What Is a Good GMAT Score?

Closeup of foosball table representing competition for good GMAT scores

Prepping for the GMAT is hard work! But it’s worth it; a good GMAT score is essential if you want to get into a top MBA program.

However, a good GMAT score is not necessarily the same for every person. In this post, we’ll cover GMAT score percentiles, good GMAT scores for top business schools, how to improve your score, and how to find a good GMAT score for your goals.


Table of Contents


GMAT Scores: Percentiles

The GMAT test score range is from 200 to 800 (the highest GMAT score possible). About half of students score between 400 and 600 on the exam. According to GMAC, the folks who create the GMAT, the GMAT score percentiles reveal the link between GMAT score and percentile of everyone who takes the GMAT.

To start, here are some of the correlations between GMAT score and percentile. If you’re not sure about your score, check out Magoosh’s GMAT score calculator first, then come back!

The mean GMAT score is 564.84.

Percentile Ranking

Sample Size: 695,794
Standard Deviation: 116.34
Data Period: 2017-2019

Notice that 780 and 790 and 800 all mean about the same in the great scheme of things.  What constitutes a “good GMAT score” to some extent depends on what you’re aiming for.

If you score anywhere over 600, you have done better than the majority of folks who take the GMAT — you have an above-average GMAT score but far from a perfect score.  If you score over 600, and certainly if you score over 650, that will be high enough to get you into relatively respectable schools.  But what if you have set your sights higher?

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GMAT Scores for Top Business Schools Infographic


What is a good GMAT score for top business schools?

At the top 10 business schools in America, you need a score of at least 720 to be competitive. Still, even in these top programs, some applicants are accepted with scores lower than 720. And a school’s own stated GMAT score preferences can change from year to year.

The highest GMAT score possible (scaled score) is 800. The Verbal and Quantitative sections also have a scaled score that goes up to 800, and the whole test score is an average of these two section scores. You get these final scores right on test day, immediately after you take the GMAT.

Average GMAT Scores for the “Best Business Schools”

Each year, US News & World Report ranks the “Best Business Schools”, and if you sign up with them, you can get the full information for these schools (tuition, enrollment figures, average GMAT scores, average undergraduate GPA, acceptance rates, and percent of students employed at graduation).  University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) and Stanford University (Booth) top the list.

The 2020 average GMAT scores at these two universities is 733. Remember, those are average GMAT scores, which means that individual scores at each of those schools can be either above or below those numbers. 

How to Compare Your GMAT Score to the Average

After you calculate your GMAT score and it comes out to, say, 740, then it would be above-average for every business school in the world. 

For the other “top ten” schools, the average GMAT scores are between 721 and 734.  If you score above 720, your score is in the territory of the elite schools, and if you score anywhere above 750, your GMAT score is stratospherically high. We’ll go over how a high GMAT score can help or hinder you in the next section. 

For more information on the GMAT scores needed for top business schools, I highly recommend taking a look at our GMAT Scores for Top Business Schools infographic.

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What GMAT score do I need?

Of course, it will depend on what business school you’d like to get into, but here’s a breakdown.

600-700 GMAT Range: Won’t Hurt to Aim Higher

If you are currently at 600, getting up to 650 would be a huge move—a push from the 54th percentile to the 73rd percentile.  If you are at 680, then getting up to 710 would be enormous—crossing the great 700 threshold, moving from top 18% to top 9%.

700-750 GMAT Range: Great Work!

If you already have scored between 700-750, adding another 30 points to your GMAT score really won’t do much for your application—and if all the extra blood & sweat & tears it takes to get that additional 30 points take away from the rest of your application, it’s not worth it.  With a GMAT in the 700-750 zone, you have already abundantly demonstrated that your academic ability is quite sufficient to prosper at Wharton, Sloan, or Kellogg.  There are other dimensions you need to demonstrate as well.

750+ GMAT Range: Amazing! But Make Sure Your Application Has Something More

Once your GMAT score is more than ~700, your “academic achievement” box is checked.  The schools know you can handle the academic load—both a 720 and a 770 make that same basic statement.  What matters after that is whether the rest of your application is well-rounded—whether you’re a good fit and whether you have promising leadership potential. The admissions office will be looking closely at your work experience, your references, your interview, and your essays.

If you have a well-rounded application, then all you need from the GMAT, even for the top schools, is something in the 700+ GMAT test score range. Getting a 750+ GMAT score is a great asset to your application, but if that’s all you have to your credit, you’re just a “one trick pony” as far as elite business schools are concerned.

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Want a higher GMAT score?

What if the hazards of the stratosphere are not your concern? If you have little idea of your own starting point, I would suggest beginning with the Magoosh GMAT Diagnostic Test.

What if your GMAT score is currently in the low 600s and you would like to move to the high 600s or even low 700s?  Read the articles on this free blog and check out our resource recommendations.  We have a series of study schedules you may find helpful — check all the study schedules out here. Learn how to keep a GMAT error log, which will be critical for your GMAT success. Also, read our review of the best GMAT books and resources!  Your personal best GMAT score is not necessarily a perfect score, but it’s what you can do when you are fully prepared and on your game — that’s exactly what Magoosh can do for you!

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So, what’s a good GMAT score for you?

Ultimately, you need to identify the GMAT score you would need to get into your target program or programs. Many students apply to target schools, safety schools, and reach schools. At the very least, you should apply to programs that you have a reasonable chance of getting into. Once you have your list of the schools you’d like to apply to, do some research:

  • Identify your target school
    • Research the programs you’re interested in attending and make a list of the business schools you plan to apply to.
  • Research the program’s application requirements
    • Go to the school’s admissions website and figure out what their application entails. Make note of important application deadlines so that you know how long you have to prepare for your GMAT and complete the rest of your application requirements.
  • Research stats on the program’s most recently admitted class
    • GMAT test score ranges can vary widely from one program to another. Most business schools will openly state the average GMAT score of their recently admitted class on their admissions website. Some even offer GMAT score percentile ranges for the recently admitted class. Start there. You can always subscribe to US News & World Report to get more information if you can’t find it for free.
  • Talk to current students and the admissions committee
    • In addition to learning more about the program and the culture of the school, talking with current students and the admissions committee can help you gain insight into the admissions process. Maybe your chosen program values your essay and recommendation letters more than a top 20% GMAT score. Or maybe you really do need a 720 to get in. Either way, it’s useful to know how things work.
  • Set your target GMAT score
    • In order to increase your chances of admission, you’re going to want to aim for a GMAT score that is higher than the average score of the recently admitted class. If you’re scoring in the 75th percentile of students, then you’re in good shape. If you’re in the 50th percentile, then you’re going to either need to try for a higher score or spend a lot of time perfecting the rest of your application.
  • Prep with your target GMAT score in mind
    • Determine your baseline score, sign up for a prep course, start using a study schedule, take timed practice tests, and be sure to focus your energy on your weaknesses, not on re-affirming your strengths.

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GMAT Scores: Summary

Who knew that determining your “good GMAT score” would be a challenge in and of itself? Hopefully you now have a better idea of how it’s accomplished and can go about researching your target schools and setting your goal GMAT Score.

So tell us: what are your GMAT score aspirations?  What are your plans for the GMAT and for business school? Have you taken the GMAT cost into consideration? (You can get an idea of the GMAT test fee and more in our guide.) What has been your experience in the B-school application process? What about taking the GRE instead? Maybe check out this GMAT to GRE score conversion to see where you would stand. We would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Ready to get an awesome GMAT score? Start here.

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