It is not uncommon for a student of mine to be frantically texting me the day before their GRE with last minute questions: “How long does it take to get GRE scores?” is definitely one of them. If you are reading this article,
How long you’ll have to wait to receive the results of your GRE exam depends on which form of the GRE you take. So while one answer is “it depends,” here’s the short answer of how long it will take: You’ll get your GRE scores within 15 days. This is true, at least, for the computer-delivered test.
Like I said, though, it really depends. Here’s the full story.
Immediately following the last question of your Computer-Delivered GRE exam, the computer will ask you if you would like to “report your scores.” Keep in mind, you will not know how well you did at this point. Some students get nervous to report their scores if they feel they bombed the exam. Don’t worry, reporting your scores simply means your test scores from that day will become part of your reportable history. Just because you report your scores does not mean you will have to actually send them out to schools.
Once you choose to report your scores rather than cancel them, you will see your unofficial Verbal Reasoning score (between 130-170) and Quantitative Reasoning score (between 130-170). The first time I took the GRE, I was not prepared for this and it came up on the screen so quickly I missed it.
After you see your Verbal and Quantitative unofficial score, the computer will ask you to choose your score recipients. At this time, you can send your score to as many as four graduate institutions or fellowship sponsors for no extra charge (it is included in the cost of the GRE).
However, if you decide not to send your score right then and there, you will be charged to do so later. Also, with the GRE ScoreSelect option, you can choose to send your “Most Recent” score–the one you just saw–or “All” your past GRE scores within the last five years.
Your official GRE scores will be made available on your ETS account and sent to your score recipients 10-15 days after your test date. You will receive an email when they are ready to view. Your official GRE score will consist of your Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores (what you already saw on test day), your Analytical Writing (AW) score (between 0-6), along with your percentiles for each of the three sections. Although part of your Analytical Writing score comes from a computer grading your two essays, a human will also read your essays and give you a score. This is why you cannot see your AW score on test day.
Since it can take the better part of two weeks for your recipients to receive your GRE score, I highly recommend taking the exam at least one month before your application deadline. Also, if you know you will want to leave yourself time to take the GRE again, you will have to
If you are taking the Paper-Delivered GRE because the computer-based exam is either not available in your area or you received approval for special testing conditions, the process will be a bit different for you.
For the paper-based GRE, students will be asked to designate up to four graduate institutions or fellowship sponsors during registration at no additional cost. Similar to the computer-delivered exam, if you choose to send your scores later on, it will cost additional money. Unlike the computer-based test, if you choose to send your scores at this time you will have to commit before you know your unofficial Verbal and Math score.
Your Paper-Delivered GRE official score report will appear on your ETS Account and be sent to your score recipients five weeks after your test date. Therefore, it is a good idea to take the test at least two months before your application deadline. You will receive an email notifying you that your official scores are available. They will consist of your Verbal Reasoning (130-170), Quantitative Reasoning (130-170), and Analytical Writing scores (0-6) along with your percentile for these three sections.
After your test day, you can request to have any past GRE scores (or all of them) within a five year period sent to graduate institutions or fellowship sponsors on your ETS account. However, you cannot mix and match section scores from different test days to create a super score.
On your ETS home page, under “Scores,” you will see the option to click “Send Additional Score Reports.” After you are prompted to update your personal information, you will be able to choose your score recipients. It will take five business days to process, so keep this in mind if you are cutting it close to the program’s deadline. Also, it will cost $27.00 per score recipient.
Your score recipients will see your official section test scores along with the corresponding percentiles and some background information on your intended field of study. They will not see the other schools you have sent your scores to. If you selected to send the school all of your GRE exam scores from the past five years, they will see this information for every reported test. However, as I mentioned earlier, you can also choose to send only one score report (obviously, your best one).
One final note for those who might still be nervous to report their not-so-high scores to graduate programs. If you do not do well on the exam, you always have the option to keep studying and take it again after the 21 day mark. Schools are used to receiving multiple GRE Test Scores from students, seeing as it is very common to take the exam multiple times. Graduate programs will focus on your best score and be glad to see you worked hard to make progress.