Since GRE score records are maintained for five years, students who have taken or are considering taking the GRE more than once sometimes worry that the multiple scores will adversely impact their chances for admission. Fortunately, there is no evidence that multiple scores hurt your application chances, and at many schools, additional scores can increase your chances of admission 1 .
A review of graduate school admission policies reveals two basic approaches to how they handle multiple GRE scores 2 :
1. All scores are reviewed, and score increases are emphasized
Many schools consider your portfolio of GRE performances but place special emphasis on score increases. For example, the University of Michigan states:
The Admissions Committee will be given all of the applicants’ scores. We do not average them nor do we take the higher or lower scores. Improvement in scores will be taken into consideration.
This means that all
scores will be viewed by the admissions board, but a noticeable score increase will be given the most attention. This is great news for students who do not score as well as they would like on their first attempt.
2. All scores are reviewed, and the best individual section score is taken
Other schools look at each performance and take the best individual score from each section. Yale University, for example, is a school that takes your highest composite score:
GRE scores are but one of many criteria used to evaluate an applicant. Individual department’s practices may differ, but overall the best score from each section is used. However, you must submit ALL of your GRE scores in order to have the department consider the highest from each section.
To better understand this policy, consider the case of an applicant who takes the GRE two separate times with the following results: