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What is a good GMAT
Jul 18, 2015

What is a good GMAT

Without a shadow of a doubt the most common question I have gotten since I started writing GMAT prep materials is “what is a good GMAT score?” I’ve written about this topic before and I still believe that ultimately your target score should be a reflection of your target school’s requirements, your own goals, and your personal circumstances. However, today I want to establish a few benchmark categories that you can shoot for when taking the GMAT. As a disclaimer, while I will be listing specific numbers for business schools, please keep in mind that a program’s average GMAT score changes with each incoming class and depending upon when you read this article, the numbers may have changed slightly for specific schools.

Top 10%

With a score above 720, you have crossed a major threshold to be considered for admittance into the world’s most prestigious schools. This is the category everyone wants to find themselves in. Your scores were the cream of the crop and if you scored in this group you deserve some serious respect for your efforts. Scoring above a 720 is a major signal to top tier schools such as Stanford University and Wharton College of Business whose average GMAT scores are 732 and 728 respectively. It also puts you in range of Harvard Business School’s average of 726 and the University of Chicago’s average of 724.

Top 25%

Scoring in the 650 to 720 range opens a lot of doors and puts many schools in your range. It is very rare that I would recommend someone to retake the GMAT if they are in this range. The only times when I may make such a suggestion is if they absolutely have their heart set on a top 10% school or if their GPA is lower than it should be for the schools they are applying to. In this range, you will find schools like Northwestern University with an average score of 713 and Cornell University whose average score is 692. Additionally, schools such as Arizona State and Boston College are in this range with scores of 673 and 664 respectively.

Top 50%

For some, scoring in the top 50% is viewed as average. In reality, scores from 600 to 650 are still solid numbers and there are some very good schools to be found in this range. However, if you do score between 600 and 650, I recommend that you make sure your application is rock solid as you will have a lot of competition at this level. If you feel your application is lacking, you may want to think about a retake. Fortunately, recent changes to the GMAT make scheduling a retake easier than ever while also removing some of the risk associated with reporting a low score. Schools in this range include the University of Miami whose score averages 621, Boston College with a score of 630, the University of Arizona with a score of 646, and Texas A&M who’s incoming students average 647.

The Middle of the Pack and Lower

Scoring under a 600 puts you somewhere in the middle range of students accepted into business schools. Honestly, depending upon your individual goals and the strength of your application, this may be enough for you. However, many business school hopefuls should seriously consider scheduling a retake at this level. Boosting your score into the 600 to 650 range is very achievable the second time around if you hit the books hard and put time into improving the areas where you fell short. Hitting the 700 mark is also possible, but will probably require additional months of study. Depending upon your deadlines and circumstances, this may or may not be a feasible option. That said, there are still schools in this range and they are by no means bad programs. In this range you can find the University of Utah with its score of 596, the University of Illinois whose average score is 591, and Texas Tech with a score of 559.

As stated earlier, the best way to determine what your target GMAT score should be is to carefully consider your full application and your target school’s admissions criteria. However, sometimes it is good to have numbers to use as a baseline and aiming for specific score ranges is a fantastic goal. What is your target school and what score are you shooting for? Let us know in the comments section.

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