GMAT Quantitative Reasoning Section Score

The GMAT Quantitative Section: Understanding the Score

As you are preparing to choose a business program, you are probably beginning to see statistics about minimum GMAT scores and averages from other students in the programs you are interested in. So, what do these scores mean?

There are five different components you will see on your GMAT score, including a score for the Analytical Writing Assignment, Integrated Reasoning, Verbal scaled score, Quantitative scaled score, and the Verbal and Quantitative cumulative score. Most often, when you read about GMAT scores or speak with other students about GMAT scores, this is referencing the Verbal and Quantitative cumulative score, which ranges between 200-800 points.

You can also expect to see a percentile ranking, which is comparing your performance to others who took the GMAT in the three years prior to yours, so while the cumulative score could be the same between two students, the percentile might be different, depending on when the test was taken.

  • Scaled Score

    As in the Verbal section, the Quantitative section has a scaled score ranging from 0-60, although GMAC only reports scores between 6-51. There are many factors which result in the final cumulative score you will receive. This score is based on how many questions you answer correctly, how difficult those questions were, and the total number of questions you answer.

  • Cumulative Score

    The cumulative score is comprised of both your Verbal and Quantitative scores. GMAC takes the combined scores, each ranging from 0-60, and converts it to a scale of 200-800, using ten-point increments. Two-thirds of test-takers earn between a 400 and 600 according to GMAC, the administers of the GMAT.

  • Percentile Scores

    Along with each of the five scores you receive on the GMAT, you will also see a corresponding percentile score. This is the most accurate way to compare yourself to other GMAT test-takers. Using data from the previous three years, percentiles compare your score to how well others did on the test. For example, you may have a Quantitative score of 47 and a percentile ranking of 70%. This means that you scored higher than 70% of the people who have taken the GMAT in the past three years, and that 30% of test-takers scored higher than you did. This can be very helpful in understanding the other applicants you will be competing with for a spot in the business program of your choice. It also helps put into perspective how competitive a particular program is, as it will help you understand how these programs expectations compare to the average test-taker.

  • Adaptive Scoring

    Both the Verbal and the Quantitative sections of the GMAT are adaptive, unlike the Analytical Writing Assessment and the Integrated Reasoning section. This means that as you answer each question, the algorithm is calculating your score. You will start with an average question and your next question's difficulty will depend on whether you answer the previous question correctly. Over the course of the exam, the algorithm determines your competency.

    Your score is therefore determined not only by whether you answer a question correctly, but also the difficulty of the questions you are answering. Answering the same number of questions correctly does not mean that two people will necessarily have the same score.

    With this information in mind:

    • It is important to try to answer every question. Because the algorithm is working continuously, missing a handful of questions at the end can undesirably affect your score.

    • Do not rush through the questions. This can have the same effect of skipping many at the end of the exam, and make the algorithm think our highest possible level of proficiency is lower than it is.

    • Practice in advance so that you can get a good feel for timing and for which questions you are able to answer without losing too much time.

    You can expect to know your score at the end of the test, although this will not be your official result. You will be presented with your unofficial Quantitative and Verbal scaled scores, the cumulative score, and your Integrated Reasoning score. The Analytical Writing Assessment requires a human to score it, so you will have to wait to see that element of your GMAT score.