Applicants are scoring higher on the GMAT than ever. That’s making getting into business even harder.
This was one of the takeaways from the GMAC’s GMAT Geographic Trend Report. According to the data, 12% of GMAT test-takers scored 700 or above in testing year 2018 – up from 11% in testing year 2014.
This latest GMAC report covers testing year 2018, which runs from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 (with the testing year 2019 report slated to be released in later fall). The latest report reveals some fascinating trends.
SOUTH PACIFIC LEADS THE WAY
Take scores under 700. From 2014-2018, the percentage of scores in the 600-699 range rose from 29% to 34%. By the same token, scores below 600 have fallen six points since 2014. In other words, scores are on the rise – and that is boosting the quality of business school classes even higher.
Regional differences also stand out. Here, Australia and the Pacific Islands produced the highest percentage of test-takers who scored 700 or above. At 25.57%, the region topped its nearest competitors by over 10 points. That said, the South Pacific accounted for just 829 GMAT tests in 2018. Compare that to runner-up Central and South Asia (i.e. India and Pakistan). This region churned out 34,815 exams, with 14.58% of test-takers scoring 700 or above.
With 87,516 GMAT exams, the East and Southeast Asia region (i.e. China, South Korea, and Vietnam) were actually responsible for the most tests. However, volume didn’t translate to quality, as just 10.67% of test-takers broke the 700 mark – less than the United States (14.53%) and Eastern Europe (11.92%), and Western Europe (11.06%).
GOOD AND BAD NEWS FOR THE US
Overall, 12.35% of GMAT test-takers scored 700 or above in 2018. In many cases, regions lost a point in the 700 range from 2017-2018. Western Europe, for example, slipped from 12.27% to 11.06% over that period. One notable exception: the United States. The nation rose from 14.19% to 14.53% when it comes to topping the 700 mark.
However, the news is less promising for the Americans when you dive down further. Just 43.13% of American test-takers received scores of 600 or above in 2018. That number was 51.99% in Central and South Asia and 47.23% in Canada. When it comes to scoring 600 or above, Australia and the Pacific Islands led the pack with 62% of test-takers fitting into this range.
Broken down by nation, GMAC reported that Australia and New Zealand notched the highest percentages of scores above 700 at 26.03% and 24.82% respectively. Poland nearly cracked the 20% mark at 19.94%. In fact. 60.94% of Polish test-takers scored 600 or above in 2018, higher than any country outside of Australia. Aside from Australia, Poland, and New Zealand, just South Korea, Turkey, India, and China had 50% or more test-takers beat the 600 GMAT mark.
GMAT INCREASINGLY POPULAR WITH WOMEN
Looking over the past five years, only region – East and Southeast Asia – has seen a decline in scores above 700. Here, the percentage fell from 11.74% to 10.67% between 2013 and 2018. At the same time, the United States has climbed by 4.99%, with the biggest gain coming in Australia and the Pacific Islands (6.5%).
In terms of the big picture, you’ll find women being a huge growth area for the GMAT. While the number of GMATs has declined over the past five years, the percentage of women taking the exam increased from 43% to 46.3% over the same period. Test-takers under 25 now account for 51% of exams, up two points since 2014.
At the same time, American-based institutions received 67% of GMAT scores, down seven points over five years. That includes 51.8% of non-American citizens sending their GMAT to American programs – a number that was 61.5% in 2014. Overall, 62% of GMAT scores are sent to MBA programs, with 34% received by Business Masters programs (up four points from 2014).
How many times did applicants score 700 or above in particular regions around the world in 2018? What were the scoring breakdowns in particular countries? How have these numbers changed from 2014 to 2018? Click on the links below to see detailed historical stats for your country and region.