# ETS converted my old GRE scores to the new format

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Wow, that is just amazing. I mean I get the logic of the new system, but when a perfect math score on the old system translates into a less than a perfect score, and by 4 points at that, on the new system, and a less than perfect verbal on the old system translates into a perfect score on the new system, you know there is/was something wrong with one or the other. I guess percentiles were always the most important measure and now finally after all these years they have decided to reflect them in the actual scores

Congrats on an outstanding score by the way.

Thanks. I agree, it would seem they're focusing on percentiles now more than ever, which is good. A score means nothing except in relation to how your peers have performed.

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Since percentiles are what matters, why not just have each section scored out of 100 and your score is the percentile you get? ETS is so silly.

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lolololol please tell me you're joking, kolja...

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Great. So, my 750-800 range in Verbal doesn't really matter because people with lower than that will still get 170.

But, my sucky quantitative range will look even worse.

I just knew that the revised test was going to screw me over somehow!

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Great. So, my 750-800 range in Verbal doesn't really matter because people with lower than that will still get 170.

But, my sucky quantitative range will look even worse.

I just knew that the revised test was going to screw me over somehow!

Yep. You are absolutely right. That 1% of people who will have earned a 170 will definitely mar your score. I mean, there is a huge difference between the 98%ile and the 99%ile, anyway.

Edited by resource
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V: 720 = 168 (98%)

Q: 770 = 161 (87%)

I took it July 2010.

V: was 770, now 170, 99%.

Q: was 800, now 166, 94%.

Yep. You are absolutely right. That 1% of people who will have earned a 170 will definitely mar your score. I mean, there is a huge difference between the 98%ile and the 99%ile, anyway.

I think that what the poster was trying to say was this. As you can see, the person who previously got a 770 is in the same group of people who got a 800 on the last test in the sense of being in the 99%. With the verbal now, you are sort of getting the same problem that you had with the old test in that you have still the 99% covering several different scores on the test. What we should be saying that the new test, as far as the verbal scores, can mess you up about the same as the old test. On the other hand, if a 770 and 800 convert to the same 170 on the new test, then it does screw you over more, in the sense that there is no way to say that there is or is not a difference, where with the old test, you could still see some difference.

Although I do see the point of saying that once you hit the 98 or 99% does that 1% difference really mean anything, what ever program you are applying to? After all, the quant scores needed more help distinguishing in the higher percentiles then the verbal did.

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I think that what the poster was trying to say was this. As you can see, the person who previously got a 770 is in the same group of people who got a 800 on the last test in the sense of being in the 99%. With the verbal now, you are sort of getting the same problem that you had with the old test in that you have still the 99% covering several different scores on the test. What we should be saying that the new test, as far as the verbal scores, can mess you up about the same as the old test. On the other hand, if a 770 and 800 convert to the same 170 on the new test, then it does screw you over more, in the sense that there is no way to say that there is or is not a difference, where with the old test, you could still see some difference.

One could argue that the problem with the Verbal on the old test is that it differentiated among top scorers excessively. On the old scale, the top 1% were spread across 8 scale points. Again, the top 1% were spread across 13% of the full range of scores. There may not be a meaningful difference between 99.2 percentile and 99.9 percentile; at that point, we're just splitting hairs. Top 1 percentile is high and the variability of verbal ability (as measured by the GRE) is minimal at that threshold.

Two of the main effects of the new scale are to reduce the over-differentiation of top scorers in Verbal and correct the under-differentiation among top scorers in Quant. Ideally, scores should be normally distributed about the median of possible scores (i.e., about 500 in the old and about 150 in the Revised GRE). Either tail should contain as few test takers as possible, with a larger cluster mid-range. Under the old scheme, however, Verbal scores were in a skewed right and Quant scores in a skewed left distribution.

To conclude, 770 and 800 are basically the same score (i.e., there is no significant difference with respect to performance on the GRE Verbal). They always have been but were perceived as different because of flaws in the old scale.

