The GMAT Focus Score Chart: Understanding Your Score (2024)

If you’re applying to business school, a strong Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) score is an important component of your application. Learn how to understand your score with our GMAT scoring scale chart breakdown for the new Focus Edition.

Posted May 22, 2024

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Table of Contents

What is the GMAT?

The GMAT is one of the standardized exams required for admission, along with the GRE, to most graduate business schools. More than 2,400 schools require either of these exams as part of their applications, including every top program. The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) previously offered two versions of the exam: the GMAT and the GMAT Focus Edition, but, starting in 2024, only the GMAT Focus Edition will be offered. In this article, we’ll break down the key updates to the exam, how the test is scored, and how to interpret your GMAT score.

Read: GMAT vs. GRE for Business School–Which Should You Take and How to Ace Both

GMAT Structure: Previous GMAT vs. GMAT Focus

The previous version of the GMAT exam was approximately three hours long and included four sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), and Integrated Reasoning. The total score range was 200 to 800 with 10-point intervals based on only the Quant and Verbal scores. The new GMAT Focus Edition is two hours and fifteen minutes long, with Verbal, Quantitative, and Data Insights sections. Each section’s score ranges from 60 to 90 and is weighted equally when calculating the overview score, which can now fall between 205 to 805 points in 10-point intervals. This helps distinguish the GMAT Focus Edition from the previous version of the GMAT exam.

The Quantitative section has 21 problems testing your knowledge and use of algebra, arithmetic, and logic; the Verbal section has 23 problems testing your critical thinking and reading comprehension abilities; and the new Data insights section has 20 questions measuring your ability to analyze, interpret, and apply data.

Your score on each section will depend on not only the number of questions answered correctly but also the difficulty level of those questions. The GMAT Focus Edition, like the previous version of the GMAT exam, is a computer-adaptive test at the question level, meaning the difficulty level of the questions will change depending on your performance on previous questions. If you answer questions correctly, you’ll be asked more difficult questions.

After completing the GMAT, you’ll receive an official score report listing your Quant and Verbal Reasoning and Data Insights section scores and your total score. This is an improved version of the score chart compared to what was previously provided to test-takers.

Key Highlights

  • The GMAT Focus Edition is 2 hours 15 minutes, 45 minutes shorter than the old GMAT.
  • The GMAT Focus has three sections (Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Data Insights), each 45 minutes.
  • There is no longer a writing portion of the exam. Geometry and sentence correction questions have also been removed.
  • The new composite score range is 205-805; section scores are 60-90.
  • Test-takers are able to change up to three answers per section.
  • An enhanced score report is now included for free.

What is a Good GMAT Score?

When interpreting your GMAT score or determining a target score while preparing for the GMAT exam, it’s important to understand three main principles. Firstly, with thousands of test-takers each year, admissions committees interpret your score by comparing it to the national average in the form of a percentile. The average national GMAT score from 2017 to 2022 was 546.01 with the average Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Data Insights scores at 78.99, 77.71, and 74.41, respectively.

Secondly, most MBA programs release the average GMAT score of each year’s entering class, so check the GMAT scores of your target schools to make sure your score is considered competitive. You want to at least hit the average score of the most recent entering class, though above the average is preferable.

Lastly, your GMAT score is only one part of the application. If you’re not the best test-taker, you can strengthen your application with strong essays, letters of recommendation, experience, etc. A strong GPA also helps balance out subpar GMAT scores. The GPA and GMAT play a similar role in the review of the application: whereas essays, letters of rec, and a resume explain who you are as a person, what you’ve done, and what you want to do, GMAT and GPA are the primary indicators to the AdCom that you are academically inclined and can handle the intensity of a competitive MBA program. If your GMAT score and/or GPA are below average, you’ll need to show academic/intellectual prowess elsewhere in the application. But, if you’re having trouble reaching your score, don’t give up! Get some help from a pro who can work with you on your specific areas of improvement.

