Friday, September 2, 2011

FAQ Friday: What’s the deal with GRE scores?

Welcome to the first SAIS Admissions FAQ Friday!  Today, we’re talking about test scores, specifically GRE test scores.  Lately, we’re been getting a lot of questions about the new GRE scoring format and how it will affect applications, how the scores compare, etc.
First, don’t worry about which exam you have.  We don’t have a preference for new over old or vice versa, and we’ll accept either format as long as the score is valid (GRE scores are valid for 5 years).  ETS recently released a concordance chart for the new scale versus the old scale, so you can see how your score compares here:http://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/concordance_information.pdf.  We will be using this chart ourselves when evaluating GRE test scores, until test scores under the old scale are no longer valid.
Second, we only consider the highest score you receive on each section of the exam, which means we can combine highest section score from two exams taken on different dates.  Don’t worry about “making” that happen - when you request one score from ETS, they send us all your valid scores, and our data system automatically selects the best scores.  (On the application, just list your most recent test scores.)
Applicants always ask us how important the test scores are, and the truth is that is depends on the overall strength of your application.  If the rest of your application is strong, they might not be that important; alternately, for an applicant with limited quantitative or writing experience, they may be more important.  it really is different for every applicant.  But the point is that test scores are not the main focus of the application, it’s one component, and no one’s fate is decided by one mere component.
And last?  We have no minimum score!  But if you’re concerned that your scores are weak, you might want to think about taking the exam again.  You can view our mid-range of scores on our FAQ page to see how your scores compare to our students’ scores.
Thanks for reading! 
Think you’ve got a question that would be good for FAQ Friday?  Submit it here!