Edited by Lox26
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No, scores of 750 were below the 90th percentile. Why would that change?

Because they're trying to scale ranges to give a more accurate score distribution at the higher percentiles. If an old 800 (94th percentile) is now 166, than a new '800' should be 170 and 99th percentile. The score ranges they gave us (750-800) should be in the highest percentiles. Scores of 750 can't stay ranked the same; if a new '800' is worth more than an old 800, an old 750 will be at a lower percentile than a new '750'. I was just throwing out "around 90th percentile" because it seemed plausible and we don't know very much at this point. The whole point of restructuring the exam was to fix the broken parts*--both exams were terribly skewed.

* and if you're cynical, to make more \$\$\$

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ok this is super helpful. i'm gonna ballpark that with my V: 680-780 and Q: 750-800, i'm probably looking at something akin to

V: 164-170 --> 94-99%

Q: 159-170 --> 83-94%

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What is interesting is that my old scores as reported on my 2006 mailer put my percentile rankings at V:94% Q:81% and AW: 77%.

Now, they are V:94% Q:80% and AW:84%.

Weird that my "5" on the written test changed quite a bit, and that's the numerical score that does NOT change under the new scale ?!?

....and now my math score has gone down another percentile and my writing score has shot up 3 more percentile points since a few days ago to:

V: 660 / 164 -- 94 %

Q: 740 / 158 -- 79%

AW: 5.0 -- 87%

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say these are not the final numbers.

All I can say is, I'm happy to be a Lit Major, because the way they are dealing with the old math scores seems to prejudice the former test takers quite a bit...and you'd think that would be the more objectively testable skill?!?

Edited by Grunty DaGnome
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Thanks for the update, Grunty. Perhaps percentiles will settle when ETS releases the scores for the rest of us in 2 weeks. *fingers crossed*

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I guess they never fully "settle" but continue to adjust as more and more people take the test.

The downward trend in math scores seems to indicate that if you have an older test score that was pretty ok, you might want to consider retaking the test to make sure you remain competitive in areas where GRE math scores really do matter.

I don't mean for test-o-rexics who have a 94%ile and want a 95%ile, I mean for people who were in the high 600s/low 700s, felt that those were fine scores, but may find they're slowly slipping from low 80%iles to high 70%iles.

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That's true, but I would hope that the periodic adjustments are so minor as to not upset percentiles. For example, maybe a 740Q would move from 80.3 to 80.4 to 80.35 percentile. This would still be reported as 80th percentile.

I anticipated this trend with the math scores. The old quant was too easy, so people were scoring in percentiles that were too high to begin with. This percentile slip is an unfortunate consequence for semi-high scorers on the old GRE quant.

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My old score was:

V640 = 162(92%)

Q670 = 152(63%).

Looking forward to the new results!

Yeah, mine have changed again as well.

Now it is:

V640 = 162(90%)

Q670 = 152(61%)

AW 4.5 (72%)

Edited by Kitkat
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Why give engineering schools a false picture of their applicants, all scoring in the 99% for math, because they beat a bunch of English majors on factoring polynomials or solving for fractional exponents and simultaneous systems of equations? Seems like if you took liberal artsers out of the mix, you'd get a much more accurate picture of the applicants abilities who are actually going to use these skills.

I disagree. I don't think technical departments are getting a false sense of anything on GRE score reports. 1) I think there's enough technical majors taking the GRE that it doesn't really matter and 2) the differences between getting a 750 and a 800 are so insignificant that it doesn't really matter. Perhaps English majors don't have a good feel for this, but as a science major I can say that the quant on the GRE is so stupidly simple that it doesn't pose enough of a challenge to technical majors to be a good measure. In my field*, a 750 and an 800 are viewed as essentially the same thing. Even if you get a "lowly" 730, nobody really cares, some admissions committees don't even look at general GRE scores because its such a poor indicator of anything. That's why I think that there's no sense in creating a separate set for people within the top percentiles. The differences in the top few percentiles are so small that there is essentially no difference between them. If your GRE Q scores are bad enough to be considered a deficiency, it will be noticeable on the current scale of including everyone's scores. There are more important parts of an application to analyze than wondering if the GRE Q score is really an 800 or more like a 797. AFAIK, nobody bases their admissions decisions on such a small difference in GRE scores.

