The GMAT exam is one of the main admissions exams for graduate business school programmes. With test takers, striving to get a place in their dream business school and on the perfect programme, this makes the scoring all the more important. Getting a good score might just be the difference between a getting a place onto the programme or a rejection letter. Thus, let’s look at what a “good” really is and which scores are just “average”.
The GMAT exam is scored between 200 and 800 for the total score, with 800 being the highest. The mean average total score of the GMAT exam is 582.34 with the average raw scores of the quantitative reasoning section and the verbal reasoning section being 42.07 and 27.8, respectively. Due to common university requirements, a good GMAT score is about 600 or over. For more prestigious universities, a good score is around 650 or over.
Continue reading to better understand how the GMAT scoring system works and what this means in regard to “good” and “average” scores. This article will delve into the GMAT averages in general and those at top universities, as well the requirements to get onto a graduate programme.
Table of Contents
How does the GMAT scoring system work?
The GMAT exam is used by over 2,000 different universities around the world for their graduate business programmes, such as MBAs, Master of Finance degrees and Master of Accountancy degrees. This is due to the GMAT exam showing admissions officer just how well the candidate is likely to perform during their course and at what skill level they’re already at.
As you can already guess, this makes the scoring of the GMAT exam an essential of comparing applicants and the application processes of these graduate business school programmes in general. You can learn more about the GMAT in this Think Student article.
While the scoring is so important, we can’t properly delve into it and what the “good” and “average” scores are until we’ve actually looked at how it works.
The GMAT exam is scored between 200 and 800, with 200 being the lowest possible score and 800 being the highest. However, the GMAT is also broken down into 4 different sections and these are each attributed a certain number of points.
These 4 sections are quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, integrated reasoning and analytical writing assessment. Look at the following table to see how each section is scored and how many questions they have.
|Quantitative reasoning||31 multiple choice questions||6- 51|
|Verbal reasoning||36 multiple choice questions||6- 51|
|Integrated reasoning||12 multiple choice questions||1- 8|
|Analytical writing assessment||1 essay||0.0- 6.0|
Both the quantitative reasoning section and the verbal reasoning section are scored in intervals of 1 and then have an error of measurement at 3 points. The integrated reasoning section is also scored in intervals of 1 but doesn’t have the same error of measurement.
For the analytical writing assessment, it is scored in intervals of 0.5. The total score is done in intervals of 10.
The error of measurement refers to the random variation in different test takers or even the same test taker, doing the GMAT again, where they are at the same ability but get slightly different scores. You can learn more about it in this page on the GMAC website.
To learn more about how the GMAT is scored, check out this page on the MBA.com website.
What is the highest GMAT score possible?
As previously mentioned, the highest GMAT score that you can get is 800. While naturally, this would mean that you would have to perform very well in the exam, it’s a little bit more complicated than that.
First of all, your total score in the GMAT exam is only based on the scores you receive from the quantitative reasoning section and the verbal reasoning section. Both the integrated reasoning section and the analytical writing assessment are scored separately.
For both the quantitative reasoning and the verbal reasoning sections, scores can range from 0 to 60, making 120 in total. Clearly, this doesn’t reach the lowest score of 200, let alone the 800, maximum.
This is due to scaling, that turns these raw marks into the total score. There are 3 factors that will determine how high your total score is when the scaling is done. These are how many questions you answered, how many of these were correct and at what level/ how difficult the questions you answered were.
While the first 2 criteria points are pretty standard for exams, the last one can seem a bit confusing. This is especially as 2 test takers, who both completed the same number of questions and got the same number correct could still end up with different marks due to the difficulty.
This is because the GMAT exam is computer adaptive. This means that it selects the next question for the test taker depending on how well they are performing.
Thus, if they’re doing very well, they’ll receive more difficult questions and vice versa. You can learn more about this by checking out this page on the GMAC website.
You can learn more about how the GMAT is scored and what the highest score is in this page on the MBA.com website.
What is the average score on the GMAT exam?
Now that we’ve looked at how the GMAT scoring works and what the highest score is, let’s actually get into what the average and good scores are. First of all, let’s look at the average as it can help to give us a benchmark of what a “good” school actually is.
The mean average total score on the GMAT exam is 582.34. This was calculated from a sample size 282,098 candidates between January 2020 and December 2022.
