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Understanding GMAT Scores and GMAT Percentiles - Insight Here

Sukriti Vajpayee
Sukriti VajpayeeUpdated On: January 18, 2021 07:25 pm IST | GMAT

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is one of the most popular exams taken by students to get admission in a management course of a popular business school globally. All the details of GMAT and its scoring mechanism are there in this article.


What Is GMAT?

The Graduate Management Admission Test or GMAT, as it is commonly known, is one of the most popular competitive entrance examinations conducted for admissions in management courses. Many leading business schools in India as well as abroad accept GMAT scores for admitting students in their various programmes of management studies. More than 2,300 business schools all around the world consider the GMAT scores of a candidate an important factor responsible for fetching him/ her a seat. Admissions in over 7,000 management programmes are done on the basis of marks obtained in the Graduate Management Admission Test.

Over the years, many surveys have concluded that GMAT is the number one choice of MBA aspirants all around the world. Scoring well in GMAT is the first milestone of any candidate who wants to explore the field of management in terms of higher studies. A good GMAT score indicates that the student has the ability to pursue and cope with the demanding curriculum of any management programme. It gives a fair idea that the applicant possesses a good understanding of the basic concepts that will be required by him/ her to complete the course and end up with a deeper understanding of it. The GMAT score is one of the major key components of the application process of any MBA aspirant.

Sections of GMAT

The Graduate Management Admission Test is divided into four sections:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
  • Verbal
  • Quantitative
  • Integrated Reasoning

The total duration of GMAT is 3 hours and 7 minutes. The candidate is also given the option of taking two breaks that are of 8 minutes each. GMAT is a computer adaptive test, which means that the algorithm used to design the exam enables the computer to increase or decrease the difficulty level of the questions depending upon how many correct or incorrect answer the candidate chooses. Apart from the section of Analytical Writing Assessment, all the sections have multiple choice type questions. The number of questions asked in each section of GMAT and the time allotted for all the sections is given in the table below.


Number of Questions

Allotted Duration

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

1 essay

30 minutes



65 minutes



62 minutes

Integrated Reasoning


30 minutes

Understanding GMAT Score

One of the important aspects of GMAT is understanding the GMAT score. Candidates appearing for GMAT often have this doubt about what bar to use for considering if a GMAT score is good or not. A GMAT score can be defined as good only if the candidate is sure about the business schools he/ she is targetting and how strong his/ her profile is. The minimum GMAT score criteria differ from college to college. Some business schools lay immense importance on a candidate’s GMAT score while some schools are ready to compromise on the score if the profile of the candidate is strong enough.

It is important to have an idea about the nuances of GMAT scores, percentiles, and how they are calculated. Only then can someone get an outline of the score required by him/ her and how to achieve that target. GMAT score ranges between 200 and 800 where 800 is the highest GMAT score. The scores of GMAT are given in increments of 10 (for example, 560, 570, 580, 590, etc.) GMAT assesses specific writing, analytical, verbal, and quantitative skills that are considered critical for getting admission in a programme of management studies. In every GMAT, around 70 per cent of the test takers get a score between 400 and 600.

The sections of Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) and Integrated Reasoning are not included in the GMAT score of a candidate and these two scores are given separately. Being a computer adaptive test, GMAT increases or decreases the difficulty level of the test takers on the basis of the accuracy of their answers. Which means that if a candidate has answered a question incorrectly, the next question given to him by the computer will be relatively easy. This does not cause a disadvantage to any student as the overall GMAT score of a candidate is calculated based on two things - the number of questions answered correctly by him/ her and the level of difficulty of his/ her exam.

Scoring Mechanism of Different Sections of GMAT

All the four sections of GMAT are scored separately. It can be helpful for candidates to know how the sections of GMAT are scored because that will give them an idea about which sections they have to focus on more than the others. A scaled score is given for each section of GMAT. The scale of every section of GMAT is given below.


