GMAT 560 to 710 one step at a time

From a 560 to a 710 GMAT score one step at a time

For months you’ve used every available minute after work (and sometimes during) to study for the GMAT. You’re reteaching yourself basic math dormant since middle school, waking your logical reasoning skills, and, in general, trying to wrap your head around the nuances of the test. You’ve got an error log and are lurking around the GMAT forums reviewing like mad. After what seems like an unbelievable amount of GMAT preparation, you’ve tested your mettle on one official GMAT after another -- but all to no avail. Your GMAT score, the one stain on an otherwise excellent business school application, seems doomed to mediocrity. What can make matters worse is the idea perpetuated on the GMAT forums and in test prep propaganda that substantial 100+ score increases come easy. Well, they don’t (usually).

Ben came to the tutoring program already knee deep in GMAT preparation and stuck in a rut, struggling desperately to elevate himself from the mid-500s. He’d self-studied for three months and taken the GMAT twice but was still over 100 points shy of his goal: a 680 GMAT score.

Almost everyone emailing us here at Atlantic is looking for a 700+ GMAT score, so Ben’s 680 was refreshing. Still, a 680 GMAT is excellent and a 100 point improvement shouldn’t be taken lightly. In the end, Ben improved by 150 points from a 560 to a 710 GMAT score, zipping from the 48th to the 92nd percentile. Read on for how we did it!

Secret to a 710 GMAT Score?

There is no secret formula to GMAT success, but there is a formula. It’s just so obvious that most people have a tough time discovering it. Good old-fashioned hard work is just one part of it. But Ben had done plenty of that and was still falling short. The work needs to be focused and high quality with an organized study plan and appropriate materials. It doesn't hurt to have a great tutor to keep you on track but, the reality is: tutoring or any kind of instruction is secondary to being extremely organized, dedicated, and, primarily working on official GMAT materials.

For most anyone, the road to jumping 120 points from a 560 to a 680 is going to be a long and challenging one no matter how you slice it, but planning the entire preparation and then breaking down the process to the day not only makes studying more manageable but more impactful. It is very challenging to study long term. Going for the long haul? Go ahead and have a look at this post about GMAT study schedules and this one about 6 months of GMAT studying.

I started tutoring Ben in early October, setting a plan for him to sit the GMAT shortly before Christmas. That gave us just 10 weeks to get him into fighting form. 10 weeks? Hugh? That’s forever! That may appear like a lot of time but:

  1. Fundamental verbal skills take some time to develop (Ben’s verbal was decent but not great)
  2. While there’s a limited world of GMAT content to cover it’s still a chunk of stuff that you need to learn and consolidate so you can apply it under the pressure test conditions.

(Organized) Hard Work from the Start

Ben’s initial HW results were terrible. That said, usually we don’t use HW scores as a proxy for how someone is doing in the GMAT tutoring program (they’re just one piece of the puzzle). What tends to be a better predictor of GMAT success is the dedication to review: filling up the error log, churning through it regularly, and bringing questions to sessions. Fortunately, Ben proved highly dependable right from the start. He never lagged on his homework, always put in extra time on tough concepts, and was highly prepared for sessions armed with questions for review. Every weekend before our tutoring sessions he’d even send me a curated list of questions that he’d found to be particularly inscrutable the previous week. Though failing his homework sets Ben was excelling.

GMAT Heating Up

Ben’s homework scores kept notching up and up as the weeks passed so I ratcheted up the difficulty level. 680 GMAT here we come! A month out from his real GMAT he took his first practice test: 600. We didn’t pop a bottle of champagne for the 40 point increase but, really, any improvement on a first test is great. It’s not uncommon for the score to stay flat or go down on the maiden voyage as students try to apply new things. Of course, Ben reviewed everything he’d missed on the exam and had the feeling he’d made a bunch of careless mistakes. Then the next weekend: 700! Pop (there goes the champagne). The 140 point improvement was incredible. In the weeks leading up to his Official GMAT, Ben was riding high knowing that his 680 was within reach.

100 points down 20 to go!

