GMAT Scoring Overview
The two main types of scores reported for the GMAT are total scores and section scores. A test-taker's total score is determined by his or her performance on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GMAT only, and is given on a scale of 200-800. The verbal and quantitative sections are scored from 0 to 60 after being converted from "raw scores" to "scaled scores." A raw score is simply the number of correct answers in a given verbal or quantitative section, which is adjusted upward or downward by question difficulty to arrive at a scaled score (an identical number of correct answers can and often does correspond to varying scaled scores). The formula for calculating total scores from scaled verbal and quantitative section scores has not been publicly divulged, but independent analysis suggests that the verbal score is a slightly larger factor than the quantitative scaled score. The integrated reasoning and analytical writing sections are scored separately and do not contribute to the total score. Their scales are 1 to 8 (in one-point increments) and 1 to 6 (in half-point increments) respectively. There is no scaling of integrated reasoning scores; they are based entirely on the number of correct answers. Analytical writing scores are the average of a human grader and a software program, rounded up to the nearest half-point.
Unofficial scores are calculated by test center computers and reported to students right after they finish the test or time expires. Test-takers are notified by email when their official score reports are ready, and this happens within 20 calendar days of the test date. The email includes a link with instructions for gaining access to score reports. Students who have lost access to the email account used for registration may contact Pearson VUE or the appropriate regional GMAT Customer Service branch. GMAT score reports include personal information, total scores, section scores, percentiles for each category, and answers to frequently asked questions. GMAT score reports are sent to institutions previously designated by the test-taker. Students must designate these institutions before the test date, and the registration fee includes up to five third-party score reports. An additional fee, which varies by country, is applicable if a test-taker wishes to send additional reports or to have reports sent to schools not named during the registration period. GMAT reports include scores from all test attempts within the last five years.
GMAC data shows that overall GMAT performance has been trending upward in recent years. The average total score in 2007-08 was 542, which dipped slightly to about 540 in 2008-09. The following year, average scores went up to almost 546, and further rose to 548 by 2011-12. By 2016, the average GMAT total score was just below 552, a growth of nearly ten points in less than a decade. With intense competition for business school rankings (to which student GMAT scores contribute), there is every reason to believe that test scores will continue to rise.
Surprisingly, the highest GMAT scores are most often achieved by students who majored in undergraduate subjects not directly related to business. GMAC data demonstrates that physics majors outperform all other disciplines with an average score of 607.4, followed by mathematics (603.4) and engineering (592.8). Next in line are philosophy majors at 588.2, and other high-performing liberal arts disciplines include economics (581.2) and history (572.2). Many fields with obvious relevance to graduate business study were among the lowest mean scores of all subjects analyzed, especially marketing (493.2) and accounting (517.6), although actuarial science and operations management majors were in the top ten of all fields at 580.4 and 575.4 respectively.
The United States has the largest number of test-takers with about 90,000 annually, but the U.S. ranks 53rd worldwide with average GMAT scores of 532 (which is also behind Canada's mean of 565 among North American countries). The highest mean GMAT scores in the world are in New Zealand (608), Singapore (605), and Argentina (591). Belgium is the leading country in Europe at 591, followed by the United Kingdom and Austria, each at 590. The top Asian countries are China and South Korea at 582 and 581 respectively, and Morocco leads Africa at 505. The lowest scoring countries are mostly in Africa and the Middle East, although the statistics are likely skewed by the fact that very few students from those countries take the GMAT.
To learn about how the GMAT is scored and all other issues that pertain to GMAT scoring, please have a look at the following topics:
- GMAT Scoring System
See this page for a discussion of how GMAT total scores and section scores are calculated. Learn how computer-adaptive scoring affects the content of the verbal and quantitative sections of the exam, and how the integrated reasoning and analytical writing sections are assessed. Also included is a discussion of how understanding the GMAT scoring system can be used to the test-taker's advantage as well as a summary of how section scores affect applications.
- GMAT Score Confidentiality
GMAC privacy policies and relevant laws with respect to the confidentiality of GMAT scores are covered on this page. Read about the test-taker data collected by GMAC, how this data is used, student rights and responsibilities, and exceptions to the confidentiality of student information.
- GMAT Retakes
All of the necessary information on retaking the GMAT can be found by consulting this page. Topics covered include official retake policies, data on student performance and retakes, how business schools view multiple test attempts, and how to decide whether or not to retake the GMAT.
- GMAT Limits on Retakes
Read this page to find out about limits on retaking the GMAT. Learn everything you need to know about official limits on GMAT attempts, how the GMAT's retake policies compare to other standardized tests used for graduate school admission, minimum admission standards as they apply to GMAT retakes, taking the GMAT again for scholarships, and the consideration of GMAT retakes in business school admissions.
- GMAT Cancelling Scores
All of the relevant information on GMAT score cancellation can be found on this page. Read about GMAC procedures for the voluntary cancellation of GMAT scores, the circumstances under which GMAT scores can be involuntarily cancelled, common testing issues that necessitate score cancellation, and making informed decisions on cancelling scores.
- GMAT Reinstating Scores
A discussion of the reinstatement of GMAT scores is featured on this page. Among the issues relevant to this topic are official score reinstatement policies, how to reinstate scores, how the new score reinstatement policies compare with earlier practice, how score reinstatement is likely to affect GMAT score inflation, and advice for students considering score reinstatement.