Scaled Scores vs. Raw Scores

GMAT and other tests typically report two different kinds of scores: raw scores and scaled scores. Raw scores represent the number of questions answered correctly. Scaled scores adjust raw scores to account for question difficulty and other statistical factors. As mentioned, the GMAT Focus Edition provides a composite scaled score ranging from 205 to 805, reflecting performance across all three sections. The score scale distribution ensures a fair comparison across different test administrations.

Average GMAT Scores of Top MBA Programs

If you’re aiming for admission into the most prestigious MBA programs, you’ll need a great GMAT score. Applicants accepted to top-tier business schools usually reach a GMAT score of 700 or higher, with an average GMAT score range of around 720 to 740 for each year’s entering class, corresponding to percentile rankings of 99 to 100. For average GMAT scores of the top 25 business schools, check out this article; here are the averages for the M7 programs:

  • Stanford GSB: 738
  • Harvard Business School*: 730
  • University of Pennsylvania Wharton: 733
  • Chicago Booth: 729
  • Northwestern Kellogg: 729
  • MIT Sloan: 730
  • Columbia Business School: 729

*HBS reports the median GMAT score, while the rest of the schools report the average.

GMAT Percentiles: What They Are and How to Interpret Them

When comparing your GMAT score to the national average, you can utilize the percentile rankings of a GMAT score chart to see how your score compares to the scores of other test-takers. For example, if your ranking is in the 80th percentile, that means 80% of test-takers scored lower than or equal to you. If your ranking is in the 65th percentile, you scored better than 65% of test-takers.

Use the GMAT score chart below to find the corresponding percentile rankings for your GMAT score. If you haven’t taken the GMAT yet but would like to estimate your percentile ranking, try this online GMAT percentile ranking calculator.

GMAT Score Chart – Total Score

Percentile RankingGMAT Focus ScoreOld GMAT Score
100.0%805
100.0%805800
100.0%795790
100.0%785790
100.0%785790
99.9%775780
99.9%765780
99.9%755780
99.8%755780
99.7%745770
99.5%735770
99.4%735770
99.2%725760
98.7%715760
98.6%715760
98.1%705750
97.9%695750
96.9%695740
96.7%685740
96.1%685730
95.2%675730
94.0%675720
93.2%665720
92.6%665710
89.6%655710
89.3%655700
86.7%645700
85.1%645690
83.5%635690
82.7%635680
80.1%625680
80.1%615680
78.3%615670
74.5%615660
74.5%615650
71.5%605650
70.7%595650
65.3%595640
64.8%585640
62.8%585630
62.1%585620
58.9%575620
55.8%575610
55.1%565610
52.7%565600
51.4%555600
47.8%555590
46.7%555580
44.3%545580
43.8%545570
41.1%535570
38.2%535560
37.9%525560
35.6%525550
35.0%515550
32.3%515540
30.8%515530
28.5%505530
28.5%495530
27.3%495520
25.1%495510
24.3%485500
23.0%485500
22.4%485490
21.1%475490
19.2%475480
18.8%475470
17.6%465470
17.1%465460
15.3%455460
14.1%455450
13.9%445450
12.8%445440
12.7%435440
11.5%435430
10.4%435420
10.4%435410
9.4%425410
9.4%425400
8.5%415400
7.7%415390
7.5%415380
6.9%405380
6.7%405370
6.2%395370
5.6%395360
5.3%395350
4.7%385350
4.7%375350
4.2%375340
3.7%375330
3.7%375320
3.3%365320
3.3%365310
2.7%355310
2.5%355300
2.4%345300
2.2%345290
2.2%345280
2.1%335280
1.8%335270
1.7%335260
1.6%335250
1.4%325250
1.3%315250
1.0%315240
1.0%305240
0.9%305230
0.8%295230
0.6%295220
0.6%285220
0.5%285210
0.4%275210
0.4%265210
0.3%255210
0.3%255200
0.2%245200
0.2%235200
0.1%225200
0.1%215200
0.0%205200

GMAT Score Chart – Verbal

Percentile RankingGMAT Focus Verbal Score
100%89-90
99%87-88
98%86
96%85
91%84
86%83
79%82
70%81
60%80
51%79
42%78
33%77
25%76
19%75
14%74
11%73
8%72
5%71
4%70
3%69
2%67-68
1%61-66
0%60