Ben didn’t hit the 710 GMAT score on his first attempt, but he did manage to hit the target for his first test: a 100 point improvement from 560 to 660. And, because Ben had already hit a 700 on a practice test, we felt confident that the 680 GMAT was right around the corner. Ben was energized by the forward momentum and excited to get back to work but with the winter holidays descending we decided that he should take a much-needed GMAT study break.

Stepping away from GMAT studying for a bit can be a good thing. This isn’t to provide you with an excuse to be lazy! It’s to say that especially if you’ve been studying for 3+ months (in Ben’s case, 6+ months) getting some rest and relaxation can actually help you consolidate and give you perspective. After a three week break we were back at it with a month of our most challenging homework that we use specifically for GMAT retakes. We also scheduled a few tutoring QA sessions to make sure we were covering all of our bases to secure a 680 GMAT score.

To GMAT 680 and beyond...

GMAT day: Ben didn’t get a 680, or a 700, but a 710 GMAT score way up in the 92nd percentile with a 48q 38v. He rocketed from a 37 to a 48 on the quant side. An 11 point improvement is incredible! That’s the 32nd% to the 67th%. I know, a 67% quant score doesn’t sound great but, in today’s hyper-competitive GMAT quant landscape, it’s pretty damn good. For information on why a failing quant percentile will get you into Harvard have a look at our mega article on GMAT percentiles.

It’s inspiring to see someone pull off a 150 point increase to a 710 GMAT score in such a straightforward and reliable way. I think that says a lot about Ben and how he applied himself to our tutoring system. Every day he set himself to the task of: best GMAT preparation possible. Not only getting through the work but putting his back into it and making sure to pulverize the review.

Will everyone increase their GMAT score 150 points? Nope. Will everyone hit a GMAT 710? Probably not. It's the 92nd percentile for a reason! That said, Ben was neither an expert mathematician nor someone who came in the door with a ridiculously high verbal score. In fact, he was scoring somewhat in the middle of the pack on both sections of the test. It just goes to show: you can push yourself far beyond your baseline. But, like many amazing achievements, it may not come easy.

GMAT 560 to GMAT 710 FAQ

What percentile is a 560 GMAT score?

560 GMAT score percentile = 48th percentile

What percentile is a 680 GMAT score?

680 GMAT percentile = 84th percentile

What percentile is a 710 GMAT score?

710 gmat percentile = 92nd percentile

Is a 710 GMAT score good enough?

A 710 GMAT score is excellent no matter how you slice it. Whether it puts you in a stellar position for MBA applications depends on the rest of your application and, most importantly, on what schools you’re applying to. If you’re considering top 10 schools the 710 is going to be a bit below the middle so, in that case, it’s not unlikely that you’ll need something else in your application to balance things out (GPA, Essay’s, Recommendations…).

Outside of the top 10 business schools a 710 puts you in a very competitive position.

Will a GMAT 710 get you into Harvard?

Not on its own. For Harvard, and other top of the top schools, a 710 is solidly below the middle of the pack. That doesn’t mean that a 710 will keep you out of Harvard. I’ve had students admitted to Harvard with 670s. Same as above though. If you’re below the middle on your GMAT you need something else of equal or greater value on the plus side.

GMAT 550 to 690: Last shot for a GMAT Super Soldier

Last shot for a GMAT Super Soldier: from GMAT 550 to 690

I only work with people who I believe I can help, so when Pete communicated that GMAT motivation was low, I was concerned about moving forward potentially wasting money and time on a dead end preparation. He had been in the GMAT jungle for a few months stuck in the mud. His most recent official practice test, a 550, with quant in the 10th percentile, was a long way from his 700+ goal. Pete wanted to give the exam one last shot but was already considering next steps if business school was no longer an option due to an average GMAT score.

On the upside, Pete was in the military, so I didn’t need to stress the importance of discipline and diligence in approaching GMAT studying. He knew it better than I probably ever will. He told me about GMAT prep in the field without a comfy desk or even a normal light. To avoid missing that day’s work, he locked himself in a Humvee with his homework kit: the GMAT official guide, a notepad, a warm blanket, and a flashlight. That's dedication. Hearing that I felt confident that this GMAT preparation was worth it.

