A Comprehensive Guide Towards a Good GMAT Score


GMAC (Graduate Management Admissions Council) prepares and administers the GMAT exam (Graduate Management Admissions Test). This exam is open to all prospective business school applicants who want to pursue an MBA or other specialised management programme. The GMAT is a computer adaptive test designed to assess analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading abilities in preparation for admission to a management programme.

There are four sections in the GMAT: GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), GMAT Integrated Reasoning (IR), GMAT Verbal Reasoning, and GMAT Quantitative Reasoning.


What is a Good GMAT Score?

There is no clear definition of a good or ideal GMAT score. Seriously! A GMAT score is considered good if it meets or exceeds the expectations of a student’s target B-schools or colleges. Hence, if you are able to beat other candidates to your dream college, then you are the winner!

A good GMAT score is an important factor for all the business school applicants who are trying to increase their odds of getting into their dream school.
However, according to business school admissions experts, what qualifies as a good GMAT score depends both on the competitiveness of the MBA programs where a student desires to get accepted and his or her demographic profile.

A good GMAT score varies depending on the applicant and the school. Business schools want to have a diverse class because it enriches classroom discussions.
GMAT test takers can expect to get a score that ranges from 200 to 800, with 800 being the maximum possible score.

MBA aspirants should set their target GMAT score based on the average score accepted by their programs of interest, say the Admissions experts. A B-school applicant’s primary goal should be to achieve a GMAT score so high that admissions officers have no doubts about academic preparedness. Also, they should understand that these schools prefer applicants with impressive test scores.

A perfect score of 800 can help students aiming to attend a highly selective school compensate for any weaknesses in the non-score aspects of their business school application. GMAT scores may be expected at top-ranked schools, although lower-ranked schools are less likely to require such high scores.

Normally, scores of 650 and above would qualify someone for consideration at one of the top 20 business graduate programs, but a score in the 600s could be enough for a top 50 program. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, which designs and administers the GMAT, the average GMAT score for people who took the exam from 2016 to December 2020 was 602.

A B-school applicant with a low GMAT score but otherwise perfect credentials may be able to persuade admissions officers to overlook the flaw in their application. You can have a lower score and still get into a prestigious school if your other credentials are outstanding. However, if you have a weakness somewhere else, you’ll need to have a good GMAT score.

According to the MBA admissions experts, admission to a top 10 business school in the US is tough without a good GMAT score. Almost every student at a top-tier school considers 700 to be a “good” GMAT score.

Anything in the 99th percentile, 760 and up, is absolutely exceptional. Several students retake the GMAT after scoring above 700 in order to achieve scores in the 99th percentile. On the other hand, anything below 680 will seriously jeopardize your chances of getting into a top-10 school.

According to GMAC, prospective business students who received the following GMAT scores between January 2016 and December 2020 outperformed the overwhelming majority of test-takers.

GMAT Score GMAT Percentile
800 99%
790 99%
780 99%
770 99%
760 99%
750 98%
740 97%
730 96%
720 94%
710 90%
700 87%
690 84%
680 80%
670 78%
660 74%
650 70%
640 64%
630 62%
620 58%
610 54%
600 50%


However, prospective business students should be aware that the MBA admissions process is impacted by a lot of factors other than GMAT scores such as GMAT fee factors. A candidate’s undergraduate GPA, professional trajectory, and extracurricular involvement are all taken into consideration in addition to the GMAT score. The gender, demographics, and vocation of an applicant are all factors to consider. In general, business school applicants should look up a business school’s average or median GMAT score and strive to meet or exceed it in order to demonstrate to the admissions committee that they are capable of handling the rigrous of the MBA curriculum.

Before taking the GMAT, prospective business students should aim to spend 100 to 120 hours studying. It is recommended that study time be spread out over several months, if possible. It’s tempting for business school applicants with full-time jobs to cut costs on GMAT test prep, especially if they’re frustrated with how much time they’re spending studying, but this is a mistake. Take your diagnosis, figure out how long it will take you to go where you need to go, and then be extremely deliberate about how you spend your time. So, if you know you need to improve in the quantitative section and you can identify what areas you need to work on through your diagnostic, whether it’s algebra or geometry or anything, really concentrate on those areas.

Throughout the GMAT exam preparation process, students should take the GMAT practice tests and short content-specific quizzes to track their academic progress and stay motivated to study.

Anyone studying for the GMAT should familiarise themselves with the exam’s scoring system. Make sure you understand how the GMAT is structured and how much each category of questions contributes to your overall score. Prioritize enhancing your strengths first and correcting your weaknesses second, with a focus on the weighted categories.

