Revised GRE Scoring is explained in this blog post.

ETS started offering Revised GRE from August 1, 2011. GRE test offered today is Computer Adaptive Test (CAT). Revised GRE is variant of CAT and its called Multi Stage Test (MST).

Information you are going to learn here today about Revised GRE scoring is something new and most likely this is the first time you will be reading in any blogs or forums.

Revised GRE Scoring Scale

Three scores are reported on the GRE revised Test:

  • Verbal Reasoning score – 130–170 score scale, in 1-point increments
  • Quantitative Reasoning score – 130–170 score scale, in 1-point increments
  • Analytical Writing score – 0–6 score scale, in half-point increments

GRE is Computer Adaptive Test

In CAT, test questions appear based on his or her responses to previous question in a way that targets and maximizes the precision of the estimate of the test takers ability.

Advantages of CAT

Offers a shorter test (time and number of questions) since questions that are too easy or too difficult for a test takers are not administered, unless an item is needed to satisfy some content specification or to avoid overexposure of another item. This “tailoring” of questions to a test takers ability leads to adaptive tests.

Disadvantages of CAT

  1. Test Taker taking a computerized adaptive test are typically not permitted to review their answers to previous questions.
  2. Number of questions exposed in a computerized adaptive test is quite high.
  3. Millions of different test forms are possible from a single item pool and it is, therefore, not feasible for people to review every test form for quality assurance purposes.

Revised GRE Scoring System – Multi stage Test (MST)

  1. MST is a compromise between Paper based test and CAT.
  2. MST is a special case of CAT that allows for item review, reduces the number of items exposed and still maintains all of the advantages of a test delivered via the computer.

Revised GRE Scoring Explained

We have discussed about New GRE Scoring in previous blog post. By know you know that New GRE has 2 sections for GRE Verbal and Quantitative.

Each section is considered as one stage.

First Section is Stage 1 (or called as Routing Stage).

Depending on your performance, the test taker is routed to one of several alternative second-stage tests, each of which consists of a fixed set of questions and differs on average difficulty.

Since its Multi-Stage Test and New GRE has 2 sections. There will be different levels within each stage.

GRE Sections – Stage and Level

Section 1 and Sections 2 will contain 3 levels of questions

  1. Easy
  2. Moderate
  3. Difficult

Moderately difficult level of questions will be given to test takers in Section 1. Based on your performance you will get one of 3 levels in section 2.

  • Score 165 in Section 1, then you will be routed to Difficult Level in Section 2.
  • If you score 135 then you will be routed to Easy Stage 2

Another variation can be

  • Stage 1: Moderately Difficult
  • Stage 2: Very Easy, Easy, Moderate, Difficult and Very Difficult

Why Revised GRE is Tough

Now, you have an understanding how how Revised GRE Scoring works, red this to see What makes New GRE Hard Nut to Crack?

In CAT – First few questions determine your score range. You have seen examples of test takers scoring 750+ with several incorrect questions in second part of the test.

In MST – If you got high score in Section 1, you entire set of questions in Section 2 will be under Difficult (or very difficult) category.

Lets say ETS have designed 160 to 170 score range will be considered as Very Difficult Section. All questions in Section 2 will be very difficult. Based on your performance yout score will be determined to be between 160 to 170.


  1. Naresh on September 13, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    Hi Raghu,
    I have a doubt here and before posting here in blog I sent a mail to ETS and they had responded like below. From their reply what I have understood is it’s better to concentrate on raw score rather than adaptive nature of the test.
    The adaptive nature of the test is just to test the students at onerous level. but ultimately the scores will be normally distributed based on your raw score.

    Please check those details and get me some more clearance on my question.

    Email that I had sent:

    Hi ETS Team,
    As you mentioned in the portal that one would’t know which section he may get at first and the next section and total score will be depends on the first section performance I have a little doubt like below.
    Actually I’m good at Maths and if I get math section first then I’ll surely perform well and secure my score in the good bracket. And I’m not as good as math in verbal so if I get verbal first then will that impact my quant score in the coming sections as well…?
    Do you mean a non native English speaker if gets verbal first can’t score full in maths..?
    Please help me to clear my fear.

    and they replied like below.

    Your scores on the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures depend on your performance on the questions given and on the number of questions answered in the time allotted.
    The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures are section-level adaptive. This means the computer selects the second section of a measure based on your performance on the first. Within each section, all questions contribute equally to the final score. For each of the two measures, a raw score is computed. The raw score is the number of questions you answered correctly.
    The raw score is converted to a scaled score through a process known as equating. The equating process accounts for minor variations in difficulty among the different test editions as well as differences in difficulty among individuals’ tests introduced by the section-level adaptation. Thus a given scaled score reflects the same level of performance regardless of which section was selected and when the test was taken.


    • Raghu on September 13, 2012 at 1:35 AM

      That’s the expected answer from ETS. But, I don’t think they answered your question. Am I right?

      • Naresh on September 13, 2012 at 8:27 AM

        Yes they haven’t.
        But what do you say about the scoring..?
        is it depends on the total raw score or first section performance score will decide the final bracket..?
        this is really causing some dread to me.!


  2. OBWONA ISSAC on September 12, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Dear ; sir/madam

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    and now I thing you are now the answer of my dreams ,I want to GOD by serving others so I need to be well prepared !! .May the LORD GOD BLESS YOU .


  3. ramcharan on September 12, 2012 at 4:41 AM

    What!! students who take their GRE in August, September and October have to wait till November??? There is no announcement regarding this by ETS can you please post the link where you got this information from.

    “Revised GRE Scoring Accuracy
    ETS will collect a statistically significant sample size of test takers to ensure score accuracy of the new GRE test. GRE test takers who take the exam in August, September or October won’t receive their official scores back until November. In other words, you’ll wait up to 3 months for your official scores.”

    please discuss on this paragraph.

    • Raghu on September 12, 2012 at 7:29 PM


  4. Hemant on September 12, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    When you specify the Section 2 do you mean the 2nd Section of the same genre(Quant/Verbal), or does it mean the 2nd Section of the Test as a whole in which case it might the complementary of the 1st Section.

    • Naresh on September 13, 2012 at 1:35 AM

      Yeah Hemant,

      Not sure dude, if it is same genre I would’ve not in this discussion blog. we are not sure which section you’ll get as a second one. and few saying if you bomb out your first verbal section there is no guarantee that you’ll get 170 in your next math section though if you ace it.


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