Putting things in perspective

It’s hard to wake up early to study. It’s equally hard to focus on tough GMAT sets after a long day at work. Can you inform your boss that you need to leave early for the next 2-3 months? Will you disappoint your best friend by skipping the Vegas bachelor party because your exam is in two weeks and you need the weekends for practice tests? How about the family gathering that’s going require you to criss-cross the country? Or the GMAT productivity killer that is the after work drink?

Well, imagine having to do your GMAT prep in a freezing tent in the middle of nowhere with night vision goggles strapped to your head because you can’t use a light. Putting things in perspective? Since Pete described how he worked around his GMAT prep hurdles and managed to cope with insanely tough conditions, I have been using his experience as an example of what it takes to succeed on the GMAT. A stellar GMAT score is a great motivator as is having a no nonsense GMAT tutor with high expectations. But, on those days when you're having a tough time getting it together, just remember Pete huddled in a tent with the official guide studying to the background sound of enemy fire.

Even with a GMAT super soldier we failed: GMAT 550 to 560

Needless to say: Pete was a great GMAT tutoring student. We normally gray out missed assignments in our homework schedule to have a sense for the consistency of a preparation but Pete’s GMAT schedule was clean. He was especially talented at verbal, crushing all of the extremely difficult LSAT work that we tend to assign to improve GMAT critical reasoning and reading comprehension. Sometimes student's don't put 100% into verbal because they feel more anxious about quant. There's the feeling, "hey, I can read so I'll be fine on verbal." Or, I'm already in the 85th or even 90th+ percentile so, again, I'm "fine". Yes, you may be "fine" but will you be "amazing"? Strengthen your strengths! Pete bulldozed every single verbal assignment. First GMAT practice test: 620. Yes! Second 630. Right direction! Third 570. Oh no. It was demoralizing. And worse we were right around the corner from his GMAT.

550 to 560 Struggle Email

550 to 560 hopeless

Average GMAT Score 560 confidence

Average GMAT score 550 to 690 frustration

Not good. GMAT Day: 560 (the average GMAT score in 2019 is 560). Even doing everything right there’s no guarantee that you’re going to ace the GMAT. Diligent studying is necessary but not sufficient. The GMAT 550 he came in with wasn't representative of his abilities and neither was this 560.

Cut off and surrounded but still ready to lock and load

We were both devastated by the middling score but ready for another fight. Pete still struggled with GMAT confidence, but, given all of the amazing work he'd done, he also started to believe. Every once in a while he crashed and burned on a HW set or practice test but he kept marching one foot in front of the other. I knew Pete could do it. Just before what would be his final GMAT and the deciding factor for whether he'd pursue an MBA he fired off this email:

Pre GMAT Motivation Email

My fingers were crossed and I was sending good vibes across the country hoping that our GMAT bootcamp would finally pay off. Another disappointment would be a bitter pill to swallow. We needed something. Any decent improvement to keep hope alive. After his second GMAT:

GMAT 550 to 690 140 point improvement email


GMAT 550 to 690 thank you email

Pete increased his GMAT score 140 points from a 550 to a 690 and earned an astonishing 99th percentile plus verbal score (V47). The quant, at a 38, was in the 36th percentile. Not great. And certainly not representative of his abilities. It goes to show how much the verbal score can influence the outcome of your GMAT. Pete could likely have improved the 690 even further but he got an outstanding MBA offer and shelved the plans that did not include going to business school. Reading this over I teared up a bit. It really was that intense. Congrats Pete! Here’s the prize:

Average GMAT 550 to 690 Score Report

GMAT 550 to 690 FAQ

What is the percentile score for a GMAT 550?

A 550 GMAT score is in the 45th percentile. Keep in mind that GMAT percentiles change based on the the most recent group of test takers. So a GMAT 550 percentile score changes. For instance, in the past 10 years GMAT quant percentiles have gotten far more competitive so a quant 45 used to be in the 80th percentile but now it's in the 63rd percentile. Grim. Here's everything you need to know about GMAT percentiles for 2019.

What is a GMAT 550 converted to GRE?

