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GMAT band scores

The GMAT Test is made up of four sections, the reading, writing, listening and speaking. Each of these sections is worth 25% of your overall GMAT band score, so no section of the test is weighted more than the other.

To get your overall GMAT band score, each section is calculated and then your band score is the average of those four scores. Overall scores are rounded up to the nearest .5. So, if your average overall score is 6.75, this will be rounded up to a 7.

However, this is not the case with individual sections of the test where scores are rounded down. Example, in GMAT writing, if you get a 6.75 GMAT score, this would be rounded down to a 6.5 and NOT rounded up to a 7.

GMAT score descriptors

Here is an example of the GMAT score descriptors, for you to get an idea of what is expected for band 6 to band 9.

GMAT band score 9: expert user

Candidate’s language use is accurate and fluent. Shows full operational command of English language and can handle complex arguments well.

GMAT band score 8: very good user 

The candidate has full operational command of the English language, shows occasional inaccuracies or inappropriate usage. Misinterpretation arises in unfamiliar circumstances.

GMAT band score 7: good user 

Generally the candidate has a good command of the language, some occasional inaccuracies and misunderstanding arise. Able to handle detailed reasoning.

GMAT band score 6: competent user 

Candidate has effective command of the language and some misunderstandings and misinterpretations arise. Able to use fairly complex language in familiar scenarios. See it here.

The GMAT reading band scores

The number of correct answers will determine your GMAT reading band score. Each question is worth one mark. Spelling mistakes will be marked as incorrect so it is important that your spelling is as accurate as possible.

GMAT academic reading scores

Number of correct answers GMAT Band Score
39-40 9
37-38 8.5
35-36 8
33-34 7.5
30-32 7
27-29 6.5
25-26 6
19-22 5.5
15-18 5
13-14 4.5
10-12 4
8-9 3.5
6-7 3
4-5 2.5

See it here

GMAT general reading scores

Number of correct answers Band Score
40 9
39 8.5
37-38 8
36 7.5
34-35 7
32-33 3.5
30-31 6
27-29 5.5
23-26 5
19-22 4.5
15-18 4
12-14 3.5
9-11 3
6-8 2.5

See it here.

GMAT listening scores

The marking for listening is also objective where the number of correct answers will determine your band score. Each question is worth one mark. Spelling mistakes will be marked as incorrect so it is important that your spelling is as accurate as possible.

GMAT listening scores

Number of correct answers Band Score
39-40 9
37-38 8.5
35-36 8
33-34 7.5
30-32 7
27-29 6.5
25-26 6
19-22 5.5
15-18 5
13-14 4.5
10-12 4
8-9 3.5
6-7 3
4-5 2.5

See it here.

GMAT speaking scores

The GMAT speaking section is scored on 4 criteria:

  • Fluency and coherence
  • Lexical resources
  • Grammatical range and accuracy
  • Pronunciation

GMAT band descriptors for speaking can be found

In order to score at a particular band, the GMAT candidate has to fulfill ALL the positive descriptors for that band. For example, at band 7 under fluency and coherence the positive descriptors are:

  • speaks at length without noticeable effort or loss of coherence
  • may demonstrate language-related hesitation at times, or some repetition and/or self-correction
  • uses a range of connectives and discourse markers with some flexibility

If a candidate fulfills only 1 or 2 of the descriptors, he or she cannot score a 7 for fluency and coherence.

GMAT writing band scores

GMAT task 2 of the exam is worth double the marks of task 1 and there are different band descriptors for each task. As with the speaking test, there are four criteria that are considered:

  • Task achievement
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical resources
  • Grammatical range and accuracy.

The band descriptors for task 1 also include certain criteria that are relevant only for the general test and others that apply only to academic. For example, for the general test, it is important test takers use the right tone (formal or informal) in their letters but for the academic test, students must include an overview in their response in order to be considered for a band 6.

You can find band descriptors for task 1 here:

and task 2 here:

In order to score at a particular band for the writing section, the candidate has to fulfill ALL the positive descriptors for that band. For example, at band 7 under task achievement for task 2 the positive descriptors are:

  • Addresses ALL parts of the task
  • Presents a clear position THROUGHOUT the response
  • Presents, EXTENDS AND SUPPORTS main ideas

If a candidate fails to fulfill all the positive descriptors for this band, he or she cannot obtain a 7 for task achievement.

For help with your GMAT preparation, take a look at our tutorials:

Audio tutorial

You can download or listen to the audio version here:

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