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The “Math Problem” With a 750+ Score Goal
When it comes to defining an overall score goal, many GMATers will simply state “700 plus” (or the far-more vague “as high as I can get”). For those Test Takers who really want to score at a high level, you might hear them brazenly state “750 plus.” Of the many challenges that come with training to score at that level, there is a much larger ‘math problem’ with that type of score goal – historically speaking, only 1-2% of Test Takers can score at that level on the Official GMAT.
Over the years, the percentiles associated with each score increment of 10 points have shifted a bit, but they’re still relatively close to what they’ve been for the last 10 years. Currently, a 750+ score goal is right about the 98th percentile (although not too long ago it was the 99th percentile), meaning that 98% of Test Takers cannot score at that level on the Official GMAT. Historical data shows that it’s rather difficult to earn a score that high on Test Day. In 2014, approximately 240,000 GMATs were administered, but that number includes repeat Test Takers, so the number of unique Test Takers that year was definitively smaller (under 200,000). For rounding purposes, if we assume that there were 200,000 people, then only about 2% scored 750+…. And that’s about 4,000 Test Takers in TOTAL who scored at the 750+ level that year. If your goal is to score at that level, then you really have to think about what you’re doing during your studies that the other 196,000 Test Takers are not doing. Chances are pretty good that they were reading the same books that you’re reading now and answering the same questions that you’re currently working through. So what are you going to do DIFFERENTLY to increase your chances of scoring at that level?
One of the big issues in anyone’s GMAT training regimen is ‘vanity’ – the idea that you can simply ‘figure it out’ by doing lots of practice questions. In real simple terms, you CAN’T do it that way (to be fair, a few people can - but probability says that you’re not one of them). There’s a level of familiarity with this Test that only comes with training for the GMAT a certain way. While doing a certain number of practice questions is a part of the overall process, it is NOT the process itself (and answering questions “your way” is almost certainly not going to get you to that level). This is all meant to say that, statistically speaking, whatever study plan you’ve created for yourself is probably not going to lead to that result. So if you’re serious about scoring at that level, you’ll have to adapt what you’re doing.
The good news is that NO School/Program will require that you score 750+ as part of the application process. Since GMAT Scores are valid for 5 years, there are no more than about 20,000 or so people who have scored at that level whenever you plan to apply to Business School. Given the number of highly-ranked Business Schools/Programs around the world, the number of those ‘spots’ at any specific School that will be given to 750+ scorers is also relatively small. In that way, a 750+ score isn’t needed (so making that score your goal is difficult and unnecessary). That having been said, there are many aspects to this Test that you need to learn, practice and master to increase your chances of scoring at that level.
To that end, we’re here to help.
GMAT assassins aren’t born, they’re made,