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5 October 2023

6 minutes read

What Is a Good GMAT Score? A Comprehensive Guide

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When it comes to pursuing an MBA program, your GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) score plays a pivotal role. But what exactly is a good GMAT score? In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of GMAT scores, average benchmarks, and how to set your target score to get into your dream business school.

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Understanding a Good GMAT Score

What Constitutes a Good GMAT Score?

A good GMAT score can make or break your chances of admission into a top business school. But what constitutes a “good” score? Let’s explore:

In general, a GMAT score above 700 is considered competitive for most top-tier business schools. However, what’s considered a good score can vary depending on several factors, including the specific MBA program you’re targeting and your own academic and career background.

Factors Influencing GMAT Score 

Understanding what goes into determining your GMAT score is crucial for setting realistic goals and achieving success on the exam. Let’s explore the various factors that can influence your GMAT score:

1. Business School Requirements

Different MBA programs have different expectations when it comes to GMAT scores. It’s essential to research the specific schools you’re interested in to understand their requirements.

Some top-tier business schools, like Harvard Business School, typically expect applicants to have high GMAT scores. Knowing these expectations can help you tailor your preparation efforts accordingly.

2. Average GMAT Scores

To gauge what constitutes a competitive GMAT score for your target schools, it’s important to know the average GMAT scores of admitted students. Most business schools provide this information on their websites or in their admissions materials. These averages can serve as benchmarks, helping you determine where your score should ideally fall.

3. Your Goals

Your target GMAT score should align with your career and educational goals. Consider the competitiveness of the MBA programs you’re interested in and the industry you want to enter. If you’re aiming for highly competitive programs or specific industries that prioritize GMAT scores, you may need to aim for a higher score.

4. Your Academic Background

Your previous academic performance, particularly in quantitative subjects, can influence your GMAT score. If you have a strong foundation in math and English language skills, you may find it easier to excel in the corresponding GMAT sections. Conversely, if you have academic weaknesses in these areas, you may need to dedicate more time to preparation.

5. Test Preparation

Your GMAT score is heavily influenced by the effort and dedication you put into test preparation. Effective test preparation strategies can significantly impact your performance. Consider the following factors related to test preparation:

  • Investing in Test Prep: Enrolling in a reputable GMAT test preparation course can provide you with study materials, practice exams, and expert guidance, which are invaluable resources for achieving a high score.
  • Study Strategies: Familiarize yourself with the GMAT exam format and employ effective study strategies. Allocate sufficient time for each section, practice regularly, and work on improving your weak areas.
  • Practice Tests: Taking practice GMAT tests is a critical part of your preparation. These tests simulate the actual exam experience, helping you become comfortable with the format and timing. Regular practice tests allow you to track your progress and identify areas that need improvement.

6. Test-Day Performance

Your performance on the actual test day can also influence your GMAT score. Factors like test anxiety, stress, and time management can affect your performance. To mitigate these influences, it’s essential to stay calm, practice time management during your preparation, and be well-rested and focused on test day.

7. Retaking the GMAT

If you’re not satisfied with your initial GMAT score, you have the option to retake the exam. However, keep in mind that some business schools consider your highest score, while others may look at the most recent score. Before deciding to retake the GMAT, research the policies of your target schools and consider whether additional preparation will lead to a significant score improvement.

Setting Your GMAT Score Goal

Now that you understand the factors, let’s delve deeper into setting your GMAT score goal:

Goal Alignment

Your GMAT score goal should align with your career goals and the specific MBA programs you’re targeting. If you’re aiming for highly competitive programs, you may need a higher score.

Researching MBA Programs

Each MBA program has its own GMAT score requirements. Research your target schools and understand their average accepted scores.


Take a practice GMAT test to assess your baseline performance. This will help you set a realistic target score.

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GMAT Score Ranges and Percentiles

Understanding GMAT Score Ranges

The GMAT score ranges from 200 to 800, with increments of 10 points. Each section of the GMAT is scored separately, and then your scores are combined to give you a total score.

GMAT Score Percentiles

To set your goal effectively, it’s crucial to understand GMAT score percentiles:

  • The GMAT score percentiles indicate how your score compares to other test-takers.
  • A higher percentile means your score is better than a larger percentage of test-takers.