Someone planning to take the GMAT exam needs to be mentally prepared for the computer-adaptive aspect of the exam, which involves a computer adjusting the level of difficulty of the exam based on the accuracy of the test-taker’s answers. Because the GMAT is computer-adaptive, if a student performs well on the exam and answers many questions correctly, he or she will be given progressively difficult questions.

The problem with the GMAT is that it is so brutally difficult that even if you are smashing it and knocking it out of the park on your way to an 800 score, you will probably think you aren’t doing well on it since it is computer-adaptive. The first couple of questions are, of course, important. You’ve got to be careful with those. Otherwise, your trajectory will deteriorate, and you will never be able to rebound to a good score. So you have to get off to a good start and maintain your confidence throughout.


Top 6 Factors Affecting Your GMAT Score

You’ve realised that an MBA is a next step in your career which will act as a stepping stone and decided to take the GMAT to pursue your studies abroad in your dream university.

The GMAT is a 3.5-hour long computer adaptive test offered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) at approved testing centers around the world. GMAT is structured as follows:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment Section (30 minutes) – Essay on analysis of an argument
  • Integrated Reasoning Section (30 minutes) – 12 multiple-choice questions
  • Quantitative Section (62 minutes) – 31 multiple-choice questions
  • Verbal Section (65 minutes) – 36 multiple-choice questions

Even after mastering the quant, verbal and reasoning concepts and practicing for hours you are not able to ace your scores.


1. Inadequate Planning

Proper planning is required during the starting phase of preparation. Align your preparation strategy keeping in mind the time left for the exam and focus areas of improvement. Choose your areas of improvement by regularly evaluating the sections where you are scoring low. Devise some extra hours of practice on your focus areas but don’t lose track on your areas of strength.


2. Lack of Proper Guidance

With the competition rising, getting in your dream B-School is getting tougher. The requirement of a tutor/mentor is gaining importance if you want to get above 99 percentile marks. Mentors will guide you throughout the preparation phase giving you key feedback and help in your decision-making process.


3. External Environment

Multiple research has shown that external environmental factors impact focusing capabilities causing the performance to deteriorate. Noise and lighting factors at your place of study and examination center can impact your scores in a positive or negative manner depending upon your comfort level. Take all necessary steps to ensure you have a proper ambiance during your study time.


4. Lack of Rest/Sleep

Depriving yourself of regular rest/sleep can affect your energy level and impact your concentration ability to focus for longer durations. Brain’s retention power to store long term memory is also impacted. All these factors can directly affect your performance while giving a test in the examination center or studying during the preparation phase. Ensure to have regular breaks allotting time to recreational activities to cool down the nerve cells.


5. Psychological Factors

Issues in a personal/professional life strongly impact the psychological state of mind. Support from parents is vital for Indian students moving abroad which impacts the student’s life in financial as well as moral terms. Psychological issues can be tackled by regularly interacting with family members and friends sharing your concerns and doing meditation. Sound state of mind can give a positive push to improve your performance in the exam.


6. Keep Adapting and Changing Your Strategy

During the preparation phase, you might encounter a setback when your study plan is disturbed. You need to alter your strategy accordingly and accelerate your cycles to complete the same course in a shorter duration. Similarly, while attempting the exam you might find the exam to be tougher or easier than the normal standard. Change your pace of attempting questions accordingly. Focus on accuracy rather than completing the entire set of questions.


For How Long is the GMAT Score Valid?

GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) has been booming tremendously in India. A lot of Indian Business Schools demand good GMAT scores to endow admissions in their management courses. Besides, close to a hundred B-schools in India swapped their previous entrance tests CMAT and MAT with GMAT.

Not only are international colleges and universities insisting on GMAT, Indian universities now require good GMAT scores as well. Therefore, this aptitude test is highly significant to attempt, along with grabbing the highest marks to get admission to the eminent business schools.


Is GMAT Mandatory?

Graduate Management Admission Test is mandatory to get admitted to renowned business schools and ensures that you have a degree which enhances your profile and that you are accepted internationally. Thus, the GMAT is not only mandatory for Indian business schools, but also for those B-schools abroad, where the value of a degree is very high.


Is GMAT Valid?

You could take admission in well-reputed business schools in India even if you did not attempt GMAT recently. Your GMAT scores are valid for up to five years after you attempt the test. For example, if you attempted GMAT in 2014, you can send the score you got that year to business schools till 2019.


