What’s a Good GMAT™ Score?

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Before you take the GMAT exam, you’ll want to figure out your target score.

This will not only give you a goal to work toward in your study preparation, but it’ll help you decide if your scores are good enough to send to schools. Unfortunately, this is where things get a bit tricky. Determining what qualifies as a “good” GMAT score isn’t as straightforward as it would seem—here’s why.

A good score is relative

There’s no hard and fast number that qualifies a GMAT score as good or bad. Rather, a good score is one that allows you to achieve your career goals and get into the school of your choice. So, while a good score for you might be a 700, a good score for someone else may be a 500—it all depends on what you’re trying to do with it. But, even so, if you achieve what you consider a good score, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee you admission. It’s a large factor, but ultimately, it comes down to fit.

Schools want to build a unique and diverse student body. Therefore, in addition to your GMAT score, they’ll look at the rest of your profile to factor in your work experience, educational background, soft skills, career goals, employability and more. They typically make these more qualitative assessments based on your resume, essays, letters of recommendation, and by talking face-to-face with you at b-school events and during interviews. So, while score matters, you’ll also want to make sure you have the characteristics and qualities of a well-rounded applicant.

To evaluate how you stack up as a well-rounded applicant, figure out your competitive advantage. What about your resume and experiences will give you a leg up on admissions? How will your GMAT score further highlight your strengths, or even make up for shortcomings in your background? By assessing everything you have to offer schools, you can identify a list of programs you’re interested in and that you’d be a competitive candidate for (Pro tip: Leverage the service My Recommendations, which is included as part of your GMAT exam fee, to identify programs that align with your unique competitive advantage).

Figure out your target score

While there’s no cut-and-dried calculation, you need to figure out what a good GMAT score is for you. To help you determine a target score, take steps to ensure you’re setting an educated and realistic goal for yourself. It’s not productive to just say, “I want a perfect 800.” Instead, research the programs you’re interested in and talk with school admissions, alumni and students about your background and goals to gauge how competitive you need to be. Also, before you even start studying, take practice GMAT exams to establish a baseline. Only then can you set a target score (or range) that’s right for you.

You’ll want to figure out your target score before you take any entrance exam, but if you decide to take the GMAT you’ll also get some help figuring out what might be a best-fit school for you with the My Recommendations feature. Check out how this tool may help you consider program and school options you didn’t even know you had.

Benchmarking can help

Although the whole applicant package is what matters, looking at schools’ acceptance rates, as well as GPA and GMAT averages, will give you helpful data to benchmark against. Visit your target schools’ websites to check out typical ranges for enrolled students in your target program. By looking at ranges, you’ll have a better understanding of an acceptable scale of scores, not just the average. This will help you factor in your personal profile and determine where you should fall on the scale to be competitive.

Also, keep in mind that schools and programs weigh scores differently. GMAT scores range from 200 to 800, but you also have a score for each of the four sections of the GMAT—Analytical Writing, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal. Every school will look at your total score but depending on the type of program you’re interested in; a school may place more emphasis on one section’s score over another. For example, if you’re studying for a Master in Data Science, you may want to put extra study time toward improving your quantitative score since admissions will likely look more closely at that section than your others.

Ready for the next step?

Remember, a good GMAT score is one that helps you achieve your b-school goals. To kick off the process of determining your target GMAT score, establish a baseline score, so you can set your goals and measure your growth accordingly. Ready to get started? See how you score by answering eight real questions from past GMAT exams. Try the GMAT mini quiz today!

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