Tag: score reports

2015 GMAT Percentile Rankings

GMAT Percentile RankingsEvery year, the Graduate Management Admission Council updates the percentile rankings associated with different GMAT scores. Although your actual scores don’t change, the percentiles on your score reports are updated to reflect the latest three-years of data from live GMAT administrations. The GMAC recently released its latest percentile rankings, reflecting data from July 2012 through June 2015.

Percentile rankings indicate the percent of test-takers who score below a given score. In the tables below, we show data for the three-years ending June 2015 and the prior data for the three-years ending June 2014. For your convenience, we have highlighted the specific changes. Read more about the meaning of percentile rankings on our About the GMAT page. You can access the latest full percentile ranking tables at MBA.com.

Overview of Changes in Percentile Rankings

As expected, there are no drastic changes to the percentile rankings, only minor shifts. The AWA percentile rankings are completely unchanged. There are just minor shifts in the Integrated Reasoning and Verbal percentile rankings.

The most noticeable change is the slightly higher mean average overall GMAT score accompanied by a slight shift downward in percentile rankings corresponding to a given score. This is driven by similar changes in the Quantitative percentile rankings. As test-takers from math-proficient countries such as China and India continue to make up a larger proportion of the test-taking population, it becomes harder to achieve a high-ranking in the Quantitative section. To illustrate, consider that a Quant score of 50 (out of 51 for all practical purposes) translates only into an 87% ranking.

Data from 2015 GMAT Percentile Rankings

Scores Halfway Mean Median 70th %ile 90th %ile
AWA 3.0 = 6% 4.34 = 30% 4.5 = 44% 5.0 = 60% 6.0 = 92%
IR 5 = 53% 4.32 = 43% 5 = 53% 6 = 67% 8 = 92%
Verbal 30 = 58% 27.1 = 46% 28 = 50% 34 = 71% 40 = 91%
Quantitative 30 = 22% 38.3 = 39% 42 = 50% 47 = 67% 50 = 87%
Overall 500 = 30% 550.1 = 44% 570 = 50% 630 = 70% 700 = 89%

Note: Percentiles for mean scores are estimates.

Data from 2014 GMAT Percentile Rankings

Scores Halfway Mean Median 70th %ile 90th %ile
AWA 3.0 = 6% 4.34 = 30% 4.5 = 44% 5.0 = 60% 6.0 = 92%
IR 5 = 52% 4.33 = 42% 5 = 52% 6 = 67% 8 = 92%
Verbal 30 = 58% 27.0 = 46% 28 = 51% 34 = 71% 40 = 91%
Quantitative 30 = 22% 38.0 = 41% 42 = 51% 47 = 68% 50 = 88%
Overall 500 = 31% 547.4 = 44% 570 = 51% 630 = 71% 700 = 89%

Note: Percentiles for mean scores are estimates.

GMAT Policy Changes – Cancelled Scores

Cancelled ScoresThe Graduate Management Admission Council announced two significant changes to GMAT policies. Both of these changes, which take effect July 19, are beneficial to GMAT test takers.

Attempts with Cancelled Scores Not Shown

After completing the GMAT, a test taker is shown her scores and has two minutes in which to decide whether to keep or cancel those scores. If she chooses to cancel the scores, her score report currently indicates a cancelled GMAT attempt with a “C” notation. Effective July 19, score reports will no longer show test attempts in which users cancelled their scores. The GMAC will retroactively apply this change to all previously cancelled scores. This policy change does not affect score cancellations generated by the GMAC, such as those due to technical issues or policy violations.

Reduced GMAT Waiting Period

Currently you can take the GMAT a subsequent time only after a 31-day gap. This waiting period will be reduced to 16 days effective July 19. As before, you are limited to a maximum of five GMAT attempts in any 12-month period. Frankly, we cannot imagine why anyone would want to take the GMAT more often than that.

Why Were These Changes Made?

The GMAC said that it received feedback from test takers that business schools may negatively perceive cancelled scores, and that test takers therefore wanted this change. Since candidates may cancel their GMAT scores for a variety of reasons, removal of score cancellations will prevent schools from misinterpreting score cancellations. Although most business schools would probably overlook one cancelled score, several cancelled attempts may raise questions for an admissions officer.

These changes are also in the GMAC’s interest. Without any indication of score cancellation, test takers will be more willing to take the test more often, generating more fees for the GMAC. Perhaps not so coincidentally, the GMAC will now also allow test takers to retake the GMAT sooner.

GMAT Genius’ Interpretation

Both of these changes are beneficial to GMAT takers. You can now retake the GMAT with significantly less risk. For example, consider a test taker who scored 680 on the GMAT the first time and wants to try for a 700+ score. She can now retake the GMAT knowing that she can cancel any score that doesn’t exceed her prior 680, and business schools will be none the wiser. She may now even be motivated to try a few times for a 700+ score.

As another example, consider a test taker who falls sick just before his exam. A test taker who reschedules his exam within seven days of the scheduled date loses the entire test fee. Previously, someone who fell sick would either waste the $250 fee by rescheduling or risk the dreaded “C” on his score report. Our test taker can now take the test while sick as a practice run, knowing that he can cancel his score without the cancellation showing on his report. Furthermore, he can retake the GMAT sooner, while he has greater retention from his studies in advance of the first test date.

We recommend that GMAT aspirants retake the GMAT only if they have good reason to believe that they can score higher. The GMAC has just reduced your risk in doing so. You can read more about the changes on mba.com.