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New GRE Scores: Scales and Percentiles

November 7, 2011 by

ETS, the GRE test maker, just released several tables for score conversion from the old GRE to the new GRE.  We know you have been eager for this information, and we’re happy to share this with you, along with some analysis.

Since the new GRE launched in August, only score ranges have been available to test takers – and those ranges are based on the old 200-800 scoring scale.

Here’s how the new GRE scores will work:

  • Starting November 8th, new GRE test takers who took the exam in August and September will begin receiving their official scores on the new 130-170 scoring scale. Official scores will continue to roll out to test takers through November.
  • The full score reporting schedule from ETS is available here, and breaks down as follows:
Computer-based revised General Test Dates Approximate Score Report Mailing Dates and View Scores Online Dates
August 1, 2011 – September 8, 2011 8-Nov-11
September 9, 2011 – October 2, 2011 10-Nov-11
October 3, 2011 – October 15, 2011 17-Nov-11
October 16, 2011 – November 18, 2011 1-Dec-11
November 19, 2011 – November 28, 2011 8-Dec-11
November 29, 2011 or later 10 – 15 days after the test date

Here are the score concordance tables comparing old GRE scores and new GRE scores.  And here is the full breakdown of scaled scores to percentile scores on the new GRE.

Also – check out ETS’ new Excel tool where you can put in old or new GRE scores and calculate predicted GMAT scores. There’s also a Flash version. ETS continues to pursue business school admissions committees aggressively. 600+ business schools, included a majority of top programs now accept the GRE as an alternative to the GMAT.

Some observations on the new scores:

  • The new scoring scales follow a normal distribution with 150 as the mean for both math and verbal. The old 200-800 GRE scores were really skewed as the mean drifted over time.
    • On the old test, low verbal scaled scores matched with high percentile scores while high math scaled scores matched with low percentile scores. Before, ~620 on the math side and ~455 on the verbal side of the test were both 50th%ile. ETS has realigned the scaled score-to-percent scores for the new GRE so that a 150 Quant and a 150 Verbal are the new 50th percentile.
    • An 800 on the quantitative section on the old GRE corresponds with a score of only 166 on the new test.  So, getting a perfect math score on the old test only puts you in the 94th percentile on the new test. ETS has made the math content harder on the new GRE to allow for differentiation of high scoring candidates for quant-intensive programs like business school, engineering and the physical sciences.
    • On the verbal side of the old GRE, you were already in the 99th percentile with a 730.  With the new test and the new scores, 99th percentile on the quant side is a 170, and on the verbal side a 169 or 170 puts you in the 99th percentile.
    • Getting just a couple more questions correct will lead to a big percentile increase on this test. A 155 is 69th percentile on both the math and verbal sides of the new GRE; a 157 (getting another question or 2 correct) is 77th percentile on both sides of the new GRE.

Our team will be attending a follow-up score interpretation session with ETS on November 15th.  More information coming soon.  Please reach out us on Facebook or Twitter if you have questions about scoring on the new GRE.


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