The total score you obtain on GMAT is not everything you need to get admission into your dream business school. The other scores hold as much meaning and value as the total score because it gives a view into your plus points and the areas in which you need improvement. 

The GMAT is divided into four different components and provides five distinctive scores. It also has percentile rankings within the four components for viewing the number of candidates who have appeared for the test and scored near or below a certain score. 

The four components are separated into scaled scores and percentile ranks. The scores that a GMAT candidate will receive are: 

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment 
  2. Integrated Reasoning
  3. Verbal
  4. Quantitative
  5. Total Score (Verbal and Quantitative Score put together)

Let us delve into detail about what the scores mentioned above mean.

  1. Analytical Writing Assignment (AWA) Score

In the Analytical Writing Assignment, you need to analyse an argument essay based on which your score will be determined. The AWA is scored based on a scale of 0 to 6 in half-point intervals. The argument essay is scored here with the help of computer software that is specially designed for it and a human rater. The two computer software scores and the human rater are averaged into a final score called the AWA score. 

In case the two rating systems differ by more than one point, a third expert human rater is appointed who gives the third and final evaluation. The experts evaluate the candidate’s ability to control different written English elements, the strength and quality of your ideas and how you express them, and what evidence and support you have for backing your argument. 

The human raters note if your first language is not English and rates your assessment sensitively. It takes about two weeks to receive their GMAT score report after they have appeared for the test. This is because human raters are responsible for grading the assessment, and it takes time for all the assessments to be checked by them. 

The highest score which you can get is 6, and the highest percentile ranking you can get is 88% in AWA.

  1. Integrated Reasoning (IR) Score

Almost all of the IR questions carry more than one part, and you need to answer all the parts of a single question correctly to score. The Integrated Reasoning score is based on a scale of 1 to 8 in one-point intervals. There are in total 12 questions in the IR section. Among the 12 questions, 3 of them are experimental, which is not tailored to the total IR score. But there is a catch for the candidates here. It is not clearly mentioned which questions exactly are experimental.

So the best advice for students here is to give their best shot in all the questions so that they do not find themselves lacking in the IR score. The final IR score here that will stand is a number from 1 to 8 that takes the students’ overall question profile into account. 

The IR questions are divided into four types mainly, table analysis, two-part analysis, multi-source reasoning, and graphics interpretation. The IR score does not provide any partial credit. Credit is received when all the responses to a question are given correctly. The IR scores are given in a percentile format from the scale of 1 to 8, with the maximum score being 8 that is equivalent to the 92 percentile.

  1. Verbal Reasoning (VR) Score

The verbal section of the GMAT test is based on English grammar and vocabulary. Having a good grip over these topics can help you be a step ahead of the competition for this particular section. The verbal section is scored between 0 to 60 with 1 point intervals. Even though the full score is 60, this segment is highly challenging, which makes 51 the highest score attainable, and that makes 51 the practically perfect score to get in this section of GMAT.

This segment also features it’s scores in a percentile format. This provides applicants the opportunity to learn about their score compared to the other candidates that have appeared for the examination. Due to the challenging nature of this section, any score above 45 to 51 puts you in the top 1% of the candidates. The mean average score of this section is 28.6.

A good score in this section cannot be clearly defined as it varies from candidate to candidate. The main goal of a good score is to get you into the MBA program of your choice. So any score that allows you to get admission to the MBA program of your choice is a good score. However, various scores put you in various positions among the test givers according to your percentile, which is shared below.

A score above 40 helps you be in the top 10% of the test candidates in this section. A score of 36 helps you be in the top 20%, and a score of 28 helps you be in the top 50% of the candidates.

  1. Quantitative Reasoning (QR) Score

The Quantitative and Verbal sections of GMAT share some similarities; they both are timed around an hour, with the Quantitative section being timed at 62 and the Verbal section timed at 65 minutes. They are also scored between 0 to 60 with a 1 point interval. Both these sections also have an adaptive testing technique. If you get a correct answer, the next question will be made harder, and if your answer is incorrect, you can expect your next question to be easier.

A score above 50 in the quantitative section of GMAT will help you be in the top 1% of the test candidates. The lowest average score in this section is 9, which will put you in the bottom 1% of the test candidates. Scoring every question in this section within the time limit is of the utmost importance; failing to do so will lead to severe score deductions.

This section also features some experimental questions which do not count towards your GMAT scores. They are aimed as experimental questions, which are test runs for future tests. However, there is no way to figure out which questions are the experimental ones, so; this information should not change your attitude towards preparation for this section.

  1. Total Score

The total score is calculated by combining the Quantitative and Verbal scores, which range from 200 to 800. These two sections are scored separately, with each section offering separate percentiles for their scores. These two scores are independent of each other and mean quite different when compared to each other.

A score of 46 puts the candidate in the top 1% in the verbal section, but the same score in the quantitative section only gets the candidate a 58 percentile. This means to get them to set the proper aim for your examination, you should consider each score’s percentiles for both the sections individually.

By considering the percentiles corresponding to each score, you will be able to create your own perfect balance of quantitative and verbal scores to get into the MBA program of your choice. Figuring out a proper score balance will also help you in creating a study plan.

Frequently Answered Questions

Q1. What is a good GMAT score?

Answer: GMAT is scored at 800. A good GMAT score is one where you can get scores above the 70 percentile. This, in terms of score, comes to 640. An excellent score for GMAT would be above 700, which would place you over 90 percentile. The average admission cutoff for the top 50 MBA colleges around the world is around 660, so anything above that would be the best score for you to get in GMAT. Another important thing to keep in mind is that a good GMAT score is essential for getting admission to the college of your choice; however, it is not the last thing. Other factors such as your application and interview also play a crucial part in deciding whether you get admission to the college of your choice or not.

Q2. How to avoid negative marking in GMAT?

Answer: To avoid negative marking, you have to focus very much on your time management skills. One of the main reasons for candidates to get negative scoring is rushing at the end of the exam in an attempt to answer all the remaining questions. A series of wrong answers can cause disastrous effects for your examination in the form of negative marking. To avoid this, you should be very aware of your time management and make sure you do not start slow and keep a consistent pace in all the different sections of your examination. Rushing too much can also cause you problems as rushing can have you pay less attention to each question increasing the chances of an error. 

Q3. How does the adaptability of the GMAT test impact the scores?
Answers: In simple words, the more difficult questions you answer correctly, the more you will score in your GMAT examination. Even if you answer the same number of easy questions correctly, you will score less than if you score the same number of difficult questions. The difficulty of the question and the number of right answers have the final say over your GMAT score.


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