Average GMAT Score and Scores for Top MBA Programs

The average GMAT score was 658 in 2021, but you may need at least a 720 for some top MBA programs.
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Data Summary

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    The national average GMAT score has increased considerably in the past five years, rising from 613 in 2017 to a record 658 in 2021, a 45-point jump.[1]
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    To score over a 700 on the GMAT, you must be in the top 13% of test takers.
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    Although most schools state no preference, the majority of accepted applicants at the most selective business schools take the GMAT over the GRE.
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    Even though most of the sections on the GMAT are the same as on the GRE, the GMAT has a more challenging quantitative section with harder math questions.

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardized exam used by over 6,000 institutions to evaluate test takers' readiness for graduate schools in business. This includes master of business administration (MBA) programs, business master's, and others.

Most schools accept GMAT and Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. Competitive test scores could increase your chances of admission to graduate school and likelihood of receiving scholarships and job opportunities.

Keep reading to learn more about average GMAT scores, score percentiles, and whether the GMAT or GRE is best for you.

Average GMAT Score in the U.S.

The average GMAT score in the U.S. has increased considerably in the past five years, jumping by 45 points.

  • In 2021, the national average score was a record 658. In 2017, it was 613.Note Reference [1]
  • In 2021, 73.5% of students sent their GMAT scores to MBA programs, 21.3% to business master's programs, and 5.2% to others.Note Reference [1]
  • From 2017-2021, applicants averaged 25-26 years old.Note Reference [1]
Average GMAT Scores in the U.S. (2017-2021)
Year Score
2017 613
2018 616
2019 616
2020 627
2021 658
Source: GMACNote Reference [1]

Did You Know…

The GMAT is scored in 10-point increments, meaning you can't score a 627 or 658, for example. Instead, your score might be 630 or 660.

Top MBA programs have average GMAT scores above the national average of 658. To score over a 700 on the GMAT, you must be in the top 13% of test takers. A score of 750 means you are in the top 2%, or have outperformed 98% of test takers.

GMAT Total Score Percentiles, Jan. 2019-Dec. 2021
Score Percentile Ranking
800 99
750 98
700 87
650 70
600 50
550 34
500 22
450 13
400 8
350 4
300 2
250 1
200 0
Source: GMAC[2]

Did You Know…

Many popular online MBA programs waive the GMAT or GRE requirement, especially for prospective students with extensive work experience.

Average GMAT Scores by School

If you're considering an MBA program, you might want to compare your GMAT score to the institution's average. The average scores at more competitive schools are often higher than the national average.

Average GMAT Scores for Top MBA Programs

The most selective schools in the country have average GMAT scores above the 90th percentile. It is worth noting, however, that these are just the averages, and plenty of applicants score below or above the average for each school.

Average GMAT Scores for Top MBA Programs (Class of 2024)
School Average GMAT Score
Stanford University 737
New York University (Stern) 733
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) 733
Harvard University 730
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) 730
Columbia University 729
Northwestern University (Kellogg) 729
University of California, Berkeley (Haas) 729
University of Chicago (Booth) 729
Dartmouth University (Tuck) 726
Yale University (School of Management) 725
University of Virginia (Darden) 720

Average GMAT Scores for Other Popular MBA Programs

Other popular MBA programs also require applicants to earn competitive scores. The table below shows the average scores for each school.

Average GMAT Scores for Popular MBA Programs
School Average GMAT Score
Cornell University (SC Johnson) 710
Rice University (Jones) 702
Emory University (Goizueta) 700
Georgetown University (McDonough) 697
Duke University (Fuqua) 680-760 (the middle 80% of accepted applicants score in this range)

How Many People Take the GMAT?

In 2021, there were 156,453 GMAT test takers.Note Reference [1] The number of test takers has decreased considerably in the past five years.

  • Globally, there were nearly 100,000 fewer test takers in 2021 than in 2017.Note Reference [1]
  • In the U.S., the number of test takers halved from 2017 to 2021, going from roughly 80,000 test takers to fewer than 40,000.Note Reference [1]
Number of GMAT Test Takers Per Year (2017-2021)
Location 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Worldwide 250,761 242,714 225,621 173,176 156,453
United States 79,746 73,556 63,945 45,648 38,509
Source: GMACNote Reference [1]

Since 2018, the number of women taking the GMAT in the U.S. has fallen slightly faster than the number of all test takers. There has been about a 51.7% decrease in the total number of GMAT exams taken during this period and a 54.5% decrease in the number of women taking the exam.

In 2017, 38.8% of all test-takers were women, compared to 36.6% in 2021.

Percent Change in Number of GMAT Test Takers, Compared to Previous Year (U.S. Only)
Test Taker 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Total -4.1% -7.8% -13.1% -28.6% -15.6%
Women -3.9% -8.9% -13.2% -29.8% -18.0%
Source: GMACNote Reference [1], [3]

Should You Take the GMAT or GRE?

Most full-time MBA programs require applicants to submit either GMAT or GRE scores. While schools state that they do not prefer one over the other, the majority of accepted applicants at some of the most selective business schools took the GMAT over the GRE.

  • Among Harvard Business School's class of 2024, 74% of students submitted the GMAT, in contrast to 30% for the GRE.[4]
  • For the University of Chicago's Booth, 73% submitted their GMAT scores, and 26%, their GRE scores.[5]
  • At Stanford's Graduate School of Business, 67% submitted GMAT scores, and 33%, their GRE scores.[6]

While the GMAT and GRE overlap somewhat, they have key differences, such as the scoring scale and exam sections.

The GMAT and GRE both cover analytical writing, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning, but the GMAT has an additional section called integrated reasoning.

The GMAT is also known to have a more challenging quantitative section with harder math questions. The GRE tends to have a harder verbal reasoning section with more challenging vocabulary.

The GRE is more commonly required for graduate programs in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, social work, and education.

Frequently Asked Questions About the GMAT

How long is the GMAT?

The GMAT is roughly three hours and 30 minutes long, including two 8-minute breaks.[7] The GRE is similar in length, taking a total of three hours and 45 minutes to complete.[8]

What is the highest GMAT score?

The GMAT is scored on a scale from 200-800.Note Reference [2] The exam is also scored in 10-point increments, meaning you cannot score a 711 or 755, for example.[9] The GRE, in contrast, is scored from 260-340.[10]

How many questions are on the GMAT?

In total there are 79 questions on the GMAT. This includes a 30-minute essay for the analytical writing portion, a 62-minute quantitative reasoning section, a 65-minute verbal reasoning section, and a 30-minute integrated reasoning section.Note Reference [7]