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What are the Different GMAT&Reg; Percentiles?

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  • Written By: Helen Akers
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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The Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT®) is a standardized aptitude test that is used by graduate-level business programs to evaluate prospective students. The different GMAT® percentiles represent the percentage of test takers that scored below a certain composite score. GMAT® percentiles are used to represent the percentage of test-takers scoring below a certain composite score for the three separate sections of the exam as well as the overall exam score. The percentiles range from 0-99.

GMAT® scores are required for admission into most master's of business administration (MBA) programs. The test is comprised of three sections: verbal, quantitative and analytical writing. Each section has its own range of composite scores that correspond to a particular percentile. GMAT® percentiles represent the population of test-takers who completed the exam within the recent two years. Therefore, over time, GMAT® percentiles can adjust according to the overall performance of the test-taking population.

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The analytical writing section of the GMAT® rates test-takers on a scale of 0-6. Both the verbal and quantitative sections of the GMAT® have composite scores ranging from 6-51. Each section has its own percentiles based on the scores of recent test-takers, typically over a span of three calendar years. For example, a score of 6 in the analytical writing section might correspond to a percentile ranking of 91, meaning that those who scored a score of 6 on the analytical writing section of the GMAT® received a score that was higher than 91 percent of the test-taking population. A score of 28 in the verbal section might correspond to a percentile ranking of 50, which would mean that about the same number of test-takers scored higher than 28 as those who scored lower than 28.

GMAT® percentiles help test-takers and well-respected agencies evaluate the value of the composite scores. The percentiles represent the test-taker's skill level and ranking relative to his or her peers. As a measurement, the GMAT® percentiles indicate whether a test-taker's score is average, above average or below average. Some well-respected institutions have a certain minimum percentile range that is considered to be acceptable. If a prospective student's percentile does not fall within the acceptable range, he or she might significantly reduce his or her chances of admission.

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