The highest GMAT score you can possibly achieve is 800. GMAT scores range from 200 to 800 and two-thirds of test takers score between 400 and 600. Getting the max GMAT score of 800 is very rare.
Each business school has a different policy for considering the GMAT in MBA applications. Some will have minimum GMAT scores; others will require a minimum score in both the verbal and quantitative sections of the GMAT.
To work out what a good GMAT score is for your MBA application, you need to understand how the GMAT is scored and the GMAT ranges and average GMAT scores for top MBA programs to assess what kind of score your target school is looking for.
How is the GMAT scored? Quant, Verbal & GMAT Percentiles
The GMAT is a computer adaptive test which means that the difficulty level of questions changes depending on your answers to previous questions. The test will get harder as you get harder questions correct, and easier as you get questions wrong, but the difficulty level of questions as well as the number of questions answered correctly will determine your final score.
The GMAT consists of four sections: the verbal section, the quantitative section, integrated reasoning and an analytical writing assessment. While business schools have access to scores from each section, your all-important score out of 800 is made up of the verbal and quantitative scores only.
You’ll be given a breakdown of your scores (from 6 to 51, scores below 6 and above 51 are rare) for the verbal and the quantitative sections, and these will be converted to your score out of 800. Note that the verbal section is weighted slightly higher in this total score.
The same scoring system is used for both the traditional test center GMAT and the GMAT Online Exam.
GMAT scores also include percentile rankings. GMAT percentiles are recalculated each year using exam data from the previous three years.
If you achieve the GMAT total score of 800, you’ll be in the 99th percentile, according to the latest data, meaning you’ve done better than 99% of test-takers.
If you score 700 on the GMAT, you’ll be in the 88th percentile. Scoring 700 in the GMAT means you’ve scored better than 88% of test takers.
The global average GMAT score candidates record is lower than what would be considered a ‘good GMAT score’ by many leading business schools, at under 565.
That’s why you should invest time and effort in preparing for the GMAT; researching for the best GMAT prep books and resources, practicing GMAT sample questions, and using our GMAT score chart to better understand your score.
Based on a sample of over 690,000 GMAT scores recorded between January 2017 and December 2019.
Understanding average GMAT scores & GMAT score range
Before taking the GMAT, you should also consider the class average GMAT scores and GMAT score ranges of the business schools you want to apply to.
Looking at the stats for admitted students at different business schools can give you a good idea of the ballpark you should be aiming for.
Most business schools will indicate the average GMAT scores for their admitted students. Some will also indicate the GMAT score range.
What GMAT score do you need for Harvard? Harvard Business School’s MBA class of 2023 has a median GMAT score of 730, and GMAT scores range from 590 to 790.
This means that, although most accepted Harvard MBA students scored above 700, Harvard accepted at least one student with a GMAT score as low as 590.
Stanford Graduate School of Business meanwhile boasts an average GMAT of 738 for its 2023 MBA class, the highest class average GMAT score among MBA programs, and a GMAT score range of 610-790.
Most well-known business schools record class average GMAT scores of between 660 and 710, so a good GMAT score for those schools will fall somewhere in between that range.
How do business schools view the GMAT?
Business schools value the GMAT, using the test to compare candidates across industries and disciplines. The GMAT can also be seen as a predictor of academic success in the MBA program.
However, although the GMAT is an important part of your business school application, it is just one part of it.
A high GMAT score is no guarantee of acceptance. Top programs are highly competitive, and most applicants have a 'good' GMAT score.
Note that business schools care about diversity in the classroom, so your application could be more or less competitive based on how similar or different you are to other applicants, and schools typically take regional average GMAT scores into account when assessing your application.
Ultimately, the definition of a good GMAT score changes from business school to business school and candidate to candidate.
If you're applying to the Stanford MBA, a 700 GMAT score is below average. However, at many schools a 650 GMAT score is considered a good score.
While you should take GMAT average scores into account when applying, there is no straightforward calculator to predict your chances of acceptance. The rest of your profile matters.
Excellent work experience could compensate somewhat for a lower GMAT score, just as poor interpersonal skills could detract from a higher GMAT score.
Think critically about the strength of your MBA application and how competitive your GMAT score is before choosing which schools to apply to.