Scaled Score

Analytical Writing Assesment (AWA)

1 - 8

Verbal (out of 60)

6 - 51

Quantitative (out of 60)

6 - 51

Integrated Reasoning

0 - 6

Every year, around 1,50,000 brilliant aspirants who wish to pursue a degree of management studies take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) including repeated attempts by re-takers of the exam. This translates to roughly 2,50,000 total attempts of GMAT per year. Out of all these students, only 7 per cent manage to get a GMAT score that is 700 or above, 1 per cent score 760 or more, and about 93 per cent of the test takers are usually unable to get what is considered a good GMAT score. As told by the GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council), the average GMAT score is 561.27 which is only 42 percentile. The breakdown of a score of 750 or above is given below.


No. of People With GMAT Score Above 750

Corresponding Rankings of GMAT Percentile



99.0 percentile



99.84 percentile



99.97 percentile



99.996 percentile



100 percentile

Also Read:GMAT Preparation Tips For Getting a Score Above 700

How to Translate GMAT Scores to GMAT Percentiles?

The Graduate Management Admission Council mentions that the GMAT scores also include a percentile ranking. The percentile of a candidate indicates the total percentage of test-takers that he/ she has performed better than. For example, if a candidate’s GMAT percentile is 98, it means that he/ she has scored better marks than 98 per cent of the total test-takers of GMAT and has outscored them. The GMAT score of a candidate never changes but his/ her percentile ranking may change as GMAT percentiles are recalculated every year using the examination data of the prior three years. The table given below provides an understanding of the GMAT scores and GMAT Percentiles.

GMAT Score

GMAT Percentile


57 percentile


61 percentile


64 percentile


68 percentile


70 percentile


75 percentile


78 percentile


81 percentile


83 percentile


86 percentile


88 percentile


91 percentile


94 percentile


96 percentile


97 percentile


98 percentile

760 - 800

99 percentile

To make it easier for candidates to understand, the GMAT score and percentile of all sections are also given here.

GMAT Quantitative Scores and Percentile

GMAT Quantitative Score

GMAT Quant Percentile


0 percentile


2 percentile


3 percentile


6 percentile


12 percentile


18 percentile


29 percentile


41 percentile


58 percentile


96 percentile

GMAT Verbal Scores and Percentile

GMAT Verbal Score

GMAT Verbal Percentile


3 percentile


10 percentile


23 percentile


39 percentile


58 percentile


76 percentile


90 percentile


99 percentile


99 percentile

GMAT Integrated Reasoning (IR) Scores and Percentile


GMAT IR Percentile


0 percentile


11 percentile


24 percentile


38 percentile


54 percentile


70 percentile


82 percentile


92 percentile

GMAT Analytical Writing Assesment (AWA) Scores and Percentile


GMAT AWA Percentile


1 percentile


2 percentile


4 percentile


17 percentile


53 percentile


88 percentile

Also Read:GMAT vs CAT: Which is Better?

Colleges Accepting GMAT in India

Many premier business schools of India accept GMAT scores to conduct admissions of students in their management programmes. Some institutes consider only the scores of GMAT and no other competitive management entrance examination to admit students. With GMAT becoming increasingly popular in terms of management courses all around the world, many leading business schools have started incorporating GMAT as an important component of the selection process of candidates for various management programmes they offer. Some of the top MBA colleges in India that accept GMAT score for admitting students are given below along with the programmes in which they admit students based on their GMAT scores.

Name of the Institution


Indian School of Business (Hyderabad and Mohali)

Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP)

Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad

Post Graduate Programme in Management for Executives (PGPEx)

Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore

Executive Post Graduate Diploma in Management (EPGP)

S. P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai

Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM)

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai

Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM)

Xavier School of Management (XLRI), Jamshedpur

Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM)

Goa Institute of Management, Goa

Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM)

Xavier School of Management (XLRI), Bhubaneswar

Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM)

For more details regarding the Graduate Management Admission Test, stay tuned to CollegeDekho!

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