Average GMAT Scores

October 30, 2018

If you're studying hard for the GMAT, you're probably also looking at how well others score, too, right? This is only natural, particularly as you get closer and closer to test day, trying to navigate dense reading material and complicated quant questions. The GMAT is a challenging test for a reason—it's intended to pinpoint those with high aptitudes to perform under pressure. How well do you perform under pressure in comparison to your peers and colleagues? Knowing your GMAT average score as it relates to the average scores of others is a first step in realistically understanding your admission odds, chances, and opportunities.

This article will present a plethora of data surrounding average GMAT scores not only by general averages, but school/program averages, as well as country and region averages. This is all intended to serve you and your course of study as you strive for that top score. While we don't want to focus too much on others' performance, we do want to keep in mind what we're up against in the application pool. Let's begin by delving into the fundamentals of GMAT scoring.

GMAT Average Scores: The Basics

In order to better understand GMAT averages, let's first look at some basic information on the topic. Prior to looking at data surrounding GMAT averages, let's first look at how the GMAT is scored. While many of you reading this may already know, it's always good to become familiar with the scoring structure and rubric to have in the back of your mind while sitting for the exam. 

ScoreRangeHow It's Calculated
Total Score200-800 & reported in 10-point incrementsMath and Verbal Section results
Quantitative Score0-60 & reported in one-point increments

This score is based upon: 

  • the number of questions you answer correctly
  • levels of difficulty for questions you get right
  • the total number of questions you answer 
Verbal Score0-60 & reported in 1-point increments

This score is based upon: 

  • the number of questions you answer correctly
  • levels of difficulty for questions you get right
  • the total number of questions you answer 
Integrated Reasoning1-8 & reported in 1-point incrementsBased on number of questions answered correctly
AWA (Writing)0-6 & reported in half-point incrementsAverage of scores assigned by two readers

According to GMAC, the makers, innovators, and administrators of the GMAT, the averages from 2015-2017 were as follows:

GMAT SectionAverage Score
Verbal26.86
Quantitative39.4
Integrated Reasoning4.23
Analytical Writing Assessment4.44
TOTAL SCORE556.04

Does anything surprise you about these statistics? Whenever we first examine averages, it's always interesting to see who is surprised in terms of how well or how poor the annual average really is. If 556 is the average from all GMAT test-takers, how does your own average add up? You can find out by taking a diagnostic GMAT exam, which is available online. Thankfully, our mock tests at Manhattan Review are of a high quality and can give you the insight you need to determine your projected score.

Average GMAT Score by School

Naturally, determining the median GMAT score for your chosen school is of paramount importance. Why? Well, first and foremost, it allows you to size up your competition. By knowing the average GMAT scores of all students in the business program, you're able to gain better insight in terms of standards and expectations. Naturally, this can help or hurt you, depending on your own GMAT score. If your score is higher than the program average, you clearly have a leg up when it comes to admissions; if it's lower, you will have to rely on other components of your application to get the same amount of attention. In the end, it's all a balancing act.

Let's look at some elite schools and their national GMAT scores. While we don't have room to list all of the scores in this article, this will give you an idea and hopefully inspire you to investigate this on your own for a school that isn't listed. The following information is derived from a 2018 US News & World Report Ranking on Schools and GMAT Average Scores.

SchoolAverage GMAT ScorePercentile
Harvard University73196th
University of Chicago (Booth)73096th
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)73095th
Stanford University73794th
MIT (Sloan)72296th
Northwestern University (Kellogg)73297th
University of California – Berkeley72593rd
Columbia University72794th
Dartmouth College (Tuck)72295th

Bridging the gap between an MBA program's average score and your own is one that takes careful concentration, time, energy, and focus. While it may seem daunting in the beginning with such a "large and intimidating number" as a baseline score, hopefully, it will motivate you to stretch further and further into the depths of your potential for better test day strategies and their subsequent results. Is your school not on here? More than likely, it's published on their website or conveniently located in the Frequently Asked Questions section. Rest assured you aren't the only one seeking answers to this important question!

Fluctuations in GMAT Averages by School

While there may be some various factors contributing to a school's average GMAT over the last five or ten years, one of the primary ones is the rise of the GRE. As many of you know, the GRE is now accepted by most b-schools around the country and the ones who aren't accepting it are changing that policy every day. Because of this, median GMAT scores are affected, which is highly valuable in determining not only which test to take, but also when sizing up your own GMAT score in relationship to the competition. Let's take a look at several schools that recently had the most fluctuation between the year 2013 and 2017. What a difference five years can make! (Please note: This information was taken from a Poets & Quants article titled "Average GMAT Scores at the Top 50 Business Schools".)

Biggest Average GMAT Score Dropoffs
University5-year changeMedian 2017 GMATMedian 2013 GMAT
Notre Dame (Mendoza)-14674688
Pittsburgh (Katz)-14608622
Rochester (Simon)-14666680
Minnesota (Carlson)-10676686
NYU (Stern)-7714721
Washington (Olin)-2694696
Boston (Questrom)-2680682
Biggest Average GMAT Score Gains
University5-year changeMedian 2017 GMATMedian 2013 GMAT
Rice (Jones)+35711676
Purdue (Krannert)+25632607
Washington (Foster)+23693670
Northwestern (Kellogg)+19732713
MSU (Broad)+19674655
USC (Marshall)+17703686
Penn State (Smeal)+16661645

When it comes to average score gains, many factors can contribute to such increases, such as school visibility and enhanced curriculums, reputations, and scholarship opportunities. If your school does not publish gains and decreases when it comes to averages, you can do the math yourself if you're willing to put in the time. It might not be bad practice for the Quant section, particularly if you can do so by hand and not by calculator!

Average GMAT Score by Country

While the GMAT is a test in English, it truly is a global exam in many respects since students from all over the globe sit for it annually for b-school admission. Schools all over the world require the GMAT as a building block of a prospective student's application profile. Let's examine demographics when it comes to the GMAT, particularly through region or citizenship. This data was collected from GMAC in 2016. 

Region# of TestsAverage GMAT Score
Africa5,268458
Australia/Pacific Islands1,018610
Canada6,641574
Central & South Asia36,108570
East & Southeast Asia88,802576
Eastern Europe4,704565
Mexico, Caribbean & Latin America7,406436
United States83,410547
Western Europe19,138566

According to this information, the top three GMAT scores come from Australia/Pacific Islands, Easy & Southeast Asia, and Canada. How do you factor into your region's average? With diversity important in b-schools around the world, it's important to know how you line up when it comes to your own average and country.

The Takeaway

Knowledge is power, right? Knowing these important statistics will only bring you closer to a better understanding of your own performance and score and how it factors into applications and the admissions process. Keep in mind that studying is paramount to enhancing your overall average, which in turn opens doors into MBA programs that can be real game changers in the world of business and commerce. Decide which plan makes the most sense for you and optimize your study with mock exams to track your progress and projected score as you get closer and closer to exam day.