How the Scoring Breaks Down on the GRE

By Ron Woldoff, Joseph Kraynak

On the GRE, you can score a maximum of 340 points on the multiple-choice and 6 points on the essays. Here’s the scoring range for each of the three sections:

  • Verbal: The Verbal score ranges from 130 to 170 in 1-point increments. You get 130 points if you answer just one question, which accounts for about 80 percent of a job well done. It doesn’t help much, though: You need to score as well as or better than most of the other people who took the test to improve your chances of being admitted to the school of your choice.

  • Math: The Math score also ranges from 130 to 170 in 1-point increments.

  • Analytical Writing: You get 1 to 6 points per essay, with 6 being the highest. Each essay is graded separately, first by a trained evaluator and then by a computerized essay-grading system. Your score for that essay is the average of the two. If the two scores are very different, then another human grader steps in, and your score for that essay is the average of the two human scores. Finally, the scores of your two essays are averaged for your Analytical Writing score of 1 to 6. Essay responses that are blank or off-topic receive a score of 0. (The paper version of the GRE essay is scored only by people, not the computerized system.)

So in essence, if you perfectly ace the Verbal and Math sections, you get 170 points for each, for a total of 340. If you’re perfect on the two essays, you can get an essay score of 6. The three scores are separate: You get a Math score and a Verbal score, each from 130 to 170 in 1-point increments, and an Analytical Writing score of 0 to 6, in half-point increments.

On the multiple-choice questions, you earn points only for completely correct answers. If the question requires two or more answers, you have to get all the answers correct; you don’t get partial credit for a partially correct answer. However, you don’t lose any points for wrong answers, so guessing behooves you.