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How to Interpret Your GRE Score

by Sara Rajan, Demand Media

    The Graduate Record Examination measures your knowledge in a certain area of study. Students who wish to continue to graduate school may be asked by the prospective college or university to provide GRE scores with their applications. If your score is too low and does not meet the university's standards, you may wish to consider retaking the GRE. These scores can be interpreted in a couple of ways.

    Analytical Writing

    According to the Princeton Review, the analytical writing section of the GRE tests a student's ability to communicate complex ideas concisely and effectively. The analytical writing score is ranked on a scale from 0 to 6, in half-point increments. Scores between 6.0 and 5.5 demonstrate a strong ability for conveying complex ideas, using good grammar and superior sentence structure. Scores between 5 and 4.5 show that the student provided an overall mindful analysis of ideas with good examples and good control of sentence structure. Scores between 4 and 3.5 demonstrate competent analysis of ideas with developed main points and sufficient examples. Scores between 3 and 2.5 display some competence in analytical writing but accompanied by serious flaws, such as vagueness or lack of clarity. Scores between 2 and 1.5 demonstrate a serious weakness for analytical writing and organization. Scores between 1 and 0.5 show major deficiencies in writing, as well as severe, avoidable errors. A score of 0 means writing skills cannot be evaluated due to the answers being written in a foreign language or by simply not addressing the appointed task.

    Quantitative

    The quantitative section of the GRE tests a student's understanding in problem solving, algebra, arithmetic, geometry and data interpretation. The quantitative scores are ranked on a scale of 130 to 170, in one-point increments. On your scorecard, you will notice three items printed at the top: scaled score, verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning. Under each item is a number. For example, under the scaled score section you will find the score rankings 130 to 170. The numbers under the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections are the percentile rankings. The percentile rankings allow you to compare your performance with others who took the GRE. For instance, if you earned a perfect score of 170 in the quantitative area of the test, you will be able to see the percentage of test-takers who scored the same.

    Verbal

    The verbal section of the GRE tests your skills in reading comprehension, text completion and vocabulary. The verbal scores are ranked between 130 and 170 and can be read and compared in the same way as the quantitative scores.

    Performance Statistics

    On your score report you will also notice a performance statistics key. This key simply allows you to compare your verbal, quantitative and analytical writing scores with the national average.

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    About the Author

    Sara Rajan is a writer from northern Indiana. She graduated with a B.A. in English literature from Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame. Rajan's work has been published in "Chicken Soup for the Soul," "Humpty Dumpty" and "Religious Life Review." She has also worked as an instructor at a community college, and is the founder and editor of "Literary Juice."

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