What GMAT Score Do I Need for Admission to a Good University?

by | Sep 19, 2022 | Admissions

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Are you considering pursuing an MBA abroad? If so, registering for GMAT should be at the top of your to-do list. The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is a standardized exam that’s designed for admission to graduate business and management programs globally.

The GMAT assesses your command of basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, multi-source data analysis, and grammar. More importantly, the exam measures your ability to analyze and evaluate written material, think critically, and solve problems.

Having a great GMAT score will go a long way in helping you gain admission into the desired MBA program or earn a merit scholarship. A high GMAT score is an indicator of your aptitude and academic readiness for a rigorous MBA program. Schools that admit students with high GMAT scores also stand to improve their own ranking.

The big question is: what GMAT score do you need to gain admission to a good university?

To make sense of GMAT scores, let’s start by looking at the exam’s structure and how it.

What Is the Structure of the GMAT?

The GMAT is comprised of four sections:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment: This section measures your ability to think critically and to communicate your ideas. The section contains 1 analytical writing assessment to be completed in 30 minutes.
  •  Integrated Reasoning: This section measures your ability to analyze data and evaluate information presented in multiple formats. The section contains 12 questions to be completed in 30 minutes.
  •  Quantitative Reasoning: This section measures your ability to analyze data and draw conclusions using reasoning skills. It contains 31 questions to be completed in 62 minutes.
  • Verbal Reasoning: This section measures your ability to read and understand written material, evaluate arguments, and correct written material to conform to standard written English. The section contains 36 questions to be completed in 65 minutes.

GMAT test-takers are allowed to choose the order in which they can take GMAT test sections. There are three orders to choose from:

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning (IR), Quantitative, Verbal
  2. Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  3. Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

How is the GMAT Scored?

Your composite GMAT score (200-800) is calculated by combining your subscores from the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections. Each of those sections is reported on a scale from 6 to 51 points, and the composite score is graded on a scale of 200 to 800 points.

Bear in mind that the GMAT is an adaptive test – meaning that your scores are NOT determined solely by the number of questions you answer correctly. As you move through sections of the test, its adaptive algorithm adjusts the difficulty of the questions based on your performance so far.

If you’re giving excellent responses, on average you will get more challenging questions. If you are struggling, on average you’ll get less challenging questions.

What is a Good GMAT Score?

A good GMAT score is largely dependent on the university and program you intend to get into. To set your GMAT score, therefore, it’s a good idea to look at the mean or average GMAT score of admitted applicants of the MBA program you’re interested in – that will give you a good baseline.

That said, a GMAT score between 650 and 690 is generally considered good, and a score of 700 or higher is excellent. If you’re aiming for a highly competitive MBA program, having a GMAT score of 730+ will improve your chances of acceptance by as much as 197%.

The average GMAT for the top 50 business schools in the US in 2021 was 703. Similarly, the average GMAT score for the top business schools in Europe is 676.

The table below highlights the average GMAT scores in top US business schools:

MBA Program GMAT Score
The Wharton School (UPenn) 733
Harvard Business School 730
Stanford Graduate School of Business 738
Booth School of Business, UChicago 732
Kellogg School of Management 727
MIT Sloan School of Management 730
Dartmouth Tuck 724
Columbia Business School 729
UC Berkeley (Haas) 726
Yale School of Management 730

How Can I Get a Good GMAT Score?

Once you’ve set a target for what a good GMAT score is for you, depending on the programs you’d like to gain admission into, it’s time to create a game plan. To improve your chances of getting high GMAT scores, experts recommend that you spend at least 100 hours over two or three months studying for the exam.

Here are some tips to help you get a good GMAT score:

Take practice tests: Take practice GMAT tests to give you a sense of what the exam is like. Familiarising yourself with the structure and the kind of questions to expect will help improve your outcomes.

Focus on your weak areas: If you’ve taken practice tests, you will have an understanding of which areas you excel in and which areas need more effort. Remember that only the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning scores count toward your composite score.

Retake the test: If you take the GMAT and aren’t happy with your score, you can retake the exam. Your GMAT report will show all your scores from the past five years. If your scores have improved, it can show MBA admissions committees that you’re determined and can work to achieve academic success.

FAQs About the GMAT

What is a good GMAT score?

A good GMAT score is determined by the business program you’re interested in. To set your target, look at the average scores of applicants who have been admitted into your desired program.

What GMAT score do I need to get into the top MBA programs?

To get into the topmost competitive MBA programs in the US, you’ll need a GMAT score above 720. Scoring above 730 will increase your chances of admission by as much as 197%.

Is it difficult to get a 700 GMAT score?

A GMAT score of 700 puts you in the 88th percentile – which means that 88% of the test-takers score below 700. A score of 700 will require a decent amount of effort. 

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