What Is a Good GMAT Score?

By Austin Kilham · March 17, 2024 · 8 minute read

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What Is a Good GMAT Score?

If you’re applying to business school and want to earn an MBA, you likely understand the importance of doing well on the Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT™. Strong scores may help you get into your dream program.

The three digit number that qualifies as a good score can depend on how competitive the program you’re applying to is. In general, a 660 or higher is considered a good GMAT score, but in some cases, over 700 may be needed.

In addition, schools take a look at your unique background when evaluating your application to help them build a well-rounded student body. As a result, what qualifies as a strong score varies by school and by applicant. Take a closer look here: Learn more about the GMAT, scores, and applying to business school.

How Is The GMAT Scored?

So if you’re deciding whether getting an MBA is worth it, you’re probably curious what score you’d need to be accepted.

Before considering what is a good GMAT score, know that the possible range is from 200 to 800. On average, test takers score 582, and half of all GMAT takers score between 400 and 660, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council™ (GMAC), which administers the exam.

Generally speaking, a good GMAT score is in the 660 to 800 range. For more competitive programs, you may want to aim for a score over 700. What is the highest GMAT score — a perfect 800 — is difficult to achieve, but can potentially counteract other weak points in a student’s application.

After taking the GMAT, students will receive a score report, which will feature five different numbers:

•   Total score

•   Quantitative score

•   Verbal score

•   Integrated reasoning score

•   Analytical writing assessment.

Of those five the three that are most important are usually the total, quantitative, and verbal scores.

Here’s a breakdown of how each is calculated, according to The Princeton Review®:

Section

Score Range

How the Score Is Calculated

Total 200 to 800 This score is reported in increments of 10 and is calculated based on performance in the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections.
Quantitative 0 to 60 Based on the number of questions you answered, how many you answered correctly, and how difficult the questions you got right are. Reported in increments of one.
Verbal 0 to 60 Based on the number of questions you answered, how many you answered correctly, and how difficult the questions you got right are. Reported in increments of one.
Integrated Reasoning 1 to 8 Based on the number of questions you answered correctly, and reported in increments of one.
Analytical Writing Assessment 0 to 6 Based on an average of two scores assigned by two readers, and reported in increments of 0.5 points.




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How to Figure Out Your GMAT Range

As mentioned above, the full GMAT range goes from 200 to 800. Though a score of 700 or more puts you in more competitive standing, what functions as a good score is relative. In other words, a good score for you is the one that helps you get into the program of your choice and advance your career goals.

•   Students interested in attending a top B-school will generally need a high score. For example, 2025 incoming full-time MBA students at Stanford University had average GMAT scores of 738.

•   However, if you’re interested in a less competitive program, you may be just fine with a score in the 500 to 600 range.

Here’s another way to look at it: What is a high GMAT score for someone applying to a less competitive B-school may be seen as low to someone applying to a top-tier program.

Before taking the GMAT, think about your career goals. What type of program do you want to attend to achieve your business objectives? Does the MBA program’s affordability factor into your decision-making process? Do you have the potential time and money required to train up to earn a truly lofty GMAT score?

•   For example, someone aiming to be CEO of a Fortune 500 company, may want to attend a top-rated school.

•   Those planning to lead a smaller business or even start their own enterprise might pursue a less competitive program.

To figure out just how competitive your scores need to be, research the programs you’re interested in. Some schools will post the average GMAT score of their students, which can help you see what you likely need.

It may also help to reach out to school admissions, alumni, and current students to find out what factors have a big impact on admissions.

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Researching Average Scores

When thinking about test scores, it’s possible to get too narrowly focused on that one number. Schools are looking at a student’s complete application to determine whether they’ll be a good fit.

However, you can certainly get a better idea of the types of students your target schools are admitting by researching average GMAT scores.

The easiest way to do this is to log on to the school’s MBA class profile web page, which may give you all sorts of information. You’ll likely find everything from the average GMAT test score to the number of applicants versus the number of enrolled students to demographic information.