GMAT Score Breakdown

The GMAT score is comprised of multiple sections, including verbal and quantitative. Understanding the breakdown helps in setting realistic goals:

Verbal Section

The verbal section of the GMAT assesses your English language skills, including reading comprehension, sentence correction, and critical reasoning.

Quantitative Section

The quantitative section tests your math skills, including data sufficiency and problem-solving.


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Achieving a Good GMAT Score

Once you’ve set your target GMAT score and understood the factors that influence it, the next crucial step is to develop a well-structured plan for achieving that score. Achieving a good GMAT score requires effective test preparation, dedication, and the right mindset. Here’s a comprehensive exploration of the strategies and steps you can take to reach your GMAT score goal:

Effective Test Preparation

1. Invest in Test Prep

Enrolling in a reputable GMAT test preparation course can significantly enhance your chances of achieving your target score. These courses typically provide:

  • Study Materials: Comprehensive study materials that cover all sections of the GMAT, including books, online resources, and practice questions.
  • Practice Exams: Access to a library of practice exams that mimic the actual GMAT format and timing.
  • Expert Guidance: Instruction from experienced instructors who can help you understand the nuances of the GMAT and provide strategies for each section.

2. Employ Effective Study Strategies

Understanding the GMAT exam format and content is vital for effective study. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Structured Study Plan: Create a well-structured study plan that allocates sufficient time to each section of the GMAT. This ensures that you cover all the necessary material and have time for ample practice.
  • Focus on Weak Areas: Identify your weak areas through practice tests and target your study efforts on improving these specific skills.
  • Time Management: Develop effective time management skills. Each section of the GMAT has a strict time limit, so practicing under timed conditions is essential.

3. Take Practice Tests

Taking practice GMAT tests is a fundamental part of your preparation. Here’s why they are so crucial:

  • Simulate Test Conditions: Practice tests simulate the actual exam experience, allowing you to get comfortable with the format and timing.
  • Assess Progress: Regularly taking practice tests helps you track your progress and identify areas that need improvement.
  • Build Confidence: Scoring well on practice tests can boost your confidence and reduce test anxiety.

Test-Day Preparation

Achieving a good GMAT score isn’t just about what you do during your preparation—it also involves how you perform on the actual test day:

1. Stay Calm and Focused

Test anxiety can negatively impact your performance. Practice relaxation techniques to keep anxiety at bay. Stay focused on the task at hand, and don’t let the pressure overwhelm you.

2. Time Management

Effective time management is critical during the GMAT. Ensure you practice pacing yourself in practice tests, so you’re accustomed to the time constraints on each section. If you find yourself stuck on a difficult question, it’s often better to make an educated guess and move on rather than spending too much time on a single question.

3. Rest and Nutrition

On the day before the exam, ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Being well-rested can significantly impact your cognitive function. Also, eat a balanced meal before the test to maintain your energy levels throughout the exam.

Retaking the GMAT

If you don’t achieve your target score on your first attempt, don’t be discouraged. Many test-takers choose to retake the GMAT. However, before deciding to retake the test, consider the following:

  • Research the policies of your target business schools regarding multiple GMAT scores. Some schools consider your highest score, while others look at the most recent score.
  • Evaluate what went wrong on your first attempt and create a new study plan that addresses those weaknesses.
  • Give yourself ample time for additional preparation before retaking the GMAT.

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In the competitive world of MBA admissions, understanding what constitutes a good GMAT score is essential. By setting realistic goals, preparing effectively, and considering various factors, you can increase your chances of achieving the score you need to get into your dream business school. Your GMAT score is not just a number; it’s your ticket to a brighter future in the world of business.

Remember that your GMAT score is just one aspect of your application. A strong application includes more than just test scores. Work on your essays, recommendations, and other components to present a well-rounded profile to the admissions committee. Good luck on your GMAT journey!

FAQs About GMAT Scores

Q1: What is considered a good GMAT score?

A good GMAT score varies depending on the business school and your goals. Generally, a score above 700 is considered competitive.

Q2: Can I get into a top MBA program with an average GMAT score?

It’s possible, but a higher GMAT score can improve your chances. Consider other aspects of your application, such as work experience and essays.

Q3: How can I improve my GMAT score?

Invest in a test prep course, practice regularly, and identify your weak areas to improve.

Q4: Is the GMAT or GRE better for MBA admissions?

Many schools accept both the GMAT and GRE. Research your target programs to determine which test is preferred.

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