Percentile Scores for GRE

The percentile of GRE  is an important tool which the admission authorities have a look at before deciding which applicants to select for the graduate course, so the candidate must strive to secure a good percentile. It is not the total score, but the percentile score, that the authorities take into account while admitting a student, because even a good score may not seem enough while compared to the scores of other students. In order to compare one’s performance with the rest of the test takers, the candidate can make use of  percentile score. For instance, if the candidate secures a percentile of 90, then it shows that he has scored better than 90% of the test taking population. The highest score percentile that one can get is 99. This system is even more significant for the revised version of the test, as it helps the authorities to compare scores from the older and the revised tests. Though the aggregate score of students of the two different systems cannot be compared directly, this score is approximately similar for the two versions.





A good score percentile is basically above 90 whereas the lowest  is below 50. In the older  system, percentile scores in the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections differed a lot. For example, in the Verbal Reasoning section, a score between 740 and 800 would represent a percentile score of 99, whereas in the Quantitative Reasoning section, even a score of 800 would result in 94th percentile. In the revised test this problem has been addressed and the resulting percentile scores should match up well. To help the admission authorities in comparing the scores of the new revised test, an updated GRE comparison tool will be provided from November 2011.

Maximum number of students is unable to get a high score in all the test sections; so one should aim at securing a high  percentile in that section which is related to his field of interest and this would help him gain admission into that very graduate course. The percentile is very important as it adds meaning to the student’s test scores. By taking into consideration this score, the admission authorities get the benefit of judging the student’s potential skills and abilities.

If the candidate wants to take admission into graduate courses such as organic chemistry, biology, calculus, physics, etc. then he should see to it that his scores are converted into  percentile and reported on the admission form.

Uses of GRE Test Score Percentile Rank:

The percentile rank is very useful, as the admission committees are able to pick and choose the candidates which they find suitable for the graduate course on the basis of the percentile rank. It helps the authorities to understand exactly where the student ranks in the whole test taking population.

A high rank is the basic eligibility criteria for a student who wants to take admission in courses like MBA programs, Master of Science in Information Systems, etc.

This is the proof of the student’s fundamental knowledge and it also conveys whether the student will be able to concentrate on the graduate course and get good marks. It is also used to determine whether the student will be able to stand up to the educational objectives of the particular graduate course and it in a way helps in highlighting the student’s abilities, caliber, capabilities and potentialities.

For obtaining an unconditional admission into a graduate course, the candidate can make use of his percentile rank. For an unconditional admission, the minimum  score required in verbal section is 46 and a percentile  of 44 is required in quantitative section.

Probationary admission in a graduate course can be given on the grounds that a student secures a percentile rank of 46 and 44 or below in the verbal and quantitative sections respectively.

It can be helpful as the student will be able to get provisional admission on the basis of test score. If the percentile rank of a student is very low then he can be denied admission. A low percentile rank reflects that the student lacks the potential for academic success at the graduate course level.

How to Interpret Percentile Scores:

The test scores are usually converted into percentile scores as it makes the job of the admission committee easier. These scores are not standard; the conversion tables are printed from time to time. The scaled score of 800 depicts a percentile score of 99; the scaled scores of 720 and 700 mean that the student secured the scores of 89 and 85. The test scores of 77 and 72 mean that the scaled scores will be 640 and 610 respectively.

Similarly, the percent scores of 55 and 40 mean that the student’s scaled scores will be 540 and 510. Likewise, a scaled score of 470 and 450 is equal to percent scores of 35 and 30. The scaled score of 370 and 360 reflect the test scores of 17 and 14. Finally, the scaled scores of 220 and 210 mean that the score will be 1 for both. This is applicable for the scores of test taken before August 2011. A new Score Concordance Table will be made available in November 2011 to help the transition from the old percent scores to the new revised one.

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