Keep this in mind: The total score isn’t the only thing that schools look at, and the weight given to each of the five scoring sections on the test may vary from school to school.

For example, an MBA program with a focus in data science might zero in on your quantitative score more than other programs. Reach out to school admissions offices to find out if they give special weight to a particular score section.

Knowing the average scores of your target program can help you understand how competitive your score needs to be.


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How to Prepare for the GMAT

As you prepare for the GMAT — and to achieve your target score — it can be a smart move to give yourself a good amount of time to study. You may want to begin the process as much as six months in advance of taking the test. Common test prep advice suggests that it may take 100 to 120 hours or more of studying and taking practice tests to adequately prepare.

Keep in mind, you may be in school or working at the same time, researching graduate school scholarships, and living daily life. You don’t want to be stuck cramming for this test.

Set up a study schedule. Start by setting up a calendar on which you schedule study dates and times to take practice tests. Resist the urge to procrastinate.

Review the material for each section of the test at a time. You can access free practice tests online that give you an insight into the format and the types of questions you’ll be asked. Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to digest all sections at once.

Practice tests can help you identify areas that may require extra studying. They can also help you practice pacing. The GMAT is a timed exam, and time management is critical to finishing.

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Unofficial Scores: To Accept or Cancel?

When you complete your test, you’ll typically be shown your unofficial score right away and given a chance to accept it or cancel. You’ll only have two minutes to make the decision once you’re finished. You may, for example, cancel your score if you don’t meet a preset target.

It can also help to familiarize yourself with the application policy at your target(s) school. Some schools prefer to see every GMAT score, while others only request the top score.

Even if you accept your score (you’ll get your official score in about 20 days), you still have 72 hours to cancel it online if you change your mind. What’s more, if you cancel your score, you can study areas where you were weak and retake the test after 16 days.

If you feel as if you could use guidance as you navigate the test-taking and application process, some aspiring business students choose to hire an MBA application consultant.

What Business Schools Look At In Addition to the GMAT

A GMAT score that is on par with a program’s enrolled students can help demonstrate you are prepared for the academic rigors of the program. What’s a good GMAT score will, as noted above, vary depending on the school you want to attend.

That said, business schools look at other factors as well, including:

•   Gender

•   Demographics

•   Your resume.

In particular, they may be looking for signals that students have what it takes to become good managers and business leaders. They may examine previous accomplishments, quantifiable achievements, and progression in a chosen career path.

But what about paying for grad school? That can impact which schools you may decide to apply to and which offer you accept. There are a variety of programs, from in-person to online, as well as courses of study designed for people who are already out in the work world and holding down a job.

As you consider all this, you will likely want to pay attention to the price tag. Especially if you will be in school full-time and not earning any money, it’s wise to consider the true cost of an MBA degree.

As you think about how to pay for an MBA, you may want to investigate any scholarships and grants you might qualify for.

The Takeaway

When applying to a business school, it’s critical to understand average GMAT scores, so you have a target to help you focus your studies and prepare for the test. The average score is currently 582, but what’s a good GMAT score may be 660 or even 700 or above, depending on the program to which you are applying.

If you are accepted to a business school program, you may need to take out student loans to pay for your education. After graduating, some students may refinance their student loans, which can help them secure lower payments, but if you refinance for an extended term, you may pay more interest over the life of the loan. Also, refinancing federal loans means they’ll no longer qualify for federal benefits or protections, so it may not always make sense to refinance.

Looking to lower your monthly student loan payment? Refinancing may be one way to do it — by extending your loan term, getting a lower interest rate than what you currently have, or both. (Please note that refinancing federal loans makes them ineligible for federal forgiveness and protections. Also, lengthening your loan term may mean paying more in interest over the life of the loan.) SoFi student loan refinancing offers flexible terms that fit your budget.

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