How many GRE questions can I miss and still get a perfect Score?

Posted by on January 3, 2013 in GRE, GRE Tips and Strategies | 11 comments

Each one of my GRE students in Pakistan asks me this question – my answer is, it varies from test to test. The GRE is a computer based exam and it has a relative scoring scale. Due to the relative scoring each of the two sections (Quant and Verbal) has a different scoring dynamic.

So for instance if you miss 2-3 questions on the verbal section you will still get a perfect score – however on the quantitative section 2-3 questions will drop your score to 168. This is because of the high global competition in Mathematics. Quantitative is a strong area for majority of the GRE test takers in the world. Verbal, on the other hand is a weakness for many, especially GRE test takers in Pakistan.

Ofcourse it is not that straightforward. The GRE is an adaptive test, which makes predicting your score very difficult. Adaptive testing means that difficult questions weigh more than easier ones. Hence if you do 2-3 easier questions incorrectly on the quant section then you can still expect to score perfectly – but if you get the harder ones wrong then you must expect to lose a lot of points. Moreover there is no way for a student to discern the harder questions from the easier ones.

Having taught GRE for some while now and having seen so many students take the GRE test, my advice is not to get hung up on perfection. A very good score is anything above 162 on the quant and 150 on the verbal – such scores will help you get into very good programs in the U.S. Good Luck!


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    You just forgot that the revised-GRE is stage adaptive. The difficulty level on subsequent Quantitative or Verbal section is determined by the performance on preceding Verbal or Quantitative section. It’s necessary to go through the ETS-Official Guide for revised-GRE before you take your GRE exam. You can easily find out that new GRE is stage or section-adaptive rather question-adaptive.


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    Yes. GRE is section adaptive. Moreover, on revised-GRE all the questions in a given section weigh same. Difficulty level of the subsequent section is determined by performance on previous section. For example, you shall get very hard verbal or quantitative section if performed well on previous verbal or quantitative section.

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    AOA sir! As I heard is GRE has same marking for each and every question whether it is easy or difficult? Is it true? As you are saying that GRE is adaptive testing? If it is then they should have scales on which they can measure whether a particular question is difficult or easy. For example, a question seems easy to me may be harder to any other
    Kindly explain 🙂

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      WAS Kalim, Yes within a section each question on the GRE carries the same weight (easy, medium and hard all weigh same). On the GRE, each section weighs different. For example, an easy section will weigh less than a harder one or a medium one. GRE decides whether a question is easier or difficult by experimenting that question on previous GRE test takers. If more people do well on it then they classify the question as easy 🙂 Hope it helps.

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    So to get 150 on verbal (easy/hard) questions the approximate allowed wrong answers would be ???

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      Hi Rezwan, 55-60% should be correct to cross 150. Let me know if you have any further questions 🙂

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    Dear Mr. Talha,

    Can u please tell me if i want to score 160 in Quantitative how much Questions should be answered correctly ?

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      Hello Danish, 17+ on section 1 and 15+ on section 2

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    Hi. I did gre few weeks back n got 161 for quants. How do I push to 165 above for my next exam, in a few weeks time?? I find the last 10 questions harder, and left with little time. How many questions did I get wrong for 161 roughly?


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      Well you must practice from the Manhattan 5LB book and take 6-8 manhattan GRE full length tests. That will really improve your scores.

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