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GMAT Focus Score Chart 2024: A Comprehensive Guide for Test Takers 

What is the GMAT Focus Edition? 

The current GMAT Focus Edition, which is taken primarily by applicants to MBA programs, is an exam with three sections: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Data Insights. The original GMAT exam was updated in early 2024 to this current version, which is two hours and 15 minutes long and includes 64 questions. 

Section details are as follows, per GMAC:

Exam Section Number of questions Time length
Quantitative Reasoning 2145 min
Verbal Reasoning 2345 min
Data Insights 2045 min

What is the scoring breakdown for the GMAT Focus Edition?

Total Scores for the exam range from 205 to 805, and all Total Scores end in 5. Section scores range from 60 to 90. Comparing your final scores to these ranges should give you a clear indication of where you are strong and areas where you can improve.      

Total Score
Score range: 205–805
Score intervals: 10
Standard error of measurement: 30–40 points
Quantitative Reasoning Score
Score range: 60–90
Score intervals: 1
Standard error of measurement: 3 points
Verbal Reasoning Score
Score range: 60–90
Score intervals: 1
Standard error of measurement: 3 points
Data Insights Score
Score range: 60–90
Score intervals: 1
Standard error of measurement: 3 points

How does GMAT scoring work?

The GMAT is a computer adaptive test, which means that your score is calculated with an algorithm that adjusts the difficulty level of the questions you receive based on your performance as you proceed through the exam. In other words, you essentially receive increasingly difficult test questions as you perform better and less difficult ones when you answer questions incorrectly. In this way, the exam aims to identify your precise ability level.

Your final GMAT scores take into account not just how many questions you got correct and incorrect but also the difficulty level of each question you answered. Your overall score is based on your results on all three sections, weighted equally. 

Overall GMAT Scoring and Section Subscores

Each section has a final subscore of 60–90, and all three sections combine to create the overall 205–805 Total Score that is most often cited by test takers and business schools. 

How can I tell whether a score is for the GMAT Focus or the previous version of the GMAT? 

The previous version of the GMAT was retired on January 31, 2024. The scoring scale was previously 200–800, so if you see GMAT Total Scores that end in zero, those are for the older version of the GMAT. All GMAT Focus scores end in five, making them easily distinguishable from scores for the previous version of the test. 

What other changes were made to the GMAT when it became the GMAT Focus? 

Additional changes that were made to the GMAT when it was relaunched as the GMAT Focus are as follows:

  • The exam was shortened. 
  • Percentiles were recalibrated based on more recent test-taker trends. 
  • The IR (Integrated Reasoning) and AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment) sections were eliminated. 
  • The Data Insights section, which is similar to the previous IR section, is now an equally weighted section that factors into a test taker’s overall score. 
  • Content areas were revised (e.g Sentence Corrections questions were eliminated) to better focus on skills necessary for business school, such as critical thinking, data analysis, and problem-solving. 
  • The Question Review & Edit feature was added, allowing test takers to revisit and adjust their responses, if needed.

Learn even more about the GMAT Focus here.

What happens if I do not finish a section on the GMAT or leave questions blank? 

You will be penalized for any unanswered questions on the GMAT Focus. Managing your time appropriately is therefore important, and you should make a strategic guess if you are unsure about or stuck on a particular question to reduce the impact of this penalty. 

Can I go back to previous questions on the GMAT? 

Yes, the current GMAT Focus Edition allows you to mark a particular question and return to it later while you are still in that section. You can review any question and edit up to three answers in a final Question Review & Edit screen, as long as you still have time remaining at the end of the section. Just be sure to allocate time to return to those questions!

Which parts of my GMAT score are most important? 

Your Total Score (205–805) is the most important in the MBA admissions process. This score will affect your MBA program’s class average, and the admissions committees use this score in their efforts to predict your level of success in their program. So even though you want to maximize your scores in all three sections, any number of score combinations can result in the same Total Score. 

However, because the MBA is a quantitative degree in nature, a very low GMAT Quant subscore could become a red flag or concern for a candidate in a competitive application environment. 

What is a “good” GMAT score? 

Two key considerations influence what would be considered a “good” GMAT score: 

  1. Percentiles 
  2. Average score(s) at your target school(s) 

To see how your specific overall and subscores compare to those of other test takers, you can reference the latest percentiles, which are compiled by GMAC, the organization that administers the GMAT. 

