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Evolving the Score Scale with the GMAT™ Focus Edition

You have questions about the changes to GMAT scoring. We have answers. Namely, these changes have been made to ensure you and business schools can easily distinguish between a GMAT™ Focus Edition and GMAT™ Exam score.

The score scale for the GMAT™ Focus Edition has been adjusted to accurately indicate the measured skills under the new test construct and to reflect changes in the test-taking population, which has become more diverse and global. Over the years, scores have shifted significantly, resulting in an uneven distribution. The updated score scale fixes that, resetting it back to a more normal, bell-shaped distribution.

With that, let’s dive into the details of the new score scale.

Scoring Breakdown

The GMAT™ Focus Edition Total Score scale ranges from 205 to 805, and all Total Score values end in a 5. Section scores range from 60 to 90.

Total Score

• Score range: 205-805
• Score intervals: 10
• Standard error of measurement: about 30-40 points

Quantitative Reasoning Score

• Score range: 60-90
• Score intervals: 1
• Standard error of measurement: about 3 points

Verbal Reasoning Score

• Score range: 60-90
• Score intervals: 1
• Standard error of measurement: about 3 points

Data Insights Score

• Score range: 60-90
• Score intervals: 1
• Standard error of measurement: about 3 points

Why is there a new score scale?

If you're familiar with the previous version of the GMAT, you'll notice the Total Score scale is different.

Total Score

• GMAT™ Exam Total: 200–800
• GMAT™ Focus Edition: 205–805

This change has been made to ensure you and business schools can easily distinguish between a GMAT™ Focus Edition and GMAT™ Exam score.

But more importantly, it is essential to know that test scores from the two different exam versions are not on a common scale and should not be directly compared with each other. So, while scores of 600 and 605 may look similar, they represent very different performance levels on different skills.

Therefore, with GMAT™ Focus Edition's new score scale, it will be just as important to review your percentile ranking as you look to understand your results.

What are percentile rankings?

Percentile rankings indicate what percentage of test takers you performed better than. For example, a percentile ranking of 75% means that you performed better than 75% of other test takers, and 25% of test takers performed better than you.

For the GMAT™ Focus Edition, because the Total Score scale AND the score scale distribution have both changed, comparing total scores or section scores from a previous version of the exam to the GMAT™ Focus Edition is not appropriate, accurate, or a meaningful comparison of performance.

If your competitiveness based on the GMAT™ Focus Edition needs to be compared to the previous version of the GMAT™ Exam, it’s more appropriate to compare percentile rankings rather than comparing total scores.

In the illustrative example above, a score of 640 on the previous version of the GMAT has a percentile ranking of 72% among GMAT Exam test takers. In comparison, a score of 605 on the GMAT Focus Edition has a percentile ranking of 72% among GMAT Focus test takers. Therefore, if you are trying to understand your relative competitiveness, focus on percentiles. You can also visit Understanding Your Score for more information, which includes percentile rankings by section and a full Total Score concordance table.