Raw Scores, Cooked-up Scores & Other Confusing GMAT Terms

GMAT scores

Life was simpler when we were younger. At school, you were usually evaluated with a score of 100. If you got above 90, you knew you were doing well, and mom would have no problem sharing your marks with the neighbours. And if you got something in the 40s or the 50s, you knew there was an awkward conversation (perhaps even a cane!) waiting for you back home.

But when it comes to the GMAT score, things aren’t so simple. First of all, every section of the GMAT, from Analytical Writing Assessment to Verbal Ability, is scored on a different scale. Second, each of them has a different weightage when it comes to B-school admissions. Third, something called relative grading comes into the picture. In this article, we will try and make sense of GMAT scores and what they mean.

Understanding your GMAT raw score

The first thing to note is that you get a raw score in all four sections of the GMAT: Quant, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing Assessment. Only your Quant and Verbal scores will count towards your final GMAT score. The others will be reported separately. However, B-schools will look at your IR and AWA scores, and any value that is remarkably low will be treated as a red flag.

In both GMAT Quant and Verbal, you will get a score between 0 and 60, based on how you perform in each section. The mean score in Quant is 38.03, and that in Verbal is 27.04. According to the GMAC, hardly anyone scores below 7 in Quant and below 9 in Verbal. Each of these scores translates into a percentile ranking, which is what matters to admission committees. Your percentile scores indicate where you stand in the applicant pool. That is, how you fare compared to other test takers. A percentile score indicates the percentage of test takers you have outperformed. For instance, if you get the 88th percentile, that means you have scored higher than 88% of the test takers.

Your overall GMAT score will be based on your Verbal and Quant score percentiles and will be a number between 200 and 800, with increments of 10. According to the GMAC, two-thirds of test takers score between 400 and 600.

Every year, the GMAC publishes this score-percentile information (the most recent update was in July 2015), and we have shared it below for your reference.

Total Score Percentiles

SCORE PERCENTILE SCORE PERCENTILE
800 99% 500 31%
790 99% 490 29%
780 99% 480 29%
770 99% 470 25%
760 99% 460 22%
750 98% 450 20%
740 97% 440 18%
730 96% 430 16%
720 94% 420 15%
710 92% 410 13%
700 89% 400 12%
690 87% 390 11%
680 84% 380 10%
670 83% 370 9%
660 80% 360 8%
650 77% 350 6%
640 72% 340 6%
630 71% 330 5%
620 67% 320 4%
610 64% 310 4%
600 61% 300 3%
590 58% 290 3%
580 54% 280 3%
570 51% 270 2%
560 48% 260 2%
550 45% 250 2%
540 42% 240 1%
530 38% 230 1%
520 36% 220 1%
510 34% 210 0%
200 0%

Scaled Score Percentiles

Quant Verbal
SCORE PERCENTILE SCORE PERCENTILE
60 97% 60 99%
59 97% 59 99%
58 97% 58 99%
57 97% 57 99%
56 97% 56 99%
55 97% 55 99%
54 97% 54 99%
53 97% 53 99%
52 97% 52 99%
51 97% 51 99%
50 88% 50 99%
49 79% 49 99%
48 74% 48 99%
47 68% 47 99%
46 66% 46 99%
45 63% 45 99%
44 58% 44 98%
43 56% 43 96%
42 51% 42 96%
41 49% 41 93%
40 47% 40 90%
39 43% 39 89%
38 41% 38 85%
37 40% 37 83%
36 36% 36 81%
35 33% 35 76%
34 31% 34 71%
33 30% 33 69%
32 27% 32 66%
31 24% 31 61%
30 22% 30 58%
29 20% 29 56%
28 19% 28 51%
27 16% 27 46%
26 15% 26 43%
25 13% 25 38%
24 12% 24 36%
23 11% 23 32%
22 9% 22 30%
21 8% 21 26%
20 8% 20 22%
19 7% 19 19%
18 6% 18 17%
17 5% 17 15%
16 4% 16 12%
15 4% 15 10%
14 4% 14 9%
13 3% 13 7%
12 2% 12 5%
11 2% 11 4%
10 2% 10 3%
9 1% 9 2%
8 1% 8 1%
7 1% 7 1%
6 0% 6 0%
5 0% 5 0%
4 0% 4 0%
3 0% 3 0%
2 0% 2 0%
1 0% 1 0%
0 0% 0 0%

AWA and Integrated Reasoning Percentiles

AWA IR
SCORE PERCENTILE SCORE PERCENTILE
6 92% 8 92%
5 60% 7 81%
4 21% 6 67%
3 6% 5 52%
2 3% 4 37%
1 3% 3 25%
0 0% 2 12%
1 0%

When can I see my scores?

As soon as you complete your test, you will be shown an unofficial score report with your IR, Quant, and Verbal scores. You will be given two minutes to decide whether you accept or cancel the scores. If you do not make a choice, your scores will be canceled. If you decide to cancel your scores at the test center, you will be able to reinstate them within 60 days of the test date for a US $100 fee. After that, scores will not be retrievable.

If you accept your score, these will be the numbers that appear on your official GMAT report that will be sent to B-schools. If you choose to cancel it, nobody except you and the GMAC will ever know, as no mention of it will be made on your official GMAT score report. However, you will always have an accurate record of your GMAT exam history, as the GMAC will show you all your GMAT attempts, including cancelled scores.

BYJU’S will be glad to help you in your GMAT preparation journey. You can ask for any assistance related to GMAT and MBA from us by just giving a missed call at +918884544444, or you can drop an SMS. You can write to us at gmat@byjus.com.