GMAT Scoring

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The use of the computer-adaptive testing technology makes it difficult to predict your actual GMAT score based on your performance on a paper-and-pencil practice test. We have tried, however, to develop a scoring table that provides a general ideal of your performance at this point in your preparation. To predict your score on the practice tests you take during preparation, count the correct answers in each section and find that number in the left column of the charts below. The corresponding number in the right column represents an approximation of your GMAT test score.
Calculate GMAT Score

How Schools Evaluate Your Application

There are all kinds of stories and myths about what the “trick” is to getting into business school. The reality is that there is no trick. Admissions professionals work to fill a limited number of spaces by making the best possible selections from among a large pool of applicants. It comes down to a pretty simple equation of supply (spaces in the class) and demand (applicants). It is therefore in your best interest to articulate your goals as they relate to a particular program’s strengths, limitations, content, and culture.

Meeting a school’s minimum qualifications doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be admitted. Schools will use such factors as academic record, recommendations, and work experience to judge your potential for success in a program relative to the overall applicant pool:

  • Schools will use your GMAT scores to predict how well you will do academically in their core curriculum.
  • They will use to your work experience, extracurricular activity, and letters of recommendation to help them gauge your professional promise.
  • Interviews and essays will help schools to determine why you want to earn a degree and how you will use it in the future. These parts of the application will also help schools learn about your communication skills.

Reviews Are Subjective and Holistic

Admissions officers are humans, not machines, which means they have the ability to take in all the information applicants supply and make critical judgments about what is most important. They can decide the relative importance of each part of an application, depending on each candidate’s total experience. For example, if you have limited work experience, your academic credentials may assume greater importance. Conversely, if you have been out of school for a long time, your undergraduate record may be less important than your current job responsibilities. So the worst thing you can do is write your application to some imagined formula that you think will guarantee you admission. You have to be your own unique self in your application. There is a program out there that is right for you, and the best way to achieve the right fit between you and a school is to represent yourself openly and honestly in your application.

You’ll receive four GMAT scores:

  • Quantitative scaled sub score, ranging from 0 to 60 (effectively 51 is the max score)
  • Verbal scaled sub score, ranging from 0 to 60 (effectively 48 is the max score)
  • Overall scaled score, ranging from 200 to 800. This is an overall score that is the combination of your 0 to 60 Math and Verbal scores . The 200 to 800 cumulative score is what business schools primarily use.
  • Analytical Writing Assessment score, ranging from 0 to 6. This is a separate score that is less important than the 200 to 800 cumulative score.

The test is graded on a preset curve so that your scaled score will correspond to a certain percentile. An overall score of 630, for example, corresponds approximately to the 90th percentile, meaning that 90 percent of test takers scored at or below this level.

Rising Average GMAT Scores

Those six-figure starting salaries have had an impact on MBA admissions… everyone wants one. In the early nineties the average GMAT score of accepted students at New York University (Stern) Business School was 610. By 2005 the average GMAT test score had jumped 89 points to 699. Getting a high score on the GMAT is crucial because the business schools are getting flooded with applicants. Expect around a 690 average score for the top-ten business schools in 2005-2006. That 690 figure is deceptive because that average includes many students who were accepted for favorable traits (diversity, unusual accomplishment or success, etc.) that allow them to gain acceptance with a lower score. If you have none of these types of traits, then you probably need to break 720 (that’s over the 99th percentile) to have a good chance at a top-ten school.
According to GMAC, the average salaries for 2005 MBA graduates exceeded $100,000. The market has fully recovered from the 2001 dotcom collapse and 9/11. The appeal of high salaries will only serve to increase competitiveness and the importance of high GMAT scores.

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