Scoring was simpler when in school. You were usually evaluated with a score of 100. If you got above 90, you knew you were doing well, and mom would have no problem sharing your marks with the neighbours. And, if you got something in the 40s or the 50s, you knew there was an awkward conversation (perhaps even a cane!) waiting for you back home.

But when it comes to the GMAT score, things aren’t so simple. There are many terms like raw scores, cooked scores, percentile scores, which could seem complicated in the beginning but we are here to help you understand things clearly. First of all, every section of the GMAT, from Analytical Writing Assessment to Verbal Ability, is scored on a different scale. Second, each of them has a different weightage when it comes to B-school admissions. Third, something called relative grading (cumulative scoring) that comes into the picture. In this article, we will try and make sense of GMAT scores and what they mean.

GMAT Scores 

What is a GMAT Raw Score?

The GMAT raw scores are the scores you obtain on the Quantitative and Verbal sections of the exam immediately after you complete the GMAT. The scoring range for the Quantitative and Verbal section is between 0 to 60. These raw scores are then converted into a total score which has a range of 200 – 800. The scores are reported in intervals of 10. The scores from your Analytical Writing and Integrated Reasoning section are reported separately.

What is a GMAT Cooked Score?

The GMAT cooked score or your scaled score is calculated and sent on your official score report which you receive 20 days after the completion of your GMAT exam. The scaled score is calculated on the basis of your performance in the exam. The scoring algorithm not only takes into account how many questions you answered correctly but also the degree of difficulty of the questions you answered.

What is a GMAT Percentile Score? 

Your GMAT percentile score is the percentage of candidates whom you have performed better than in the GMAT exam. For example, if you scored a 95 percentile, this means you have fared better than 95% of the candidates who have attempted the exam. The percentile rankings are available for your total scores and your individual section scores. The data is usually updated each year during summer so that you have the latest data available.

What is a GMAT Enhanced Score Report?

If you feel you haven’t performed well in the GMAT exam and would like to know where you went wrong, then the Enhanced Score Report will assist you in this regard. You have the option to request for an Enhanced Score report that will contain a comprehensive report of your performance, a detailed description of how you had performed in each section, the question types answered, your accuracy levels, sub sectional scores, and pacing (time management). These insights will help you improve your preparation and score well in the GMAT in your next attempt.

Understanding Your GMAT Raw Score

The first thing to note is that you get a raw score in all four sections of the GMAT: 

Quantitative Reasoning (QR)
Verbal Reasoning (VR)
Analytical Writing (AWA)
Integrated Reasoning (IR)

Only your Quant and Verbal scores will count towards your final GMAT score. The others will be reported separately. However, B-schools will look at your IR and AWA scores, and any value that is remarkably low will be treated as a red flag.

In both GMAT Quant and Verbal, you will get a score between 0 and 60, based on how you perform in each section. The mean score in Quant is 38.03, and that in Verbal is 27.04. According to the GMAC, hardly anyone scores below 7 in Quant and below 9 in Verbal.  Each of these scores translates into a percentile ranking, which is what matters to admission committees.

 Some important points to understand percentile ranking better are listed below : 

  • The percentile ranking may appear confusing to comprehend initially, however, if you pay attention they will provide you with valuable information. 
  • Your percentile scores indicate where you stand in the applicant pool. That is, how you fare compared to other test takers. 
  • A percentile score indicates the percentage of test takers you have outperformed or scored better than. For instance, if you get the 88th percentile, that means you have scored higher than 88% of the test takers.
  • If you have a higher percentile this means that you have obtained a very good competitive score. 
  • You must also keep in mind that these values are recalculated each year so the same score every year can yield a different percentile ranking. 
  • If you do choose to submit your scores 3 years after you have attempted the GMAT, then you will need to check if the percentile ranking has changed significantly since then.

Your overall GMAT score will be based on your Verbal and Quant score percentiles and will be a number between 200 and 800, with increments of 10. According to the GMAC, two-thirds of test-takers score between 400 and 600.

Every year, the GMAC publishes this score-percentile information. We have listed below the total score percentiles for your reference as updated in the year 2019.

Total Score Percentiles

PercentileTotal Score
99%800
99%790
99.97%780
99.84%770
99%760
98%750
97%740
95%730
94%720
90%710
88%700
85%690
82%680
80%670
77%660
73%650
68%640
66%630
63%620
59%610
56%600

AWA and Integrated Reasoning Score and Percentiles

The AWA scores are reported separately by a human rater and a specially designed computer software. Both of these scores are then combined together to give you a cumulative AWA score. The AWA score is on a scale of 0 to 6. In the event the two scores are different by a point, then there will be a third evaluation done by a professional/expert human assessor. 

Your IR scores are on a scale of 1 to 8 done by one point intervals. Out of the 12 questions in this section, there will be 3 experimental questions that will be present but won’t be mentioned to you. So you will need to attempt all questions with the best of your ability.

GMAT Integrated Reasoning PercentileGMAT Integrated Reasoning Score
91%8
81%7
66%6
50%5
33%4
19%3
9%2
0%1
GMAT Analytical Writing PercentileGMAT Analytical Writing score
88%6
81%5.5
56%5
46%4.5
18%4
11%3.5
4%3
3%2.5
1%2
1%1.5
1%1

When Can I See My Scores?

As soon as you complete your test, you will be shown an unofficial score report with your IR, Quant, and Verbal scores. You will be given two minutes to decide to accept or cancel the scores. If you do not make a choice, your scores will be canceled. If you decide to cancel your scores at the test center, you still have an option to reinstate the scores within 60 days of the test date for a US $100 fee in case you change your mind. Beyond that you will be unable to retrieve your scores.

If you accept your score, these will be the numbers that appear on your official GMAT report that will be sent to B-schools. If you choose to cancel it, nobody except you and the GMAC will know, as no mention of it will be made on your official GMAT score report. However, you will always have an accurate record of your GMAT exam history, as the GMAC will show you all your GMAT attempts, including cancelled scores.

We hope this article helped you understand what is meant by GMAT raw scores, cooked scores, enhanced scores and percentile scores. Make sure you prepare well and get a good score. All the best!

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