Everything you need to know about how to convert GRE scores to GMAT scores. Because of the quirks of GRE scoring, section scoring only (no composite score), it's tough to compare the GMAT and the GRE. That said a GMAT 550 is somewhat equivalent to these GRE scores:

Verbal Reasoning

Quantitative Reasoning















Is a 550 a good GMAT score?

It is a shade below the average GMAT score, 560. A good GMAT score, at least in my mind, relates to what that score can do for you. If it's enough to achieve your educational goals then a 550 is a perfect GMAT score. If not, then you might need to study a bit more. That said, no reason to get caught up in the GMAT/test prep arms race if you don't have to. The GMAT doesn't define you. The rest of your application (as a whole) is more important. A below average GMAT score isn't the end of the world and there are plenty of people admitted to great MBA programs with below average GMAT score.

Is a GMAT 550 hard to achieve?

That really depends on your starting score and profile. Still, I'd argue with the right amount of studying most people pursuing an MBA should be able to hit a 550. It is right about the average GMAT (560 in 2019).

What schools and MBA programs are in a range with a 550 GMAT score?

640 to 700 GMAT: a Tricky 60 Points

Easy 640 to 700 GMAT?

Another "big box test prep" graduate called the other day - he couldn’t crack the GMAT 700’s. Why? Good question. Adam was whip smart and especially talented at verbal. I wouldn’t call him a Quant nerd but after a bit of training he could slice through 95% of the GMAT Official Guide. If I had to complain I'd say that because he was extremely busy and stressed out with work he couldn't commit 100% to the GMAT tutoring program. That’s not to say that the homework results were bad but just not perfect. He was always struggling just a bit with his cup overflowing with responsibility. Oh, and he also had two young kids. He wanted to improve from a GMAT 640 to 700 in 8 weeks, a reasonable goal for a smart, hardworking guy.

Burnout to 660

We were hopeful as GMAT day loomed on the horizon. But, the 700 twas not to be. 660. He had been logging Quant scores in the high 40’s but had crumpled to a 41 on GMAT day. We had a quick debrief to diagnose the unexpected results. Verdict: exhaustion. He'd studied 10 hours per day the two days before the exam. Holy crap! I would never have someone study that much - ever (especially right before a test). It completely burned him out. Here are some suggestions for the last week of GMAT studying.

Panic back to GMAT 640

A month later: 640. Right back to where we started. Somewhere in the middle of the Quant he had started to panic and from then on had triple checked every answer. After that the test had spun out of control. Adam left seven questions on the Quant and twelve questions on the Verbal blank! It's one thing to be thorough but another to be paranoid. At some point you have to let go. Start practicing this on your HW sets and of course on your practice tests so that you have a handle on it for GMAT day.

Attitude adjustment + Radio Silence

I advised another retake without additional tutoring. I just provided a study schedule and materials. He didn't need to learning anything new. He really didn't need more studying. The focus was on trying to relax. Trying to just feel positive while working on GMAT questions. Trying to study less. To put less pressure on. Then came test day. 640 to 700? Dunno. No phone call or email. Ugh. It always feels strange and unsettling to be in the dark. I always think the worst. I sent over a quick note to check in: no reply. Hmmm.

640 to 640 to 700 GMAT Success

Fast forward two months. An email! The test had not gone well. Another 640 GMAT. Good news though: he had gotten into Kellogg! Hurray!!! Still he wanted to improve his chances at Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton so he gave the GMAT one last shot. No studying at all: 700!

630 to 720 GMAT Success

GMAT 720 Success!

There’s no magic formula for transferring the knowledge required to achieve a glittering GMAT score. What do you need to gain mastery over the breadth of content and types of reasoning the GMAT will demand? Consistent presence of mind in the seconds, minutes, and hours over days, weeks, and months of GMAT preparation. In our consultation I discussed this idea with Sara. It clicked with her. And by the end of our 11 weeks of GMAT prep she improved her GMAT score from a 630 to a 720.

