What Is A Good GMAT Score? A Bad One? An Excellent One?
By now, you for sure know what GMAT is and the importance of the GMAT score. If not, head to our GMAT Overview article.
But do you know the difference between a bad, good and excellent GMAT score? And do you know the range of GMAT scores that will put you in a top business school?
What Is A Good GMAT Score?
When you want to get admitted into the top business schools, a high GMAT score is crucial. The GMAT score is considered to be a reliable predictor of success in studies at a business school.
However, a good GMAT score is not enough on its own to get you into your dream school. There is no guarantee that you will be admitted to the cream of business schools even when you score a perfect 800. Why? Simply because international B-Schools understand that it takes more to make a good manager than a perfect score on a standardized test.
However, coming to brass-tacks, what is a good GMAT score to target?
Analyzing previous year results and scores can give you a an idea. In 2018, the mean total GMAT score was 556.04. What do you think? Is it enough to get admission into the top business schools? Nopes.
In-fact a score of even 600 will be a lower than the GMAT score required for many top B-Schools. In some top MBA programs like Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Yale, and Dartmouth, the average GMAT score required is 720.Average GMAT Scores For The Top 50 B-Schools In US Across The Last 5 Years
However, lower down the ranking ladder, many well-known schools do not require such high GMAT scores, and students who have scores below 600 can get admission in them.
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Good GMAT Score Percentiles
GMAT percentile ranking let you know how you performed in the exam overall and on every section of the exam, compared to the others who took the test.
If your total score is 650, this will give you a percentage score of 75. It means you are higher in the total score than 75% of all test takers. 24% of the people who took the test have a score higher than you.
So there is a possibility you can make a case for yourself with this score at a top ranked B-School. A low GMAT score is typically anything under 550.
Here are GMAT percentile ranking data from the Graduate Management Admission Council from the analysis of the past three years. This shows the total score and follows with the section-specific chart for the verbal and quant sections, then come the scores for the integrated reasoning sectioning and analytical assessment.
|Total Score||Percentile Ranking|
Good GMAT Verbal Section Percentile Scores
|Score||Verbal Percentile Ranking||Quantitative Percentile Ranking|
Did you notice the difference between the Verbal and Quant percentile ranking? A score of 51 would put you in the 99th percentile for the verbal section but only in the 96th percentile when it comes to the Quant section. And a score of just 46 will put you in the 99th percentile in verbal.
This gap exists because more students score higher on the quants section as compared to the verbal one. This might be because of the increased participation of international students who aren’t native English speakers.
Good GMAT Integrated Reasoning Percentile Scores
|Integrated Reasoning Score||Percentile Ranking|
The percentile ranking for the Integrated Reasoning Section shows us that only 7% of test takers score full marks in this section – a perfect score of 8/8 will put you in the 93rd percentile.
A score of above 6 on the Integrated Reasoning section is generally considered good.
There is some evidence to prove that the IRS section is being given more significance by business schools in recent years. One 2015 survey shows that 59% of MBA admission officials see the IRS score as a significant aspect of the candidate’s profile., compared to 41% of the same pool of the officials for a few years.
Good GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Percentile Scores
|Analytical Writing Assessment Score||Percentile Ranking|
The table shows that 11% of the participants get a perfect score on the Analytical Writing Assessment. A high score in this section is usually considered to be 5.0 or more than that.
Scoring Well On Which GMAT Section Matters Most?
How do business schools evaluate the overall GMAT score and sectional scores? What do they attach more importance to?
Each score reveals something about a candidate. MBA colleges will typically consider the overall score for most general management programs, but depending on the program focus, may give importance to sectional scores. For instance, if you want to pursue an MBA in Finance, the quant score would be something B-Schools will keenly look at.
What about the Integrated Reasoning Section and the Analytical Writing Assessment scores – what role do they play? All the sections are important, but these two are relatively less important than the verbal and quantitative sections. The Integrated Reasoning Section is new to most people. It was introduced very recently for the year 2012 and some business schools are not convinced of IR’s importance.
Several business schools look at the Analytical Writing Assessment score. If you can do well on the timed-writing assessment, it is a great indicator of fluency in the English language and an ability to craft a logical argument. It tells admissions officials that you will probably not take extra time for completing MBA assignments and will understand what’s being communicated in class.
What’s A Good GMAT Score To Get An Admit?
When you are aiming for the top 10 MBA programs, ensure you should aim and consistently work to secure a score of 720 or above. If you aim for the lesser known business schools, you can manage with a score in the 600 to 700 range.
Are you looking for the best place to know the score required for your dream school? Check out our Top MBA Colleges sections and Top MBA Courses section such as this one for Indian School of Business. You will find the average GMAT score and all other admission guidelines for B-Schools here.
Let’s now have a look at the average GMAT score at the top 15 MBA programs? Note that some schools report the ‘middle 80% range’ of GMAT scores instead of the full range. This includes the range of GMAT scores for all the students who join the program, except the top and bottom 10% of the scores.
|Top-Tier Business Schools||Average GMAT Score of Recent Incoming Class||Middle 80% Range of Recent Incoming Class|
|Harvard Business School||730||690-760|
|Stanford Graduate School of Business||737||Total range: 590-790|
|University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business||717||680-750|
|Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business||717||680-750|
|Yale School of Management||730||690-760|
|High-Level Business Schools|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business||656||Not available|
|George Washington University School of Business||643||Not available|
|Brigham Young University Marriott School of Management||670||Highest GMAT 770; 99% over 600|
|University of Iowa (Tippie)||676||610-730|
|University of Maryland, College Park (Smith)||660||600-720|
|Part-Time/Online Business Schools|
|University of Texas at Austin: McCombs School of Business (part-time)||635||Not available|
|University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Isenberg School of Management (online and part-time options)||570||Not available|
|Georgetown University McDonough School of Business (part-time)||666||590-710|
|Arizona State University W.P. Carey School of Business (online)||596||Not available|
|NYU Stern MBA Manhattan (part-time)||Not available||620-730|
Bottom-line: A high GMAT score for someone will be low for someone else. It all depends on your profile and and the school you are aiming for.
A good baseline GMAT score is around 650+. When you aim for the top 10 business schools, you should probably score more than 720. We advise you to target 30+ points over the average score reported by the B-School to be on the safe side and to ensure your GMAT score doesn’t become a sticking point in your application.