What does the GMAT score comprise and how to interpret the different sections of the score report? Is my GMAT score good enough to secure a B School admit? Is my score average or well above it?
In this GMAT Blog, we answer these questions and more! Let’s dive right in.
1a. Interpreting the GMAT score report
Your score comprises the following components –
- AWA: Your Analytical Writing Assessment or AWA score is on a scale of 0 to 6 in increments of 0.5 points.
- Integrated Reasoning: Your Integrated Reasoning section score or IR score is on a scale of 1 to 8 in increments of 1 point.
- Quant Section: The Maths section is scored on a scale of 0 to 60 in intervals of 1 point. Quant scores less than 7 or more than 50 are rare. 51 is the practical maximum score for the quant section. It is not possible to score more than that. A score of 49 or more is a good Quant score.
- Verbal Section: The verbal section score is on a scale of 0 to 60 in intervals of 1 point. A Verbal score less than 9 or more than 44 are rare. 51 is the practical maximum score for the verbal section. A score of 40 or more is a good Verbal score.
Find out where you stand by taking these free GMAT Quant & Verbal Diagnostic Tests!
Total GMAT Score: The total score starts from 200 points. The maximum score is 800 points. The total score is in increments of 10 points.
Please note that the GMAT scores for the Quant and Verbal sections are converted from the 0-51 scale to the 200-800 scale. There is equal weightage given to the Quant and Verbal sections while computing the total GMAT Score. However, the scores for the AWA and IR sections are reported as standalone numbers and are not used toward the calculation of the total score.
You will know your scores in the IR, Quant, and Verbal sections and the total score immediately after you complete the test because these sections are evaluated by the computer. You will receive your AWA score within a fortnight of writing the test because a human evaluator has to read your essay and mark it.
Points to note:
The GMAT score report that is given right after you finish the exam (the one without the GMAT AWA score) is called the unofficial GMAT score report. The GMAT score report that you receive within a fortnight (the one with the AWA score) is called the official GMAT score report. The latter is the one that will be sent to the business schools you intend to apply to.
You will also see a percentile corresponding to each of your scores. For e.g., the percentile score corresponding to a verbal score of 40 for the period 2019-2021 is 90%ile.
What do the GMAT percentiles mean? If the GMAT percentile chart shows that you are in the 90th percentile, then 10% of the GMAT test-takers in the 3-year period have scored 40 or more in the verbal section. Your percentile is not as important to top business schools as your total GMAT score and your Quant and Verbal scores are. However, the percentiles help you better understand where you stand in relation to your peers and understand whether you have a GMAT score good enough to present a compelling application to business schools.
1b. GMAT Scores: What happens after you complete the test?
After you complete the exam, the GMAT score calculator will compute individual section scores for the IR, Quant, and Verbal sections and the total score on a scale of 200 to 800. You will be shown a preview of your score for 120 seconds.
You will have the option to accept the score or to cancel it in those 120 seconds. If you got a GMAT score that’s good enough to apply with, accept it.
Conversely, if you will not meet the GMAT score average required to make the cut to the school of your choice, cancel the score and GMAC will not report the scores of this test. If you fail to decide, your score will get cancelled by default.
To Cancel or Not To Cancel?
You are not alone in having this question!
Is my GMAT score of 700 good or bad? Is 530 a bad one? The numbers might be different. I have had students ask me, is 600 a good GMAT score and have also had some students who have asked whether 650 is a bad score. And in one instance, I had a student ask, whether 780 is a good GMAT score. There is no correct answer to this question. A good way to judge is to look at the GMAT score average in the class profile statistics of your reach business schools.
When in doubt – cancel the score. Yes! cancel the score.
A few days after cancelling your score, if you realize that you should not have cancelled your score, you have a recourse to reinstate it – costs $50 – anytime up to 4 years and 11 months (Because the score validity is 5 years) from the date of your exam.
