What is a Good GMAT Score?

The one thing that each candidate think about post their GMAT Exam is "What is a Good GMAT Score?" As with most things in life, there is no definitive answer to this question. The answer to the question, "What is a good GMAT Score?" depends on the expectation that one has. If one wishes to get into the best of colleges, then a score of 700 would not be a good GMAT score for the candidate but if they have not been performing well and suddenly score 700, they would consider it to be an exceptional GMAT Score.

GMAT Scores: An Explanation

The GMAT Score that each candidate receives is in the range of 200 and 800. The majority of the students receive scores between 400 and 600 which means that any score above this would be considered above average.

There are 4 sections in the GMAT Exam according to the GMAT Syllabus. These sections are:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment: The score in this section can be in the range of 1 and 6. Each essay is checked twice before the grading is done, once by the computer and once by a human. The average of the two scores is taken and the scores are received in the intervals of 0.5.
  • Integrated Reasoning: Here the score is based on the number of correctly answered questions. The candidate will receive a score between 1 and 8 (in intervals of 1) depending on the number of correct answers. To make things more difficult, if there is any question with sub-questions, the candidate is expected to answer all the questions correctly to receive full credit.
  • Verbal Reasoning: This is one of the two sections which is scored for the total GMAT Score. The candidate will receive a score between 0 and 60 which depends on the number of questions answered correctly and higher level of difficulty of the questions.  
  • Quantitative Reasoning: Similar to the Verbal Reasoning section, the Quantitative Reasoning section is the other section to be scored for the total GMAT score. The scoring range for the candidates is between 0 and 60 depending on the responses and the level of difficulty.

It is quite rare for any candidate to receive a score of above 51 in the Verbal or Quantitative Reasoning sections and it is just as rare to find a candidate with a score less than 6.

It is important to remember that there is a penalty for not completing a section. This means that speed is just as important as accuracy to get a good GMAT score. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that the candidate is not allowed to skip questions in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections.

Exceptional GMAT Scores

There are some GMAT scores which cannot be classed as anything but exceptional. These GMAT scores would comfortably clear the cut off for all the top Ivy League colleges.

The highest average GMAT Score for the Ivy League colleges is 732 for the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School and Kellogg School of Management. Harvard Business School, acknowledged to be one of the best Business Schools in the World, has an average GMAT score of 730 along with University of Chicago, Booth School of Business.

Generally any GMAT score above 720 is considered to be an exceptional score. However this score does not guarantee the candidate a seat in the best of colleges. Each college has its own set of selection procedures generally including a Statement of Purpose (SOP)/ Essay and an Interview Round.

Above Average GMAT Scores

It is important to understand the getting exceptional GMAT Scores is not the only way to entered the hallowed halls of the Ivy League Colleges. Above average GMAT Scores can be just as helpful for the students to get into the best colleges if they have the profile to back it up.

Scores in the range of 680 and 720 are generally considered to be well above average with the average score being around 550. In fact, for Indian aspirants, the GMAT Score of anywhere between the aforementioned range would get them calls from the best institutes in India.

In fact, for Indian aspirants, the GMAT Score of anywhere between the aforementioned range would get them calls from the best institutes in India. The cut offs for some of these colleges are mentioned below:

College Cut Off
IIM Ahmedabad 680 for EPGP, 700 for PGPX
IIM Bangalore 680 for EPGP
IIM Lucknow 620 for IPMX
IIM Kolkata 680 for PGPEX
ISB Hyderabad 690 for YLP, 660 for PGP

Good GMAT Scores

Any GMAT Score between 600 and 680 is considered to be a good score because it means that you are ahead of most of the pack.

This is also the score range where small changes in the GMAT Score can boost the candidate's percentile by a huge margin. An increase of GMAT score from 600 to 680 can boost the candidate's percentile score from around 56%ile to 73%ile.

For candidates with these kinds of scores, the Ivy League colleges may be slightly out of range but they do have access to several other colleges which would still be able to boost their career opportunities. Some of the best colleges which accept scores in this range are:

  • HEC Paris
  • IMD Switzerland
  • University of Cambridge (Judge)
  • Carlson University Minnesota
  • University of Toronto
  • HKUST Hong Kong
  • National University of Singapore
  • CEIBS China

Some Misconceptions about the GMAT Score

As mentioned earlier in the article, the GMAT Score is only one aspect of the admission procedure that most colleges follow. The Statement of Purpose (SOP) or Essay also plays a significant role in the selection procedure. Following this round, the Interview round is held which has significant weightage in the selection of the candidate as well.

At the same time, it is important to understand that GMAT Scores are also important just not of paramount importance. Low GMAT Scores can be application killers no matter how good profile is.

As mentioned above, a 750 GMAT Score is not required to get into the Ivy League colleges. Scoring high enough to qualify while working on improving your profile is the formula that candidates need to crack when they target the top-10 MBA Schools.

The "What is a good GMAT Score" Decision

What is a good GMAT Score is extremely personal for each individual. In order to arrive at the target GMAT Score, the candidate needs to do quite a bit of groundwork.

  • Select the colleges that the candidate wishes to target. Divide these into dream colleges, target colleges and acceptable colleges.
  • Note down the programs for all these colleges that the candidate wishes to target and find the average GMAT Score of these programs.
  • Set the target GMAT Score as the highest GMAT average scores.
  • Keep track of the GMAT Score achieved during the preparation phase to ensure that you stand the best chance to beat the target score set during the exam.

Conclusion

This article has talked about the GMAT Score in quite a bit of detail. It includes information of how the GMAT Score is calculated, the rough hierarchy of the GMAT Score is given along with the colleges that accept scores in those ranges. It also helps students in setting the GMAT target score so that they do not have to think about what is a good GMAT score after the GMAT Exam rather than before.