An In-Depth Look at the GMAT Exam

A majority of the leading business schools ask applicants to submit GMAT scores to measure the academic abilities of an aspirant. It concentrates thoroughly on reasoning skills instead of computational or memory skills. Only experienced people can ace this test, which will test their mathematical, reasoning, verbal, and analytical skills. Concisely, GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, specially designed to assess the aspirant’s intellectual skills. It is conducted by GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council).


Some Facts About GMAT

  • There are close to 35000 GMAT takers in India. More than 5000 Indian Business Schools ask for the GMAT score. Thus, to become a part of an esteemed business school, the aspirants consider enrolling for coaching in one of the leading institutions – Manya – The Princeton Review.
  • Unanswered questions on your GMAT exam will penalize you.
  • The test takers are analyzed separately based on all four sections – integrated reasoning, quantitative skills, writing skills, and verbal skills.
  • During the test, the difficulty of the questions is based on how you are doing. If you answer a question correctly, the next question will be more difficult. If you give the wrong answer, the subsequent questions will be easier.
  • GMAT candidates get more benefits as compared to those who attempt CAT. It gives the candidates a better chance of getting admission to their preferred university.


Is It the Right Time to Take the GMAT Exam?

If you have already attempted GMAT, you need to check your GMAT validity. As stated above, it is valid for a half-decade. You can get enrolled in a prominent business school with your existing GMAT score.

Since GMAT is a weapon to pursue a management degree in the eminent business schools, the higher the score you have, the more are your chances to get enrolled at the leading schools. If you consider that your score is not up to the mark, you can play your innings again. Make sure that this standardized test can be taken five times a year with a gap of a minimum of sixteen days between two GMAT exams.


Are You Eligible for GMAT in India?

Remarkable B-schools consider your GMAT score as an indicator of your academic performance. Therefore, you should be careful while submitting it with your application. In case the validity of your GMAT score has expired, your application will be rejected. Also, different B-schools have different rules regarding the acceptance of GMAT scores.

Besides, considering the GMAT score validity, the aspirants need to enroll in reputed institutions to prepare for GMAT keeping in mind the GMAT Exam Eligibility Criteria. It is a pathway to get admission in the top B-schools. However, prior to attempting this standardized test, aspirants need to practice for a few days under the supervision of GMAT professionals available at Manya.



GMAT can be the key to your admission to the business school of your choice! You can take this test five times a year, and every score is valid up to five years after the test date.


GMAT Scaled Score Range, Composite Score and Incremental Point

Before you start preparing for the GMAT, it is essential that you set a target score that could be based either on your choice of dream university or on the average score set by B-schools.


Getting Started

The first step towards setting a target score is getting acquainted with the different types of scores/score ranges, composite scores and understanding the criteria involved in calculating these scores. Let’s take a quick look at the score range for each of these four sections.

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) 0-6 0.5
Integrated Reasoning 1-8 1
Verbal Reasoning 6-51 1   200-800 (10-point increment)
Quantitative Reasoning 6-51 1


NOTE: This table indicates that the AWA and IR section scores do not form part of the composite score on a scale of 200-800. The scaled scores of Verbal reasoning and Quantitative reasoning are used to calculate the overall score, which is calculated in intervals of 10.


What is the Scaled Score Range?

Most of us might be accustomed to calculating the scores based on the number of questions answered correctly, which also means that each correct answer earns about one point. Yet, this is not so in case of GMAT scoring. The GMAT scores are reported using a scaled score, which ranges between a least score and a highest score for each section.

Now, let us first understand what is meant by a scaled score. GMAT is a computer adaptive test; in more specific terms, it is a question adaptive test. The term, question adaptive, means that each question varies in difficulty level depending on the student’s performance/accuracy in the previous question. Therefore, at the end of a section, there are three criteria that would help GMAC arrive at the score for that section:

  • Number of questions attempted or answered
  • Number of questions answered correctly
  • Number of difficult questions answered correctly

The three factors stated above play a crucial role in determining a student’s section score and the total score. Besides this, the scaled score shows a range of 6-51 because scores below 6 and above 51 are very rare.

Thus, for example, if a student has attempted all the questions in the Verbal reasoning section and has answered 31 out of 36 questions correctly, then the student is likely to earn a score of approximately 42-44 (on a scale of 6-51). 31/36 is the raw score and 42 (approximately) is the scaled score (arrived at using the three criteria).


