How the GMAT is Scored

GMAT scores are used as a common benchmark to compare candidates for admission to MBA and specialised Masters programmes.

Although you'll commonly hear GMAT scores referred to as a number out of 800, you will actually receive five scores on your GMAT score report:

  • An overall score, ranging from 200 to 800
  • A Math Section subscore, ranging from 0 to 60
  • A Verbal Section subscore, ranging from 0 to 60
  • An Integrated Reasoning Section score, ranging from 1 to 8
  • An Analytical Writing Assessment score, ranging from 0 to 6

GMAT Percentile Rank

Each of the above scores will be accompanied by a percentile rank, which highlights the proportion of test takers who scored lower than you did. The higher your percentile rank, the better you did. For example, if you received a percentile rank of 70, this means you scored higher than 70% of test takers worldwide. This number tells schools exactly where you fell with respect to all the other GMAT candidates.

GMAT Essay Scores

Analytical Writing Assessment essays are graded separately by both a human and a computer. Grades are assigned holistically on a 0-6 scale, taking into account all aspects of the essay’s content, writing style, and grammar. If the two grades for an essay agree, that score will be assigned. If they do not agree, then a third scorer (human) will re-grade the essay.

How long must I wait to get my GMAT score?

You can view your "unofficial" GMAT scores at the end of the exam prior to making a decision to accept or cancel the scores. This gives you more certainty and control of how your application and GMAT scores are received by schools. You will then get your “official” score 21 days later.

When you see your unofficial score, you'll get two minutes to decide whether to accept or cancel. (Your unofficial score won't include your AWA score.)

Here’s how accepting/cancelling works:

  • If you accept your scores, the official report will be sent to the schools selected.
  • If you cancel your scores: you can cancel your score right after you take the exam at the test centre (for free), or within 72 hours of taking the exam ($25 fee). No cancelled scores will be sent to selected schools. Only you will know if you cancel your scores. 
  • To reinstate your cancelled scores: You can reinstate your score online up to four years and 11 months after the exam date ($50 fee). After it is reinstated it will be sent to your selected schools at no additional charge.

Detailed instructions and rules about this are available in the GMAT Handbook 

How long is my score valid for?

GMAT scores are valid for 5 years. This means that every time you take the GMAT, your record will show that score for the next 5 years. Many people take the GMAT more than once, so do not be afraid to re-sit the test to try and improve your score, but be aware that if you keep re-taking the test, business schools will see all of your scores from the last 5 years. We recommend that you prepare thoroughly and then take the test once or twice, rather than keep taking the test to try and score higher.

What's the average GMAT score?

The average score among all GMAT test-takers worldwide is approximately 561. However, the average GMAT scores of students at the top business schools— such as Wharton, Columbia, Kellogg, INSEAD, LBS and IMD are much higher than this.

What you consider a good score will depend on your own expectations and target schools. Top business schools consider a score of at least 600 competitive, but in reality, most successful applicants score higher than this. Information on average GMAT scores at different schools is readily available, and many schools’ websites list their average GMAT score. Research the programmes on your list and find out what their average scores are so you know what you're aiming for. 

The table below illustrates some average GMAT scores amongst leading business schools:

Business School Country FT 2018*
Global Ranking
Average GMAT Score
Stanford University GSB USA 1 732
INSTEAD France/Singapore 2 708
University of Pennsylvania: Wharton USA 3 732
London Business School UK 4 700
Harvard Business School USA 5 730
University of Chicago: Booth USA 6 726
Columbia Business School USA 7 716
Ceibs China 8 685
MIT: Sloan USA 9 728
The University of California at Berkeley: Haas USA 10 726
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