Last Updated On: September 11th, 2015
Is 600 good enough?
What about 650?
What about 700?
What makes a GMAT score good? Do the qualifications change depending on the school? Can the same score mean something different from one candidate to another? Here is a breakdown of GMAT score ranges to give you an overview of the landscape and help you create an action plan.
760-800: 99th Percentile
If you have earned a 760 or above on the GMAT, stop reading this article, and work on the rest of your application. You’re not going to GMAT school; you’re going to business school.
Unless you performed abysmally(less than 4) on the AWA or Integrated Reasoning, you should not take the GMAT again. You have satisfied the exam portion of your MBA package to the standards of any institution. Make sure the other elements match your ability to shine in a business school program. Remember: admissions committees do not send acceptance letters to impressive GMAT scores; they grant admits to impressive human beings.
710-750: Above 90th Percentile
Congratulations! Your score is well within the middle 80% GMAT ranges at top 10 MBA programs like Stanford, Dartmouth (Tuck), and the University of Chicago (Booth). It may also qualify you for scholarships at institutions with lower rankings. At this level, attempting to achieve a higher score would yield a low return on your investment, so you probably shouldn’t bother retaking the exam. The only people who might consider sitting for the GMAT again are those who performed poorly on the Quantitative section and do not have much evidence of analytical experience on the rest of their application. However, there are other ways to display mathematical aptitude, including performing quantitative projects at work or taking a pre-MBA class in Economics or Statistics at a college extension program.
For everyone else in this bracket, the rest of your application should parallel your impressive performance on the GMAT. A high score on the exam will not automatically grant you admittance to an MBA program. Admissions committees take a holistic look at your application, so your essays, recommendations, and transcripts should be similarly stellar.
670-700: Above 80th Percentile
Kudos! Your score is in the middle 80% GMAT ranges at many business schools in the top 25, like the University of Southern California (Marshall), Indiana University (Kelley), and Cornell (Johnson).
To stay competitive at these programs in your range, refine the other parts of your application to show why you are an excellent candidate. Also, cover your bases: apply to your Reach schools in the higher tiers as well as your Likely schools that have lower GMAT ranges.
600-660: Above the mean
The average Total score on the GMAT is currently 550, so you are doing better than most. At this level, you can comfortably consider top 50-100 business schools like Pepperdine (Graziadio), William & Mary (Mason), the Loyola Marymount University MBA program, and the University of San Diego (USD) School of Business Administration with similar middle 80% GMAT ranges.
Yet, if your goal is attending a more highly ranked program, this score is not great. You must find other ways to stand out, especially if you have either a low GPA, limited work experience, or few leadership roles on your resume. You need something in your application to prove that you can keep up with your fellow classmates in a competitive learning environment. Additionally, if you don’t think your GMAT score is representative of your ability to succeed in business school, then say so in your essays. State the specific ways in which you would play an invaluable role at your target institutions.
590 or below
With a GMAT score under 600, it becomes harder to make the case that you are the best candidate for a top program. Gaining admittance with a low score is not impossible, but you should be realistic. If you want to attend a premier business school, then create a study plan to improve your performance, and take the test again to increase your chances. For a FREE consultation on how to increase your GMAT score, click here or call 866.60.TUTOR today!
As you can see, a satisfactory GMAT score can depend on the schools that you are applying to. “Good” at a top 100 school is not the same as “good” for an elite program. Furthermore, these general assessments of GMAT percentiles pertain to the average MBA applicant. If you’ve accomplished something amazing like launching a multi-million dollar company, organizing a water-distribution system for a developing nation, or piloting a NASA mission, the GMAT does not play as significant a role in representing your ability to prosper in an MBA program. For the rest of the regular candidate pool, however, the GMAT is one quantitative factor that you have some control over, so do your best to prepare for this important exam.