*My field is Physics/Math, both of which have subject GRE tests, so Engineering may be slightly different.

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I disagree. I don't think technical departments are getting a false sense of anything on GRE score reports. 1) I think there's enough technical majors taking the GRE that it doesn't really matter and 2) the differences between getting a 750 and a 800 are so insignificant that it doesn't really matter. Perhaps English majors don't have a good feel for this, but as a science major I can say that the quant on the GRE is so stupidly simple that it doesn't pose enough of a challenge to technical majors to be a good measure. In my field*, a 750 and an 800 are viewed as essentially the same thing. Even if you get a "lowly" 730, nobody really cares, some admissions committees don't even look at general GRE scores because its such a poor indicator of anything. That's why I think that there's no sense in creating a separate set for people within the top percentiles. The differences in the top few percentiles are so small that there is essentially no difference between them. If your GRE Q scores are bad enough to be considered a deficiency, it will be noticeable on the current scale of including everyone's scores. There are more important parts of an application to analyze than wondering if the GRE Q score is really an 800 or more like a 797. AFAIK, nobody bases their admissions decisions on such a small difference in GRE scores.

Also of note: http://www.ets.org/s...nded_table4.pdf

*My field is Physics/Math, both of which have subject GRE tests, so Engineering may be slightly different.

While I am merely and English Major, I can't help noticing that my 740 on the math score puts me in the 79th percentile. This effects my own application not at all, of course, but it seems that the economics applicants are all terribly worried that only an 800 [94%ile] is a competative score. If I were on the ad. comms, I think I would view a 79%ile score as low for a math/science program. If the difference between 79%ile and 94%ile truly don't matter, why aren't the tests pass/fail?

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These new scales certainly make me wonder if I should've re-taken the GRE to get a better Verbal score!

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,

Edited by gellert
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While I am merely and English Major, I can't help noticing that my 740 on the math score puts me in the 79th percentile. This effects my own application not at all, of course, but it seems that the economics applicants are all terribly worried that only an 800 [94%ile] is a competative score. If I were on the ad. comms, I think I would view a 79%ile score as low for a math/science program. If the difference between 79%ile and 94%ile truly don't matter, why aren't the tests pass/fail?

I don't know, people in my field didn't design the GRE. At least in my field* (math/physics), the level of the GRE Q doesn't accurately measure an applicant's skills in the first place. A score such as a 740 probably means the applicant just made some silly errors on the test. If a technical major genuinely didn't know how to solve several of the problems on the test, it would probably mean the applicant isn't even capable of completing their major, much less successfully completing grad school.

You're an English major and you got a score comparable to an engineer/scientist, so what? The test is so basic that you can't say that an engineer/scientist has as weak quantitative skills as an English major just because they have a similar score on a middle-school level math test. Sure, my background may allow me to get a top score without having to study much, but the GRE Q isn't any harder than what's on the SAT, which is supposed to measure basic abilities regardless of intended specialty. If an engineer gets a 95% on the verbal, does that mean that they would make a fantastic literary critic? (My guess is no.)

Many applicants with an 800 get rejected but applicants with a 710 and a 740 got in. Like I said before, ad comms in my field have more important things to look at. e.g. research exp., recommendations, coursework, subject GRE, etc.

