Many graduate business schools assess a candidate's readiness for graduate-level business education with the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). A good GMAT score varies depending on the program and institution you're applying to. Top MBA programs consider a score in the range of 650–700 to be highly competitive, while a score of 550 to 640 is a good result for most programs.
Once you've completed the GMAT on test day, you'll see your unofficial results without your Analytical Writing Assessment score. At this point, you can send your score to your preferred schools or cancel it, but you have only two minutes to decide. You need to know the results your program requires so you can make the best decision based on your scores.
Scores by Section
The GMAT includes sections on Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. A combination of each section's results gives test takers a total score ranging from 200 to 800. In addition to a total score, you'll receive a GMAT percentile rank that compares your performance with other test takers.
The Quantitative Reasoning section tests how well students understand and analyze quantitative information and solve mathematical problems. This section's score ranges from 0 to 60. A score of 38–47 is good for the math section, while 48–51 or higher is competitive for the top 25 MBA programs.
Verbal Reasoning measures the ability to understand and analyze written material, interpret meaning, and draw conclusions, among other reading skills. Results for this section also range from 0 to 60. Earning 28–34 is good, but 35–40 or higher is ideal for top-ranking business schools.
The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) asks students to analyze an argument and write a clear and coherent essay. Results range from 0 to 6, with 6 being the top score. A 4.5 or 5 is a good score for this section of the GMAT, but for top-tier programs, a 5.5 is better.
For Integrated Reasoning (IR), test takers need to analyze and interpret data from multiple sources. The score for this section spans from 1 to 8. A score of 5 or 6 is acceptable for most schools, but a 7 will put you in the running for competitive MBA programs.
Check Your Program's Requirements
When it comes to your exam results, a good GMAT score can range from 600 to 700. However, score and percentile requirements vary for different MBA programs. Top-ranked business schools may require a 700 or higher, while others may consider scores in the 600s to be competitive. Check the specific requirements of your desired program to set your GMAT score goals.
A good GMAT score is not just a measure of performance; it also demonstrates your readiness for graduate-level business education. Preparing for the GMAT with smart timing strategies can help you learn to thrive under pressure and develop the analytical and problem-solving skills you'll need to succeed in graduate business programs, regardless of your final score.
Additional Admissions Considerations
It's worth noting that a good GMAT score is not the only factor that business schools consider for admissions. Depending on the program, admissions counselors typically take the following application components into account:
- Undergraduate degree and academic record
- GPA of 3.0 or higher
- Resume with a minimum of two to three years of professional work experience
- Essays or personal statements
- Letters of recommendation
Some programs require interviews as part of the application process, while others may look for demonstrated leadership roles or extracurricular activities. A high GMAT score can help to compensate for a lower GPA or missing experience, but test results alone aren't enough to get you into a top-tier business school.
Overall, a good GMAT score is one that meets or exceeds the score requirements of your dream school. However, it's important to remember that the GMAT score is only one of many factors considered in the admissions process, and a good result does not guarantee acceptance into a graduate business program.