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GMAT Score & Percentiles — Finding Your Goal Score

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GMAT score is a vital factor in the MBA application process. A good GMAT score translates to the applicant's ability to cope with the challenging MBA curriculum. Before starting your GMAT preparation, it's crucial to understand the specifics of the GMAT scoring system.Source: Unsplash

General overview of the GMAT scoring system

On 1 February 2024, the GMAT Focus Edition has completely replaced the classic, longer,  version of the test. Since any GMAT score is valid for 5 years from the test date, so will the GMAT scores received for the current version of the test, i.e., if you take the test on 31 January 2024, your GMAT score will be valid for MBA admissions up to 31 January 2029.

The new edition will introduce significant changes to both the test format and the GMAT scoring system. The GMAT Focus Edition total score is going to be composed of the quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and data insights sections, with the equal contribution of each section scores to the total GMAT score. The Focus Edition GMAT scores can range from 205 to 805.

Take note that the GMAT scores for the traditional version and Focus Edition aren't on a common scale, meaning they can't be compared. While GMAT scores of, let's say, 710 and 715 look similar, they indicate different levels of different skills. In fact, the Focus Edition GMAT score of 715 equals 760 in the previous exam version. This table to compare GMAT Exam Total Scores and GMAT Focus Edition Total ScoresHow is the GMAT Focus Edition scored?

When considering the GMAT Focus, it's essential to understand that, unlike the classic GMAT, it emphasizes more targeted skill areas. The GMAT Focus is designed to assess specific competencies in a more condensed format. This version of the exam still measures critical skills but in a more streamlined manner, focusing on core areas that are vital for business school success. Let's look at how different sections of the exam are scored.

  • Data Insights: The scoring for the Data Insights section is structured within a range from 60 to 90. This range is indicative of your proficiency in handling and interpreting complex data, your ability to reason critically, and your effectiveness in solving varied types of problems.

GMAT Focus Data Insights

  • Verbal Reasoning:  Scores in the Verbal Reasoning section also range from 60 to 90. This range is designed to quantify your skills in understanding complex texts, reasoning critically, and applying language skills in correction and editing.GMAT Focus Verbal Reasoning score

  • Quantitative Reasoning: Scores in the Quantitative Reasoning section range from 60 to 90. This scoring range serves to gauge your skill level in handling numerical data, solving various mathematical problems, and making data-driven decisions. Your final score in this section will reflect your overall ability in quantitative analysis, which is a critical skill in many business and management scenarios.GMAT Focus Quantitative Reasoning score

Understanding the GMAT Focus Edition scores

As mentioned, the GMAT exam  was replaced with the GMAT Focus Edition starting from 1 February 2024, the registration for which began in November 2023. Switching to a new version involves some substantial changes, including how the GMAT scores are calculated.

The new version of the exam consists of three sections: quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and data insights, with the GMAT total scores ranging from 205 to 805, score intervals of 10 points, and all values ending in 5.

Across all three sections, the raw scores are going to be broken down in the following way:

  • Score range: 60-90
  • Score intervals: 1

What is the GMAT score range?

The GMAT score range is 200-800 for the GMAT exam. However, the GMAT score range will be 205-805 for the GMAT Focus Edition replacing the previous version on 1 February 2024.

What is the GMAT score distribution?

GMAT score distribution for the GMAT Focus Edition

The Focus Edition exam comes with a different GMAT scoring system, with a total score range between 205 and 805. In contrast to the previous version of the exam, scores obtained in all three sections are calculated in the overall score. In this version, the scores for each section range from 60 to 90, which are then converted according to the new 205-805 scale.

GMAT score distribution for the traditional version of the exam

The overall GMAT scores for the traditional version of the exam are based on only the quant and verbal sections (out of total four) which consist of 36 and 31 questions respectively and are rated between 0 and 60 points each. The total of these scores is then converted to a number between 200 and 800.

What is a good GMAT score?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, it's safe to say that a good GMAT score is one that can help you achieve your goal, be it admission into a specific MBA program or winning a scholarship.

Everyone strives for different goals, meaning that what is considered a good GMAT score for you is likely different for another person. In other words, your target GMAT score is your good GMAT score.

To determine your target score, start by setting your goals. Target GMAT scores depend on three factors:

  • Average GMAT Score at the school you're looking to apply to
  • whether you want to get a scholarship
  • Average scores of your competitive pool 

Different schools have different admission policies and judge GMAT scores in different ways. To identify your good GMAT score, start by drawing up a list of schools you want to attend. Next, identify the average GMAT score of each school on your list and order them from highest to lowest. Here we are — your target score should be around the highest average score on your list.

 The median score on the GMAT Focus Edition is 546.01. It's important to note that the median represents the midpoint of the scores, not the average. In other words, if all test-takers' scores were arranged in ascending order, the median would be the score located right in the middle.

What is the GMAT Percentile?

GMAT score percentiles indicate the share of test-takers you surpassed. For instance, a ranking of 67% indicates that you did better than 67% of other test-takers, while 32% performed better than you. Percentile ranking may vary from year to year as it's based on the data from the previous three years.

How to convert your GMAT score into percentile ranking?

While the GMAT scores don't change, the GMAT percentiles do since they're recalculated every year using exam data from the prior three years. To give an idea of how GMAT scores translate to percentiles, here's a GMAT percentiles vs. GMAT score chart for the period from 2017 to 2022:


How do I find my GMAT score? 

To see their official gmat score report, individuals who took the test at a test center should log in to their accounts. After logging in, find GMAT Exams and click the View Official Scores button. Next, you'll be asked to enter your date of birth and click the View Score Report button. 

The process is more straightforward for the online GMAT exam, either GMAT Focus Edition online or taken at a test center, as GMAT practice test takers don't need to enter their birth date to access their GMAT scores.

How long does it take to get GMAT scores?

The score report is usually available in a test taker's account within 3-5 business days after you take the GMAT exam. However, in some cases, preparing a report may require up to 20 business days, so plan appropriately.

Do you see your GMAT score immediately after the exam?

Yes, GMAT test takers can see their unofficial scores immediately after the exam. Moreover, they may choose to accept or cancel their scores.

Is 640 or 605 a good GMAT score?

A score of 640 on the previous version of the GMAT places you at the 72nd percentile among GMAT Exam test takers. Similarly, a score of 605 on the GMAT Focus Edition places you at the 72nd percentile among GMAT Focus test takers. Hence, when assessing your relative competitiveness, it's advisable to focus on percentiles. What is the highest GMAT score?

The GMAT highest score is 805, starting from November  2023, when the GMAT Focus edition was introduced. Previously, the highest score was 800.

What is a bad GMAT score?

A bad GMAT test score is anything lower than a good GMAT score, which is different depending on the school you want to apply to. In 2022, the average total score for the most selective schools was 711 or 665 if converted to GMAT Focus in the US and a bit lower in Europe, so if you plan to apply for a place at one of the top schools, a score lower than that is a bad score.

How long are GMAT scores valid?

The scores are valid for 5 years from when you took the Graduate Management Admission Test. After this period, you need to retake the GMAT.

What is a good GMAT score for MBA applications?

It depends on the MBA program of your choice. To apply to the top schools, you need to score more than 700 on the GMAT.

What GMAT score do I need for Harvard?

The GMAT score range for Harvard MBA incoming class of 2024 is 540-790. That is an equivalent of 515 - 785 on GMAT Focus