GMAT Score Chart – Quantitative

Percentile RankingGMAT Focus Quantitative Score
100%90
97%89
95%88
94%87
92%86
89%85
85%84
81%83
76%82
71%81
66%80
59%79
52%78
46%77
40%76
35%75
29%74
25%73
21%72
17%71
14%70
12%69
9%68
7%67
5%66
4%65
3%64
2%63
1%60-62

GMAT Score Chart – Data Insights

Percentile RankingGMAT Focus Data Insights Score
100%89-90
99%85-88
98%84
96%83
94%82
90%81
86%80
79%79
73%78
66%77
58%76
51%75
45%74
39%73
34%72
28%71
24%70
20%69
17%68
14%67
12%66
10%65
8%64
7%63
6%62
5%61
4%60

Our Tips for a High GMAT Score

  • As you may have noticed, most GMAT test-takers tend to have a higher Verbal score and a lower Data Insights score and Quant score. As such, you may need to spend more time focusing on raising your Quant score and Data Insights score.
  • When preparing for the exam, focus on what you, uniquely, need to improve on. There is so much curriculum to cover and trying to know every single thing is laudable, but difficult. For efficient prep, focus first on strengthening your areas of weakness for an outsized impact.
  • The GMAC offers practice GMAT questions on its website, and you can also find other free resources for GMAT prep such as practice tests and study guides online.
  • Don’t be afraid to retake the GMAT if you aren’t satisfied with your GMAT scores the first time around. Retaking the exam if you performed more poorly than expected is fairly common: about one-fifth of test-takers each year are sitting for a retake. The GMAC allows you to take the GMAT up to five times in one year and eight years in your lifetime as long as you wait at least 16 days between each retake.
  • For more personalized GMAT prep, work with an expert tutor who can help you determine a target score, create a study plan, and tackle the most challenging portions of the GMAT.

For more resources to help you ace your GMAT and navigate the world of business school applications, check out these articles:

GMAT Score Chart FAQs

What is the GMAT Focus Edition total score range?

  • The GMAT Focus Edition is scored from 205 to 805, encompassing the combined scores from the three sections: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Data Insights.

How are scores calculated in the GMAT Focus Edition?

  • Scores are based on the number of correct answers, the difficulty of the questions, and other statistical properties, ensuring a precise measurement of a test taker's abilities.

What sections are included in the GMAT Focus Edition?

  • The GMAT Focus Edition includes three sections: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Data Insights, each contributing to the overall score.

What are the different types of questions on the GMAT?

  • The Verbal section includes Critical Reasoning (Analysis/Critique and Construction/Plan) and Reading Comprehension (Identify Stated Idea and Identify Inferred Idea) questions.
  • The Quantitative section includes Problem Solving, Algebra, and Arithmetic questions.
  • The Data Insights section includes Data Sufficiency, Graphs and Tables, Multi-Source Reasoning, Two-Part Analysis questions.

How does the GMAT Focus Edition differ from the traditional GMAT?

  • The GMAT Focus Edition is shorter, has three sections instead of four, removes Geometry, Sentence Correction, and Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), and has a new scoring system.

Can you change answers during the GMAT Focus Edition?

  • Yes, test takers can change up to three answers per section in the GMAT Focus Edition, providing more flexibility during the exam.

What is the duration of the GMAT Focus Edition?

  • The GMAT Focus Edition lasts for 2 hours and 15 minutes, making it a shorter exam compared to the traditional GMAT.

Is the Enhanced Score Report included in the GMAT Focus Edition?

  • Yes, the Enhanced Score Report is included for free in the GMAT Focus Edition, providing detailed insights into performance.

What are the benefits of the GMAT Focus Edition's new scoring system?

  • The new scoring system offers a more comprehensive evaluation of a candidate's abilities and allows for better comparison across different test takers.

How do I interpret my GMAT scores?

  • Scores are interpreted by comparing them against percentiles and benchmarks provided by GMAT, which indicate your performance relative to other test takers.

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