(Updated) Old GRE to New GRE Conversion Charts

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The revised GRE General test is scored on a scale of 130-170 (Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning tests) and 0-6 (Analytical Writing). If you took the GRE before August 1, 2011, though, your Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning scores were on a completely different scale!

So how do you compare your new out-of-170 GRE scores to the old 800 GRE scale? How does GRE score conversion work? Use our official old GRE to new GRE concordance charts for accurate conversions, plus learn the reasons you might need to convert your GRE scores from the old to new GRE scales.

feature image credit: Business Baby Pointing/used under CC BY 2.0/Resized from original.

 

Old GRE to New GRE Scores: What’s the Difference?

The scoring of the GRE General test was changed in August 2011 from the old GRE scale of 200-800 to the new GRE scale of 130-170 for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning Tests (the 0-6 scoring for the Analytical Writing Test was not changed).

These scoring changes were accompanied by significant changes to the computer-adaptive nature of the GRE: instead of having the test be adaptive on a question-by-question level, the revised GRE general test is adaptive on a section level.

Note that because it’s been more than five years since the last administration of the old test, all old GRE scores are now expired. You’ll still have earned the scores when you did, but you won’t be able to send official score reports from ETS to schools or other programs with those scores included on them.

 

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Not even adding tiny leaves to your old GRE scores will make them look official to schools now. (Official Leaves/Flickr)

 

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GRE Score Conversion Chart

The most accurate concordance tables come directly from the makers of the test, the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Below, you’ll find the most up to date Old-to-New GRE conversion tables that have been officially released.

 

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.

 

Limits of Old GRE to New GRE Conversion

ETS has issued a couple of caveats about using these GRE score conversion charts. Because the old GRE has 61 different possible score points (200-800, 10 point increments) while the current GRE has only 41 possible score points (130-170, 1 point increments), there are some instances where multiple different scores on the old GRE concord to the same score on the new GRE.

In addition to this logistical issue, ETS warns that evaluating the Quantitative Reasoning scores for the old GRE requires “special care.” An 800/800 Quantitative Reasoning score on the old GRE only converts to a 166/170 Quantitative Reasoning score on the new GRE. Admissions officers or other “score users,” however, are encouraged to consider that “test takers who took the prior test and received an 800 on the Quantitative Reasoning measure, received the highest score possible that they were able to earn on the measure.”

Therefore, students who scored a 170 on the new GRE Quantitative Reasoning section aren’t necessarily better or smarter than students who scored 800 on the old GRE Quantitative Reasoning section; it’s just that the tests were different and the old scoring didn’t allow as much nuance for distinguishing between “higher ability test takers.” 

Finally, the old GRE and new GRE had different methods of adapting the questions to your performance. In the old GRE, you couldn’t skip questions and come back to them – you had to answer every single question before proceeding to the next one. This means the old GRE required different test-taking strategies from other tests. Thus, strong performers on the old GRE might not have been as strong on the new GRE, and vice versa.

 

 

How Can GRE Score Conversion Help You?

Now that you know how to convert your score from the old GRE to new GRE, what should you do with this information?

If you took the GRE before July 1, 2011, the main use of these GRE score conversion tables is that it gives you a rough idea of how you’d do on the current test. However, it’s not just the scaling that’s changed on the GRE – the format has also changed a little bit – so it’s not necessarily the most accurate picture of how you’d score were you to take the GRE now.

The Quantitative Reasoning test difficulty level has remained relatively constant over time, as you can see from the percentile scores – a 71st percentile score on the Quantitative Reasoning section requires a 158/170 or a 740/800, which are roughly equivalent (158/170 = 0.929, 740/800 = 0.925). The main scoring change is that getting a perfect score on the Quantitative Reasoning section now is harder than it was to get a perfect score on the old GRE Quantitative Reasoning section because the GRE scoring has changed to allow more differentiation between the very high scoring students, not because the Quantitative Reasoning section has become more difficult OVERALL.

By contrast, based on score trends, the Verbal Reasoning test seems to have decreased in difficulty. A 71st percentile score on the Verbal Reasoning section requires a 156 out of 180 on the new GRE, or a 540 to 550 out of 800 on the old GRE. These two scores are not equivalent: 156/180 = 0.866, while 540/800 = 0.675  and 550/800 = 0.689. Since 550/800 < 158/170, this means that you needed fewer points on the old GRE Verbal Reasoning test (550/800) than you would on the new GRE Verbal Reasoning test (158/170) to get the equivalent percentile rank.

What does this all mean? You could get away with scoring fewer points before, relative to the highest possible score, and still get an equally high percentile. Therefore, the fact that you now need more points on the GRE Verbal Reasoning test to get the same percentile means that that test has gotten easier overall.

So to some degree, test takers who took the old GRE can estimate that if they took the new GRE without any preparation, they’d get about the same score on the new GRE Quantitative Reasoning and a “better” score on the GRE Verbal Reasoning (although your percentile rank should remain fairly stable). For the best estimate of your current GRE score, though, you’ll need to take an official GRE practice test.

If you took the test after August 1, 2011, the main use of the GRE score conversion tables is for you to compare how your scores stack up against requirements for programs or fellowships that haven’t yet converted their requirements to the new score format yet. Relatively few programs will ask you to convert your new, out-of-170 GRE scores back to the old GRE score system, but there are definitely still some out there that haven’t yet updated their average or minimum required scores.

 

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They also still have this old calendar hanging up from August 2011. But to be fair, that’s a pretty great picture. August 2011/Used under CC BY 2.0/cropped from original.

 

What’s Next?

Took the old GRE and want to find out more about the way the GRE works now? Learn about the new GRE test format and how the GRE is scored.

Looking to register for the GRE? Read our guides to GRE registration and GRE testing fees.

Now that you know how the scores convert, what makes a good GRE score?


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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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