Update: Revised GRE Scoring explained.
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.