GMAT Scores and Percentiles

GMAT scores are used by business schools to provide a common yardstick to compare candidates for admission. On the GMAT, you will actually receive five 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 GMAT 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 GMAT.

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 if today were Test Day, how would you do?

Although the median score is approximately 560, the latest U.S. News and World Report guide reports that the average GMAT scores of the top 10 programs—such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, and Booth—hover around a record-high 720. As you can see, the environment is extremely competitive—a 720 translates into the 94th percentile.

What you consider a good score will depend on your own expectations and goals. Research the average GMAT scores of your target schools and then develop a prep plan to achieve it.

School Avg GMAT Score Avg GPA
Harvard University 727 3.70
Stanford University 732 3.73
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) 725 3.60
University of Chicago (Booth) 723 3.58
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) 713 3.58
Northwestern University (Kellogg) 713 3.54
University of California—Berkeley (Haas) 714 3.60
Columbia University 716 3.50
Dartmouth College (Tuck) 718 3.53
New York University (Stern) 721 3.51

Source: U.S. News & World Report — Best Business School Rankings 2015 (ranked in 2014)