Understand GMAT Scoring
Posted on
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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