How to Calculate GMAT Score

    Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
    Study Abroad Expert

    Graduate Management Admission Test or GMAT is conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council for admission in management courses like MBA and Masters in Finance related courses in top business schools across the globe. It is worth noting that GMAT is accepted in more than 114 countries in the world. Some of the universities accepting GMAT scores include the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, Yale University, Harvard University, and Columbia University.

    GMAT score is also accepted for Master in Management programs, which is meant for recent college graduates. Other business programs such as Master's programs in business analytics, information systems, or technology management, also accept GMAT scores. These programs are good for recent graduates as they do not have a pre-requisite of work experience.

    Further, GMAT scores are accepted not just by foreign business schools, but also by Indian institutions like the Indian School of Business, Indian Institutes of Management, XLRI, and IMT are just some of the schools that use GMAT scores for admissions to their MBA programs for experienced professionals.

    Complete details of how GMAT Scoring works

    Like any other competitive examination, there are four sections on the GMAT namely Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal. Now once the test is finished, a score is generated for each of these four sections along with the total score.

    All of the sections are converted from raw scores to scaled scores, which should look like this:

    1. Quantitative Score (0 – 60) with an interval of 3 along with the percentile
    2. Verbal Score (0 – 60) with an interval of 3 along with the percentile
    3. AWA Score (half-integers from 0 to 6) with an interval of 0.5 along with the percentile
    4. Integrated Reasoning score with an interval of 1 along with the percentile

    Further, a total score is calculated, based on the Quantitative and Verbal scores. This score ranges between the ranges of 200 to 800. This score is reported in intervals of 10.

    It doesn’t end here, as there is a penalty for not completing each section of the exam, which means that the score will decrease significantly with each unanswered question.

    Thus it is better, to avoid going too slow in the beginning. Candidate must take multiple mock tests to develop an efficient pace so that the least of the questions go unanswered or taking a guess on the final few questions. Also, rather than trying to determine whether a question is easier or harder than the previous one, it is better to focus the energy on the questions.

    How does GMAC calculate the Score?

    In other conventional examinations, it is easy to get the raw score according to the number of questions that are attempted correctly and turn it into a scaled score. However with GMAT, a similar approach cannot be applied as with this examination, it is better to get a question wrong than not to answer it at all.

    Even though the Graduate Management Admission Council has never shared the exact algorithm for calculation of the scaled scores, below is an attempt to at least make the candidates aware of the current knowledge of experts on the calculation criterion.

    So, the Quantitative and Verbal sections are both given around an hour-long, and both are scored between 0 and 60 in one-point intervals. It is uncommon for a candidate to score less than 7 or more than 50 in Quantitative or less than 9 or more than 44 in Verbal.

    The most interesting part of the GMAT examination is that selection of questions changes the difficulty level as the test moves forward, for example, if the current question is right, then the next question will be a bit more difficult and if the current question is attempted erroneously, then the next one should be easier.

    As per the experts, more people score high on the Quantitative section than on the Verbal section, thus candidate must score high in this section to rank in a high percentile.

    Another point to notice is that there are some questions which are meant for experimental purpose, which means that the council is testing the new concepts which could help it to build questions in future tests. The only way that the candidate can find that is by practicing multiple sets of previously held examinations of GMAT.

    The experimental question will blend in with all the other questions and the experts have observed that as many as 25% of questions on the GMAT could be experimental. Thus, to get a high score, all questions must be treated equally rather than trying to uncover those which won’t count.

    The GMAT Score Chart through Sectional Scores

    GMAT score chart provides a perspective to the candidate to understand the work required and where the candidate is standing in comparison to the rest of the candidates who have taken this exam previously.

    If a candidate is stronger in only one of the sections, there is still an ample opportunity to get to a good score. So to get to an overall GMAT score of 700, there are multiple combinations of Verbal and Quant scores that can lead to it. Thus, the emphasis is to be put on the stronger section and the score can be boosted as much as possible.

    To get this, the candidate will need to have the individual scores of Verbal and Quantitative sections.

    Scenario: To get a GMAT Score of 700, candidates can get to such score thorough 16 different combinations, few are listed below:

    • Verbal Score: 51 and Quant Score: 35
    • Verbal Score: 45 and Quant Score: 41
    • Verbal Score: 40 and Quant Score: 46
    • Verbal Score: 41 and Quant Score: 45
    • Verbal Score: 35 and Quant Score: 51

    Hence, the importance of a single subject is always there, and GMAC also understands this. Candidates must take multiple mock tests to find out as to which sections are strong and then work hard on it. The syllabus also plays an important role because it creates an ecosystem where the candidate can become mentally strong, further strengthening the strong subject. For the weak subject, the candidate can finalize a few topics, through which they are getting enough score in the mocks. Again, the GMAT syllabus will play a huge role in the weak subjects as well.

    GMAT Score Chart through Sectional Percentile

    This is the most important part of taking the GMAT examination as it reflects a vast unevenness in the GMAT test-taking pool. With every GMAT examination, it has been observed that many candidates excel in Quantitative but struggles in verbal, so commendable performances in math are reasonably common, whereas good performances in verbal are less frequent.

    Like previously done, let us again consider a few scenarios:

    Scenario 1: The candidate with a 99 percentile score in Verbal Ability subject and with just 45 percentile score in Quantitative Aptitude subject can still score 700 in the GMAT examination.

    Scenario 2: The candidate with a 99 percentile score in Verbal Ability subject and with just 28 percentile score in Quantitative Aptitude subject can still score 700 in the GMAT examination.

    Scenario 3: The candidate with a 96 percentile score in Verbal Ability subject and with just 76 percentile score in Quantitative Aptitude subject can still score 700 in the GMAT examination.

    Similarly, there are 13 combinations through which a candidate can reach a GMAT Score of 730 which is a minimum requirement for the Ivy League B-Schools.

    Clearly, GMAT test the ability majorly at the verbal side, as with the 99 percentile in verbal and just 28 percentile in quant, a candidate is able to get 700 GMAT Score.

    Is retaking GMAT the right approach?

    The candidate can reattempt the GMAT examination after a waiting time of 16 days. However, there is a limit on taking a GMAT. No candidate can appear in the examination for more than five times within a twelve-month period. The candidate can even be banned for violating these terms.

    If a candidate scores are not calculated or the exam gets canceled due to testing issues, they will have the option of accepting a retake or receiving a refund.

    There is no evidence that the B-Schools develop a bad image of candidates who have taken GMAT multiple times. However, it is advisable to take the GMAT for only a limited number of times. The experts suggest that this should not go beyond three.

    There is a different criterion of every university on this, but scores from all GMAT attempts taken ever by the candidate will be reported to the applied institute. Many institutions consider the highest scores rather than the average, or sometimes the institutions only accept the recent scores.

    Multiple studies have indicated that about 25% of all candidates who retook the GMAT received lower scores on those retakes. Also, it would be wrong to plan to take GMAT multiple times just to learn about the exam and identify the strengths and weaknesses, which can help them more effectively prepare for the second test attempt, which is surely a wrong plan.

    Also, it has been observed that the highest performing candidates have the lowest statistical chance of improving their scores. If a candidate receives a score 700 or above on a first test attempt, there is very little chance that they would improve their application to a highly selective school with an even stronger score. Therefore, after scoring well above the average of accepted candidates at the chosen institution, then there is unlikely to be any additional benefit to taking the GMAT again.



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