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.

good bad and ugly gmat scoresHowever, 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.

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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.

This is particularly true if you are willing to join a part-time or online MBA program.

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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.

How Much Do You Need to Score In GMAT For Top MBA Programs?

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.

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Total ScorePercentile Ranking

Good GMAT Verbal Section Percentile Scores


ScoreVerbal Percentile RankingQuantitative 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 ScorePercentile 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 ScorePercentile 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 SchoolsAverage GMAT Score of Recent Incoming ClassMiddle 80% Range of Recent Incoming Class
Harvard Business School730690-760
Stanford Graduate School of Business737Total range: 590-790
University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business717680-750
Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business717680-750
Yale School of Management730690-760
High-Level Business Schools
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business656Not available
George Washington University School of Business643Not available
Brigham Young University Marriott School of Management670Highest GMAT 770; 99% over 600
University of Iowa (Tippie)676610-730
University of Maryland, College Park (Smith)660600-720
Part-Time/Online Business Schools
University of Texas at Austin: McCombs School of Business (part-time)635Not available
University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Isenberg School of Management (online and part-time options)570Not available
Georgetown University McDonough School of Business (part-time)666590-710
Arizona State University W.P. Carey School of Business (online)596Not available
NYU Stern MBA Manhattan (part-time)Not available620-730


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.

You may also be interested in knowing what Good IELTS Scores, Good GRE Scores, Good PTE Score & Good SAT Scores look like.

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