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What is a good GMAT score
Gayathri Gopakumar

Meet Gayathri - a Content Editor at Hotcourses India- an IDP company. A once-international student herself- she loves to research & give insights into the world of global education through her writing. When she isn’t working, you'll find her playing, travelling or binge-watching just about anything.

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10 Jan 2019 532 Book icon 4 mins Share

What is a good GMAT score?

Planning to take up GMAT? Wondering what a good GMAT score is? Read on to know about the scoring, the sections and what GMAT scores top B-schools are looking for…

10 Jan 2019 532 Book icon 4 mins Share
What is a good GMAT score

Good question. How we wish the answer was as straight forward as the question. When it comes to analysing what is considered as a good GMAT score, there are a lot of angles involved. But lucky for you, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about it - right from the basics of GMAT to its unique scoring system. So tune in till the end… 

Who uses it?

With over 7,000 MBA and masters programmes using GMAT scores to filter admissions, business schools around the world are listing the GMAT score as a pre-requisite for other postgraduate management degrees as well, like Masters in Finance or Masters in Management. Now, what exactly is GMAT and why are business schools worldwide insisting on it? 

GMAT ABCs for the beginner

Basically, GMAT or Graduate Management Admission Test is a standardised exam used by over 2300 business schools around the globe for the past 60 years to assess MBA aspirants. It measures your command over analytical writing, mathematical skills and English proficiency.

Conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), GMAT is taken up by over 200,000 candidates every year across 650 centres in 114 countries.

GMAT is a 3.5-hours long Computed-Adaptive Test (CAT). This means that the computer processes your answer and chooses the difficulty level of the next question. In essence, if you answer one question right, your next question will be harder. This is one of the reasons why GMAT is considered extremely competitive. 

According to the FT-100 Global MBA Programs, 2017, 9 on 10 students gain admission into top B-schools using a GMAT score and the best part is that your GMAT score stays valid for up to five years.

GMAT structure

The basic structure of GMAT can be broadly broken down into four sections: Analytical writing, reasoning, quantitative and verbal.

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

AWA is scored separately on a scale of 0-6 (with half point increments) and isn’t considered to generate your overall 200-800 point score. The section is graded by both a person and a computer. The average of the two scores is your final score in the section. In rare cases where the scores differ vastly, another person is assigned to grade your essay.  

Integrated Reasoning

In the integrated reasoning section, the answers are scored separately on a scale of 1–8 with one-point increments.

Quantitative

The quantitative section is scored on a scale of 0-60 in one-point increments.  

Verbal

As in the quantitative section, the verbal section’s scoring too scales from 0-60, in one-point increments.

Score board

Your GMAT results will come out in 5 scores - one for each of the 4 sections and one overall score on a scale of 200-800 (that we know you must be probably familiar with). This score is what most business schools weigh heavily upon for admissions. The Overall score is calculated combining the scores of only the quantitative and verbal sections. Both these sections have a scoring scale between 0-60 and are then converted to generate your Overall score on the 200-800 scale.   

As mentioned earlier, the AWA and integrated reasoning sections are scored separately on scales of 0-6 and 1-8 respectively.  These scores do not affect your overall GMAT score.

Against each of the sectional scores, your respective GMAT score percentile will also be mentioned. The percentile score indicates where you stand among the 200,000 other candidates with regards to the performance in the particular sections. If you see a percentile of 83 next to the quantitative section, it indicates that your score is above what 83% of candidates have scored (yeay!). .

For Verbal and Quantitative sections, scores below 8 and above 51 are pretty rare. In general, it’s quite common for candidates to score lesser in verbal, when compared to the quantitative section. In fact, if your verbal score is over 40, you deserve slow claps as you’ve already outperformed 90% of the candidates (90th percentile). Also, the verbal score of 40 is the equivalent to 50 in quantitative section.

Here are the mean average scores for each section (according to the GMAC) that gives you an idea of how people around the world fare in the examination.

  • Analytical Writing Assessment: 4.5 (in a score scale of 0-6)
  • Integrated Reasoning: 4 (in a score scale of 1-8)
  • Verbal: 27 (in a score scale of 0-60)
  • Quantitative: 38 (in a score scale of 0-60)
  • Total: 548 (in a score scale of 200-800)

Glad to see you’ve stuck around to this portion of the article- because… here comes the juiciest part of our answer to your question which is…

What exactly is a good GMAT score?

In essence, any score that can get you into the business school that you want - is a good score. So, here’s what you should be asking: How good should my GMAT score be, to get into this particular university?  

Well, although there isn’t any direct correlation between the rankings of a business school to its GMAT acceptance score, the average GMAT score required by universities vary widely. Taking into account all major business schools across the world, the average GMAT score is 550.

If you’re targeting the top 10 business schools, you’ll need to score between 712 and 737. However, there are plenty of other well-reputed and prestigious universities that accept scores between 600 and 700 as well. 

Here are the GMAT scores that top universities’ B Schools require:

  • Wharton School of Business (University of Pennsylvania): 730
  • Harvard Business School (Harvard University): 710
  • Booth School of Business (University of Chicago): 738
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business (Stanford University): 737 
  • Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University): 732

So now that you got a fair idea on what’s the kind of GMAT score you need, you now know where you stand and where you wanna stand! The number of schools preferring GMAT score for admission has gone up by 44% since 2014.

Next step, have a look at some of the top MBA programmes listed with us offered by leading business schools and see where you stand with your score or expected score.

Or you can just contact us and we will tell you what your B school options are for your GMAT score.

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