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Gmat Score Bell Curve: Understanding The Distribution Of Scores

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When it comes to assessing your abilities for admission to business schools, the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) plays a crucial role. One aspect that often confuses test-takers is the GMAT score bell curve. In this article, we will delve into the concept of the bell curve and its implications for GMAT scores in the year 2023.

What is the Bell Curve?

The bell curve, also known as the normal distribution, is a statistical concept that represents the distribution of a set of data. It is called a bell curve due to its characteristic shape resembling a bell. The curve is symmetrical and centered around the mean, with the majority of the data falling within one standard deviation of the mean.

GMAT Score Distribution

On the GMAT, the scores follow a bell curve pattern. The average score, also known as the mean, is set to around 500. The standard deviation, which measures the spread of scores, is typically set at 100. This means that two-thirds of test-takers fall within the range of 400 to 600.

Implications of the Bell Curve

The bell curve distribution has important implications for GMAT scores. Since the curve is centered around the mean, it implies that the majority of test-takers will score close to the average. The further away from the mean, the rarer the scores become.

Interpreting GMAT Scores

With the GMAT score bell curve in mind, it is essential to understand how your score is interpreted. Admissions committees consider not only the raw score but also the percentile ranking. The percentile ranking compares your score to those of other test-takers. For example, a score in the 80th percentile means you performed better than 80% of test-takers.

High Score vs. Low Score

GMAT scores above 700 are considered high, while scores below 500 are generally considered low. However, it is important to note that the percentile ranking is a better indicator of your performance relative to others. A score of 600 might be excellent if it places you in the 90th percentile, while a score of 700 might be less impressive if it falls in the 70th percentile.

Factors Affecting the Bell Curve

Several factors can influence the shape and position of the GMAT score bell curve. Changes in the test’s difficulty level, the composition of test-takers, and variations in preparation methods can all impact the distribution of scores. Therefore, the position of the average score and the standard deviation may vary slightly from year to year.


Understanding the GMAT score bell curve is essential for test-takers aiming to secure admission to top business schools. It provides insights into the distribution of scores and helps interpret your performance relative to others. Remember, while a high score is desirable, it is equally important to aim for a percentile ranking that places you ahead of other test-takers. Stay focused, prepare diligently, and use the bell curve as a guide to achieve your target GMAT score.