What’s a Good GMAT Score? An Average Score?


Experts say a GMAT score between 650 and 690 is a good score.

Just like students had to take the SAT or ACT to get into college for their undergraduate degrees; to get into graduate school, an exam is often required. Those who want to attend law school have to take the LSAT. Those who want to get a master’s in science or engineering take the GRE. And, if you are a student who wants an MBA, then you’ll most likely have to take the Graduate Management Admission Test. This exam is a requirement for most MBA and business programs.

How is the Test Scored?

The scoring system for the GMAT is proprietary, so not much is known about the actual calculations. However, we do know that the four sections of the exam are scored separately and then averaged together for a final score. The questions on the exam adjust complexity depending on the previous question response through adaptive computer testing, and there is no penalty for not answering a question, but there is one for not answering, so a guess is definitely better than leaving it blank. An average score is between 550 and 600.

Who Decides What’s a Good Score?

A good score on the GMAT is determined by each school. A score that is perfectly acceptable for one school might not be good enough for another. For most schools, the GMAT score is just one element for admission. Work experience, undergraduate degrees and references are often even bigger factors than a score on a standardized test. You should always research admission requirements carefully when looking for a graduate program. For the most part, schools want students to score in the 43rd percentile or higher, which is a score in the mid-550s. If you can score 550 or more on a practice test, then there a good chance you’ll get into a school. Now you just need to find out the acceptable score for the school you want to attend and aim to get that on the actual test.

How to Find Your Program’s Score Requirements

When you’re reading about admission requirements, a school should disclose the minimum score on the GMAT needed for admission. This information should be close to the top of things discussed for potential students. Some score requirements fluctuate, so they might publish the scores that were accepted the previous year, but you should keep in mind that the required score might vary, so it’s better to focus on attaining an acceptable score based on averages and what other schools require. You can also contact someone in the admission department and inquire about the GMAT score requirements.

How Important is the GMAT to Admissions Officers?

The importance of the GMAT score varies from one school to another. One of the reasons schools might focus so closely on the score is that it is an indicator of how much knowledge an applicant has in reference to business and management. The exam gives the school a tangible number to look at. In the event that two applicants have similar GPAs, goals, and other factors. Looking at each candidate’s GMAT score could help determine which student is admitted into the program. As a standardized test, it provides a standardized result that can be measured and compared between test takers.

Average Scores

The average score on the GMAT is 550, which is in the 43rd percentile. Anything above 700 points places test takers in the 89th percentile. Most schools are satisfied with GMAT scores in the average range, but the ivory league schools prefer the higher score for applicants.

Getting into an Ivy League or Top Ten Business School

If you want to get into an Ivy League business school, then you should be prepared to do two things: study and get a high score. Ivy league schools won’t consider accepting any student who scores lower than the 85th percentile on the GMAT. Numerically speaking, that is in the high-600s, low 700s. If that’s your goal, then get your study materials together, make a plan, and dedicate several months to prepare for the exam.

What’s the Best Score for You?

The best score is the score that gets you into the program of your choice. But, for a point of reference, the average score for the GMAT that test takers have used to get into a school is 552. If you have loftier goals, such as Wharton’s School of Business or Harvard, then you’ll need a GMAT score in the 700s. Find the required score for the school of your choice and think about whether or not getting the desired score is worth it. If it is, then put your study plan together and work toward that goal.

What Else is Important in Business School Admissions?

Business school admission depends on the program you’re trying to get into. Some programs cater more to students without a lot of practical experience, while other programs are tailored for people who are already working in their field, even in management positions. When you’re researching programs, keep both the programs being offered, as well as your experience, in mind. You’ll want to choose the program that matches your experience. Applying to a program that requires several years’ management experience for admission when you’ve never been a manager is a waste of time and energy for everyone involved. On the other hand, if you’ve got several years of management experience, enrolling in a program that focuses on inexperienced students might leave you bored. Take your time and find the programs that match your experience level and interest.

You’ll want to line up your references, both personal and professional before you apply. Knowing who you have that you can call upon as a reference is helpful.

Tips for Earning a High Score

  • Take a Diagnostic Test
    Taking the practice tests is a good way to prepare for the real exam. Administer the practice test the same way the actual test will be administered. For example, use the allotted time for each section and take the breaks. Though optional, it’s a good idea to take them so you’ll get a feel for the time the entire testing process will take.
  • Choose a study method and stick with it
    Set up a study area and keep your materials in this area. This way, when you have time to study you won’t have to run around searching for your study materials and lose valuable study time. Ultimately, it is best if you set up a set time to study each day, since it has been proven that studying a bit each day for a couple weeks leading up to the exam is better than several long cram sessions.
  • Don’t skimp on test prep
    With each practice test you take, pay close attention to the areas where your score is lower than you like. Those are the areas where you should focus the bulk of your study time.