What's the meaning of “out of”?

average score for admitted students is currently 774 out of 800.

Does that mean the students' average score is 774？

• Well, a score doesn't usually mean much unless you know the minimum and maximum values; 774 out of 800 is clearly better than 774 out of 800,000. Nov 11, 2014 at 8:37

Pretty much. "774 out of 800" means "774, where the highest possible score is 800". Typically 'out of' in this context is used for numeric ranges, where the number after 'out of' is the maximum.

• The average GRE quantitative score for admitted students is currently 774 out of 800. (Add the new GRE scale). --I can't believe a nonfamous school need such a high score in GRE.. Nov 11, 2014 at 8:56
• @PengZup - Not all select schools are famous.
– J.R.
Nov 11, 2014 at 10:44

Not quite, unless you clearly define "students" as "students who were admitted into the school". I'd interpret the phrase to mean exactly what it says: the average score for admitted students is 774. (The average score for a larger pool of students might be much lower.)

For example, suppose 10 students apply, but only 5 are accepted. Their scores are as follows: ``` Student A 783 Student B 744 Student C 790 Student D 772 Student E 781 Student F 700 Student G 689 Student H 750 Student I 721 Student J 680```

Let's assume Students A through E are accepted.

The average score for all applicants is 741 out of 800. The average score for all admitted students is 774. From the information given, we can't tell the average score for all prospective students – that is, all people who took the exam – because only a very small subset of test takers have applied to the school.

This might be complicated this even more if Student C gets admitted, but decides to go somewhere else. The admissions office might say that the average score for all admitted students is 774, but the average score of the admitted students who are actually enrolled in classes is now only 770 (which is the average of scores for Students A, B, D, and E).