Why Your GMAT Percentile Matters
If you're applying to business school, scoring well on the GMAT is a critical factor for acceptance. In addition to your total score, admissions committees also look at your percentile rank, which compares your performance against other test-takers.
Understanding your GMAT score and your percentile lets you know exactly where you stand among other business school applicants.
Understanding Your Test Results
Your score report includes results from all four sections of the exam: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning.
While admissions officials also look at your separate IR and AWA results, only the Quantitative and Verbal sections contribute to your overall score for the GMAT, which ranges from 200 to 800.
How Your Ranking Is Calculated
In addition to your overall score, you will also receive a percentile rank, which directly corresponds with how well you did in comparison to others who took the GMAT.
According to data from 2018-2020, a score of 710 on the GMAT puts you in the 91st percentile, meaning you performed better than 91% of students who took the exam.
Your percentile rank gives admissions committees some context when reviewing test scores. The way business school programs view percentile rankings and results changes over time, so a score that is considered high to very high one year may be slightly different the next.
What Is a Good Total Score on the GMAT?
Every program has specific guidelines for accepting students, so researching your target schools to see what they require is essential.
In general, a good score on the GMAT is around 700 for programs in the United States, with scores above 740 considered excellent.
An official GMAT score of 700 would put you in the 88th percentile according to data gathered from 2018-2020.
Percentiles by Section
Quantitative Reasoning Scoring
Past data shows that a score of 50 puts you in the 87th GMAT quant percentile, with the average score being 40.7.
If you want to achieve a better score than two-thirds of your fellow test-takers, a 49 puts you in the 74th GMAT score percentile.
Verbal Reasoning Scores
Results from previous years show that a score of 45 gets you into the 99th GMAT verbal percentile for students.
With a median score of 27.26, using GMAT test prep materials and doing well on this section can potentially boost your score.
Analytical Writing Assessment Section Results
Analytical Writing Assessment scores range from 0 to 6, and the average is 4.43. If you're looking to set yourself apart from the rest of your peers, earning a 6 on the AWA brings you into the 88th percentile.
Integrated Reasoning Section Scoring Impact
The IR section's scores range from 0 to 8. Previous data show that the average score for this part of the GMAT is 4.6. A score of 8 places you in the 90th percentile among test-takers.