GRE® Score-related Test Policies for Test Takers

Releasing Your Photograph to Your Designated Score Recipients

If an institution that you have designated to receive your scores requests to see your photograph taken at the test center, ETS will send that photo or other information in ETS’s files to that institution as necessary to detect or prevent unlawful activity and to protect the integrity of the GRE® test.

Absence from a Testing Session

If you are absent from a testing session, institutions will not receive any information about your absence or about any previous scores you may have on file.

Preventing Unauthorized Release of Your Scores

Your scores will be reported only to:

  • You
  • Institutions of higher education granting the baccalaureate or higher degrees that you designate
  • Approved graduate fellowship-granting sponsors that you designate

Score reports will be released only upon your request. ETS will not release your scores at the request of institutions or fellowship sponsors except for use in research studies that are approved by the GRE Board and that provide anonymity for test takers and the institutions they attend.

Your score record and the documents you completed that are retained at ETS, including photos and documents from check-in on test day, may be released to third parties (e.g., government agencies, parties to a lawsuit) if requested pursuant to a subpoena or applicable laws.

Test-takers' Background Information Data and Performance Data

Test-takers' answers to background information questions and their performance data may be used in analysis samples, score interpretation data, group statistics and research studies. Test-takers’ essay responses may be used in ETS materials to train scorers, to help score recipients interpret scores or to help examinees prepare for the test. In each instance, all identifying information will be removed.

ETS Review of Test Questions

ETS routinely follows extensive review and quality control procedures to detect and avoid flawed questions and consequent errors in scoring. Such procedures include:

  • independent reviews by qualified individuals
  • feedback from test takers after they have taken the test
  • careful analysis of performance data on each question after it has been administered in a test

Nonetheless, occasionally an error may be discovered after scores have been reported. Whenever this happens, we review the specific circumstances carefully and take the corrective action that is most fair to all concerned.

Cancellation of Scores by ETS

Test Security Issues

ETS strives to report scores that accurately reflect the performance of every test taker. Accordingly, ETS's standards and procedures for administering tests have two primary goals: giving test takers equivalent opportunities to demonstrate their abilities and preventing any test takers from gaining an unfair advantage over others. To promote these objectives, ETS reserves the right to cancel any test score when, in ETS's judgment, a testing irregularity occurs; there is an apparent discrepancy in a test taker's identification; the test taker engages in misconduct or plagiarism, copying or communication occurs or the score is invalid for another reason. In addition, if ETS has information that ETS considers sufficient to indicate that a test taker has engaged in any activity that affects score validity, such as having someone else take the test for you, obtaining test questions or answers via the Internet, email, SMS, text messaging or postings, disclosing any exam question or answer in chat rooms, message boards or forums, SMS or test message, it will result in score cancellation and/or any other action ETS deems appropriate, including banning you from future tests and prosecution to the full extent of the law. You must agree to these terms and conditions when you register for the test and on test day. When, for any of the above reasons, ETS cancels a test score that has already been reported, it notifies score recipients that the score has been canceled.

Testing Irregularities

"Testing irregularities" refers to problems with the administration of a test. Testing irregularities may result from actions of test takers, test center personnel, ETS, or from natural or man-made causes. When testing irregularities occur, they may affect an individual or groups of test takers. Such problems include, without limitation, administrative errors (such as improper timing, improper seating, defective materials [e.g., improper test forms], and defective equipment); improper access to test content; and other disruptions of test administrations (such as natural disasters or other emergencies). When testing irregularities occur, ETS may decline to score the test or cancel the test score. When, in ETS's judgment it is appropriate to do so, ETS gives affected test takers the opportunity to take the test again as soon as possible without charge.

Identification Discrepancies

When in ETS's judgment or the judgment of test center administrators, there is a discrepancy in a test taker's identification, the test taker may be dismissed from the test center. In addition, ETS may decline to score the test or cancel the test score if the documents or photos from the test day cannot be validated or if ETS has evidence that you did not appear for the test. ETS will also cancel your scores, ban you from future testing and notify score recipients of the cancellation if fraudulent activity is detected after your scores have been reported. See Identification Requirements.


When ETS or test center administrators find that there is misconduct in connection with a test, the test taker may be dismissed from the test center, or ETS may decline to score the test, or may cancel the test score. Misconduct includes but is not limited to noncompliance with the Test Center Procedures and Regulations. Test takers whose scores are canceled will forfeit their test fees and must pay to take the entire GRE test again at a future administration. No record of the score cancellations, or the reason for cancellation will appear on their future score reports sent to colleges, universities and/or fellowship sponsors.

Invalid Scores

ETS may also cancel scores if, in its judgment, there is substantial evidence that they are invalid for any other reason. Substantial evidence means evidence that is sufficient to persuade a reasonable person; the substantial evidence standard is lower (i.e., requires less proof) than the reasonable doubt, clear and convincing, and preponderance of the evidence standards. Evidence of invalid scores may include, without limitation, discrepant handwriting, unusual answer patterns and inconsistent performance on different parts of the test. Before canceling scores pursuant to this paragraph, ETS notifies the test taker in writing about its concerns, gives the test taker an opportunity to submit information that addresses ETS's concerns, considers any such information submitted and offers the test taker a choice of options. The options may include voluntary score cancellation, a free retest, a voucher for a future test or arbitration in accordance with ETS's standard Arbitration Agreement. In addition, the test taker is sent a copy of a booklet, Why and How Educational Testing Service Questions Test Scores, which explains this process in greater detail. (This booklet is available to any test taker at any time on request.)

Note: The retest option is available only to test takers in the United States, U.S. Territories and Canada. The arbitration option is available only to test takers residing in the United States or U.S. Territories at the time the scores are questioned.

Test Fairness and Score Use

ETS and the GRE Program have taken steps to ensure, to the extent possible, that tests and test scores are fair for all test takers, regardless of group membership. In addition, the GRE Board has developed guidelines for the use of GRE scores, which summarize the considerations for appropriate use of GRE test scores and encourages institutions to use GRE scores appropriately. For more information, see the Guidelines for the Use of GRE Scores.

Scores Available in Your Reportable History

GRE test scores are part of your reportable history for five years after the testing year in which you tested (July 1–June 30). As of July 1, 2015, GRE scores earned July 1, 2010 to the present will be available in your reportable GRE score history. With the ScoreSelect® option, you can choose to send scores to institutions from your Most Recent, All or Any particular test administration in your reportable history.

Each year, the GRE program purges the database of GRE scores that are no longer reportable. In mid-July 2015, scores from individuals who tested between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010, were purged from the GRE database. In mid-July 2016, scores from individuals who tested between July 1, 2010 and July 31, 2011, will be purged from the GRE database.

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