How to Add 40 Points to Your GMAT

*None of the following information has been backed up by the GMAC.

With little less than 2 weeks until my test, I recently was able to get a 730 on my most recent OG practice test. The most astonishing part, was that I increased by Verbal raw score from 38 to 44!

I was recently speaking to a GMAT coach & tutor, and he casually mentioned a piece of information that CONFOUNDED ME. It was so simple, so straightforward… how could I have missed it? I hope you enjoy this post, and that it works for you!

The Comment, AKA, You can teach an old dog new tricks

“You struggle with SC? You know that the Verbal is weighted more on the GMAT, and there are also more SC questions in the Verbal than the other two types.”

My response: “What.”

Unbelievable!!!! He was absolutely serious. He said that I absolutely needed to improve my Verbal if I hoped to get my target score… so I decided to investigate!

Verbal is weighted more?

A quick google search showed that US News, Manhattan, BeattheGMAT, and gmatclub, all backed that theory. Manhattan also confirmed there are a couple more SC questions, and at the higher levels, even a couple more than normal. Unbelievable! I still wasn’t totally convinced… so I did some more digging… and then I found it:

The Experiment

experimentNow, before we get into the experiment, I do want to say that this is not scientific. However, I have looked at many, many scores, and this seems to ring true. During my research I found this blog post (which is actually pulls data and examples from GMATpill’s post). In the post they argue that the Verbal is weighted more and give the following information to support their claim:

If you score 99th percentile in Quant, and your Verbal score is in the:
57th percentile = Total (670, 85th percentile)
65th percentile = Total (690, 88th percentile)
70th percentile = Total (710, 92nd percentile)

If you score 99th percentile in Verbal, and your Quant score is in the:
57th percentile = Total (730, 96th percentile)
63th percentile = Total (730, 96th percentile)
70th percentile = Total (740, 97th percentile)


HOLY COW!!! By having a high Verbal score, individuals are getting (on average) 40 points higher!!! I did some quick googling, and it would seem that although the percentiles are a bit off, it seems to hold true. This is crazy! I would have never imagined.

The conclusion (at least for me) is clear: The best way to increase your score is to make sure your Verbal score is as high as possible, with extra focus on Sentence Correction.


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7 Responses to “How to Add 40 Points to Your GMAT”

  1. ProGMAT

    Nice analysis!! That means, need to put extra effort on Verbal than Quant. Yes, both are equally important, but non-native speakers will have to be careful with the Verbal Part. This also shows that till now, more Quantoholic people were taking GMAT, so GMAT does not grant any extra points to Quant, but average number of people till now had low verbal score, that means, if you prepare more on verbal, you will get higher percentile, in turn, higher rank!!
    Great!! Need to change the Game Plan!! Thanks for this post.

  2. topdogmba

    I’m a bit sceptical about using percentiles to gauge your success in the GMAT since it’s evident that the meaning of percentiles (especially Quant) have changed fundamentally. Check this:

    In short, it’s more likely an average GMAT-taker will have an actual score higher in Quant than Verbal, hence the percentile thresholds are a lot lower in Verbal. That said, the reverse logic applies and, if you’re just interested in percentiles, then focusing on Verbal is a good strategy.

    The trouble is that your lower actual Quant score might not then cut it since adcoms are more interested in your actual score than your percentile (referring to the article link above). In short, it’s best to make sure your actual score is decent in both Quant and Verbal.

    • GrantMeAdmission

      Great points! I would say that this is less about gauging your success by looking at percentiles, and more about how you can effectively increase your GMAT score.

      • topdogmba

        It’s just that the experiment was focused on percentiles which is a bit wacky given the growing disconnect between Quant and Verbal. But your analysis does support the general conclusion that it seems a lot easier to move up the rankings by improving your Verbal than your Quant.

        I was also amazed to learn that only a 51 (technically, the highest score) in Quant would get you in the 90th+ percentile. That is backed up by GMAC:

        I also moaned about this in my blog a while ago:

        Anyway, good to spar on this point (as one who already did the GMAT and is living with a 720 come what may). Wish you the best of British as always GrantMeAdmission!

      • GrantMeAdmission

        I agree…. The more I think about it, the more I realize that what you need to improve is really based on your personal standing with the GMAT. However, with that being said, it seems to be INCREDIBLY hard to stand out in regards to the Quant aspect.

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