Arriving at Composite Score

The composite or overall score is arrived at by an algorithm used by GMAC. Although this algorithm is not completely revealed by GMAC, a rough interpretation of the calculation has been decoded for you:

  • Verbal reasoning scaled score: 44 (on a scale of 6-51)
  • Quantitative reasoning scaled score: 50 (on a scale of 6-51)
  • Based on these two scores (44 & 50 respectively), we can say that the total score of a student would be between 740 and 750 (approximately)


Interpreting Results

On the day of the test, a test taker would receive these scores upon completion: Integrated Reasoning score (1-8), Verbal Reasoning score (6-51), Quantitative reasoning score (6-51), and the overall score (200-800). This is called the unofficial score report.

Apart from these, a percentile ranking is also awarded for each section score and the total score. Percentile ranking indicates the percentage of test takers that a student has outperformed in the last three years. Each section score has a percentile ranking. Similarly, the composite score also has a percentile ranking. Hence, while your scores would remain the same, the percentile would differ as more candidates take the test. The percentile rankings are updated every summer (June or July) on the official website of GMAC i.e. mba.com.

The AWA score i.e. the official or comprehensive score report is published after about 15 days from the date of the exam.


There’s More

A GMAT score is valid for five years. In case a student cancels his/her score, it would appear as a “C” on future score reports sent. Yet, if you do change your mind about any cancelled score, you are entitled to reinstate that score up to 4 years and 8 months from the date of that attempt.

Fret not! Your admission consultants in the universities will not be able to see the cancellations. The official score report sent to the B-schools would include each section score, the composite score, percentile ranking, and the background information furnished by you on mba.com.


Setting Targets: Hitting The Bull’s Eye

Now, that you are familiar with the scores, let us revert to our discussion on target scores.

The most commonly asked question is ‘how do I set a target score?’. One way to do this is to begin researching the colleges and/or B-schools that provide the curriculum or program of your choice. You could choose up to five universities to which the GMAT official score reports will be sent free of GMAT cost factors. Next, you could login to each university’s website to get an overview of its expectations in terms of GMAT score. This would be a good way to decide your target score perfectly.

Another way to fix the target score is on the basis of the average GMAT score set by all B-schools for a candidate’s admission. In case you do not find information about the minimum score for a university, you could use the average score that would help you decide what score would be considered competitive. Mba.com gives a list of universities worldwide and the average score for each B-school. In India, the average GMAT score is 660-680, but in the US, the average score is 733.


How to Choose the Universities?

If you feel like you are swarmed by a huge list of B-schools across the world, you are not alone. Manya-The Princeton Review has a huge team of experts who will help you shortlist universities based on the program or course of your choice.


Your Takeaway

There are hundreds of universities to choose from for a student who wishes to pursue a management program, either in India or in any country abroad. This would not seem so overwhelming if you take the help of an expert who will be able to assist you in preparing a compelling profile that would help you stand out from among the crowd.

Finally, whatever target you decide to pin your GMAT preparation on, make sure that you are aware of the different scores, score ranges, and the way these scores are calculated by GMAC and interpreted by B-schools.

Take the plunge and nail your dream with your fabulous GMAT score!


A Good GMAT score will Enable You to Stand Out From the Crowd

Aspiring students are often told about the importance of test scores for applying to business, law, or any other master’s program including the much coveted MBA.

However, there are times when aspiring students have multiple doubts on the necessity of preparing & appearing for an admission test such as GMAT and with a few colleges waiving off the admission tests temporarily due to the pandemic as part of their admission process, it can get more confusing for them. In this article, let’s understand why and how a top GMAT score matters both during and after the completion of a program.


Right Fit for the Program

Universities receive thousands of applications each year from aspiring students worldwide. Apart from GPA scores, admission test scores act as first level filters to pick potential eligible students. During the admission process at the entry level, test scores act as logical indicators of an applicant’s aptitude for a program.

At the preliminary stage, without having met the candidates in person, test scores make it easy for the evaluators to understand how well will the applicant perform during the course of a program? An admission exam such as GMAT is designed to effectively gauge the relevant skills required for the program. During the selection process, by default applicants with a higher score get a preference as the score is reflective of their fitment for the program they wish to study.

As admission tests are designed on patterns similar to the content of the program’s students want to study in the future, their scores are interpreted by the evaluators in many different ways. For instance- the GMAT exam is believed to be based on the same pattern as the basics of an MBA program. Thus, applicants’ scores in the GMAT test, give evaluators an indication of their preparedness and how they might academically fare or perform during the foundational phase of the MBA program.

