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How to Convert Old GRE to New Scores
Simple Guide

William Cohen
Published by William Cohen
Last Updated On: August 30, 2021

A few years ago, ETS decided to change the format of the GRE, in turn altering how the exam was scored. To this day, many students are still confused about converting the old GRE scores to the new GRE format.

The old GRE used a score scale of 800, whereas the new only goes up to 170. So, what do these scores mean, and what can we do with the old ones?

Well, in this article, we have compiled all the information you need about the old and new GRE scores. We have also included a chart for converting said scores to the new system.

The Difference Between Old GRE Scores and New GRE Scores

female student holding up her test paper and a thumbs up

If you took your GRE before August 2011, you may have noticed the scoring system completely changed.

The old GRE General Test used a scoring scale of 200 - 800, whereas the new GRE scale uses 130 - 170. This came into effect for both the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning portion of the test. The 0 - 6 scoring system for the Analytical, however, was not changed.

Along with changes in how they presented the scores, how the GRE is scored was also altered. No longer did they calculate the score question-by-question, instead they decided to do it by section.

These days, you will receive separate scores for both the Verbal and Quant section.

It’s been over 5 years since the last GRE was taken in the old format, so all old GRE scores have expired. You can still get the old GRE scores you got before this period. However, schools will not accept the old format.

GRE Verbal And Quant Score Conversion Charts

hand view of a student doing his test paper

In 2017, the official ETS website released an updated version of their conversion charts. They listed both Verbal and Quant scores, allowing students to compare their old scores to new [1].

Verbal Reasoning Concordance Chart

*The scores below are based on the performance of students who took the test between July 1st, 2013 - June 30th, 2016. The official ETS updates the percentile rank yearly.

Previous GRE Scale New GRE Scale % Rank*
800 170 99
790 170 99
780 170 99
770 170 99
760 170 99
750 169 99
740 169 99
730 168 98
720 168 98
710 167 97
700 166 96
690 165 95
680 165 95
670 164 94
660 164 94
650 163 92
640 162 90
630 162 90
620 161 87
610 160 85
600 160 85
590 159 81
580 158 79
570 158 79
560 157 74
550 156 71
540 156 71
530 155 67
520 154 63
510 154 63
500 153 59
490 152 54
480 152 54
470 151 50
460 151 50
450 150 45
440 149 41
430 149 41
420 148 37
410 147 33
400 146 29
390 146 29
380 145 25
370 144 22
360 143 18
350 143 18
340 142 16
330 141 13
320 140 10
310 139 8
300 138 7
290 137 5
280 135 3
270 134 2
260 133 1
250 132 1
240 131 1
230 130
220 130
210 130
200 130

Quantitative Reasoning Concordance Chart

*The scores below are based on the performance of students who took the test between July 1st, 2013 - June 30th, 2016. The official ETS updates the percentile rank yearly.

Previous GRE Scale New GRE Scale  % Rank*
800 166 92
790 164 88
780 163 86
770 161 80
760 160 78
750 159 75
740 158 71
730 157 68
720 156 64
710 155 60
700 155 60
690 154 56
680 153 52
670 152 48
660 152 48
650 151 45
640 151 45
630 150 40
620 149 37
610 149 37
600 148 32
590 148 32
580 147 28
570 147 28
560 146 25
550 146 25
540 145 21
530 145 21
520 144 18
510 144 18
500 144 18
490 143 15
480 143 15
470 142 12
460 142 12
450 141 10
440 141 10
430 141 10
420 140 8
410 140 8
400 140 8
390 139 6
380 139 6
370 138 4
360 138 4
350 138 4
340 137 3
330 137 3
320 136 2
310 136 2
300 136 2
290 135 2
280 135 2
270 134 1
260 134 1
250 133 1
240 133 1
230 132
220 132
210 131
200 131

Problems With The Conversion

female student holding her head in frustration

There are a few things you should keep in mind when using the above GRE conversion charts.

As you can see, since the old GRE had a total of 61 possible points, and the new GRE only has 41, there are a few overlapping scores [2].

The official ETS website notes that score users should take “special care” when evaluating test-takers who received 800 on the Quant portion of the test.

This is because the old GRE score only converts to 166 in the new GRE instead of 170. The ETS points out that old test-takers received the highest possible score they were able to achieve at that time.

“Scores are reportable for five years following your test date. For example, scores for a test taken on July 3, 2021, are reportable through July 2, 2026.” - ETS

The reason they changed the scoring system for the Quant portion was to make it easier to distinguish the ability of test-takers. So, there isn’t anything to say that new test-takers who achieve 170 are better than old test-takers who achieved 800.

It’s good to consider the ways in which the test-taking methods changed also. For example, you weren’t allowed to skip questions and come back to them in the old GRE, unlike the new.

What Can I Do with the Converted GRE Scores?

If you took the old GRE, you will mainly want to use the conversion charts to see how you would do in the new GRE.

That being said, since the testing method has also changed, the conversion charts may not be the greatest depiction of the scores you would receive currently.

If you’d really like to see how you would do on the current GRE, it would be a good idea to take an official GRE practice test. You may even find yourself scoring higher since it has been said the Verbal Reasoning section has become slightly easier over the years.


References:

  1. https://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/concordance_information.pdf
  2. https://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/gre_guide.pdf

About the author

William Cohen

William Cohen

William is an electrical engineer whose great passion is helping promising students achieve their goals and dreams. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise with aspiring learners from all over the world.

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