630 start with a favorable skill set

Sara came in the door with a GMAT breakdown we see pretty often: great verbal, iffy quant. She started off with a 630 (q36 v40). The quant was only in the 36th percentile, but, the good news, the verbal was in the 90th. If you had to choose, this is a great split, as GMAT quant is easier to improve than verbal. Also, a 40+ verbal score indicates some pretty solid reasoning skills, which, given the right direction and structure, should help you shine on the quant as well.

A fighting attitude

When it came to our tutoring sessions, it was ever clear that Sara was ready to hit the ground running. In the pre-tutoring phase she had put in the legwork to make the quant fundamentals second nature, so, when I introduced new concepts, she wasn’t struggling on the basics but was instead ready to go with the more challenging part of the GMAT: the critical thinking.

No GMAT stone unturned

Although we manage homework 100%, even review, Sara let me know that she was doing additional review, even redoing entire sets if she’d scored below 50%. From Day 1, she committed to mastering every new concept that I threw her way. She wasn’t going to let anything slide. No dusty corners here! Nor was she going to go easy on verbal just because it was her strong suit (a big GMAT studying mistake). No matter how many ferocious LSAT Critical Reasoning quizzes I assigned, she applied that same dedication trying to get as close to a perfect score as possible on each and every one.

Good habits leading to great improvement

11 weeks is a hefty amount of time to stay consistent with daily GMAT practice. It’s even tougher to keep a positive, motivated mindset, especially when learning and subsequent score increases come in fits and starts. What served Sara well in this regard was her perseverance to making daily GMAT practice a habit right out of the gate. Because of her dedication she started improving quickly. That improvement motivated her to keep up the effort, and, as a result, our sessions became more dialogue than lesson as she pushed the pace of the preparation.

Could it be a GMAT 720 only 4 weeks in?

Sara’s situation was somewhat unique in that she had already booked a test date prior to our starting the GMAT tutoring process. That test date fell at the halfway point of our sessions. I encouraged her to keep it booked but to take it as a no-stress practice test. But, as that day grew closer there emerged a strong possibility she’d hit a 700.

She may very well have done so on any other day, but chaos reigned at the test center. A neighboring computer malfunctioned and her testing area was packed with IT techs through most of her quant section. She walked out with a 660. Certainly not the score she deserved but still an improvement over the 630, even in the midst of GMAT test center incompetence.

Doubling down to a 720 GMAT score

Sara wasn’t deterred. The opposite, in fact. Having stared down the GMAT and walked away relatively unscathed renewed her determination to hit 700 and potentially beyond. She doubled down her efforts over the next few weeks, scoring in the 90+% range on most homework assignments. She brought any uncertain concepts to sessions, leaving no stone unturned. On her next GMAT practice test, she scored a 700, and we intensively reviewed every quant question she had missed.

Smarts, hard work, and a great attitude lead to the inevitable: GMAT 720!

Then, on test day, 720. I wasn’t surprised in the slightest but was unbelievably excited for Sara. This was, beyond a doubt, a 720 very well-earned. 100 point GMAT improvements in the higher score ranges are challenging. But with a can-do attitude from the start and an unfailing commitment to staying ahead of the game, an abstract possibility like this GMAT score increase from 630 to 720 can become almost inevitable.

720 GMAT Score FAQ

720 GMAT score percentile?

GMAT percentile scores change year to year. In 2019 a 720 GMAT score is in the 94th percentile. Here's an in depth discussion on GMAT percentiles along with some analysis on why a failing GMAT quant score is OK in 2019.

720 GMAT good enough?

A 720 on the GMAT 100% satisfies the question that you've got the skills to succeed at any MBA program on the planet. That said, as crazy as it sounds, even though a GMAT 720 is in the 94th percentile, in 2019 you'd still be below the median at 10 top business schools. Does that mean if you're gunning for Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, and crew that a 720 GMAT isn't good enough? No. Absolutely not. A 720 GMAT score might be all you need. It's a great score.

If you're considering a retake you might talk to an admissions person first so that they can weigh your entire application. It might make more sense to work on the rest of the package instead of the 10-20 points that would push your GMAT score at or above the median of your dream MBA program. Still, if you're gung-ho and want to improve that 720: go for it. There's probably more gas in the tank if you're willing to put in the work.