However, if you accept the score in the GMAT test centre, your option to cancel the score online is available only for 72 hours for a fee of $25. The window to cancel a score is much shorter than the one to reinstate a cancelled score. So, when in doubt, cancel.
If you cancel the score, the AWA will not be evaluated and you will not get to know the scores. As soon as you decide to reinstate the score, the mechanism to evaluate the AWA will also get triggered and you will get the score.
1c. Free GMAT score report to 5 business schools
You can send your GMAT score report to 5 business school programs, free of cost, when you take the exam. You will be asked to select those programs when you take the test – even before you are shown the first question.
Choose your programs wisely based on the range of scores you got during your mock GMAT tests.
If you are sure about the business schools that you will be applying to, go ahead and ask GMAC to report your GMAT scores to those schools.
Most often, we are not sure about the business schools that we will apply to without knowing our scores. In that case, a good strategy is to pick 5 business schools in which the median GMAT score or the average GMAT score of students admitted the previous year is 10 points lesser than your lowest score in the last 3 mock GMAT tests.
Lastly, if you choose your schools incorrectly, don’t fret. You can request GMAC to send your scores to your new list by paying a fee of $35 per school. Essentially, if you get your school list right when you take the test, you save $175.
Caution: In your zeal to save this $175, do not lose focus on the main objective – getting the highest GMAT score you possibly can.
2. What is a good GMAT score?
“It depends“, will be the safest answer.
It will be cruel to have you read all the way to this part of the blog and give that answer. So, I will take a few typical Indian MBA applicant profiles and suggest scores for those. Please note that the GMAT, although an important component of the MBA application selection process, is not the only criterion for admission. In the recommendations that follow, I have singled out the GMAT as the selection criterion.
A. Indian (Male/Female), Engineer, 24 to 48 months professional experience
A 720 or more will be a good score to apply to US schools that rank between 15-25.
For a non-engineer, ceteris paribus, a 700 would be adequate.
B. Indian Male, Engineer, 24 to 48 months professional experience
A 680 or more will be competitive. If you apply to schools in the US that rank between 25 and 50, you will stand a good chance of getting an admit.
C. Indian Male, Non-engineer, 24 to 48 months professional experience.
A GMAT score of 660 or more will be competitive. Choose your business schools wisely and apply early to get an admit. Ideal schools to target with this score will be ranked 25 to 50 in the US.
D. Indian Female, Non-engineer, 24 to 48 months professional experience
A 650 GMAT score or more will be competitive. Top business schools look for diversity in their incoming class- both in terms of gender parity and in terms of educational and professional background. A higher score will also get you scholarships.
What will qualify as a great score?
A total score of 740 (Suggested split: 50 in the quant section and 40 in the verbal section) will qualify as a great score. You will most likely get not just admits, but also tuition fee waivers and scholarships with that score in quite a few top US business schools.
So, dedicate your energies over the next 3 to 5 months and prepare for the GMAT and get that great score. A vast majority of the business school aspirants do an MBA only once in their lifetime. Do it from the right place.
How far can your GMAT score take you?
Your GMAT score is valid for 5 years. A great score will stand you in good stead even beyond the admission process. It is widely believed that an aspirant’s GMAT score plays a crucial role when potential recruiters shortlist summer interns.
Here’s a fun quiz to get a quick recap.
Q1: I am an odd number. I am greater than the product of the first two positive multiples of 5. GMAT Test-takers love to see me on their score reports. What am I?
Q2: I am a very symmetric numeral. I am the second smallest perfect cube of a positive integer and am also a perfect score to see in one of the sections of the GMAT test. What am I?
Q3: I am a multiple of 37. I am also a multiple of 20. For most of the schools you wish to apply to, I would be considered a ‘great’ GMAT score. What am I?
Q4: I am the LCM of 5 and 7. I am also the cost of sending your score report to each additional school! What am I?
Q5: I am a multiple of the third smallest prime number. I am the cost of reinstating a GMAT score and twice the cost of cancelling the score! What am I?
Leave your answers in the comments below!
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