How is the GMAT Scored ?

How is the GMAT Scored?

How is the GMAT Scored ?

How is the GMAT Scored?

Have you been preparing for the GMAT? If the answer to that question is yes; I am sure that the question of how the different sections are scored is at the back of your mind. Let us try and breakdown the different sections and their respective scores:

  1. The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) is scored between 0 and 6
  2. The Integrated Reasoning Section is scored between 1 and 8
  3. The Verbal and the Quant Section are each scored between 0 and 60
  4. The Overall cumulative GMAT exam total marks, in the Verbal and Quant sections together, is between 200 and 800; which means that you will be given, based on your performance, a score reflective of your performance across the VERBAL and the QUANTS sections. This is what students look for and assess where they stand


What is a GMAT percentile?

A percentile is simply a reflection of where you stand amongst all the scorers. So, if you are the 93rd percentile, it means that you have scored MORE than 93% of those who have taken the GMAT. The scoring is done using a sample drawn from the past three years. In general, the Verbal section is the harder one to score a higher percentile. The average score in the Verbal section is much lower than that of the Quant section. Your goal should be to target a higher percentile: each point in the sections makes a big difference to your percentile, and therefore, your overall score.

From past data, it can be observed that scoring above 44 in the Verbal section dramatically increase your GMAT exam total marks due to the higher percentile that you will lie in. Similarly, scoring above 49 will put you in a good bracket in the Quant section. The cumulative scores are a combination of these scores that are scaled to range between 200 and 800.


I am confident that this thought has crossed your mind at least once. What is ‘adaptive’ scoring? Very simply put, adaptive scoring is a method in which your score adapts based on the level of difficulty of the question answered. The Quantitative and Verbal sections both dynamically adapt. You have to answer 31 questions in the Quant section, and 36 in the Verbal section. Remember that there are no segregated sections within the verbal section (Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension). Questions come from across these sections and have varying difficulty levels.


Every question you answer is based on the level of difficulty of the previous question. Your questions are initially of a moderate level of difficulty, and you ‘STEP-UP’ or ‘STEP-DOWN” a difficulty level based on the correctness of your answer. The GMAC uses a patented software that determines the level of difficulty, and therefore, adaptiveness. Do not try and out-guess the algorithm. Your job is to answer a given question correctly. Over-thinking about the difficulty level of the question will simply take away your focus from what you need to do: ANSWER the given question!

This adaptivity further contributes to your overall score as well. The GMAT uses a formula that helps them convert both your DIFFICULTY level and the NUMBER of correct answers to a FINAL OUTPUT. Again, this would mean that the more difficult the level of questions answered, the greater your score. (I know we are stating the obvious here!)


1. DO NOT leave any question unanswered :

The GMAT simply hates non-attempts.  Leaving a question simply signals that you are running away from a problem. You are penalized heavily for leaving answers; yes, even more than if you get an answer incorrect.

2. Cluster Randomness:

This means that you HAVE NOT learnt or understood a set of questions. Do not constantly mark random answer choices. This will have a great impact on your final score, reducing it by 30-60 points. Cluster errors are viewed negatively, as compared to scattered errors.



    This is the king of the GMAT and a core differentiator between someone who scores a 700 and a 780!. Typically, students who score above 740 know how to calculative answer questions. Have a plan, and stick to it. Remember that you do not need to ANSWER every question to fall into the 90th percentile. The GMAT is literally like a game; the time it well, and play better!


    Know that the first and the last quadrants of the GMAT are important, which does not mean that the other 2 are not. Divide your question set into 4 sub-sections (quadrants) for the verbal and the quants sections. Do not OVER-SPEED or go TOO SLOW in these quadrants. Pacing across the sections is critical.

That’s all about GMAT and its SCORING systems! Talk to us, and get to know more about the world of the MBA!

Also Read : GMAT Tips to follow on the day exam


Share this post

Leave a Reply