Many universities in the US, Europe and other parts of the world make the GMAT an essential requirement and have set criteria for the GMAT scores. However, different business schools have varying requirements and it is essential that you fully understand this process before applying for your Master's programme.

The GMAT measures a person’s ability “to think critically, to communicate ideas in writing, to evaluate information presented in multiple formats from multiple sources, to analyse data and draw conclusions using reasoning skills, to read and understand written material, to evaluate arguments, and to correct written material to conform to standard written English”.

The GMAT has four sections - Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative and Verbal. The combined score of the Quantitative and the Verbal sections is between 200 and 800. The other two sections are scored separately using different scales.

Read more about the structure and scoring of the GMAT 

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What is a good GMAT score?

A good GMAT score would be a score of 600 and above. However, if you want an excellent GMAT score, then you would have to score over 700. The 50 top-ranking business schools usually expect a score of 660 or more, yet this may vary from business school to business school.

GMAT Scores That Can Get You into an MBA

The latest average GMAT scores of students admitted to Harvard Business School is 727, the average for Stanford Business School is 732, and the average for University of Chicago Booth School of Business is 723 for their full-time MBA programmes. While some schools have a requirement for a minimum GMAT, others simply give the score range of the admitted students. Interestingly enough, the range at HBS is quite wide – from 510 to 790!

The average for an EMBA programme is lower than that for a full-time MBA and many business schools such as New York University Stern Business School do not even emphasise GMAT scores for admission into an EMBA programme. The average GMAT score required for an EMBA programme in top business schools in the US is 640-650.

The average GMAT score for European universities is slightly lower than that required in the US. The average score required for London Business School is 698, for IE Business School it is 680, and for the University of Oxford it is 698 for a full-time MBA programme. The GMAT scores for an EMBA programme are lower than the average seen in full-time MBA programmes. EMBA students do not necessarily have a GMAT requirement in Europe and the UK, and scores for top programmes range anywhere from 720 to as low as 600.

Not many Australian universities require a GMAT score as they use other criteria for analysing a candidate’s competence. However, some MBA programmes do require a GMAT score, such as Macquarie Graduate School of Management which has the highest average GMAT score, in the region of 680.

Business schools usually give importance to all parts of the GMAT test and appreciate a balanced score. It must be noted that even if you have a good composite score, if there is a large gap between your verbal and quantitative scores, this may serve as a hindrance in gaining admission to top schools. Hence, it is best to ensure that you demonstrate the best of both abilities equally, instead of only focusing on one.

The weight of the GMAT score

The good news? The good news is that, although the GMAT is an important element of the application package, top international business schools also look at other aspects such as extracurricular activities, talents, social service, interests and personality when choosing to diversify their next MBA class. Hence, if you want to get into Harvard, you may have a top chance of making it if you have a good GMAT score, a good academic record, and an exceptional profile of activities and aspirations to show them. The GMAT helps a lot when applying for merit-based scholarships as well. And scholarships are not only about the money, as they also bring you prestige.

Last but not least, while doing your GMAT may seem like a troublesome ordeal and you may really not be looking forward to it, a high score is very achievable as long as you put in hard work and determination.

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