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[Updated 2020] GRE score percentiles interpretation – GRE score range, reports, and validity

It can get a little tricky when it comes to understanding your GRE Scores. Like any other administrative exam, GRE General test is scored on a scale. However, it is quite different from how the GMAT exam is scored –another type of test to get into your dream business school.

The GRE General test includes three sections – Analytical Writing, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. The GRE Total score is calculated by adding up your Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning scores. However, the section scores are reported separately, and the highest total score you can get on the GRE is 340.

In this article, we help you understand your GRE Scores and their percentile ranking. We also talk about the average GRE scores required, section-wise score Range, cancellation and reinstatement policies, and how you can analyze your score report.

GRE Scores 2020

Here is the outline of the article:

GRE Scores 

Your GRE scores are essential for conducting a holistic admission process. It helps in evaluating applicants from different backgrounds on a standard scale.

Generally, if you want to do an MBA, take the GMAT, and if you are still confused about which master’s degree you want to earn, take the GRE general test. Learn the difference between GMAT and GRE.

As pointed out earlier, there are three sections on the GRE test. Your scores on the Quantitative and Verbal reasoning measures reflect the number of questions you answer correctly, as well as the difficulty level of each section. The score for analytical writing measure is calculated based on each essay question (2 essay questions in total).

Your Analytical Writing section is scored by a trained reader and a computerized program developed by ETS that can identify essay features related to writing proficiency.

Before going forward, here is a brief overview of your GRE scores:

GRE Scores
Validity 5 years
Total GRE score 340
Minimum Total Score 260
GRE Score Range 260-340
GRE Score Range for Quant and Verbal  130-170
GRE Score Range for Analytical Writing 0-6
Average GRE scores (Test-takers between July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2019)
  • Verbal Reasoning: 151
  • Quantitative reasoning: 155
  • Analytical writing:3.6

Did you know 9 out of 10 MBA admission decisions are made using a GMAT score?

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How to interpret your Scores in 2020?

You should not compare scores from different general test measures directly because each measure is scaled separately. For example, you cannot directly compare your verbal and quantitative reasoning scores.

To measure your relative performance among the measures, you can use the percentile ranks.

What is GRE score percentiles?

A percentile describes the percentage of test-takers who scored lower than you. For example, if you scored 94th percentile, it means that you scored better than 94 out of every 100 GRE test-taker.

Here are the GRE score percentiles for Analytical writing, Verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning:

How to interpret GRE scores and percentiles
Scaled Score Quantitative Reasoning Verbal Reasoning Score levels Analytical Writing
170 96 99 6.0 99
169 94 99 5.5 98
168 92 98 5.0 92
167 89 98 4.5 80
166 87 97 4.0. 55
165 85 96 3.5 38
164 83 94 3.0 14
163 80 92 3.5 6
162 78 90 2.0 1
161 75 88 0.0    –  1.5  
160 72 85    
159 69 82    
158 65 79    
157 62 75    
156 59 72    
155 55 67    
154 51 63    
153 48 59    
152 44 53    
151 40 50    
150 36 45    
149 33 40    
148 29 36    
147 25 32    
146 22 28    
145 18 25    
144 15 22    
143 13 19    
142 11 16    
141 9 14    
140 7 11    
139 6 9    
138 4 8    
137 3 6    
136 2 5    
135 2 4    
134 1 3    
133 1 2    
132   2    
131   1    

The data is based on the performance of all individuals who tested between July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2019.

GRE Diagnostic Service – How to analyze your performance? 

If you have scored low on the GRE, you can know where you went wrong by availing the GRE Diagnostic service. You can use this service to help you understand your performance on questions in the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections. It is free of cost and includes the types of questions you answered correctly and incorrectly organized by the difficulty level, skill, and time spent on each question. You can access this service on your ETS account.

Apart from this, you can also review Analytical writing scores for a fee of $60 within 90 days after your GRE Exam.

This fee can be paid online through your ETS account or by paper check or mail order. You will need to fill this form if you are not opting for online payment.

GRE Score Report

The GRE score report contains the following details:

  • Date of birth
  • Contact information (name, phone number, and email)
  • Gender
  • Intended graduate major
  • Your GRE test scores and the percentile ranks
  • Authorized score receipts or fellowship sponsors and scores that is reported to those institutions
  • The cumulative record of scores reported within the last five years
  • Test dates

Your GRE score report is different from the official score report that gets sent to the institutions you select. This report includes your:

  • GRE test scores and associated percentile
  • Intended graduate major
  • Contact information (name, phone, email, address)

Thus, there are two types of GRE score reports – For the Test-taker and the institutions (official score report).  

How long does it take to get your report?

Receiving your official scores can take up to 10-15 days after your test date and will be available in your ETS Account. However, you can view your verbal and quantitative reasoning scores after taking the test on the day itself. As the essay scoring process requires a person to correct, you will not view your analytical writing score at the time. Once your official scores are available, you will receive an email notification from ETS.

The official test-taker score report will include all the GRE scores from the past exams and is intended only for your information and personal records. ETS send out official graduate institution score reports directly to all authorized score recipients that you selected.

Here is the sample of test-taker  and official report taken from the ETS official website:

Official Report by ETS Score Report for Test taker



























You can send your scores to four institutions for free on the test date. However, if you want to send it to more than four institutions you will be charged $27 per report. Also, if you have taken the GRE multiple times, Select Score Option allows you to select your scores in the past five years that you want to send to institutions.

Did you know 9 out of 10 MBA admission decisions are made using a GMAT score? Start your GMAT Preparation by registering for our FREE Trial. We can help you with a personalized study plan and give you access to quality online content to prepare. We are the most reviewed GMAT Preparation company on the GMATClub with more than 1900 review!

