To the uninitiated, scoring on the GRE can be fairly confusing. The three sections are scored separately and these numbers can have very different meanings depending on the programme and schools to which you are applying
Initially, you will receive a "scaled score" within a range of 130-170 for both the quantitative and verbal sections. You will also receive a score on a scale of 0 to 6 (in half point increments) for the writing section.
A percentile rank will be given in addition to scaled scores. This calculation places your performance relative to those of a large sample population of other GRE takers. For example, if you scored in the 60th percentile, it means that you scored higher than 60% of GRE test-takers. Graduate schools use the percentile rank to determine what your scaled scores are worth. Therefore schools are still able to differentiate candidates using the percentile rank even if everyone received high scaled scores.
What's a Good GRE Score?
There's no easy answer to this question as different schools have different expectations. Some schools use cut-off scores, so if a student scores below this they will not even consider them. This is generally more likely to happen with large state university programmes. Find out what the average GRE scores are for the programmes in which you're interested and aim to beat that.
Keeping or Cancelling Your GRE Scores
You will be asked at the end of your exam if you want to see and keep your score or not. If you answer "yes," you are given your score and it is entered into your ETS record. If you answer "no," you are not shown your score and no score is entered.
Score reports that are requested are sent to schools within 10-15 days of the exam. All GRE testing administrations that have not been cancelled will be listed (and usable) in your ETS record for 5 years.