GMAT score

Hey WSO,

I have a target to undertake the GMAT after the summer. I am still unclear how the scoring is defined and totaled, and what the adcoms view in the application process. Is the complete score (200-800) the total of the verbal and quant score and, therefore, the ir and writing tasks meaningless? Does this vary across schools?

Comments (11)

Feb 8, 2019 - 4:45pm

Hi Maxwell,

Most schools look at both the total and the quant and verbal scores individually. In general, the AWA (unless you're applying to Rotman) is looked at on the margins. In other words if it's really bad and you're borderline, it could hurt. The IR is pretty similar. They are not meaningless, but for most applicants they are less important than the total, the quant, and the verbal.

It does vary somewhat by school. For example INSEAD will use your highest verbal and highest quant, and it looks more closely at the individual scores than most programs.

Bottom line though is that it all counts.

Linda Abraham President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting
  • 1
Feb 22, 2019 - 10:33am

If you are shooting to get into a top MBA program, your 42Q score will likely give adcom some concern. That said, if you studied engineering, economics or some quantitative subject undergrad and have a solid (3.5+ GPA) they may not worry. The 4AWA and 5IR will neither help nor hurt you. It is likely worth you actually putting some time behind Q prep and the AWA and IR and taking the test again. A 730 with a 47 or 48Q would look way better than the 42Q.

Susan Cera Director of MBA Admissions Stratus Admissions Counseling - FREE Profile Evaluation -
  • 1
Feb 22, 2019 - 11:30am

Hi LeonTree,

That is a solid, competitive score if you are applying to top MBA programs. I also saw your additional info and it too is competitive at top programs. As I'm sure you realize, schools will also want to see leadership, impact, and fit. I wouldn't worry about the "no name boutique." as long as you can show contribution.

You might be interested in a webinar I'm giving in a couple of weeks: 7 Steps to MBA Acceptance in 2020 .

Linda Abraham President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting
Most Helpful
Feb 8, 2019 - 4:47pm

The complete score (out of 800) is driven by just the verbal and quant subscores. The IR score has now been around long enough that admissions committees are finally able to understand what the score means in terms of how a candidate will perform in their program. In fact, in a conversation last summer with an admissions director from Wharton, I learned that Wharton has analyzed IR scores and discovered that they are be best indicator of success in the MBA program. READ: if you tank the overall but score well on IR you can be a contender at Wharton.

I spent ~10 years reading applications at Duke Fuqua. If I saw someone who did well overall (720+) on the GMAT but had terrible IR and/or writing scores, it would give me pause.

Although the writing and IR don't play into the rankings, they are definitely something that adcom pays attention to.

Susan Cera Director of MBA Admissions Stratus Admissions Counseling - FREE Profile Evaluation -
  • 2
Feb 22, 2019 - 10:06am

Hi susan.cera - Could you define "terrible IR" ?

I'm considering applying 1st round come summer/fall and have been stressing over my IR: 4
For reference - GMAT Score: 730 (Q:49 V:41)

I'm naturally not happy with it given my scores on the practice tests were 6-8, but I'm also a year removed from taking the GMAT.

Feb 22, 2019 - 10:19am
Susan Cera Director of MBA Admissions Stratus Admissions Counseling - FREE Profile Evaluation -
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