GMAT percentiles

GMAT Focus Total Score Percentiles courtesy of mba.com

ScoreMean ScorePercentile Ranking
8050%
755100%
705100%
65599%
60593%
555546.0175%
50553%
45531%
40517%
3558%
3053%
2551%
2050%

Percentiles reveal how your score compares with those of everyone who has taken the exam globally. Scoring at the 50th percentile means that you have scored higher than 50% of test takers. Currently, a 90th percentile Total Score would equate to about a 655, for reference. Average scores at the top U.S. full-time MBA programs (such as Harvard Business School, the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Wharton, and Columbia Business School) have typically been around the 95th percentile (meaning that only the top 5% of test takers score at this level), which currently is approximately 675.

Average GMAT scores at specific MBA programs

Be sure to also research what the average test score is at each of your target programs. Your admissions chances will be higher if your score is equal to or higher than the averages at your intended schools. 

You can find the average test score at your target programs in several places online, including in the Class Profile for each individual program. 

2023 GMAT Ranges at the Top U.S. B-Schools compiled by Poets&Quants

P&Q 2024 RankSchoolGMAT AverageGMAT RangeGMAT 80% Range
1Stanford738630-790NA
2Harvard740*500-790NA
3Dartmouth Tuck726630-800NA
4Columbia730610-790700-760
5Yale SOM720*NA680-760
6Duke Fuqua716NA670-760
8Virginia Darden716NA680-750
9Michigan Ross719NA670-760
10NYU Stern732650-780700-760
11Chicago Booth728600-780NA
12Northwestern Kellogg731620-780NA
13UCLA Anderson710NA640-760
14MIT Sloan730*NA700-760
15UC-Berkeley Haas733NA680-770
16CMU Tepper705NA650-750
17Washington Foster710*NA660-740
19Texas McCombs704NA670-740
21Vanderbilt Owen687NA640-730
22USC Marshall722NA681-760
24Georgetown McDonough695NA630-743
27Georgia Tech Scheller694NA640-722

Search on U.S. News & World Report for average test scores. 

Keep in mind that the scores you will find on either of these resources might still be for the previous version of the GMAT (using the 200–800 scale). 

How do I compare a previous GMAT score with a newer GMAT Focus Edition score? 

GMAC offers a Concordance Table on its website that shows the correlation between scores on the previous version of the GMAT and those on the new GMAT Focus. Note that these are subject to change and that percentiles are also updated annually. 

View GMAT and GMAT Focus Concordance Tables.

What question types and skills are tested on the GMAT?

Question types within Verbal Reasoning include Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension. The Verbal section of the exam aims to assess your ability to read and understand material, and to evaluate arguments and reason logically. 

All question types within the Quantitative Reasoning section are considered Problem Solving questions. Topics covered in the Quant section include number properties, arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. This section aims to assess your knowledge of algebra and arithmetic, as well as your analytical thinking skills. 

Question types within Data Insights include Data Sufficiency, Multi-Source Reasoning, Table Analysis, Graphics Interpretation, and Two-Part Analysis. This section aims to assess how you work with data in real-world situations. 

Overall, the GMAT also tests your ability to analyze and work with data, work with incomplete information, communicate, make decisions, and manage your time under pressure. 

How do schools use GMAT scores in the MBA admissions process? 

Business schools look at your GMAT score, in combination with your undergraduate performance (overall GPA as well as specifics on your transcripts), to predict your ability to handle the academic rigor of their MBA program. 

MBA admissions decisions are holistic and take into account many factors, including a candidate’s test score(s), academic background, work experience, leadership potential, recommender insight, extracurricular involvement, career goals, and fit with the program.  GMAT scores alone will not get an applicant accepted to a program, but scoring well below the program’s average can certainly hold an applicant back and become a roadblock to acceptance. In addition, you will often be competing for a space in the class with many other well-qualified candidates who are also submitting strong test scores, so to maximize your chances, you want to score as high as possible on your test. 

When should I take the GMAT, and how long should I take to prepare for it?

GMAT scores are valid for five years, so even if you are not planning to apply to business school for several more years, taking the exam sooner rather than later can be beneficial. Create a time frame for studying for and taking the exam that works with your professional and personal schedule. 

Most candidates spend two to four months preparing for the GMAT. You might consider taking a preparation course and/or working with a tutor, which can help strengthen your quantitative and verbal foundations and maximize your score. 

