?

  • Hey, i got score of 156 in quantitative and 142 in verbal section. What’s the conversion according to old one. And how can I find universities for masters in electrical engineering for this score.

  • @Maz

    The answer to your question depends on a number of things. Most graduate programs aren’t actually providing minimum GRE score requirements for admissions, partly because the revised scoring system is still relatively new, and partly because there are other factors involved in the admissions process (such as undergraduate degree, GPA, experience, etc.). I would recommend specifically asking the Economics programs at the schools you are interested in whether they think that your scores are competitive. If you are unsure of where you want to attend, I would start off by looking at the strongest programs in your field and aiming high. For some more information concerning revised GRE scores and graduate admissions, please see http://www.newgre.org/gre-2011/revised-gre-admissions/

    Hope this helps!

  • @Ajay

    You can find the ETS conversion tables here: http://www.ets.org/gre/guide (keep in mind that these tables are just estimates). Your scores translate to a 720 Q (74th percentile) and a 340 V (18th percentile) using the old scale. As far as finding schools, I would recommend researching schools that have strong electrical engineering programs to look for some that are good fits in terms of cost, location, strengths, etc. Most departments will look at many different factors when making decisions. For an overview of using your revised GRE score during the application process, see http://www.newgre.org/gre-2011/revised-gre-admissions/

    Hope this helps!

  • Dear Will,

    Firstly, thank you for all the much needed guidance you are offering on this website. I took my GRE today and scored 162 quant and 157 verbal. What does this translate to roughly in the old system?

    Thanks,
    Anu

  • @Anu

    Thank you for your kind words. Your scores can be roughly translated to a 770-780 Quantitative (86-88th percentile) and a 560 Verbal (77th percentile) for a rough total of 1330-1340. This information is available at http://www.ets.org/gre/guide as well. Hope this helps!

  • This board is quite since February. I appeared in the test yesterday (5/10/12), at the end of the test computer showed 151V and 154Q, question is if this is final or typically there are some adjustment when the official scores are sent?

  • @voyager

    Please keep in mind that the scores showed at the end of the test are approximations and subject to change. According to ETS, your official, valid scores (complete with percentile rankings) should be available in 10-15 days. Your scores will be mailed to your address, and you can also check them online at your MyGRE account : https://mygre.ets.org/greweb/login/login.jsp. Hope this helps!

  • hi will,
    i got a score of in verbal-134 quants-144 and awa-4 ….i want to apply for COMPUTER SCIENCE and this score is enough for applying ..plz suggest me something Mr.Will

    • @Ramakrishna,

      Whether or not your scores are good enough depends on the specific programs to which you are applying. We recommend contacting the programs you are interested in and asking them what the average GRE score is for admitted applicants. Hope this helps!

  • hi..i took my gre on july 25th.. my score s 310. verbal 151(49%) and quants 159(77%) and awa 4.5
    do universities see the percentiles or is the raw score enough??

    • When you send your score report to the graduate programs of your choice, they will receive all of the information you receive, so yes, they will know your percentile as well as your score. Even if they did not receive the percentiles, it would not be difficult for them to calculate them from your scores. Always remember, if you decide you want extra help preparing for the GRE, you can study with GRE experts at Test Masters (www.testmasters.com).

  • hi..i took my gre on july 29th.. my score s 275. verbal 136(4 and quants 139 and awa 1.5 n ma ielts score s 5.5
    i want to apply for NUTRITION(FOOD AND SCIENCE DEPARTMENT) and this score is enough for applying ..plz suggest me something….

    • Harika,

      The answer is: it depends! There are a lot of factors that go into a university’s admission decision, such as GPA, class rank, recommendations, experience in the field, and (of course) GRE scores, among other things. Each university will have its own distinct requirements for admission into their doctoral programs, and those requirements are generally available on your preferred university’s admissions page. You can also call the admissions departments of the programs you’re looking at and just ask! Admissions officers are usually very friendly and willing to help prospective grad students research their programs.

      That being said, your scores are good but there is certainly still room for improvement. If GRE prep is an option, be sure to check out GRE course options here!

  • I just received received my GRE scores:
    They are as follows:
    Analytical: 4
    Quant: 140
    Verbal: 145
    Can I get in get for a Ph.D programme in economics?
    Thanks for the quick response

    • The question is, which program? It really depends on the specific programs to which you are applying. I recommend calling the admissions offices of each program to which you are applying and asking them what the average scores of admitted students are. If after that you still feel insecure, you can always retake the GRE. Indeed, it is usually wise to take the test twice, since most universities will consider only the highest score for each section, regardless of which test it comes from. If you want help preparing for the GRE in the future, Test Masters offers personalized GRE tutoring and classes. I teach GRE Verbal myself. Best of luck!

  • Thanks Calvin for the response to my query. I applied to New York Stern Business School, UCLA Los Angeles, City University of New York and Brooklyn College. I will try to contact the admissions sections of these universities as you have instructed. Do you think I still stand a chance of getting in into any of these universities?. The programme I am applying for once again is Ph.D in economics.

  • Verbal : 145, quatitative : 159, awa: 3.5

  • Hi Will, got the results of the gre 154 quant, 144 verb, 4.0 awa. Got gpa of 90%out of 100%, studied quality engineering. I want to apply to industrial engineering especially in university of florida or in rutgers for grad school
    Got a good final project and made some projects in the field. Do I have good chances?not looking for fancy universities but especially those two, thank you if you could help me

  • Hey , i got 160Q and 148V , with an undergraduate GPA=3.6/4.i want to enroll in a msc in mechanical engineering with an assistantship as i cannot fund my self. do i have a chance in a good university ( top 100 ) .

    • AZ,

      Your quantitative score is amazing, but your low verbal score may pose a serious problem to admittance with financial aid to a top tier university. My advice is, if you have the time or inclination, to take the GRE again, with the goal of improving your verbal score to 155 or higher. Increasing your verbal score should make you a competitive candidate to many top universities; generally speaking, the higher ranked a school is, the more generous they are in providing generous financial aid packages to deserving students.

      Bill

  • i had 136 verbal, 160 quantitative, and 3 aw, is it a enough score for a phd program in computer science or related area? is there any chance to apply a university that ranking is higher than 70?

    • Colin,

      Top tier programs expect students to score equally well, or at least above average, in both sections of the GRE. Your verbal score won’t immediately disqualify you from consideration, but the other aspects of your application (work experience, recommendations, GPA, extracurriculars, etc.) will need to be impressive to makeup for it. If you are serious about admission to a top school, I would recommend more thoroughly preparing for the GRE and taking it once more.

      Hope this helps!

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