Once you take the GRE, you’re unlikely to want to write it again. However, GRE scores do not last forever. So, how long are GRE scores valid? What happens when GRE scores expire, why, and what can you do? Get answers to all of these questions right here!
But before we get into it, for those of you wondering what the GRE is, the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardized test required for admission to many graduate schools in the United States and Canada and a few in other countries. Educational Testing Service owns and administers the GRE.
Now, if you are a GRE test taker, you are probably worried about how good your GRE score report is, and the GRE score validity. But don’t worry!
6 Important Questions Related to GRE Score Validity
To understand how long GRE scores are valid, you require answers to plenty of other questions. These questions include understanding the scoring method of the exam, their validity rules, the reasons for their expiry, and lastly, what you can do as test-takers. So let us get started!
1. How Are GRE Scores Calculated?
The GRE scoring differs from other standardized tests because the GRE does not provide a total score for the exam, unlike many other standardized tests. Instead, you’ll receive a separate score for each test section: quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and analytical writing.
Verbal and quantitative reasoning tests are graded on a 130-170. Scores for these two sections are calculated in one-point increments. Analytical writing is graded from 0 to 6. This section, in which you must write two essays, allows for a half-point score, so possible scores include 4.5, 5, 5.5, etc.
Also, since each section is scored separately, universities frequently have varying score requirements for every section. As you might expect, some programs will emphasize one section more than another.
For example, a degree in a writing-related or communications field may require an excellent or even perfect Verbal and Analytical Writing score while requiring an average or even below-average score in the Quantitative Abilities section.
On the other hand, programs like engineering almost always have much higher score requirements for Quants than for Verbal or Writing sections.
2. How Long Are GRE Scores Valid?
Your GRE General test score and the Subject test scores are valid for five calendar years from when your test was administered. For example, if your GRE test date was August 6, 2018, your scores are valid till August 5, 2023.
It is to be noted that this rule applies to the tests taken on or after July 1, 2016. For tests taken before that date, scores are reportable for five years after the testing year in which you took the test. In other words, they are valid for five years after the end of the testing year in which you took the test.
Long story short, the answer to how long GRE scores are valid is that they are valid for five years from your test date.
3. What Happens After the GRE Score Validity Expires?
Now that you know the answer to how long GRE scores are valid, you might wonder what happens to them after they expire. Like any other commodity that expires, GRE scores to being thrown into a bin. The only difference is that, in this case, it is a digital dustbin, also known as a cyber garbage can.
So, what happens is that when your GRE scores expire, they are deleted from the ETS records forever. You and other test-takers will no longer be able to access them through your ETS Account, nor will you be able to send them to graduate schools.
You will then have to reappear for the entire exam and use the new test scores for admission.
4. What if You Send Score Reports to Graduate School Before the Scores Expire?
If you submitted your college application with your GRE scores attached and later realized that they are due to expire soon, do not worry!
Once your grad school has your GRE test scores with them, they will not disappear! However, schools may have their policies regarding how recent scores they require. For instance, some graduate schools ask for newer GRE scores, usually no older than 2-3 years.
So be sure always to double-check the requirements before you send your scores, assuming that you are safe, as score reports are valid for five years, and that is how long GRE scores are valid.
5. What Causes These Test Scores to Expire?
You now know how long GRE scores are valid. GRE scores expire for a variety of reasons. The reason is that your knowledge changes rapidly in five years, and the level of GRE knowledge you would have today would differ from what you had five years ago or what you would have five years later.
On your first attempt, you performed well in all sections of the GRE test, but then you stopped practicing mathematics. In this case, your quantitative reasoning aptitude would have diminished, and when you retake the GRE, the quantitative reasoning scores will differ.
In another scenario, you may not have had excellent verbal or writing skills when you first took the exam, but you honed your skills over the years, so your new scores would reflect that upskilling.
However, irrespective of whether your skills have faded or been honed, ETS is correct in stating that your five years of GRE scores are unlikely to represent your skills and aptitude today.
There are a few other possible reasons why ETS allows GRE scores to expire. One reason is that having scores expired makes it easier for them to decide to revise the test.
The test, for example, was revised in 2011, and until the pre-2011 GRE scores expired, the current test was referred to as “the Revised GRE General Test” to distinguish it from the pre-2011 scores. When those scores expired in 2016, they renamed the “GRE General Test” exam because all released scores were in the new format.
Another likely reason that GRE scores expire after five years is that they increase demand for GRE tests. This is beneficial to ETS. Most people will only have to write the GRE once. However, if you change careers or want to have multiple degrees, you would have to return to graduate school for another graduate degree, and you may need to retake the GRE if it has been five years since your last test date.
6. How to Plan Ahead of the GRE Score Validity Rules?
You will most likely take your GRE the same year you apply to graduate programs, if not a year earlier, and in either case, you would not have to worry about your score validity. However, problems arise if you intend to pursue multiple degrees that each require the GRE.
In such a situation, you should know whether or not you will have valid scores in hand by the time you apply to another program. Fortunately, this is unusual as many programs do not require the GRE if you already have a graduate degree.
Another situation in which you should plan is if you are currently a student pursuing your undergraduate degree and want to apply to graduate programs but are unsure when. In such a case, it might be better for you to take the GRE while all of your college knowledge is still fresh in your mind and you are in the test-prep mode, after which you wouldn’t have to worry about how long the GRE scores are valid.
You might also have a more flexible schedule to find prep time more efficiently. However, remember that if you do not apply for graduate school within five years of taking the test, you will have to retake it.
Also, the month you take the test is extremely important. The GRE testing year begins on July 1, so if you take the GRE in April 2022, your test scores will be valid until the fall application cycle in 2026 and expire before the 2027 application cycle.
However, if you take the exam in October 2022, you can share your official scores with graduate schools for the fall 2027 application cycle before they expire.
Now that was all you needed to know about how long GRE scores are valid. We hope you found this article helpful! Remember to stay updated with the GRE test information and give your best!
Here we wish you a successful journey and hope you get into your dream grad school!