The GMAT is an exam that students take in order to prove their proficiency in terms of quantitative, verbal, integrated reasoning, and analytical writing skills. The aforementioned skills are extremely relevant for management programs at the graduate level. This exam opens doors previously locked, and paves the way towards an MBA from the best universities and b-schools in the world. Coming to the crux – How is the GMAT Scored and what do the Score Reports entail? This crux has left many students perplexed, which is why they go online and try to find the answer.
We at Galvanize, seek to demystify this question, and illuminate the path ahead to understanding GMAT Scoring. Let us dive in!
Before we start, here is an excellent guide that talks about GMAT vs GRE, in terms of business programs and which exam scores are preferable for the same.
What is the GMAT Syllabus?
GMAT Quant Section
The syllabus comprises:
- Data Interpretation
In fact, the Quant section of most standardized tests comprises these topics.
GMAT Quant is considered to be quite difficult (but definitely crack-able!), and focusses on analytical skills. A calculator is not provided in the test.
GMAT Quant comprises two sub-sections – The Quant Section and the Integrated Reasoning Section. The Quant Section contains two types of questions: Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency Questions (where you’ll have to decide whether the given data is sufficient to solve the question posed). The Integrated Reasoning Section will contain 4 question types – Table Analysis, Multi-Source Reasoning, Two-part Analysis, and Graphics Interpretation. The IR Section will require analysis of data from multiple sources in order to solve problems. It requires a combination of high order thinking, logic, and data interpretation.
Total Number of Questions: 31 Questions.
Duration: 62 minutes in total.
Score Range: 0-80 for Quant; 1-8 for IR.
GMAT Verbal places more emphasis on Grammar
GMAT Verbal tends to focus more on grammar. There is only 1 question type in the Verbal Section – MCQs. Let us look at the topics tested:
- Reading Comprehension
- Critical Reasoning
- Sentence Correction – This is unique to the GMAT. You will be given a sentence, with a certain part of the sentence highlighted for inspection. You will need to pick from 5 options, to determine which option fits best with the highlighted portion of the sentence, in order to produce a logical and meaningful sentence.
Total Number of Questions: 36 questions
Duration: 65 minutes in total.
Score Range: 0-60 (Scaled).
AWA or Analytical Writing Assessment, is a task where you will be required to write an essay based on your analysis of a given prompt, reasoning, or argument presented.
GMAT AWA – 30 minutes
How is the GMAT Scored?
Let us first look at the role of the adaptive nature of the test. Is it significant in terms of GMAT Scores?
Role of the adaptive nature of the GMAT in your GMAT Scores
I hope most of you are aware of the fact that the GMAT (particularly the Verbal and the Quant Sections) is an adaptive test. Simply put – you will start each section or sub-section with questions of normal difficulty. as you progress further and get these questions right, the level of difficulty of the following questions increases; if you get the questions wrong, the level of difficulty drops.
The level of difficulty dropping isn’t a good thing, because your GMAT Score will depend not only on how many questions you get right, but also on the difficulty level of the questions answered. As you progress, the GMAT Algorithm will determine your proficiency, and provide you with questions matching your proficiency.
Note: Answering difficult or ‘high-level’ questions will contribute to a higher score than answering easy questions of the same number. This is why it is so crucial to get those first few questions right, as they allow you to access the higher-level questions, and give you a shot at higher scores.
Now, let us move on to the actual Scores that we will see.
Breaking down the GMAT Score Report | GMAT scoring chart
Your GMAT Scores are reported on a fixed scale on the Official GMAT Score Report. If any of you have been lurking in highly useful forums such as the GMAT club (seriously, go check them out!), you will have some inkling of the fact that it isn’t just your total score that matters. Your scores within sections also matter to universities and b-schools, as they offer insights into your weaknesses and strengths in terms of Quant, Verbal, IR, and AWA.
So, without further ado, here is the breakdown of your GMAT Score Report:
How is the Score determined?
