Understanding your GMAT score can be complicated. There are a ton of different sections and very little info about how they affect your final score — the GMAT just throws out a bunch of buzzwords like “adaptive” and “algorithm” without actually explaining them. But don’t worry! If you’re confused about the effect of your Verbal score on your total score or how many questions you need to get right for and 80th percentile Quant score, you’ve come to the right place.
In this complete GMAT score breakdown, I’ll explain how to calculate a GMAT score and how the GMAT’s adaptive functions affect your GMAT score. Next, I’ll provide a GMAT score calculator that allows you to better predict your GMAT total score and percentile ranking. Finally, I’ll explain how your GMAT score affects your chances of getting into the MBA programs of your choice.
GMAT Score Breakdown
The GMAT exam consists of four sections: verbal, quantitative, integrated reasoning, and analytical writing assessment. In this section, I’ll break down how your GMAT score is calculated for each section, focusing mainly on your GMAT total score.
What Does My GMAT Score Report Consist Of?
Your GMAT score report includes five different scores. Check out the table below to learn more about your GMAT scores.
|Number of Questions
|200 – 800
|*Derived from your scaled verbal and scaled quantitative scores
|0 – 60
|0 – 60
|Analytical Writing Assessment
|0 – 6
|1 – 8
When you receive your GMAT score report, you’ll receive the five scores detailed above, as well as information about your percentile rankings. Your GMAT total score is without a doubt the most important part of your GMAT score report as it’s the score that’s most important to admissions committees. The total score is a scaled combination of the verbal and quantitative scaled score
What Does My GMAT Percentile Ranking Mean?
Your percentile score tells how well you performed when compared to other people who took the GMAT. If your ranking is 73%, that means you did better than 73% of test-takers. The higher your percentile ranking, the higher the percentage of test-takers you did better than. You can also assume that a higher percentile ranking makes your score more competitive to admissions committees.
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What’s an Adaptive Test?
The GMAT is a computer adaptive test (CAT). Basically, that means that the questions you receive on the GMAT get harder or easier based on how well you’re performing. A simple way to think about this concept is that if you get a question right, you’ll receive a slightly harder question next. If you get a question wrong, you’ll receive a slightly easier question.
At the beginning of each section, you’ll get a question that’s in the middle range of difficulty. Questions will get harder as you get them right (or easier as you get them wrong), until the questions reach the appropriate difficulty level for you. Then you’ll be fed a range of questions right around that difficulty level (some will be easier and some will be harder) until the test hones into your exact score. The GMAT is designed so that you don’t have to get every question right to get a high score. I’ll talk about the factors that go into your GMAT score in the next section.
How Are My Raw GMAT Scores Converted Into My Scaled Total Score?
The GMAT total score is made up of your scaled Quantitative and scaled Verbal scores. There are three factors that determine your score: the number of questions you answer correctly, the number of questions you answer, and how difficult the questions you answer are.
The first factor is pretty simple: you get points based on how many questions you answer correctly. The more questions you answer correctly, the more points you’ll get.
The second factor is also fairly straightforward. You need to answer every question on the test. For the quantitative section, you have to answer 31 questions in 62 minutes. For the verbal, 36 questions in 65 minutes.
The third factor is definitely the most complicated. Every question on the GMAT has an assigned difficulty coefficient (this is super complicated, but rest assured, it’s done by a lot of super smart psychometricians who have a scientific process). Basically, it means that test-takers who see more difficult questions get a benefit – kind of like high school students that take Advanced Placement courses that are rewarded with a weight GPA.
The GMAT is constantly changing the scaled score for a particular section as you’re answering questions. Because of this fact, questions of a beginning of a section are weighted more heavily than questions at the end of a section, because they have a larger influence on the types of questions you’ll see next. Basically, if you answer a question right at the beginning of a section, you’ll have more opportunities to answer more difficult questions, because there are more questions left in the section.
GMAT Score Calculator
We crafted this GMAT score calculator by averaging data crowd sourced from test takers who’ve sent in their scores and percentile rankings. You can use it to predict how your scaled score on both the verbal and quant sections will contribute to your GMAT total score.
You can also download a copy of this score calculator here: PrepScholar GMAT Score Calculator.
While we have crunched a ton of data to make sure this GMAT score calculator is as accurate as possible, GMAC releases very little information about its scoring algorithm so it’s impossible to predict your GMAT total score based on your scaled section scores with 100% accuracy.
As I mentioned in the GMAT score breakdown, both your quant and verbal scores contribute to your GMAT total score. However, as you can see from the above score calculator, your verbal score is particularly important. Someone who does really well in verbal and only okay in quant will have a higher overall total score than someone who’s strong in quant and struggles in verbal.
What does this mean? Well, a really strong verbal score is key to achieving a high GMAT total score. If you struggle with the verbal section, make sure you put a significant amount of time into your verbal prep.
You can use this GMAT score calculator to predict where you need to score on the verbal and math sections to achieve your goal total score. For instance, if your goal total score is 700, and you’re consistently scoring 38 on the quantitative section, you’ll need to score 48 on the verbal section to achieve that goal total score. Knowing how your verbal and quantitative scores affect your total score can help you know where to focus your energy during your GMAT prep.
Wondering how to boost your GMAT verbal score so you can have a strong GMAT total score? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Our comprehensive guides to the GMAT verbal section breakdown the three question types and provide you with the strategies you need to succeed on the verbal section.
Looking to learn more about how to calculate a GMAT score? Our guide to what makes a good GMAT score goes into further depth about what the total score is, how it’s scored, and how it influences your chances of admission to business school.
Crafting a comprehensive, achievable GMAT study plan is an important part of your prep. A well-thought-out study plan will take you from the beginning of your prep up through test day, giving you all of the skills and experience you need to master the GMAT on test day. Check out our guide to what makes a good GMAT score to learn exactly what score you should be aiming for.