Low GMAT Score? Check the List of Popular B-Schools Where You Can Apply

By Cyril Zachariah Updated On - Jul 04, 2022 03:54 PM

Did not score well in GMAT? No need to worry! Here are some of the popular universities abroad that offer MBA admissions to students with low GMAT scores. You can check out the different colleges and the general GMAT score requirement, to which prospective students are offered admission.

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Indian MBA aspirants often dream of studying in one of the renowned business schools in the world. However, admissions to these highly acclaimed universities include a GMAT score criteria that most students are required to clear. In other words, aspirants should have secured a minimum GMAT score to be considered for admissions at these reputable institutions.

With GMAT or the Graduate Management Aptitude Test being a globally competitive standardised test, students from across the world prepare and study for years before attempting the test. Some are able to score incredibly well, while many are able to score just enough to get into an MBA school. Few applicants may, however, end up scoring a low GMAT score.

Now, those who are unable to score well should not feel bad, as many B-schools claim that GMAT scores are just one of the many factors that evaluate an applicant’s potential to pursue the curriculum offered by them. Thus, while a low GMAT score may lower your chances of receiving a seat in one of the top universities of your choice, the overall package that you bring to the table can still help you take a seat at one of the prestigious MBA colleges or schools in the world. In this article, we shall look into the universities, colleges, institutes and B-schools that offer MBA admissions to international students with a low GMAT scores.

Want to know how to score a perfect 800 on GMAT? Or, need a personalised GMAT study plan to get your target GMAT score? Let our study abroad experts guide you just as they did to thousands of GMAT applicants each year.

Looking for Top B-Schools Abroad With Low GMAT Score? 

Is GMAT Necessary for MBA Admissions Abroad?

Yes, the GMAT exam, as a deciding factor provides valuable leverage that a student can use to their advantage when applying for admissions. While, it is advisable to try and improve the GMAT score, if necessary, it is also advisable to work on the other elements that build a compelling MBA application, such as the Statement of Purpose (SOP), Essay/s, Interviews, Curriculum Vitae (CV), etc.

Any element that can help build a good profile for your application to an MBA programme should be a crucial part of your application. However, if, in this case - the GMAT score, is not impressive enough, prepare and study harder and attempt the test once or twice. If you are unable to score well, do not worry, as Business Schools put enough weightage on other parameters that can sway the admission committee to offer you a seat in the MBA programme of your choice.

What is a Low GMAT Score?

A “low” GMAT and a “good” GMAT Score both are subjective. However, the lowest GMAT score anyone could score is 200. According to records based on GMAT test-takers over the years, a low GMAT score is anything below 400. In case a test-taker has scored lower than 400 on GMAT, they should consider reattempting the exam.

How to Determine a Low GMAT Score?

Business schools across the world look for candidates with a competitive GMAT score which falls within the middle 80% range of percentile ranking. Thus, if your score falls below this range, it may be considered a low GMAT score. For example, the middle 80% score range at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is 690-760. So, if you have obtained a GMAT score below that, you can think of it as a low GMAT score. However, you can also use a GMAT Score Calculator to understand the transition of GMAT scores from raw to scaled if you are preparing for the test at home.

How to Deal With a Low GMAT Score?

As mentioned before, universities consider a lot of factors while selecting an applicant. So, a low GMAT score does not necessarily mean that you would not get in. Here are a few things you can do to make up for a low GMAT score:

  • Apply Despite Having a Low GMAT Score: A GMAT score, although important, is not the only thing that makes an ideal applicant. For instance, at Said Business School, University of Oxford, an application is assessed holistically and a low GMAT score will not disqualify someone nor does a high score guarantee admission.

  • Retaking the GMAT: Many may feel discouraged but acts as a perfect solution to the problem of not scoring your target GMAT Score. Many leading b-schools across the world see candidates who have retaken the test and consider their highest score. In addition, some universities may also request you to retake the test.

  • Focus on the MBA Essay Questions: Some B-schools require applicants to submit an optional essay that allows them to provide additional information about themselves. The essay should be a culmination of your strengths, weaknesses and what value you would add to the cohort. For international students, it is important to also demonstrate their English language proficiency in the MBA essay

  • Try to Ace the MBA Interview and/or Video Essay Questions: Many top b-schools emphasise your performance in the interview and/or video essay. So, even if you have a low GMAT score but you manage to exhibit how you could be a great fit, the university may consider your application based on your performance in the interview. 

  • Find Out if the University Accepts GRE Scores: Some universities may accept both GMAT scores as well as GRE Scores and weigh them equally for MBA admissions. You should make sure that the university accepts GRE before you go on to switch tests. 

  • Apply to Universities With GMAT Waivers: Universities sometimes do not ask for GMAT scores and assess a candidate based on their academic background and performance in the MBA interview. 

How to Improve My GMAT Score?

For students aspiring to attempt the world-renowned GMAT exam, it is recommended to improve your score if you were not able to score well the first time. GMAT applicants have the opportunity to appear for the GMAT test more than once, in a bid to improve on their previous score. However, keeping the number of attempts to a minimum is also advised for GMAT aspirants.

Here are some pointers or tips to improve your GMAT score.

  • Determine Your Learning Style: Every individual has a different way of learning. To perform well in anything, one must learn what helps them learn faster and perform better. For instance, while some may love to self-study and get a good grasp of the material, some tend to procrastinate while self-studying. 

  • Practice and Mock Tests: Attempting GMAT practice and mock tests are the best possible method to improve and analyse your weak and strong points in the test. These tests will also allow you to train yourself and your mind to adapt to a testing environment, thus, helping you be calm during the tests and think clearly and analytically.

