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Understanding Scores and Score Reporting Options for the GRE

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If you hope to attend graduate school, you’ve been studying for the GRE and preparing admissions materials for months. It’s common for grad-school hopefuls to visualize their goals and success, like the GPA they aim to graduate with, the recommendation letters they want to secure, and of course, their ideal GRE scores. Fortunately, the GRE gives test-takers several options for what to do with their scores at the end of the exam. 

Canceling Your Scores 

The GRE helps grad applicants put their best foot forward by offering different score reporting options at the end of the test. If you sat for the exam but don’t feel confident in your performance, you have the choice to cancel your scores

You have to make this decision before viewing your scores. In other words, you can’t check your scores, decide you don’t like them, and then cancel them. Furthermore, choosing to cancel your scores will cancel your results for all sections of the exam. Canceled scores will not show up on your reportable history. 

If you cancel your scores that day of the test then come to regret your decision, you can reinstate them for a $50 fee within 60 days. 

Viewing and Sending Your Scores 

At the end of the computer exam, test takers can view their scores right n the spot. ScoreSelect, the GRE score reporting service, then allows you to send official reports to schools of your choice at no extra cost. On the day of the test, you can either send the scores from the examination you just took or send all of your test scores within the past five years.  

After the test day, you can send score reports to additional schools for $27 each. You will have the option to: 

  • Send only your most recent scores
  • Send all your scores from the last five years
  • Send any scores (from one or as many tests as you’d like) from the past five years

Whichever option you choose, you will select specific test dates and determine which schools can view your scores. Viewers will not be able to see if you have taken any additional tests. Keep in mind that some programs require applicants to show all of their GRE test administrations. 

Score Reports

When you receive your official score report, it will include the following information: 

  • Your name, phone number, and email address, date of birth, and gender 
  • Your intended graduate major
  • Test dates, scores, and percentile ranks
  • A record of all your scores reported within the last five years

When you decided to send an official score report to an institution, the school sees: 

  • Your name, address, phone number, and email address 
  • Your intended graduate major
  • Your scores and the associated percentile ranks

The score reports sent to designated institutions won’t include any information regarding the other schools you have chosen to view the report. Viewers will only see the selected scores and will not know if you had taken any other GRE tests. Photo and essay responses to GRE tests will be available in the ETS Data Manager as part of your score record to the institutions you chose to receive your scores.

Weighing Your Options 

Once you have taken the exam, you have the option to report or cancel your scores, and if you aren’t satisfied with your performance, you can retake the exam. You can take the test up to five times within a 12-month period, but retakes must be at least 21 days apart.

If you decide to retake the test, make sure there’s enough time for you to study and sit for the test and wait for schools to receive your score before your applications are due. Note that if you choose to send your results on the day of the test, the schools will receive the scores 10 to 15 days later. 

To improve your score, you can try a few GRE test prep strategies such as: 

  • Create a strict study schedule that includes full-length practice exams and test-day simulations.
  • Get your hands on more study material like prep books and practice tests.
  • Use your score report to identify where you went wrong on the previous exam and how you can target those areas of study.
  • Approach your studies using a new structure or guidance. You could hire a tutor, join study groups, or take a GRE prep course.

Scores and Success on the GRE 

Taking the GRE test requires preparation, so study hard and understand how you can use the scoring system to your advantage. However, be aware of test-taking fatigue and remember that the GRE is an aptitude test, so not everyone significantly improves their scores by taking the exam multiple times.

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