Posted on
22
Feb 2022

GMAT Scores & Percentiles

When applying to business school, the GMAT is often an inevitability. Most top-tier business schools require students to take the exam. While many programs claim that they do not have a GMAT minimum for admissions, it is important to aim for a score that lands you in a top GMAT percentile. Achieving a top score may not guarantee admission, however, it will offer you a better shot at getting into the school of your dreams. 

GMAT Percentile Rankings

Below is a chart of recent GMAT percentiles (Collected between 2018-2020). When looking at potential MBA programs, take a look at previous admissions statistics. Knowing the average GMAT score of previously admitted students can give you a baseline to aim for. Striving for the average, means you have a better likelihood of getting a score above or around this. Giving you a higher chance at admissions.

GMAT Percentile Rankings

GMAT Percentiles Interpretation 

Interpreting the GMAT percentiles requires knowing how the GMAT is scored. The total score comprises the Verbal and Quantitative sections. These two scores show the admissions committee your higher-order reasoning skills. These scores are able to predict a student’s successes in graduate school. The scores range from 200 to 800, with the majority of test-takers (about two-thirds) testing between 400 and 600. When comparing your score to other test-takers, it is important to look at percentile rankings.

When reading a percentile ranking chart find your score on the chart. Let us assume you scored a 650 on the exam. This lands you in the 72nd percentile. Meaning your score is higher than 72% of test-takers. Those scoring an 800, for example, are in the 99th percentile. This means that they achieved a score higher than 99% of all test takers. Important to remember is that percentile rankings change each year. This is because as more and more students take the exam, the total scores achieved change and your percentile ranking changes with it.

 

Contributor: Dana Coggio

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Understand GMAT Scoring
Posted on
04
Jan 2022

Understand GMAT Scoring – How Does GMAT Scoring Work?

While you’re preparing for your GMAT exam, it is a good idea to understand how your performance will be evaluated. The GMAT isn’t a pass/fail examination. It consists of four components and yields five scores: one from each section (divided into a scaled score and percentile rank), and a fifth total score derived from the Quantitative and Verbal sections combined. Because of the quant-heavy focus of MBA and business programs, some admissions committees place more weight on applicants’ quant scores. Although, equal attention should be paid to all sections of the GMAT so that you present yourself to the admissions committee in your best light!  We have compiled this short article, to help you understand GMAT scoring. 

GMAT Integrated Reasoning Score

Most GMAT Integrated Reasoning problems have several sections, and you must properly answer all parts of a question to receive credit for that question. Up to three of the 12 questions in the Integrated Reasoning section are experimental and do not count against your final GMAT IR score. Nevertheless, because there is no way of knowing which questions are experimental, you should put the same amount of effort into each one. As with the other parts of the GMAT exam, your total IR score ranges from 1 to 8. Taking into consideration your overall question profile, rather than the number of successfully answered questions.

GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Score

The essay is assessed separately by a specially created computer software and a human scorer. The two results are then averaged to determine your total GMAT AWA score. The AWA has a range of scores from 0 to 6 (in half-point intervals). If the two assessments disagree by more than one point, a third evaluation is given by an expert (human) rater.

These experts are college and university professors who examine the following factors:

    • Your capacity to organize, develop, and convey your thoughts, as well as the quality of your ideas.
    • Reasons and examples to back up your claim. 
    • Controlling the components of written English to sound as professional as possible.

When it comes to grading the replies of people whose first language is not English, the raters are attentive and fair.

Verbal, Quantitative, and GMAT Total Scores

The total GMAT score, which varies from 200 to 800, is derived from both the quantitative and verbal scores. We’ll go through these two components first, then how they fit together to make the ultimate GMAT score. Each component of the test is evaluated independently, with scaled scores ranging from 0 to 60. These scores should not be compared to one other because they measure distinct factors, such as your analytic and logic skills. Rather, each should be considered on its own, and each has its own percentile distribution.

GMAT Percentile Ranking

The GMAT also includes a percentile ranking, which displays the percentage of test-takers who scored at or below a certain score; the greater the percentile ranking, the more competitive the score. Because rankings are updated every summer using exam data from the previous three years, the same score may have a different percentile number in different years. ​​Unless you’re submitting an application based on an old GMAT (from more than three years ago), this shouldn’t be a big deal. Also, check to see if your GMAT percentile has changed significantly and if so, note it in your application.

Finally, What’s a Good GMAT Score?

This article should have helped you understand GMAT scoring. A decent GMAT score is above 640 (about in the 70th percentile), whereas an exceptional score is 700 or higher (around the 90th percentile). The average score for students admitted to the top 50 MBA programs is about 660; you can find this information on the admissions website of a specific institution.

