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How to make sense of Average, Median and Middle 80% GMAT Score?

GMAT ScoreYou have worked hard for the GMAT for the past 3-4 Months and finally received the official GMAT score. Let us look at how to compare your score against the School’s GMAT data.

Most Business Schools will have three data points when it comes to GMAT Score – Average GMAT Score, Median GMAT Score and Middle 80% GMAT Score.

Middle 80% GMAT Score
When the GMAT scores in a class is represented by a Bell-Curve, the middle 80% is the area in the middle section that excludes the 10% area on the left and the 10% on the right. In short, it represents the range of scores represented by the majority of the class.
 
Case 1: GMAT Score = 680 (Columbia MBA Aspirant)

When you look at the Middle 80% GMAT Range, a range of 680-760 represents the latest Columbia MBA Class. Although you don’t have the lowest GMAT score compared to the latest class, the score falls in the lowest range among the majority of students.

Median GMAT Score

When you arrange the GMAT score of the class from lowest to highest, the score in the absolute middle represent the Median GMAT Score. 

Case 2: GMAT Score= 700 (Harvard MBA Aspirant)

The latest Harvard MBA Class profile shows the median GMAT at 730. The applicant is below the median score by 30 points. Unfortunately, knowing the total GMAT Range would not be useful. Let us assume that the middle 80 % GMAT range is 680-760.  The Harvard MBA Aspirant is above the lower limit of the middle 80% GMAT range by 20 points but below the median by 30 and below the upper limit of the middle 80% GMAT by 60 points. The GMAT score is a weak element for the applicant.

Average GMAT Score


The least useful data from the three is the Average GMAT Score, especially if the GMAT Scores has a wide range. For top Business Schools, students have a close GMAT range. In such case, the average GMAT score would be closer to the median. If a school does not provide the median score but instead publishes the Middle 80% and Average GMAT Score, look at the range of the Middle 80%. It will give an indication whether the average GMAT score is a metric that you can compare along with Middle 80% range.

Golden Rules

a) If you GMAT score falls below the median or mean GMAT by over 30 points, then it is a sign of trouble. Think about retaking the GMAT after you have spent 1 month writing the first draft of the essays. It will also give you a 1-month break to recuperate and come back much stronger.

b) GMAT scores that are equal or higher than the median is a good score.

c) GMAT scores that are higher than the average/mean GMAT score by 10-20 points is a good score.

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