GMAT 720 retake?

A 720 on the GMAT is an outstanding score and will give you access to all of the top MBA programs. At 720 the rest of your application matters more. Still, there's the reality that in 2019 you will be below the median at several top schools. The advice is similar to that above: feeling motivated for more? Go for the GMAT 720 retake! Feeling completely unmotivated? A 720 is a great score. Go with it! Feeling somewhere in the middle? Consult an admissions expert and get their input on how important an improved GMAT score is to your specific application. If you're looking for resources for your re-take I'd consider two things on the quant side:

GMAT Focus Quizzes - these are 24 question/45 minute computer adaptive quant quizzes based on official GMAT questions. You can buy four of them from They are great for the end of your GMAT prep or for a retake. Nice and tough. I always feel like GMAT focus feels just like the real GMAT. Here is our GMAT Focus review.

Atlantic GMAT Quant Review Quizzes - there are 12 question/24 minute quant quizzes that I developed based on my experience taking 7 official GMATs. They cover concepts that I've noticed on the real test that are unrepresented or underrepresented in the official GMAT materials. These are not official questions but I worked extremely hard to make them fit content and style-wise. These are very tough but no tougher than the toughest GMAT questions you would get on a real test. Best of all each question has an in depth explanation video so there are tons of GMAT tips and tricks. At the moment we're offering these for free for two weeks access.

GMAT Focus and AG Quant Review Quizzes work really well together. Use the Focus quizzes when you have more time (on the weekends or occasional weekday) and fill in the gaps with the review quizzes. Between the two you'll have a stellar 2-3 weeks of quant preparation.

GMAT 550 to 750: Rare 200 Point Increase to 98%

GMAT 550 to 750

Abby came in with a middle of the road GMAT 550 struggling with a 29 (12th percentile) on the quant section. The bright spot, a 40 on the verbal (90th percentile), gave us hope, and we needed some, because along with most of the other people we tutor, she wanted a 700+ GMAT score, a sizable 160 points away. In Abby’s case we had a favorable split (strong verbal/weak quant) for making a big leap. Strong reading and critical reasoning skills take time to learn and are important on the quant side as well. So if verbal is already strong that's a big plus. Abby also came off as a hard worker ready to get in the grind. Ultimately she'd make a rare 200 point GMAT improvement from a GMAT 550 to 750.

Missing quant fundamentals but superb reasoning

It had been almost a decade since she had set her mind to mathematics so naturally Abby was a bit stressed about the quant side of the GMAT. That stress faded once we started our tutoring sessions as it became clear that although she was missing a ton of fundamental math knowledge Abby was fine juggling numbers and fantastic at applying new GMAT strategies. Considering the homework scores she was putting up on her GMAT schedule it was easy to forget that Abby's initial GMAT quant score lurked in the 12th percentile. On the verbal side we buzzed through some "greatest hits" sentence correction to cover often repeated SC structural issues, but, for the most part, I just managed her SC HW. I also assigned LSAT for GMAT to get the already excellent verbal into the stratosphere. If you’re already great at verbal get better! Pushing a 90th% score to a 95th% or a 99th% can make a massive difference in your composite score. 

A+ effort, GMAT Elusive

She was highly motivated and diligent. Never missing a HW assignment, doing thorough review, and always armed with tough questions during our tutoring sessions. 3 weeks into tutoring Abby launched into her first practice test and pulled out a 680 with a 40 on the quant! 130 points overall and 11 points on the quant were astonishing improvements. It wasn’t a fluke though. Abby was all in on the preparation and in the zone. 2nd GMAT practice test: Another 680. The quant had deflated to a 39. It happens. She had mismanaged her time and so had guessed on the last ten quant questions. I wasn’t worried. Practice test 3: 710 q44 v44. Practice test 4: 750 with a quant 48. She was on fire! 550 to 750 in 6 weeks. Practice test 5: 700 q42 v43. Practice test 6 710 q46 v42. The quant was a bit up and down but still the practice tests were looking good for 700+. Still, we always aim for two tests so no pressure Abby! GMAT Day: 610, q35 v42. Glad we planned for two.

