Preparing for a GRE Test takes dedicated effort and time, but staying informed on how GRE Exams are scored will definitely give some edge for any GRE test taker.

I have seen many students preparing for GRE who find it a bit tough to understand the GRE Test scoring process.

I just finished giving the first test in the ETS PowerPrep software, and was pleasantly surprised to have a score of 750. But when I was reviewing my mistakes, I was shocked to see that I made 11 mistakes! And the mistakes were pretty evenly spread out through out the section. The mistakes were in Questions: 3, 5, 9, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 24, 27, and 28. We know it is a CAT exam; despite that fact, how did I end up with such a high score? That made me wonder whether PowerPrep is reliable? I have heard people getting 780/790 with 4 mistakes, but still 750 with 11 mistakes looks like a bit too much. But if this is actually the normal scenario, I am more than happy. By the way, my math percentile rank was 84, if it helps by any way. I am hoping that the reason for this score can be partly explained by the fact that I got 11 of the first 15 correct. Anyone knows how the math is scored in the real exam? I have heard though PowerPrep is a pretty good indicator of the real exam.

GRE Exam – First Few Questions

  • The GRE test is adaptive and the first few questions will have more weight/points
  • Questions that appear in later part of the GRE Exam has less value.
  • All the questions that appear in the exam should have previously appeared in the exam under the Experimental Section and based on how students answer that question, points/difficulty level will be assigned.

The type of GRE questions are determined by how they are answered in the initial parts of the test. Many correct answers in the initial phase will mean higher score, whereas wrong answers to initial questions will bring down the score for sure.

GRE Score Range – Big Range

  • In the GRE Exam, the first few questions will help the system determine which score range a student fits in.
    For example, if the test taker gets the first 6 to 8 questions right, then GRE test system will assign the range of 700 to 800. So the test taker’s scores will be only above 700.
  • The next few questions tries to determine the scores within the 700 to 800 range.
    If the test taker gets 2 or 3 questions wrong in first 6 to 8 questions, then the score range of, let’s say, 650 to 750 will be assigned.
    The following questions will help the system determine the score within 650 to 750.
  • It’s my understanding that first question will have a value around 700 and getting it right will have next question of 730 in value.
    If a student gets the second question right, then next question will have a 720 value. So the first 6 to 8 questions will help determine the Big Range in GRE Exam.

Final GRE Score – Within Big Range

When one of the outer GRE score range is determined, then the rest of questions will help determine the sub range for that.

For example, if the outer range is 700 to 800, then the next few questions will have values within 700 to 800.

If the GRE test taker gets all the questions right, then next range will be set between 750 to 800.

Providing incorrect answers for one or 2 questions will reduce the range from 700 to 780 or so. But the hard part is to identify what is the value for each question.

The best thing, of course, is to take a GRE test and try to get all the questions right. In the pattern, the Final GRE score will be determined.

To answer the student’s question above, he should have gotten all the high value/weight questions right even though 11 answers were incorrect. 


  1. venki on July 8, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    thnk you very much , providing information regarding hwo to get more gre score .i want more information related to this gre score and corresponding universities .

  2. sanjanarao on July 3, 2011 at 3:27 AM

    Hiee…i gave my GRE on june 16th and scored 1260..
    can i know the number of correct and incorrect answers ??
    Do ETS provide such facility?

  3. S on June 14, 2011 at 5:52 AM

    If time expired before i could click on “quit section” in AWA, will my issue be evaluated and scored?

  4. Shishir R Katote on April 14, 2011 at 5:54 AM

    thank you very much. i would like to read more about the scoring mehthod.

  5. Raj Mehta on April 1, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    I have done engineering in c.s and hv 57%
    my gre score is 1400
    can I get the addmission in university of Michigan -Ann arbor

  6. akansha on March 7, 2011 at 3:45 AM

    im preparing for GRE an April. i hv received the Powerprep cd. but its not working on my laptop. im using win 7. there's no problem with installation but still when i try to use it,it shows "not responding". and finally a have to take help of the task manager. can u help??

  7. Sravan on January 17, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    Some of my friends say that writing gre for the 2nd time has a disadvantage, is that true? I was told that the professors in US while going through out profile, can know whether we have written in 1 time, or gave 2nd attempt, and then give priority accordingly. Is it true? plz answer this, im confused.

  8. Sravan on January 17, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    Some of my friends say that writing gre for the 2nd time has a disadvantage, is that true? I was told that the professors in US while going through out profile, can know whether we have written in 1 time, or gave 2nd attempt, and then give priority accordingly. Is it true? plz answer this, im confused!!!

  9. Mayur. on December 4, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    IS there any need to join coaching classes for GRE entrance?? I m in 3rd year( electr. n telecomm) n i hve nt started preparing for GRE…. i m planning to do it soon….

  10. Sonali on November 22, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    Hi, this website has been very useful for me! i have a problem and i want some advice, so unlike the average GRE test taker i actually do really well on the verbal and poorly on the math section ( ironically i'm actually not very good at English) on my last practice test ( i took a Princeton review one) i got a 630 verbal and 550 Quant..looking at my answers i only got 8 questions wrong in the Quant section…this is really any tips?

    • HSB on November 22, 2010 at 2:38 PM

      Simple… spend 75% of your time practicing math questions. Tackle each questions type one at a time.

  11. puja on November 22, 2010 at 7:21 AM

    hey ,,, is there negative marks in gre ?? one of my friend told there is negative marking for wrong answers..

  12. reza on November 13, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    After reading the topic one idea came in my mind. That is, if I answer first 15-20 question taking nearly 25-26 minutes to get the maximum correct answers and in the next 10 question i use the remaining time with guessing. I think the chance of getting a good score will be high. Provided that, preparation and confidence on verbal section is very good.

  13. siva on August 9, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    can anybody tell me how good is university of toronto for post grad programs in systems engg or signal processing… i'm a grad from anna univ and have a aggregate of 74%.. can u tell me how much shud i score in gre and toefl?

  14. rajalakshmi on July 3, 2010 at 12:15 AM

    gpa 7.8 gre 1000…wat next? retake of gre or simply apply?

    hello, i m a undergraduate electronics and instrumentation engi student from india- i hav a grad point average of 7.8…took my gre recently and was shocked with a low score of 750 (math) and 250 (verbals)…actually i was confident about a score of above 450 in verbals through my practice tests in powerprep before taking the test…and so this gre total was a real shock…i wud lik to apply for a management or maths related masters program in usa or canada from a good university (one that has good standards of edu, more possiblity to get indian roomies after admit and an assured job for a good performer)…what shud i do now?

    shall i retake gre or apply for univ in both countries that dont require a gre score?

  15. sridevi on June 28, 2010 at 4:24 AM

    i m a final year student in IT. i m just going to start the preparation

    for GRE. after how many months of preparation can i take the UG aggregate necessary to enter into universities?

  16. rambabu on June 23, 2010 at 1:46 AM


    iam 3rd year passout student of CSIT IN engg .i want details of gre pattern,how to achieve rank,

    thanking u.

  17. Raghuvir Konanki on November 2, 2009 at 10:09 PM


    Would like to know the future prospects of Masters in Public Policy

  18. budhaditya bose on August 18, 2009 at 7:42 AM

    plzz suggest the prospects of pharmacy after m.s programme?

  19. ashfaq on March 28, 2009 at 10:53 PM

    i will try to complete my GRE exam between within july last i am practicing big book for verbal portion but i donot know which website or book is helpful for practicing quantitative section .please give information about that (except barron's)

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