I Think I Got a Bad GRE Score. Now What?

Bad GRE Score Remedies

A bad Revised GRE score is certainly not the end of the world, although it can feel that way, I know. Prospective graduate students from all over the globe are in your boat. They think they've earned the worst GRE score on the plant. It's bad. It's horrible. It's never going to get them into graduate school.

But are they delusional or have they actually bottomed out in the 13 th percentile or something? Before you fret that you're in the latter category – you've earned yourself a bad GRE score – let's take a peek at the statistics behind the numbers. If your score really is bad, then there are definitely some things you can do about it.

Is Your GRE Score Really That Bad?

Is Your GRE Score Really That Bad?
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People like you – those headed into graduate school – are hard on themselves. You shakers and movers believe you have to score perfectly in order to be successful on the GRE, and since earning a 170 on either the Verbal or Quantitative section is very difficult, you kick yourself when you don't make it. Well, guess what? The national average isn't anywhere close to that number. It's about a 151 – 152 or so. If you scored above that, you're doing better than most of the nation. Click the link for the percentiles and try not to sigh in relief.

Using Score Select

ashamed of your GRE score?
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Okay. So let's say you took a peek at the scores percentiles above and have discovered to your horror that your GRE score really is bad. Never fear. Score Select is here. Whether you're taking the GRE for the first time or retaking it for the hundredth, you can use Score Select when you test to designate which scores you send to the schools of your choice. If on test day, you decide that your scores were probably terrible, you can choose not to send those scores out. Or, if after the test you decide that you hate your score and you've taken it before, you can choose the scores from the test administration where you fared a bit better. Score Select helps you relax just a little bit when you're testing and ​avoiding test anxiety.

Canceling My GRE Score

Bad GRE scores can be canceled
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Perhaps you really flubbed the test and you don't want anyone, not even yourself, to ever be able to look at these test scores again. At the end of the GRE, the computer will ask you if you want to report or cancel your scores. You can choose to cancel them at this time and prospective schools will not know that you've taken the test on this date nor that you've canceled your scores. The rub – you won't be able to view them again, either. That may or may not be a relief to you, though!

Retaking the GRE

Take the GRE again if you get a bad score
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Whether or not you decide to use Score Select to weed out the GRE scores that weren't up to par or decide to cancel your scores altogether, you can always retake the GRE. Try again! In fact, if you're really industrious, you can take the GRE once every 21 days, up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period. This applies even if you canceled your scores on a previous test. If you take the paper-based GRE revised General Test, you can take it as often as it is offered. Obviously, this provides ample opportunity to get the score you want. Just be sure to prepare for it this time around!

Preparing Better This Time

Studying for the GRE
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If you want to take another swing at the Revised GRE before you plunge into the morass of grad school applications, then preparing adequately is incredibly important. Here, the link provides a truckload of worthwhile GRE preparation materials. You'll find apps worth the download, books worth the purchase, practice tests worth the login, and GRE courses worth the time and cash. They've all been researched and reviewed, so take a peek before you pick up the bat and head into the game.

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Your Citation
Roell, Kelly. "I Think I Got a Bad GRE Score. Now What?" ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/i-think-i-got-a-bad-gre-score-now-what-3211691. Roell, Kelly. (2020, August 26). I Think I Got a Bad GRE Score. Now What? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/i-think-i-got-a-bad-gre-score-now-what-3211691 Roell, Kelly. "I Think I Got a Bad GRE Score. Now What?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/i-think-i-got-a-bad-gre-score-now-what-3211691 (accessed May 28, 2023).