0 - 60 (in 10-point increments)
Your Score is based on:
1 - 60 (in 10-point increments)
Your Score is based on:
Integrated Reasoning Section
1 - 8 (in 1-point increments)
Your Score is based on the number of questions you answer correctly (if a question comprises multiple parts, you will need to answer all the parts correctly
Analytical Writing Assessment
0 - 6 (in 0.5-point increments)
Scored by professionals and a machine algorithm
200 - 800 (in 10-point increments)
Your total scores are based on your scores from the Quant and Verbal Sections
Your final GMAT Score on the 800-point scale is based on your scaled scores in the Quant and Verbal Sections of the GMAT. For example, if you got V47 and Q49, your GMAT Score would be ~770/800, which is outstanding.
To know about the GMAT Syllabus, click here!
What about GMAT Percentiles?
Next to your report, you will also be able to see your GMAT Score percentile. This is way for you to compare your scores to that of other candidates. For example, if your GMAT percentile was 97%, it means that you have performed better than 97% of the candidates who took the test. The GMAT calculates percentiles based on 3-years of GMAT Scores!
Another point to note: GMAT takers typically score high in the Quant Section compared to the Verbal Section. So do not be alarmed if your Quant Percentile seems ‘low’.
It is always a good idea to study well and do your best, but always remember to learn the system of the GMAT and boost your score through the system. To put it simply, the GMAT is a game and a complex puzzle. Rote-learning will not get you far in this exam. To win, you need to be logical, think analytically, and be familiar with the scoring system and adaptive nature of the test. Take lots of mocks, plug in knowledge gaps, and do your best.
Note: Do NOT guess answers on the GMAT blindly. There is a difference between an educated guess, and a blind one.
A ‘good’ GMAT Score varies according to the university or b-school in question. A ‘universally good’ GMAT Score is around 750. This score is extremely good, and opens up opportunities at the best b-schools in the world.
Upon the completion of your GMAT, you will receive an unofficial score report containing your Verbal, Quant and IR Scores. You can choose whether to accept these scores or cancel them depending on how satisfied you are. Your fully detailed Official GMAT Score Report will be sent to you within 3 weeks.
We at Galvanize hope this article helped you out. To know all about the best b-schools in the UK, click here!
Written by Saahil R Bhatt.
What is a good GMAT Score?
Ans: To get into top B-schools across the world, a score of 700 should suffice. On top of this, you will need balanced Verbal and Quant Scores, with at least a V45 and a Q45 to put you in a competitive position. About 12% of GMAT test takers score above 700, so that is how high the benchmark is.
How many mistakes can I afford to make in the GMAT?
Ans: To put it simply – None. Do not go in with this mindset at all, for it can prove to be detrimental to your scores. Aim for the best and prepare hard. However, as a general strategy, you can afford to make mistakes in about 7 Verbal Questions and 6 Quant Questions. If you get everything else right, you can definitely get a score above 700.
How long should I study for the GMAT?
Ans: This is definitely subjective, and will depend a lot on your background. If you come from a STEM background, you will know most of the Quant Syllabus already, which means you may need to spend more time on familiarising yourself with the patterns and question types of the exam rather than start afresh. If you are someone who is strong in Verbal, then your primary focus will be that of completing and mastering the Quant syllabus. Top scores generally spend more than 120+ hours studying for the test. If you are working full-time, we suggest starting your preparation a year before wanting to take the test.
How long will my GMAT Scores be valid for?
Ans. Your GMAT scores will be valid for 5 years, which is a huge advantage in terms of your long-term career goals.
What is the difference between the Official and Unofficial GMAT Score?
Ans. Upon the completion of your test, you will immediately receive an unofficial score card, which is around 90% similar to your Official Score card. You will get to know your Quant and Verbal Scores immediately, and can get an idea of whether you’ve made it, or whether you will need to take another attempt. Your Official Scores will be sent to you within a week or 10 days after your GMAT.
To know more about the GMAT itself, kindly visit mba.com