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Many schools use GMAT scores to judge if you will academically cope within a business or management program. They are used to determine your mathematical and verbal skills. Normally the GMAT scores are only part of the application process and taken into account along with grade point averages, recommendations, interviews, work experience, and essays.
The GMAT creators recommend that scores be used by schools to:
• Assist in the selection of suitable applicants for study programs.
• Assist in the selection of suitable applicants for financial help based on the academic potential.
• Assist in counseling or guidance.
It is also recommended that graduate programs do not use cutoff scores as it may exclude applicants from educational, social, and environmentally disadvantaged backgrounds.
GMAT score averages vary yearly, but the international GMAT average is 570. There are no passes or fails, or minimum scores. It depends on the school you apply to on what they require as part of the application process on what score it finds acceptable. A guide is that for the top 50 graduate programs, the average GMAT score across them is 660.
Here is an example of some of the top MBA programs and their average GMAT score:
• Harvard – 720
• Stanford – 720
• Wharton – 710
• Sloan – 710
• Yale – 710
Some of the lower ranked MBA programs have acceptable scores as low as 400, but it varies depending on the school and the program. But for top ranking schools, you need 650 or higher. You will need an even higher GMAT score if you do not have demonstrable work experience, leadership skills, or other outstanding contributions to field in other areas.
Having an acceptable GMAT score alone will not guarantee you entry to any graduate program. On the other hand, a lower score may not be the end of your application either as a successful application is based on a range of fields.
Schools do not officially set a passing score as they do not want to discourage those with lower score from applying. There are some graduate programs with minimum scores, but they are so low that there are few students accepted at that level.
If you want to enter a graduate program that requires GMAT scores as part of the application, then spend up to three months preparing to sit the GMAT.
Examples of minimum GMAT scores include:
• East Carolina University – 400 (450 if GPA is lower than 3.5)
• University of Washington, Seattle – 500
• Kansas State University – 500
The GMAT has come to be known as being a reliable measure of you verbal and quantitative abilities and these are related to how you may succeed in an academic curriculum over a long period of time.
School admissions committees assess your GMAT scores to judge whether your academic ability is enough to succeed in their program. So while a top score will not guarantee you entry to any school of your choice, a poor score can almost guarantee to keep you out. If your scores are not good enough, you can take your GMAT again.
You can take the GMAT as often as you like, but only once in a calendar month. Do keep in mind, that when you apply to a graduate school your last three scores are forwarded to them for assessment.
If you are considering retaking the GMAT, here are some things to think about:
• Your performance on the GMAT in relation to your realistic academic potential.
• Whether your schools of interest look at only your highest score or if they average all of them out.
• Whether you have time to retake the test before the application deadline.
Keep in mind that the GMAT score is only one part of the criteria required for application to a graduate program. Your application is also assessed on your professional experience, commitment, and other activities. Graduate program committees use the GMAT scores because they apply the same standards to everyone who takes the test, which makes the GMAT scores reliable in assessing everyone who applies.