Also this quote: "while bad GREâ€™s wonâ€™t kill your chances, good GREâ€™s make it much easier to admit you. (Weâ€™re speaking of the Physics GRE, of course; the general tests are completely irrelevant.)" - http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2005/12/20/unsolicited-advice-1-how-to-get-into-graduate-school/

*my field does not apply to all fields, other fields may have a different view e.g. econcomics

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@eomentl, so if the math GRE doesn't even give ad comms relevant data for math/engineering applicants and I'm an English Lit applicant, I took an extra hour and a half answering multiple choice math questions why again?

Like I say, a different or just a la carte version of these tests would be nice, and might make the resulting percentiles apply to those who actually care about getting a good result on that portion of the test.

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@eomentl, so if the math GRE doesn't even give ad comms relevant data for math/engineering applicants and I'm an English Lit applicant, I took an extra hour and a half answering multiple choice math questions why again?

I don't know. If you didn't want to answer the math questions, you didn't have to. I didn't design the GRE, so please don't ask me about why the test is the way it is, I don't know. Why are the Q questions based on 7th grade math? I don't know, ask ETS. The GRE is used by all sorts of disciplines, not just the ones I'm familiar with so everything I say may not apply to other fields i.e. some fields may actually care about general GRE scores and Q scores may actually mean things to them. The GRE is supposed to check general abilities, not specialized abilities. Being able to do theoretical physics doesn't make you appreciably better at doing 7th grade math.

Like I say, a different or just a la carte version of these tests would be nice, and might make the resulting percentiles apply to those who actually care about getting a good result on that portion of the test.

Math & Physics do have a different version of the GRE, they're called the Math and Physics GRE Subject Tests. These factor much more into admissions decisions than the general GRE.

Note: my field (math/physics) does not encompass Engineering, so Engineering ad comms may pay more attention to GRE Q scores, especially since they don't have a subject test (they used to have one, but they axed it because it didn't tell them anything useful). There may also be circumstances in my discipline where the general GRE scores are looked at more carefully e.g. applicants from developing countries.

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I took it in June 2011

V:590, now 159 (84%)

Q:780, now 163 (88%)

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The whole point of the GRE is that it's "standardizing"--across all fields--and it's a test of "reasoning" not math or verbal skills. It's not asking "how good are you at math and English?" it's asking "how good are you at figuring out how to take this test?" Which is why it requires (at least some) preparation, no matter how good you are at either math or verbal. Theoretically, everyone should have the "skills" required of the math section (since we all learned them in middle school or high school), but it's testing our ability to remember them and plug them into the tricky, obnoxious questions thrown at you by the test.

I think the whole thing is BS, not to mention cruel, since it doesn't really give any indication whatsoever of how someone will do in graduate school, but it does measure how willing/able most people are to learn/relearn pointless skills that are required of them (like good little lemmings), which may be an idicator of... something? Maybe our desire and drive for grad school based on our willingness to do this crap?

That's my theory anyway.

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The verbal correlates to IQ, doesn't it (maybe not after this revision)? So there's that.

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The whole point of the GRE is that it's "standardizing"--across all fields--and it's a test of "reasoning" not math or verbal skills. It's not asking "how good are you at math and English?" it's asking "how good are you at figuring out how to take this test?" Which is why it requires (at least some) preparation, no matter how good you are at either math or verbal. Theoretically, everyone should have the "skills" required of the math section (since we all learned them in middle school or high school), but it's testing our ability to remember them and plug them into the tricky, obnoxious questions thrown at you by the test.

I think the whole thing is BS, not to mention cruel, since it doesn't really give any indication whatsoever of how someone will do in graduate school, but it does measure how willing/able most people are to learn/relearn pointless skills that are required of them (like good little lemmings), which may be an idicator of... something? Maybe our desire and drive for grad school based on our willingness to do this crap?

That's my theory anyway.

I agree with all of this.

The verbal correlates to IQ, doesn't it (maybe not after this revision)? So there's that.

I've heard this too, but in my opinion no matter how high your IQ is, if you're asked to find an antonym for a word you've never heard of before, you're not likely to get that question correct. I've never taken an IQ test so I can't compare my IQ to my verbal score.

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