Your GMAT Score
GMAT scores are used by business schools to provide a common yardstick to compare candidates for admission. On the GMAT, you will actually receive four scores:
- A total score, ranging from 200-800
- A math subscore, ranging from 0-60
- A verbal subscore, ranging from 0-60
- A score for your AWA, ranging from 0-6
- An Integrated Reasoning subscore, ranging from 1-8
Your Percentile Rank
Each of the above scores will be accompanied by a percentile rank. The percentile rank highlights what proportion of test takers scored lower than you on the test. The higher the percentile rank, the better you did. For example, if you received a rank of 56, you did better than 56% of test takers. This number shows business schools exactly where you fell with respect to other candidates who took the test.
Your Essay Score
Your essay will be given a separate score on a 0-6 scale by two different graders—a human and a computer called the "e-rater." Your essay is graded holistically, taking into account content, writing style, and grammar. If the two grades agree, that score will be assigned. If they are markedly different, a third grader, a person, will read the essay to determine the grade.
So what makes a great score?
Although the median score is approximately 540, the latest U.S. News and World Report guide reports that the average GMAT scores of the top programs—such as Stanford, Sloan, Kellogg and Wharton—hover around 709. As you can see, the environment is extremely competitive—a 709 translates into the 92nd percentile.
What you consider a good score will depend on your own expectations and goals. Still, you should keep in mind that top M.B.A. programs consider at least a 600 as competitive. Research the average scores of your target schools and then develop a prep plan to achieve it.
|School||Avg GMAT Score||Avg GPA|
|U of Chicago||709||3.50|
Source: U.S. News & World Report Best Business Schools Ranking, 2009 edition