GMAT test-takers are getting better. Again.
A few days ago, the GMAC revised their official percentile rankings for the GMAT exam. For those of you who don’t know, your GMAT score isn’t just a number. It’s also a comparison that links you to thousands of other test takers over the years.
Percentile rank shows how your score compares to the scores of other test takers, and each year the GMAC recalibrates scores’ ranks.
Below are the official GMAT percentiles. The 2013 percentiles are in pale blue.
The good news is that the mean score for verbal fell slightly, which means that students aiming for the top 20% now only need a verbal score of 36 rather than 37.
However, the mean quant score rose significantly. If test-takers are trying to achieve a score in the top 20% in quant, they would need a score of between 50-60. It’s alsoimportant to note that the average total GMAT score has risen as well. As of 2014, the average GMAT score is 547.35. To put that in perspective, the average GMAT score in 2011 was 540. In 2007, it was 530.
We’ve seen a few different explanations for this verbal/quant discrepancy. This is not, as some might think, due to a change in the test itself. Instead, it’s due to the people taking the test. Over half of GMAT test-takers are international students, and many of them come from engineering or I.T. backgrounds. This influx has changed the GMAT score distribution and led to a higher mean Quant score.
It’s a relatively small change, but business schools do use percentiles to evaluate candidates’ GMAT scores. The pool of GMAT test-takers is getting more and more competitive, and candidates (whether right or wrong) feel as though they must become a member of the “700 club” to have a chance at one of the top business schools.
While the change in average percentiles does make the GMAT a little bit more competitive, GMAT score is only one of many factors that admissions officers consider when reviewing applicants.
Of course, if the mean score increase makes you feel like you want an extra boost, download our GMAT prep app for a bit of extra practice!