When you take the GMAT, often at the test center itself you will get some of your score as soon as you are done with your test. You can choose to receive the full score report electronically or via snail mail. The electronic version will arrive by email within 20 calendar days. The hard-copy report will be snail mailed within 20 calendar days, but given the vagaries of snail mail, may or may not arrive in your snail mail box within 20 calendar days.
You can take the GMAT more than once. You score report will include all GMATs you have taken in the past five years.
What is in the Full GMAT Score Report?
The GMAT Score Report has the following components
1) Your Quantitative Score (0 – 60), with percentile
2) Your Verbal Score (0 – 60), with percentile
3) Your Total GMAT Score (200 – 800), with percentile
4) AWA Score (half-integers from 0 to 6), with percentile
5) As of June 5, 2012, Integrated Reasoning score (integer from 1 to 8)
Item #3, the “Total” score combines your Quantitative and Verbal scores, but doesn’t take any other parts into account.
What is a percentile?
The percentile associated with a particular score is the percent of the population whom you have outscored by getting that score. For example, a total GMAT score of 700 is about the 90th percentile. This means: if you score a 700 on your GMAT, you have done better than 90% of the folks who took the GMAT. (The scoring has been consistent for years, so GMAC can say: it’s not just 90% of the folks who took the GMAT when you took it, but 90% of everyone who took the GMAT in the past three years.) Another way of saying that: scoring above 700 puts you in the top 10% of folks taking the GMAT.
What is a “good” GMAT score?
This is an impossible question to answer in general. In some sense, the answer is: a “good” GMAT score is a score sufficient to help you get into the Business School that is right for you. What makes a Business school “right” for you? A panoply of factors, including location, cost, requirements, the feel of the school, etc.
Obviously, the higher the score, the more options you will probably have, and it may be that, to some extent, you can offset a lower college GPA with a high GMAT score.
It is a fact that a solid test prep source, like Magoosh, can raise your GMAT grade substantially. In fact, Magoosh has a 50 score increase guarantee (http://gmat.magoosh.com/score-guarantee): if you have already taken an official GMAT once, then Magoosh guarantees that if you use the product extensively, your score will increase by at least a minimum of 50 points (many users see much larger increases). That’s extraordinary: that can bring you from 650 (79th percent = top 21%) to 700 (90th percentile = top 10%)!
By all means, strive to do the best you can do, and use effective help like Magoosh. At the same time, it’s important to be realistic about your abilities and the time & energy you have to prepare. If your first GMAT was a 460, then with concerned effort and the support of Magoosh, you will be able to get up into the 500s and maybe even the 600s, but it may be that a GMAT in the high 700s is unrealistic for you, and that’s OK. Always strive for your personal best, but it’s hard to compete with everyone out there. The goal of the GMAT is to get you into Business School, the goal of business school will be to get an MBA, and the goal of an MBA is to get into management positions in the business world. Many folks who are wildly successful in upper management in the business world had less than stellar GMATs and went to unrecognizable unprestigious business schools. Conversely, some folks are brilliant test takers, and ace the GMAT, but then wind up not so successful in the rough and tumble of the business world. Trust the unique combination of gifts and talents you bring, seek to learn the skills that will most complement and bring forth who you are, and learn to recognize the environments in which you can most effectively thrive. Do the best you can do on the GMAT, and trust that this will be good enough to lead you to where you need to be in the big picture.