While filling my applications for PhD in computer science I used the percentile scores that I have on the paper score report I received from ETS by mail 3 years ago. However I just logged in to my GRE account to order a copy of the scores to be sent to a university, and I was surprised to see that the percentages have changed:

  • Verbal increased by 1%
  • Quantitative decreased by 2%
  • Analytical writing increased by 4%

Will my application get flagged for reporting wrong percentiles? Should I contact all the universities that I have applied to and inform them about the change in percentiles?


Well, you can contact the schools to change it on your application. I do not think that is gonna be a big deal since the admission staff always have acess to your application, and mistakes like this could always happen. Also, they gonna see the official report from the ETS, and they may not look at what you wrote in your applications. Good luck


Here is a quote from one of the academic forums about the changing GRE scores, over time.

You may find it useful:

The ETS website maintains that the reported score represents the same level of academic ability from year to year ..., e.g., a 720 Quant in 1999 represents the same level of math ability as a 720 Quant today ... though the percentile may change, due to variations in the makeup of the test-taking population.

That said, an 11% change DOES seem like a lot, given that almost 500,000 people take the GRE every year. On the other hand, it seems almost universally accepted that the AW is the least important part of anyone's score ... unless it's very low (3.0 or less) combined with great pre-prepared writing samples, in which case it suggests the applicant may have hired somebody to write the writing sample.

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