background: the rey auditory-verbal learning test (ravlt) is widely used for the assessment of episodic memory. however, there are few studies in brazil assessing its psychometric properties. objectives: to search for evidence of reliability and construct validity of the ravlt, and to assess the influence of age, schooling, gender, and depressive symptoms on test performance. methods: one hundred twenty-six healthy older adults (aged 60 and over) performed the ravlt, mini-mental state exam (mmse), clock drawing test (cdt) and the geriatric depression scale. reliability was assessed by analysis of internal consistency, and construct validity by factor analysis and correlations with the mmse and cdt. the influence of age, schooling and depressive symptoms was estimated by conducting linear regression analysis, and the role of gender by comparing the performance of males and females. results: the ravlt showed a high internal consistency, weak correlations with the mmse and cdt, and a bifactorial structure, which is related to the processes of learning and episodic memory retrieval. only age and gender affected test performance. discussion: our results provide evidence of reliability and construct validity in the tested ravlt version, attesting its potential for clinical and research purposes for the brazilian elderly population.