Cracking the GMAT is the first step towards pursuing your MBA aspirations in most of the prestigious business schools across the globe. The GMAT is a comprehensive computer-adaptive entrance examination that evaluates your aptitude in four subject areas — Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment. A good GMAT score is an important factor that decides your eligibility for admission to the b-schools. However, many are left wondering if they have achieved a GMAT score that will successfully secure them a seat in the premier institution of their choice. 

Through the course of this article, we’ll give you an overview of GMAT exam total marks, GMAT percentiles, GMAT score reports etc. So, keep reading. 

GMAT Scores – An Overview

When you receive your GMAT score report, you’ll find total scores and section scores on it. The total score is calculated based on your marks in verbal and quantitative sections of the GMAT. It is scored on a scale of 200-800. These scores are usually determined by converting “raw scores” to “scaled scores.” A raw score is calculated based on the number of verbal and quantitative questions you’ve answered. The difficulty level of the questions in this section is also considered while determining the raw score. This score is then translated to a scaled score, which is what you see as the total marks in GMAT. The algorithm used by the GMAC to determine scaled verbal and quantitative section scores is not mentioned anywhere. 

The sectional scores are separate scores for the remaining two sections of the GMAT exam. This means, these sections (the integrated reasoning and analytical writing) do not contribute to the overall score. The Integrated Reasoning section is scored on a range of 1 to 8 in one-point increments and the Analytical Writing is scored on a scale of 1 to 6 in half-point increments. The sections of the GMAT exam are scored based on the following factors:

  1. The number of questions answered correctly
  2. The number of questions you’ve attempted from each section
  3. The difficulty level of the questions you’ve attempted

There is a penalty for not finishing each section of the GMAT. If you fail to complete the exam in the allotted time, the computer will evaluate your scores based upon the total questions answered. Therefore, you must be mindful that your score will drop considerably with every unanswered question.

Average Scores for the GMAT

The GMAT total score ranges from 200 to 800, with the average GMAT exam marks being 565. As per GMAC, about two-thirds of aspirants obtain a score between 400 and 600. 

Here are the average GMAT scores for all aspirants from 2017–2019:

Exam Section GMAT Score (Average)
Verbal 27.11
Quantitative 40.38
Integrated Reasoning 4.51
Analytical Writing Assessment 4.45
Final Score 564.84

GMAT Percentiles

Next to all the above five scores, you will come across your GMAT score percentile, which can help you compare your scores to other GMAT aspirants. The GMAT score percentiles indicate how well you have done in the test as compared to other aspirants who have appeared for the test. For instance, a percentile of 82 implies that 82 percent of aspirants who appeared for the GMAT scored lower than you in a particular section. These percentile figures are estimated annually after accounting for the GMAT scores from the preceding three years. The percentiles vary section-wise for the same score. For example, if you’ve scored 40 in the verbal section, you’ll be placed in the 91st percentile. However,  the same score in Quant could place you in the 41st percentile. The reason is that you might not be good at verbal, but could be great at math. This can affect your performance in each section. 

Here is a table that will give you an overview of percentile ranking based on your scores (Raw and scaled) and help you in GMAT score calculation

Cooked Score Raw Score  Percentile
0 to 17 0 to 6 0 to 5
18 to 23 7 to 10 6 to 12
24 to 26 11 to 12 13 to 16
27 to 29 13 to 15 18 to 22
30 to 32 16 to 17 25 to 30
33 to 35 18 to 19 33 to 36
36 to 38 20 to 21 40 to 46
39 to 41 22 to 23 48 to 54
42 to 44 24 to 25 57 to 63
47 to 47 26 to 29 68 to 73
48 to 50 30 to 34 78 to 90
51 to 60 35 to 37 98

 

GMAT Quant Percentiles

GMAT Quant score Percentile
6 0
7 1%
8 1%
9 1%
10 1%
11 2%
12 2%
13 2%
14 3%
16 3%
17 3%
18 4%
19 5%
20 5%
21 6%
22 6%
23 8%
24 8%
25 9%
26 10%
27 11%
28 13%
29 14%
30 16%
31 17%
32 19%
33 21%
34 22%
35 24%
36 26%
37 29%
38 31%
39 33%
40 36%
41 38%
42 41%
43 45%
44 48%
45 54%
46 57%
47 60%
48 67%
49 74%
50 86%
51 97%

 

GMAT Verbal Percentiles

GMAT Verbal Score Percentile
6 0
7 1%
8 1%
9 2%
10 2%
11 3%
12 5%
13 7%
14 9%
15 10%
16 12%
17 14%
18 17%
19 19%
20 22%
21 26%
22 30%
23 32%
24 36%
25 38%
26 43%
27 46%
28 51%
29 56%
30 58%
31 61%
32 66%
33 68%
34 71%
35 76%
36 80%
37 82%
38 85%
39 89%
40 90%
41 94%
42 96%
44 98%
45 99%
46 99%
47 99%
48 99%
49 99%
50 99%
51 99%

Evaluation of Your Score Report


                                                        Source: mba.com

 

After you finish your GMAT exam, the testing computer evaluates and reveals your unofficial results (except your essay score). You are then provided with two minutes to choose whether to present your results to business schools or have them cancelled. The unofficial GMAT score report includes your unofficial scores for all the sections, except the Analytical Writing Assessment. You can use this unofficial report to check if you are a competitive applicant to your preferred choice of universities or to decide on retaking the exam. However, you cannot use this for admission purposes.

