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Debunking Myths: GMAT Focus Edition Score Scale Explained

Understanding the GMAT Focus Edition’s score scale is crucial for test-takers to decipher their results and make informed decisions about their business school aspirations. That’s why we’re here to set the record straight. With insights from top admissions professionals, we’re going to shed light on the truth behind some of the most common myths surrounding the score scale.

Myth #1: It’s Harder to Achieve a Higher Score

The Truth: Getting higher scores on the GMAT Focus Edition isn’t necessarily harder than on the previous version of the GMAT.

Andrea McHale, Director of Admissions at the University of Michigan’s Ross Schools of Business, says: “We know that the scoring scale has been recalibrated to provide a fairer evaluation of candidates and to help ensure a level playing field for all applicants [across both versions of the exam].”

For example, a score of 645 on the GMAT Focus Edition is equivalent to 700 on the previous scale, but both represent the 86th percentile. So, despite numerical differences, the performance level remains the same.

When it comes to admissions teams evaluating GMAT Focus scores, McHale is confident that her team are well informed of the new score scale: “[Resources and training provided by GMAC] enable our admissions team to quickly determine, for example, that a GMAT Focus score of 655 equates to the 90th percentile.”

It’s important to understand that a competitive score doesn’t always hinge on a specific numerical value. Getting a score above 545 on the GMAT Focus places you at or above the 50th percentile, putting you above half of all test-takers and indicating a solid performance compared to peers. Your ranking will be presented clearly on your unofficial and Official Score Report.

Myth #2: Business Schools Aren’t Aware of the Score Scale Changes

Fact Check: There’s a prevailing misconception that business schools might struggle to understand the differences between the two GMAT score scales. Not true! GMAC has been diligently collaborating with business schools worldwide, ensuring that admissions teams are well-versed in evaluating performances across both GMAT versions.

Shari Hubert, Associate Dean of Admissions at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, confirms this: “GMAC has provided our team with the necessary tools and training to understand the differences between both versions, specifically in-depth guidance on the updated score scale and how to make appropriate and fair comparisons between the two versions.”

“As an admissions team, we look forward to receiving GMAT Focus Edition scores as part of our holistic admissions process,” says Hubert.

Myth #3: Schools Prefer the Previous Scores

Real Talk: Business schools don’t have a preference between the GMAT versions. What matters most is a candidate’s best performance, regardless of the GMAT version they opt for.

Stacey Koprince, Director of Content and Curriculum at Manhattan Prep, emphasizes this point: “Admissions officers do not favor one version over the other. A good score – be it from the previous version or the GMAT Focus Edition – significantly enhances your chances of acceptance.”