Great practice tests but crappy results (ceiling vs floor)

It’s one thing to score 750 on a practice test but it’s another thing to bring that 750 score home on an official exam. It’s not that the practice tests aren’t the same as the real thing. They are. It’s just that we don't perform the same way every day. A lot of what we do in tutoring isn’t necessarily raising the ceiling of someone’s score possibilities but raising the floor to get students really consistent even on bad days.

Bomb-proofing for the retake

Abby didn’t need more tutoring but wanted to schedule a few QA sessions to address any potential HW issues. In addition I made her a re-take schedule. As expected she kicked it in the teeth and continued to put up astounding numbers. I ran her through a set of extra tough official GMAT quant questions and a special set of quizzes that I call the “GMAT Quant Review Quizzes”. They are a big exception to our GMAT tutoring program in that they’re not official GMAT questions but ones that I wrote based on my experience having taken 8 GMATs. All that tough quant work got her in championship form. She was ready to rock. GMAT part 2: 720 q45 v44. She was thrilled and in a great position to apply to any MBA program on the planet.

720 to 750

Wait this post isn't over? Nope. A couple of months later my inbox lit up with an email from Abby: she wanted to improve the 720 to a 750! A 720 is a phenomenal GMAT score and not an auto-retake. As of 2019 it’s above the median for a great majority MBA programs and just a shade below the rest. A 720 is also not an easy GMAT score to improve. The higher your score the tougher it becomes to better. That said, an admissions officer from Abby’s dream school had mentioned that improving the 720 could help her chances. Considering her practice test scores, her ability, and her amazing attitude I also felt the 720 was worth a retake. Since she hadn’t touched the GMAT in months we revisited the LSAT for GMAT work to get her critical thinking sharp again. Then we did a lot of application on the quant, retaking the GMAT prep tests (quant only), getting through the question pack 1, and, once again, the review quizzes.

200 point improvement: GMAT 550 to 750

Her practice test scores were excellent peaking at a 740. Was she going to increase her score from a GMAT 550 to 750? Test day: GMAT 750! The quant stayed flat at a 45 but she earned a 48 on the verbal, well into the 99th percentile. It really shows how powerful the verbal side of things can be especially if you're eyeing mid-700 GMAT score. In this case it got her an extra 30 points! And that was likely just answering 2-3 more verbal questions correctly. At some point on the verbal side it’s just a matter of how much work you’re willing to do to eliminate all careless mistakes. Getting from a GMAT 550 to 750 is an astonishing feat. But given Abby's natural ability and ridiculous work ethic I wasn't surprised at her achievement. She gave a 99th percentile effort so hitting a 750 score, in the 98th percentile, was even a little bit of an underperformance.


750 GMAT Percentile?

As of 2019 a 750 GMAT score is in the 98th percentile. Keep in mind that GMAT percentiles change every year so come 2020 the GMAT 750 percentile may be different.

Is there a GMAT 750 Strategy?

The strategy for a 700, 720, or 750 is similar. It's just a question of how far you're going to push it. Often reaching a 750 score or above is more about perseverance than anything else (once you've checked all of the obvious boxes.)

GMAT 750 Study Plan?

Although getting a bit long in the tooth (based on the Official guide 13th edition) our GMAT study schedule will give you a sense for the type of work you may need to put in to achieve a 750 GMAT score. That said, your GMAT plan should be informed by your specific profile.

How to improve GMAT score by 200 points?

Increasing your GMAT score by 200 points is incredibly difficult and very few people will have the combination of talent, attitude, and perseverance to make it happen. That said, it is possible. The GMAT debrief above is a great example. In earning a Harvard GMAT score Thomas also improved over 200 points from a 510 to 720. And lastly, I improved my GMAT score by 200 points from a 580 to a 780. What factors make a 200 point increase more possible?

  1. Score breakdown tilted heavily to verbal. Generally the more asymmetrical the better.
  2. Low starting score. The lower the score the easier it will be to climb those 200 points. From 400 to 600 is generally much easier than 550 to 750 or the near impossible 600 to 800.
  3. Having plenty of time to approach the preparation in stages.






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