Old GRE Scores: Do They Still Work?

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How long ago did you take the GRE? Was it before August of 2011? More or less than five years ago? Your answers to these questions determine if you can still send out your old GRE scores.

In this article, I’ll explain how to get old GRE scores and if they’re still valid. I’ll also cover how to convert scores from the old GRE score range to the new one.

 

What Are Old GRE Scores?

When ETS updated the format of the GRE general test in August of 2011, the scoring for the Verbal and Quantitative sections completely changed as well.

The old GRE score range for the Verbal and Quantitative sections was 200-800. All GRE scores since August 2011, however, range from 130 to 170.

 

Are Old GRE Scores Valid?

The short answer to this question: no, your scores are not valid if you took the GRE before August 2011. However, if you’re looking for results scores from a more recent test, your old GRE scores may still be valid.

Because of the difference between the new and old GRE score range, ETS made the decision to let all scores from the old test expire by July 31, 2016. For tests taken August 2011 and later, on the other hand, it’s a little less black and white. Whether or not your scores are still valid depends on how long ago exactly you took the test.

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If you took the GRE before July 1, 2016, your scores are valid for five years after the testing year (July 1-June 30) you tested in. For example, if you took the test August 1, 2011, your testing year was July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012, so your score is valid through through June 30, 2017.

From July 1, 2016 onwards, scores are only valid for 5 years after your test date, which is a little easier to keep track of. For example, if you took the GRE October 21, 2016, your score is valid up through October 20, 2021.

 

October 21, 2016...just a year too late to celebrate Back to the Future Day while you took the GRE. Back to the Future/Flickr
October 21, 2016…just a year too late to celebrate Back to the Future Day while you took the GRE. Back to the Future/Flickr

 

How To Get Old GRE Scores

The good news: if your scores are from five or fewer years ago, they do still exist! Read more about how to get these scores in our guide on sending GRE scores.

The bad news: unfortunately, if your scores are more than five years old and have expired, there is no way to get them. Once your GRE scores expire, ETS (the company that creates and administers the GRE) purges them from your record completely. I know this because I tried to get my old GRE scores and got the following email response from ETS:

Thanks for your inquiry.

GRE® test scores are part of your reportable history for five years after the testing year in which you tested (July 1-June 30). As of July 1, 2015, GRE scores earned July 1, 2010, to the present will be available in your reportable GRE score history.

We regret to inform you that scores from GRE tests taken prior to July 1, 2010 are no longer available. The score reporting policy was indicated in the GRE Information and Registration Bulletin in effect at the time that you took the test.

We regret we are unable to be of assistance to you at this time.

So unless you saved the paper copy of your score report or you attended grad school and they include your now-expired GRE scores on your transcript, you’re out of luck when it comes to getting GRE scores from more than five years ago.

 

Len Peralta/Flickr, used under CC BY 2.0
Me after I realized that my GRE scores were gone forever (in the alternate universe where I am also a pirate). Len Peralta/Flickr, used under CC BY 2.0

 

How to Convert Old GRE Scores to Current GRE Scores

While it’s been a while since the GRE switched over to its new scoring format, many grad programs still provide info about their average GRE scores with scores in the old, out-of-800 format. To figure out how well you’ll have to score to have a good chance of getting into the programs, you’ll need to convert those scores to new GRE scores.

The charts below come from ETS and show concordance between old and new GRE Verbal and Quantitative scores.

Verbal Reasoning Concordance

Old GRE Scale Current 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

*Percentiles calculated based on the performance of students who took the new GRE between August 1, 2011 and June 30, 2014.

 

Quantitative Reasoning Concordance

Old GRE Scale Current 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

*Percentiles calculated based on the performance of students who took the new GRE between August 1, 2011 and June 30, 2014.

 

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Review: Can You Get Your Old GRE Scores?

There are three possible scenarios that encompass all test-takers with old GRE scores:

  • If you took the GRE before August 1, 2011, your scores have expired.
  • If you took the GRE between August 1, 2011 and June 30, 2016, your GRE scores expire five years after June 30th of the testing year in which you took the test (e.g. tests taken October 2014 are good up through June 30, 2020).
  • If you took the GRE July 31, 2016 or later, your scores are good for five years after the date you took the test.

 

What’s Next?

Are your old GRE scores invalid or not up to the standards of the grad school you want to attend? Find out if it’s worth it for you to retake the GRE.

Do you really have to take the GRE, or can you achieve your academic aspirations without it? We discuss if you can get into grad school without GRE in this article.

How does your GRE score compare to the scores of other test-takers? Learn what the average GRE score is and what your GRE percentile means with these great guides.


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Author: Laura Staffaroni

Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Music and Psychology, and earned a Master's degree in Composition from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and GRE and loves advising students on how to excel and fulfill their college and grad school dreams.

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