GRE Scoring Grid: What if Scenarios

Posted by on October 19, 2017 in GRE Scores | 1 comment

Over the past years, I have seen a lot of debate going on regarding the GRE Scoring algorithm and the GRE scoring methodology. Confusions abound! 

 

Students are unable to decipher how the ETS scores the GRE test and that makes it very tricky for prospective GRE test takers to strategize for the test.

 

How is it possible that one student can get a 155 on the verbal part by just getting 3-4 questions correct on the second verbal section? To answer that, I recently dug deeper into how the GRE scoring algorithm works.

 

We all know that the GRE is an adaptive test and the tests difficulty level varies according to your performance. If you do well in the first section, you will get a harder second section and vice versa. Similarly, harder the section, the more weight it has in your overall score.

 

You can learn more about the GRE sections weights and adaptability mechanism in this post.

 

Using 200+ GRE student’s actual test day score reports, I have tried to come up with an estimate of how you can earn the score you want. The table below is based on 237 actual GRE score reports and I have used that data to approximate, with some +/-2 error range, different GRE score scenarios on your actual GRE exam.

 

I have shared some sample score reports that I used for my analysis over here.

 

In this table, you will see that the total number of correct questions by no means gives you an idea of your actual score. For instance, by getting 20 questions correct out of 40 on the two verbal sections, you can get a score ranging anywhere from 147 to 155. It all depends on the section on which you got most of the questions correct. The outcome is that you must get most of the questions correct on section 1. For example, by if you score 20/20 on section 1 and 0/20 on section 2, you will get a verbal score of 155. However, if you get 0/20 on section 1 and 20/20 on section 2, you will get a meager 147. Hence section 1 is vital.

 

Quantitative Scoring Grid (Part 1)

 

  # Correct in Section 2 (Q)
012345678910
# Correct in
Section 1 (Q)
0130130131131132132133133134134135
1130130131131133133133133134134135
2130130131131133133134134135135135
3131131132132133134134134135136137
4131131132132133134135135136136137
5131131132133134134135135136137138
6132132133134135135136136137138139
7133133134135136136137137138139140
8134134135136136137138138139140141
9135135136137137138139139140141142
10138139140141141142143144145145146
11139140141142142143144145146146147
12140141142143143144145146147148149
13141142143144144145146147148149150
14142143144145146147148149150151152
15146147148149150150151152152153154
16147148149150151151152153153154155
17148149150151152152153154154155156
18149150151152153153154155155156157
19150151152153154154155156156157158
20151152153154155155156157157158159

 

 

Important observations for the Quant Scoring Grid: If you want a really high score, you must ensure that you get at least 15 questions correct on section 1 of quantitative. Since that is the level where the algorithm will adapt. From 10 to 14 questions on section 1, the level of next section will remain the same. However, below 10 questions on section 1, the test will adapt to a lower level.

 

Quantitative Scoring Grid (Part 2)

 # Correct in Section 2 (Q) 
11121314151617181920
# Correct in
Section 1 (Q)
0136137138139139140141141142143
1136137139139139140141141142143
2137138139140140141142142143144
3138138140140140141142142143145
4138139140140141142142143144146
5139140141141141142143144145146
6139140141142142143144144146147
7140141142143143144145145146147
8141142143144144145146146147148
9142143144145145146147147148149
10147148149150151151152153154155
11148149150151152152153154155156
12150151152152153153154155156157
13151152153153154154155156157158
14153154154155155156156157158159
15154155156157158159160161162163
16155156157158159160161162163164
17156157158159160161163164165166
18157158159160161163164166167168
19158159160161162164165167168169
20159160161162163164166169170170

 

Note that in the quantitative table, how significantly your score will vary around 14-15 and 9-10 correct questions in section 1. These are the boundaries where the quant section adapts. You can greatly enhance or reduce your scores by scoring around these on each section.

 

Verbal Scoring Grid (Part 1)

 

 # Correct in Section 2 (V)
012345678910
# Correct in
Section 2 (V)
0130130130131132133134135136137138
1130131132133134135136137138139140
2131132133134135136137138139140141
3132133134135136137138139140141142
4133134135136137138139140141142143
5134135136137138139140141142143144
6134135136137138139140141142143144
7135136137138139140141142143144144
8140141142143144145146147148149150
9141142143144145146147148149150151
10142143144145146147148149150151152
11143144145146147148149151152153154
12144145146147148149150151152153154
13150151151152152153154154155156157
14151152152153153154155155156157158
15151152153154154155156156157158159
16153154154155155156157157158159160
17154154155155156156157158159160161
18154155155156157157158158159160161
19155156156157157158159160161162163
20155156157157158159159160161162163

 

Important observations for the Verbal Scoring Frid: If you want a really high score, you must ensure that you get at least 13 questions correct on section 1 of verbal. Since that is the level where the algorithm will adapt. From 8 to 12 questions on section 1, the level of next section will remain the same. However, below 8 questions on section 1, the test will adapt to a lower level.

 

Verbal Scoring Grid (Part 2)

 

 # Correct in Section 2 (V) 
11121314151617181920
# Correct in
Section 1 (V)
0138139140141142143144145146147
1141142143144145146146147148148
2142143144145146147148149149149
3143144145146147148149150150150
4144145146147148149150151151151
5145146147148149150151152152152
6145146147148149150151152153153
7145146147148149150151152153153
8151152153154155156157158159159
9152153154155156157158159160161
10153154155156157158159160161162
11155156156157157158159160161162
12155156156157158159160161162162
13157158159160160161162163164164
14158159160161162163164164165165
15159160161162163164165166167167
16160161162163164165166167168168
17162162163163164165166167168169
18162162163163164165166167168169
19164165166167168169169170170170
20164165166167168169169170170170

 

In the verbal table, note how significantly your score will vary around 12-13 and 7-8 correct questions in section 1. These are the boundaries where the test adapts. You can greatly enhance or reduce your scores by scoring around these on each section.

 

Now hopefully by knowing how the GRE scoring matrix works, you’ll be able to gauge just how much you need to get on each section to hit the target. Of course, there will be a slight error in the table since it is predicted based on a sample data of 200+ GRE students. Nevertheless it is pretty much accurate and will unwind the confusions surrounding the GRE scoring mechanism.

 

If you would like to share your own GRE score report or experience with us so that we can improve upon the matrix, you can freely do that at info@brightlinkprep.com. We promise to keep your information confidential. J

1 Comment

  1. Very informative.

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