Like other admission tests, GMAT too is a timed test. A good score shows the evaluators that the applicant is well equipped to handle a demanding course like MBA where students have to participate in rigorous management and leadership related activities. During the program, there are numerous projects and other academic tasks assigned to students to complete under tight schedules and timelines. Handling an admission test like GMAT well is an indication that you are well prepared to take on the demands of a challenging course like MBA, especially at high-ranking universities/colleges.


Weightage to Profile

Scoring well in an admission test like GMAT adds a lot of weight to your university application. As the scores are not only an indication of your academic abilities but also show your fitment for the program. A good score on the application eases the pressure of making efforts to overcome the lack of it.

Generally, applicants with a low GMAT score range have to put in a lot of extra work through recommendation letters, essays, and other related activities to make up for the lack of good scores. There is always an added pressure on aspiring students to perform exceptionally well during the interview round.

Though the admission committee takes a holistic approach while evaluating candidates and each section is given equal importance in deciding on the approval of applications, a good GMAT score counts as an impressive start as is considered as half the battle won.



MBA is a demanding course not just academically but financially too, more so, if one wants to study abroad at one of the high ranking universities. There are several financial aid options and programs available for aspiring students, however as MBA is a widely popular program the competition is tough, not just for admission, but for scholarships as well.

With so many applicants’ universities too find it difficult to consider and study each and every case carefully for the purpose of providing financial aid. High GMAT score of an applicant makes it easier for evaluators to consider deserving candidates and those are the ones who are often given serious considerations. Often students without any GMAT score will have very slim chances of being considered for a grant or scholarship of any kind.



A university’s ranking is often the first consideration for any student to decide on her/his future college. The employment rate of any university or college has a direct impact on its ranking among other factors.

Admission scores have a direct co-relation with the employment opportunities made available to students by the universities post completion of a program. B-schools and other colleges and institutes work hard to keep their admission score requirements high to attract top companies from across industries for them to pick their best students for internships and employment. Top organizations prefer recruiting from universities that have high selection standards for students to their programs and those who maintain a high academic quality check throughout the course of their study programs.

Often during interviews, prospective employers ask for a GMAT score from an applicant. E.g. – During the interview process, given a choice, employers will more often than not pick students with high admission scores over those who got admission without any admission scores.

One’s GMAT score range speaks about the commitment to the program one wants to study, talks about academic prowess and willingness to work hard towards the desired goal. The admission tests score acts as a valid filter post completion of a program, even during the employment interview, as they do at the pre-study stage during the admission process.


Manya – The Princeton Review Advantage

Manya – The Princeton Review offers end-to-end study abroad services encompassing admissions consulting services, test preparation, English language training, career assessment, and international internship opportunities to study abroad aspirants. Founded in 2002, Manya holds an impeccable track record of enabling more than 4 lac students to accomplish their study abroad dreams through its network of 47+ centers across India.

Manya has formed long-lasting global alliances with several market leaders in the education industry in order to maximize the benefits of its large service portfolio. Their list of esteemed partners and affiliations includes – The Princeton Review (TPR), Cambridge University Press (CUP), Cogito Hub, British Council, Tuding to name a few. Manya has also forged 600+ partnerships with international universities across top study abroad destinations.

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What is a good GMAT score?

A good GMAT score will get you the admit of your dreams. In reality, since the GMAT score is a part of your application, a range of GMAT scores may be acceptable based on other aspects of your application, such as resume, letters of recommendation, essays, etc. The MBA programs in top universities are very competitive and require higher scores (650+). On the other hand, many universities may accept scores from 550 depending on the program and your profile.

How long is GMAT score valid in India?

The GMAT score is valid for 5 years, as opposed to other exam scores, which are only valid for 1 year.

Is a GMAT score of 700 considered good?

Most MBA experts consider a score of 700 or higher to be excellent, while anything above 650 is considered good. A 700+ GMAT score is usually required for top MBA programmes, but a GMAT score of less than 700 does not rule out admission to top business schools.

Is a GMAT score of 710 sufficient for admission to Harvard?

This is what we refer to as a good GMAT score for Harvard. Harvard offers average rates for 2023 admissions, and the recommended GMAT score ranges from 620 to 790.

Is it worthwhile for Indian students to take the GMAT?

GMAT is useful for students interested in pursuing a one-year MBA programme; almost all top B-Schools accept GMAT scores. Furthermore, GMAT scores are valid for 5 years, as opposed to other exam scores, which are only valid for 1 year.

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