On the GRE, The Analytical Writing section is scored on a scale of 0–6 in half-point increments. The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections each yield a scaled score within a range of 130 to 170 in one-point increments. You cannot score higher than 170 for either the Verbal Reasoning or the Quantitative Reasoning sections, no matter how hard you try. Similarly, it’s impossible to score lower than 130 for Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning.
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But you don’t receive only scaled scores; you also receive a percentile rank, which rates your performance relative to that of a large sample population of other GRE takers. Percentile scores tell graduate schools just what your scaled scores are worth. For instance, even if everyone got very high scaled scores, universities would still be able to differentiate candidates by their percentile scores. The following tables give a cross section of the percentile ranks that correspond with certain scaled scores on each section of the GRE, based on test takers between August 1, 2011, and April 30, 2014.
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is administered on computer and is approximately four hours long, including breaks. The exam consists of six sections, with different amounts of time allotted for you to complete each section.
The GRE Experimental Section
Your test will also contain an experimental section—an additional Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning section that ETS puts on the test so that ETS can normthe new questions it creates for use on future GREs. That means that if you could identify the experimental section, you could doodle for half an hour, guess in a random pattern, or daydream and still get exactly the same score on the GRE. However, the experimental section is disguised to look like a real section—there is no way to identify it. All you will really know on the day of the test is that one of the subject areas will have three sections instead of two. Naturally, many people try to figure out which section is experimental. But because ETS really wants you to try hard on it, it does its best to keep you guessing. If you guess wrong, you could blow the whole test, so we urge you to treat all sections as scored unless you are told otherwise.
Lastly, instead of an experimental section, your test could contain a research section. This section is unscored and will be indicated as such. If you have a research section on the test, it will be the last section. Pay careful attention to the directions at the beginning of the section.
GRE essays are scored on a scale of 0 to 6 in half-point increments, with 6 being the highest.
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Two graders read and score each essay. If the graders’ scores differ by more than one point, the essay goes to a third grader who also scores it. The scoring for both types of essays in the GRE Analytical Writing Section is holistic, which means that graders base scores on an overall impression of your essay, rather than deducting specific points for errors.
Although the GRE Analytical Writing section includes two separate essays, the GRE testmaker, Educational Testing Service (ETS), reports a single score—the average of the two essays—rounded up to the nearest half-point. This score makes up the essay portion of your overall GRE score.
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