The GMAT official score report will be available for you within 20 days after your GMAT exam date. The official score is valid for five years from the date of the test. Hence, you have the flexibility to send this score to b-schools as per your convenience. 

Apart from the above reports, you’ll also receive an enhanced score report. This report provides you with useful information (regarding the pacing, question type etc) that will help you evaluate your performance in the exam.

While the total score might be what you are looking for, other scores are also equally meaningful. Individual scores provide you and the institutions receiving your scores with insight into your strengths, and also aspects that require improvement.

Let’s take a look at GMAT marks distribution and their scoring criteria.

Exam Section Scoring Scoring Criteria
Analytical Writing Assessment 0.0-6.0 Professional essay reviewers along with a machine algorithm evaluate your AWA essay score.

The reported score falls in intervals of 0.5.

Integrated Reasoning 1-8 The scoring for this section is based on the number of questions you answered correctly. Since certain questions comprise multiple parts, you must answer them all correctly to obtain a credit successfully.

The reported score falls in intervals of 1.

Quantitative And Verbal 6-51 The Verbal reasoning Quantitative Reasoning are question-level adaptive, and your score is calculated depending on three factors –

  1. Number of questions answered
  2. The frequency of correctness of your responses
  3. Difficulty level and other parameters of the answered questions

The reported score falls in intervals of 1.

TOTAL Score 200 to 800 The final combined score depends on your evaluated performance in the quantitative and verbal reasoning sections. This raw calculation then gets converted to a total score.

The reported score comes in intervals of 10.

Result Interpretation

Upon receiving your final scores, you must know how to interpret each section and plan accordingly. Here is a detailed interpretation of the results to help you gain deeper insights into their strengths and shortcomings –

  • Total, Verbal, and Quantitative Scores

As mentioned earlier, the GMAT maximum score ranges between 200 to 800, with two-thirds of candidates scoring between 400 and 600.

Verbal, as well as Quantitative scores, lie between 0 to 60. Candidates who score below 6 or above 51 are uncommon.

Since Verbal and Quantitative scores fall on a fixed scale, you can have them compared across all GMAT test administrations. However, since these scores evaluate different constructs, you cannot juxtapose them to each other.

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

Scores for this section fall between 0 and 6 in half-point intervals.

The Analytical Writing Assessment score gets calculated as per the analysis of an argumentative essay. 

AWA essays get graded by trained human raters and by implementing a machine algorithm. In cases of a divergence between the human score and the machine score, the score gets reviewed by a supplementary human rater and then gets readjusted.

You can also request that your essay get re-scored by filling out the Essay rescore request form if you believe that your essay has been scored incorrectly.

  • Integrated Reasoning (IR)

Integrated Reasoning (IR) scores fall between 1 and 8 in single-digit intervals.

You must have observed that Integrated Reasoning questions demand more than one response. Since the questions are framed to evaluate how effectively you can integrate data to figure out complex problems, filling out all the correct responses in a question is mandatory to receive credit. Therefore, no candidate gets partial credit.

Average GMAT Score for World’s Best MBA Colleges

Most business schools consider the GMAT score as a parameter to check if you have the skills to perform well in their program. Hence, it is important to be aware of the cut-off scores for the b-schools of your choice before starting the preparations. So, let’s take a look at the average GMAT scores for the top b schools around the world.

Top Business Schools Average GMAT Scores Minimum Cut-Off Scores
Columbia Business School 727 690
HEC Paris 690 570
Booth School of Business 730 610
Kellogg School of Management 730 620
Haas School of Business 725 680
Yale School of Management 720 680
Harvard Business School 730 590
The Wharton School 730 540
Stanford Graduate School of Business 734 600
MIT Sloan School of Management 727 690

While most business schools consider your total score, some also take into consideration your individual scores obtained in various sections, if you get the same final score as another candidate. Most students score between 200-600, and a GMAT score obtained above this is considered good and above 700 as excellent. The above guide can help you understand the GMAT scoring pattern and help you avoid confusion in your future GMAT attempt.

If you are determined in securing a seat in a reputable business school, get yourself enrolled in CareerLabs. Choose from one of their profile-building courses to improve your chances of clearing the examination with flying colors!

FAQ’s

  • How important are your GMAT scores for admissions?

The GMAT scores are your gateway for admissions into the universities of your choice. Each college has its cutoff range for admissions and hence you will need to do additional research to find out about the same before applying.

  • What is an adaptive testing technique for GMAT scores?

An adaptive testing method in the GMAT exam means that your performance in each section determines your level of difficulty in the next section of the exam. It is necessary to be well prepared for the exam so that you don’t falter in any of the sections.

  • What is a good GMAT score?

A GMAT score of 700+ is considered good, however, this score varies for each college and program you are applying to. The more competitive programs and higher-ranked universities will have a higher score cutoff when compared to others.

  • How much is the maximum you can score on each section of the GMAT?

Each section of the GMAT has score ranges as mentioned below :

Quant and Verbal  – 6 to 51

Analytical Writing – 0 to 6

Integrated Reasoning – 1 to 8

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