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