What’s a Good GMAT™ Score?
A “good” GMAT™ score is less about the actual number and more about what it helps you achieve.
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.
Remember that a good GMAT 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 business 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.
Did you know that when you pay for the GMAT exam you have access to a service that recommends programs based on your unique profile, interests, and GMAT scores?
Figure out your target GMAT score or score range
While there’s no cut-and-dried calculation, you need to figure out what a good GMAT score or GMAT score range is for you. You’ll want to figure out your unique goal before taking the GMAT, so you know how much to practice and if you should cancel or accept your score after receiving your score report at the end of your exam. 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 of aiming for the max score, 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 start studying, take practice GMAT exams to establish a baseline. Only then can you set a target score (or GMAT score range) that’s right for you.
Benchmarking average GMAT scores can help you determine your target score
Although the whole applicant package is what matters, looking at schools’ acceptance rates, as well as the GPA and GMAT average scores of their students, will give you helpful data to benchmark against. Seeing where GMAT scores land in terms of general percentile ranking is interesting. However, it’s more effective to visit your target schools’ websites to check out typical GMAT score ranges for students actually enrolled in your target program. By looking at program-specific ranges, you’ll have a better understanding of an acceptable scale of scores, not just the average from any sample group. This will help you factor in your personal profile and determine where you should fall on the scale to be competitive at your target schools.
Need a refresher on how the GMAT exam is scored? Get an overview here.
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 others.
How will you score on the GMAT exam?
Remember, a good GMAT score is one that helps you achieve your business school goals. To kick off the process of determining your target GMAT score or score range, 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!