A thorough prep course will provide the following:

  • Foundational content you must review to do well on test day (e.g., number properties, algebra)
  • Specific strategies for approaching each question type and for times you get stuck 
  • Realistic practice in the form of full-length computer adaptive exams to ensure that you are ready for the actual test experience 

Test Prep Tips to maximize your GMAT score

Follow these tips to give yourself the best chance of achieving your target GMAT score: 

  • Give yourself two to four months to prepare (on average, top scorers prepare for more than 80 hours).
  • Set a study plan and stick to it (e.g., two to three hours a day, four or five days a week, for two or three months).
  • Take five to eight full practice exams before test day. 
  • Do not study the day before the test; give yourself a mental break.

Read tips on how to analyze your GMAT practice problems.

Should I retake the GMAT? 

Retaking the GMAT is not something you need to avoid, because business schools will use your highest score when evaluating you for admission. We therefore recommend that you consider retaking the exam if you feel you can improve your score and/or you scored below your desired target for your intended business schools. 

Taking the exam more than once is relatively common. Be aware that you must wait 16 days between exams, and build that into your timeline as you plan ahead. 

If you have taken the GMAT exam and hope to improve your score, we recommend purchasing GMAC’s Enhanced Score Report, which will reveal the question types and subject areas in which you most need to improve. 

Do I actually need to take the GMAT? Are alternatives to the GMAT available?

The vast majority of business schools currently require that you take either the GMAT or the GRE exam and submit your score as part of your application. Schools generally do not have a preference between the two exams (GMAT or GRE), so you should take the exam on which you feel you would score higher and that would help present you in the strongest possible light as an applicant. 

We recommend that you take a free online practice exam (available on each respective test developer’s website) early in your test preparation process to assess your comfort level with both exam options and generate a rough starting score, and then use that experience to determine which test to focus on. Note that some candidates actually take both exams to see which one they ultimately perform better on (there is a large proportion of overlap in the subject areas covered). 

If you have taken a practice exam for both the GMAT and the GRE and are still unsure as to which one to focus on, or if you just need additional advice related to your test preparation, contact us to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with one of our experienced MBA admissions consultants, who can offer valuable input on your situation. We offer these complimentary advice consultations on a weekly basis across multiple time zones. 

What about the Executive Assessment? 

A small but growing number of full-time MBA programs also accept a third admissions exam, the Executive Assessment (EA). The EA was created by the same organization that produces the GMAT and was initially intended for candidates applying for Executive MBA (EMBA) programs. The EA is accepted as an alternative to the GMAT or GRE at several elite U.S. full-time MBA programs, including Columbia Business School, NYU Stern, UVA Darden, Duke Fuqua, Texas McCombs, and Georgetown McDonough. 

View a full list of programs that accept the EA, according to GMAC

What about GMAT/GRE test waivers? 

Some MBA programs have begun offering test waivers for applicants who either cannot take an exam or feel they have sufficient evidence to otherwise demonstrate their quantitative, analytical, and verbal reasoning skills. If you are considering applying for a test waiver, you must review the specific requirements outlined by the school in question, because policies tend to vary widely. In general, you will need to provide evidence that proves your abilities via past academics, work experience, and/or certifications or other graduate degrees. 

Read more about test waivers and who should consider them.

Check out our list of top U.S. programs, test requirements, and waiver offerings.* 

(*Subject to change; we recommend that you review each school’s policy for the most up-to-date info on its requirements and options.)

Can I still take the previous version of the GMAT exam? 

No. As of January 31, 2024, the previous version of the GMAT exam is no longer offered. The GMAT Focus Edition is the only GMAT exam option. 

How do I choose the best exam option?

The GMAT has historically been the primary exam taken by applicants to MBA programs and to some specialized master’s degree programs in finance, management, and other business disciplines. However, today, the GRE is also accepted by most global business schools, and some programs, particularly in the United States, accept the EA as well, or even a test waiver in specific instances. 

We encourage you to be intentional when deciding which test to take. Try several practice tests initially, research your target school requirements, and then determine which exam is the best fit for you and your situation. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions you might have along the way.

Hear more advice on determining which test to take for MBA applications.

Have questions about your specific GMAT test plan or MBA application profile? 

Sign up for a complimentary, 30-minute consultation at your convenience.



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