  • Prepare the Weak Subjects Intensively: All students are weak and strong in certain areas or subjects. You, as a GMAT applicant, need to figure out what your weak and strong points are. Once you have realised your weak points, prepare and study these points intensively. Give more time to these subjects and areas, and your expertise in these areas will improve.

  • Analyse Your Test Results: After attempting the test, students will be able to check their performance in the different sections of the tests. Depending on the scores they obtain in these sections, they will be able to analyse the sections where they need to practice and prepare more.

  • Improve Your Timing: The best way to learn how to pace oneself while attempting the GMAT is by practising timed tests. Tests like the GMAT can be tricky in terms of time management - one can neither go too fast and ignore the important details nor go too slow and put themselves at risk.

  • Avoid Panic: More often than not, panic during an exam may lead to lower scores. Meditation can help deal with anxiety and candidates should consider taking the exam in the same location/GMAT test centre, as it may reduce the chances of getting lost and panicking. 

Did you know our study abroad experts are upskilled enough to prepare you for standardised testing, including the GMAT exam? To date, we have not only counselled study abroad aspirants but also trained them to crack English Proficiency tests. For more information, Register With Us Now!

Business Schools Accepting Low GMAT Scores

As stated above, many B-schools in the world will give you the benefit of the doubt and put enough weightage on the other elements of the application while reviewing your MBA application. Nonetheless, here are a few B-Schools accepting Low GMAT scores for International Student admissions.

University/Institute Name

Average GMAT Score


University of South Florida



University College, Dublin

Full-Time MBA: 600 or above

Executive MBA: 520 or above


Grenoble Ecole de Management

GMAT may be required


University of Strathclyde



Erasmus University - Rotterdam School of Management



Purdue University

Full-Time MBA: 607

Part-Time MBA: 600


University of Birmingham - Birmingham Business School



University of Manchester - Alliance Manchester Business School



George Washington University - School of Business



University of Edinburgh - Business School 



AGSM - UNSW Business School

650 or above


University of St. Gallen - Executive School of Technology, Management and Law



University of Pittsburg

600 or above


City University - Cass Business School



Macquarie Graduate School of Management

GMAT may be required


Listed above are just a few colleges and universities across the globe, out of the thousands that accept international student applications with low GMAT scores. However, while these universities are offering students, GMAT applicants are advised to study and prepare for the test as early as possible and keep practising for the test, in order to achieve the best results.

Note: Starting your preparation as early as possible will help you score better on the GMAT test in the first go. However, since everyone possesses different capacities, these steps may help you improve and perform better in the test.

If you are interested in studying for an MBA abroad and need assistance choosing the right B-School and course, then you can write to us at abroad@collegedekho.com. and resolve all your queries right from our experts!

Planning to Study MBA Abroad? 


Can an international student get into a business school with a low GMAT?

Yes, an international student can get into a business school with a low GMAT. This is because most business schools do not have a minimum GMAT cutoff score for MBA. However, a competitive GMAT score is usually accepted which falls in the middle 80% range of scores.

What is the GMAT score range for MBA at Harvard University?

The GMAT score range for MBA at Harvard University falls between 590 to 790 for the incoming class of 2023. This means that HBS will accept at least one applicant with a GMAT score of 590 (considered low) and up to 790 (out of 800 which is considered the highest GMAT score).

Which US universities admit international students with a low GMAT score?

Many universities in the United States admit international students with a low GMAT score. Some of them are Texas A&M University - Mays Business School, University of South Florida (USF), Temple University - Fox School of Business and Management, Rutgers Business School - Newark and New Brunswick, F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College, University of Georgia (UGA) - Terry College of Business, University of Pittsburgh - Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, etc. 

Is 400 considered a low GMAT score?

No, 400 is not considered a low GMAT score rather it is considered an average GMAT score. As per the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the conducting body of GMAT, two-thirds of the test-takers score below 400 or above 600. However, it is rare for applicants to have extremely low or extremely high GMAT scores.

Can business schools see cancelled GMAT scores?

No, business schools cannot see cancelled GMAT scores. You will still be able to see all of your GMAT exams on your record, even those with cancelled scores. This is to make sure that you have an accurate record of your GMAT exam history. However, the version of score reports that are sent to business schools will not contain your cancelled scores.

Does the number of GMAT attempts matter?

No, the number of GMAT attempts does not matter. Business schools will look at your highest score, regardless of how many times you have taken the GMAT exam. You should check the specific policies of your chosen schools because some would even consider the maximum score for each section.

Is 420 a good GMAT score?

No, 420 is not a good GMAT score. With a GMAT score of 420, you are in the bottom 15th percentile among all the applicants who took the test. Therefore, 420 is not considered a good score. For example, if you were at the bottom of the 15th percentile of an academic programme, you may most certainly be not accepted into a university.

Does taking the GMAT multiple times hurt your application?

Yes, taking the GMAT multiple times does hurt your application as long as you are not consistently improving your GMAT scores in each attempt. To ensure that you have enough time and money to take the GMAT more than twice, you should allocate time and money to your study plan.

Which exam do B-schools prefer, GRE or GMAT?

The GRE is a test that students can take to get admission to graduate programmes across practically all subjects, including the MBA. On the other hand, the GMAT is a test that is exclusively created for applicants to business schools. As a result, the GMAT has typically been given preference over the GRE. For more information, check GMAT vs GRE: Which Exam to take for MBA in Abroad Universities?

What do AdComs think about applicants with low GMAT scores?

AdComs think about applicants with low GMAT scores as only one data point in the holistic process of evaluation. As per experts, GMAT scores are just one aspect of the application, and they can be offset by strong academic performances or substantial work experiences.

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