66.66% of GMAT test takers achieve a score between 400 and 800. Therefore, making 400 the minimum average score, due to it being such a large proportion of test takers.
The mean average quantitative reasoning score is 42.07, for reference this is out of 60. The mean average verbal reasoning score is 27.8, which is also out of 60. It’s important to note that these are their raw scores and so scaled up and combined, they can make up the total score.
For the integrated reasoning mean average score it is 4.67, for reference this is out of 8. For the also separate analytical writing assessment score the mean average is 4.42, for reference, this is out of 6.
You can learn more about these average scores on the GMAT from this page off the MBA.com website. Please note that this information is true at time of writing (November 2023) but may have changed slightly at a later date.
What is the average GMAT score for MBA in UK?
If you’re thinking about applying for an MBA programme in the UK, there are so many things you need to consider and your GMAT score is just one of them. Due to this, knowing the score that you will generally need can be really useful.
Each business school will set their own requirements and have what they consider to be a good score applicants to have to get onto their MBA programmes. Thus, to get a specific score, you would need to check a specific university’s website to see what they consider.
However, when looking at an average, it’s safe to say that business schools will tend to view a total score of 600 as a good and some may even accept applicants with scores in the 500s. Thus, a score in the high 500s or the 600s will be about the average minimum score that you need to be able to do an MBA. You can learn more about this by checking out this article by MBA.com.
What GMAT score is required for Harvard?
As one of the best business schools in the world, looking at what score you need to get into the Harvard Business School can help as it sets almost a benchmark into what is “good”.
As prestigious as it is, Harvard Business School doesn’t actually set a minimum in terms of how high you need to score in order to be able to apply to their MBA programme. While this is likely to be partially as they also consider other factors, such as the amount of work experience an applicant has and their GPA, it is also partially due to an unspoken standard.
Despite having no actual minimum score requirement, the Class of 2025 for the MBA programme at Harvard Business School a total score range between 500 and 790. The median average of this was a total score of 740, suggesting that a lot more of these students achieved on the higher end of the spectrum, likely with scores in the high 600s and 700s.
Therefore, in order to actually be accepted onto an MBA programme at Harvard Business School it is safe to assume, that you need a minimum of 500 but most likely will need to get in the high 600s or 700s.
You can learn more about this on this page of the Harvard Business School website.
What GMAT score do you need for Oxford?
The University of Oxford is one of the best universities in the world. In fact, you can even check out this Think Student article, which compares it to Harvard University to see which is better.
The University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School is also very prestigious and top end. Due to this, it can another good show of what the top business schools are expecting of applicants.
Just like the Harvard Business School, the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School does not actually state a minimum requirement needed to apply for their MBA programme. Once again, this is likely due to other factors being considered. For the Saïd Business School this still in terms of work experience but also on future career plans, an undergraduate degree transcript and the University of Oxford’s own online assessment.
However, unlike Harvard Business School, the Saïd Business School explicitly states that a score of 650 would be “considered competitive”. The median GMAT score for the Saïd Business School students is currently at 690, slightly lower than that of Harvard Business School, but still undeniably high. Please note that this figure is true at time of writing (November 2023).
You can learn more about this by checking out this page on the Saïd Business School’s website.
What is a good score on the GMAT exam?
Now that we’ve looked at what the average score is and what score some of the top universities consider competitive, we can finally look at what a “good” score is on the GMAT exam. First of all, let’s read down what it actually means to be a “good” score.
If you’re taking the GMAT exam, you’ll generally be doing this for a specific reason. Generally, this is to meet the requirements for a postgraduate business school programme or if not required then to boost your application.
Therefore, in order to determine what is a good score, it also needs to be relative to your purpose of taking the GMAT. As the main reason is for an MBA or alternative, we’ll be focusing on this when considering what a “good” score is.
As previously mentioned, most universities will require a total score that is around 600 or more with some applicants being considered with total scores in the 500s. This makes anything above this technically a “good” score, as it allows the candidate to achieve their desired result: getting onto a postgraduate business programme.
However, if you’re aiming for one of the top postgraduate business programmes, then a “good” score is going to be slightly higher than this. As previously mentioned with universities like these, the average GMAT score is going to be higher and thus, you’ll also need a higher score to be more competitive.
As the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School states that a score of 650 or higher is competitive, it’s safe to take this score as being a “good” score when it comes to more prestigious universities.