GMAT 101: What's a good GMAT score?
Is your GMAT score good enough to get you into your dream graduate business school? Source: Shutterstock

Are you thinking of pursuing an MBA? Chances are, you may be required to take the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test), which is part of the admission process to many business and management schools in the world, including top ones in the US.

GMAT is a computer-adaptive test that serves as a standard measurement tool graduate business schools use to predict students’ chances of success.

The testing time lasts a whopping 3.5 hours and costs US$250. The exam consists of a 30-minute analytical writing section with one essay, a 30-minute integrated reasoning section, a 62-minute quantitative section and a 65-minute verbal section.

A GMAT score ranges from 200 to 800, while the test takers’ score is valid for five years after the test date.

With the GMAT being a requirement for entry into many business schools, you’ll want to ensure you aim for the highest score possible when sitting the test. But what exactly does a “good” score entail?

The Princeton Review notes, “the average total GMAT score is currently 556. According to GMAC [Graduate Management Admission Council] – the organisation that administers the GMAT exam – two-thirds of test takers score between 400 and 600!”

Conversely, Kaplan takes it a step further by breaking down the scores and notes the following:

  • Scoring between 710 and 800 will put you in the top 10 percent of all test takers
  • Scoring between 650 and 700 will put you in a highly competitive place in admissions, or in the top 25 percent of all test takers
  • Scoring between 550 and 640 can put you ahead of the pack (50 percent +), but it won’t be as advantageous for students applying to highly competitive programmes
  • Scores below 550 may be enough for students to get into a variety of college programmes, but these scores are below average compared to the testing population

Hence, there’s no clear cut answer as to what constitutes a good GMAT score; graduate business schools have different average GMAT scores, with some being more selective than others, so it helps to check what each schools’ requirement or average scores are to serve as a benchmark for you to reach.

It’s also worth noting that a good GMAT score is not the sole prerequisite for entry into a reputable business school, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive for the best score when taking the exam.

For example, one of the best business schools in the US, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, notes on its website: “Our median GMAT score for recent entering classes is approximately 720, but the range of scores of admitted students is very broad. A high score does not guarantee anyone’s acceptance, nor does a low score preclude it. There is no minimum score required.”

Liked this? Then you’ll love…

These are the top 25 business schools in Europe

General vs Specialised MBA: Which is better for you?