GRE Scoring and Registration
The General Test of the GRE is required for graduate schools and
for several of the health professions, including some schools of
veterinary medicine, some physician assistant programs, some
physical therapy schools, some colleges of pharmacy, and others.
Check with individual schools.
The General Test measures verbal, quantitative, and analytical
skills that have been acquired over a long period of time and that
are not related to any specific field of study. The verbal measure
tests the ability to analyze and evaluate written material and
synthesize information obtained from it, analyze relationships among
component parts of sentences, and recognize relationships between
words and concepts. Questions come from diverse areas of experience,
from the activities of daily life to broad categories of science,
social studies, and the humanities.
The quantitative measure tests basic mathematical skills and
understanding of elementary mathematical concepts, as well as the
ability to reason quantitatively. The content areas included in the
quantitative sections of the test are arithmetic, algebra, geometry,
and data analysis.
The analytical measure tests the ability to understand structured
sets of relationships, deduce new information from sets of
relationships, analyze and evaluate arguments, identify central
issues and hypotheses, draw sound inferences, and identify plausible
causal explanations. Questions in this section measure reasoning
skills developed in virtually all fields of study. No formal
training in logic or methods of analysis is needed to do well in
The GRE is now taken on a computer.
At the start of the test, the questions are of middle difficulty.
As each question is answered, the computer scores that question and
uses that information, as well as responses to previous questions,
to determine which question is presented next. As long as each
question is answered correctly, the next question will be more
difficult. If a question is answered incorrectly, the computer will
present an easier question. As a result, each question must be
answered order, and the test-taker cannot go back and change an
At the start of a section, the
computer assumes you have an average score, then gives you a medium
difficulty question, and finally tries to narrow in on your final
score. If you answer a question correctly, your score goes up. If
you answer a question incorrectly, your score goes down. After a
short time, you reach a level where most questions seem difficult to
you. At this point, you will answer 50% correctly.
In the beginning, the computer
makes large jumps to find your approximate scoring level. Then it
makes much smaller jumps to fine-tune your score. So, each
succeeding question you answer correctly is worth less to your score
than the previous question in the section. Notice how the graph
rises—or falls—more quickly in the beginning of the section.
For each of the three measures
(verbal, quantitative, and analytical) you receive a "scaled score"
within a range of 200-800. In addition t o scaled scores, you also
get a percentile rank based on the performance of a large GRE test
taking sample population. Your percentile score tells graduate
schools, in effect, the worth of your scaled scores. If everyone
always receives high-scaled scores, then universities would still
differentiate among candidates by their percentile score. The
Educational Testing Service compares your performance to those of a
random three-year population of recent GRE test takers. In this way,
other people taking the te st that day with you will not affect your
score. Therefore, your compete against yourself.
Some schools, such as large
university programs, use cut-off scores. Investigate individual
schools for GRE CAT averages. The score influences not only your
admissions to schools but also your acceptance into certain areas of
study. For instance, a 600 quantitative score might be fine for a
history graduate student, but too low for highly selective programs
in science or engineering.
Contact Career Services
located in The Gallery