GRE Total Score and Range: Section Wise details

Three GRE scores are reported from the general test:

  • Quantitative reasoning score
  • Verbal reasoning score
  • Analytical writing score

The total GRE score is calculated only based on your Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning section. The maximum score that you can get on the quantitative and verbal reasoning is 170, whereas the minimum score for both the sections is 130.

section Wise details on Total score and Range

Thus, the total GRE score range falls between 260 -340. Here is how:

GRE section-wise scores Verbal Quantitative Total GRE Score
Minimum Score 130 130 260
Maximum Score 170 170 340

Note: Analytical Writing section is not taken into consideration while calculating the Total GRE score.

Here is the GRE score range for each section:

GRE Score Range
Quantitative reasoning 130-170, in 1-point increments
Verbal reasoning 130-170, in 1-point increments
Analytical reasoning 0-6, in half-point increments

GRE Score Validity

GRE Score Validity

The GRE scores are valid for five years. Thus, for the test-taken on and after July 1, 2016, scores are reportable for the next five years following your test date. For example, if you have taken the test on July 7, 2020, your scores can be reported through July 6, 2025.

Similarly, for tests taken before July 1, 2016, scores are reportable for five years following the testing year in which you tested. The testing year for GRE is between July 1- June 30. For example, scores for a test taken on June 15, 2016, are reportable through June 30, 2021.

However, GRE scores earned before July 2015 are no longer valid. You can use the ETS calculator to check your GRE score validity.

What is the average GRE score?

Average GRE score for business schools

According to the ETS performance statistics, the average GRE score for Verbal reasoning is 150.37, whereas for quantitative reasoning it is 153.39. Similarly, for analytical writing measure, the average GRE score is 3.58.

Moreover, the average GRE score of test-takers who intended to pursue a business major is 151 for verbal reasoning, 155 for quantitative reasoning, and 3.6 for analytical writing.

The performance is based on all individuals who took the test between July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2019.

Here is the section-wise performance statistics on the average GRE Score:

Sections Mean No. of Test takers Standard deviation
Analytical Writing 3.58 1,635,221 0.85
Verbal Reasoning 150.37 1,640,350 8.49
Quantitative reasoning 153.39 1,643,587 9.35

The below table represents the GRE score range with a percentage distribution of scores for test-takers who intend to pursue masters in business:

GRE Scores Range Verbal  Quantitative 
170 0.4 4.7
165-169 3.2 10.7
160-164 9.5 13.2
155-159 18.6 17.4
150-154 23.9 20.5
145-149 22.2 18.2
140-144 13.8 10.5
135-139 6.1 3.9
130-134 2.3 0.9
Total Test-takers 56,349 56,459
Analytical Writing
Scores Percentage of Test-takers distribution
5.5 and 6.0 2.1
4.5 and 5 17.0
3.5 and 4 44.4
2.5 and 3 32.3
1.5 and 2 3.9
0.5 and 1 0.3
0 0.1
Total test-takers 55,936

From the above table, we can say that a good GRE score is 150 and 153 for Verbal and Quantitative reasoning, respectively. However, is this score enough to get an admit at your dream business school?

Check out this article to know in detail what is a good GRE score to get into top MBA colleges with Scholarship. 

Cancellation and Reinstatement Policies

Once you have given the test, you will be asked if you want to report (view) or cancel your scores. If you select “Report,” you will view your unofficial quantitative and verbal reasoning scores right away. Once you have chosen the report option, you cannot cancel your scores.

If you decide to cancel your scores:

  • You cannot cancel the score for one section of the test and have the score for the remaining reported
  • Once your scores are canceled, they will not be available for your review online
  • Your canceled scores will not be reported to any score recipients
  • No refund
  • If you want to retake the test after canceling your scores, you must register and submit another test payment
  • At last, do remember that ETS provides you an option to select your score that you want to send out to b-schools, with ScoreSelect option

If you are having second thoughts after canceling your GRE scores, you can reinstate them within 60 days after your test date through the ETS account. However, a fee of $50 will be charged.

If you decide to reinstate your scores:

  • You can pay the fee online or through paper check or money order
  • You need to complete and mail the Score Reinstatement form if you are paying by money order or paper check
  • You get four free score recipients while registering for the score reinstatement
  • If you do not select score recipients, you will have to pay $27 per recipient to have scores sent at a later stage
  • It will take approx. Two weeks for your scores to be reinstated, and shortly afterward it will be sent to your chosen institutions

Did you know 9 out of 10 MBA admission decisions are made using a GMAT score? Start your GMAT Preparation by registering for our FREE Trial. We can help you with a personalized study plan and give you access to quality online content to prepare. We are the most reviewed GMAT Preparation company on the GMATClub with more than 1900 review!

FAQs – GRE Scores

Can I take the GRE multiple times?

Yes. You can take the test once every 21 days, up to five times within any continuous 12-month period. If you have taken GRE numerous times, you have the freedom to select the scores that you want to send to institutions.

How many institutions can you send the GRE score report for FREE?

On the test day, you can send four free score reports to the institutions of your choice. The ScoreSelect option allows you to select a score from all the GRE tests taken in the last five years.

What if I am not able to take the GRE on the test day?

If you are not able to take the GRE on the test day you will forfeit your test fee. Also, institutions will not receive any information about your absence or about any previous scores you may have on your account.

Will the receipts of my GRE scores get to know about the other score recipients?

No. The score report sent to the institution will not include any information concerning the other score recipients you have chosen.

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