Regardless of your GMAT score, keep in mind that your score is just one piece of information in a larger picture that includes your essays, entrance interviews, undergraduate GPA, recommendation letters, job experience, prestige, and extracurricular participation. If your goal is to attend a top B-School, a high GMAT score is essential, but it is not everything. Remember that your resume, academic transcripts, and extra-curriculars also play a role in the admissions process.

 

Contributor: Nemrout Safarian

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Posted on
06
Oct 2020

GMAT Percentile Rankings: Demystified

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Ilia Dobrev
Date: 2nd June, 2021

The GMAT exam is an important part of the admissions process for over 7,000 business programs worldwide. GMAT performance is widely regarded as one of the best predictors of not only high academic honors, but also long-term career success. Achieving an excellent GMAT score and ranking in the top percentile is the first stepping stone in anyone’s journey to a prestigious business career.

The competitive admissions environment surrounding top tier universities has resulted in a 10-20% acceptance rate. This corresponds with percentile rankings in specific sections: for example, the GMAT Quant. But what do percentile rankings really mean?

This article describes the relationship between GMAT scores and respective percentile ranking, both in terms of individual sections and as a whole.

How do GMAT scores translate into GMAT percentiles?

According to the GMAC, two-thirds of test takers from all over the world score between 400 and 600. GMAT scores also translate into a percentile ranking. A number indicating the percentage of test takers at or below a given score. Percentile rankings are determined by comparing scaled Quant and Verbal scores (which can range from 6 to 51) to your peers’ scores. For instance, if you scored in the 90th percentile, that means that just 10% of all examinees outscored you. It’s important to note that the percentiles are recalculated every summer. This means that the current percentile rankings are likely different from the previous year’s rankings. 

The GMAC considers a sample size of test takers tracked since January 2017 to calculate percentiles. Until the beginning of 2020, a total of 695,794 GMAT exams were taken and scored, with a standard deviation of slightly above 116. Consequently, the GMAC shares average percentiles rankings for each of the four sections:

 

  • Quantitative: 36%
  • Verbal Reasoning: 45%
  • Integrated Reasoning: 33%
  • Analytical Writing Assessment: 19%

 

While these numbers seem low, applicants need to score well above the average to earn a spot in the most competitive business schools.

GMAT Scoring Chart

GMAT percentile rankings

How have percentile rankings changed by section?

Over the years, there is a trend towards increasing average GMAT scores and, consequently, percentiles have risen, too. In particular, the GMAT Quantitative percentiles have become considerably more competitive and increasingly important for MBA admissions. As more and more test takers master the GMAT quant section, it gets harder to score in a high percentile. 

One reason may be that as the GMAT’s worldwide popularity increases, non-native English speakers coming from math-proficient countries such as China and India make up a large proportion of the GMAT test takers. On the other hand, the GMAT Verbal section remains rather challenging–a score of 40 out of 60 ranks in the 90th percentile. The increasing representation of non-native English speakers might also help explain why the verbal section remains challenging. 

In any case, a balanced GMAT percentile refers to the combined result of your scores on the Verbal and Quant sections.

What about the AWA and IR?

The Analytical Writing Assessment and Integrated Reasoning sections are scored separately. They also have their own scoring scale, independent from the 200 to 800 scale used to evaluate Quant and Verbal. A strong performance on the Analytical Writing Assessment and Integrated Reasoning sections can boost your admissions chances. Nevertheless, we recommend that applicants prioritize ranking in the top percentiles in the Quant and Verbal sections.

What do GMAT Percentiles mean for admissions to B-schools?

While most business schools don’t have a straightforward cutoff for GMAT results, the majority of admissions committees consider both percentile rankings and total scores. 

Top-tier institutions like Wharton, Stanford, INSEAD, and MIT are known to perform more in-depth analyses of candidates’ total scores compared with percentile rankings. These programs value exceptional scores, but place additional weight on how competitive candidates are compared with their peers. During particularly competitive admissions cycles, the most selective business schools only consider candidates who scored above the 90th percentile. Admissions decisions entail a more holistic selection process in which committees consider work experience, former education, motivation letters, resumes, recommendations, and other factors that signal applicants’ potential for success in the business world.

If you want to get into the right business program, it’s a smart move to familiarize yourself with the yearly data reports that most business schools produce regarding their current students’ GMAT percentiles and scores. 

Boosting your GMAT score

Depending on your score goals, current level of preparation, and anticipated exam date, you can opt for one of three GMAT prep options that will best suit your needs, budget, and learning style. If you’re aiming for a 700+ score, a professional GMAT tutor might provide the guidance you need to leverage your strengths and weaknesses. This could ultimately put you on the path to degree and career success. 

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