Many people wonder how to score a perfect 800 on the GMAT, and often they hear that scoring 800 will not help their MBA applications or is virtually impossible.
However, while I agree that business school admissions officers generally don’t view an 800 GMAT score much differently from how they view, for instance, a 770 GMAT score, I think scoring 800 on the GMAT is totally doable.
Also, much of what applies to scoring 800 on the GMAT can be used for achieving any relatively high GMAT score. In this article, I’m going to discuss some key aspects of scoring 800 on the GMAT, and if you use the information to score 680, 730, or 770 instead, we’ll still have a win.
- The Performance Required for Scoring a Perfect 800 on the GMAT
- Developing a Winning Mindset
- The Most Effective Way to Prepare for the GMAT
- Learn Topics from the Ground Up
- Develop Skill in Finding a Way to Get to the Answer to Any GMAT Question
- Develop Skill in Achieving 100 Percent Accuracy
- Tuning Your Unconscious Aspects to Maximize GMAT Performance
- To Maximize Your GMAT Performance, Take Care of Your Health and Wellness
Let’s begin by discussing the GMAT performance required for scoring 800. (View my full article on Target Test Prep a deeper dive on all 8 elements.)
GMAT Performance Required for Scoring a Perfect 800
As you likely know, your GMAT total (200 to 800) score is based on your performance on the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections of the GMAT. What’s less well known is that, to earn a total score of 800, you have to get all the counted questions on the Quant and Verbal sections correct.
In case you don’t know about counted questions on the GMAT, here’s the deal. Of the 31 Quant questions and 36 Verbal questions on the GMAT, only 28 and 30 questions respectively count in the calculation of your GMAT total score. The rest of the questions are experimental questions included on the GMAT for the purpose of testing them. So, there are 58 counted questions, and to get a GMAT total score of 800, you have to get all 58 of those counted questions correct.
Of course, on test day, you won’t be aware of which questions count and which are experimental. So, as a practical matter, to score 800 on the GMAT, ideally you’d get all 67 of the Quant and Verbal questions you see correct, though it is true that you could miss some experimental questions and still score 800.
So, we can see why, according to the Graduate Management Admissions Council, fewer than 50 people out of the over 200,000 people who take the GMAT each year score a perfect 800. Getting all the questions on the GMAT correct is not easy. At the same time, with the right mindset, it is doable. So, let’s continue by discussing developing the type of mindset that’s conducive to acing the GMAT.
Developing a Winning Mindset
As we discussed earlier, people often feel that scoring 800 on the GMAT is virtually impossible. Of course, if you believe that, it’s going to be pretty challenging to score 800 because you’ll be attempting to do something that you yourself believe likely can’t be done. Accordingly, to set yourself up to score 800, or close to 800, on the GMAT, you have to develop a mindset conducive to doing so.
One way to develop such a mindset is to consider the fact that people regularly get all the Quant questions or all the Verbal questions on the GMAT correct. So, to score 800 on the GMAT, you just have to put together two aspects of what a fair number of people do and get all the questions on both sections correct. Furthermore, as we just discussed, some people do score 800 on the GMAT. So, you can take the attitude that you too are a person and therefore can achieve what other people have achieved.
Another aspect of developing a mindset conducive to acing the GMAT is adopting a growth mindset. The concept of a growth mindset, which was developed by psychologist Carol Dweck, involves the idea that our most basic abilities, such as basic quantitative and verbal reasoning skills, are not fixed but, rather, can be developed. (View this related article on How to Increase Your GMAT Score, in which TTP founder Scott Woodbury-Stewart speaks to adopting a growth mindset in more depth.)
What this idea means in the context of preparing for the GMAT is that, if you’re, for instance, strong in quant but weak in verbal, or vice versa, you can develop strong skills in the other area as well. Similarly, if you don’t feel particularly strong in either quant or verbal, you can develop your abilities in both areas, and the clearer you are about the fact that you can develop yourself, the more confident you’ll be and the more energy you’ll have for your test prep.
Of course, in order to achieve a perfect score on the GMAT, along with a winning mindset, you’ll need an effective approach to preparing. So, let’s now discuss the most effective approach to preparing for the GMAT.
The Most Effective Way to Prepare for the GMAT
Regardless of whether your goal is an average GMAT score, an above average score, or a 99th percentile score, the most effective way to prepare for the GMAT is to work topic by topic, mastering one topic at a time. To master a topic, you first learn the concepts involved in that topic and then do dozens of practice questions involving that topic until you get them correct consistently. Once you’ve mastered one topic, you move on to the next and do the same thing. By proceeding in this way, you eventually master the entire GMAT.
So, for instance, if you were working on rate questions, you’d first study the concepts involved, such as the rate, time, and distance formula. Then, you’d answer dozens of rate questions, starting with easy questions and working your way up to harder questions, until you virtually couldn’t get them incorrect. Similarly, if you were working on Sentence Correction questions involving modifiers, you’d learn all the concepts involved in answering those questions and then answer SC practice questions involving modifiers until you totally understood how to get them correct consistently.
This approach to GMAT prep works super well because it gives you an opportunity to focus on understanding a set of concepts, you go directly from learning concepts to applying them to answering questions, and you can apply what you learn in the process of answering one question to answering subsequent similar questions.
For additional tips on learning topics from the ground up, developing skill, maximizing performance, and more, view my full article on Target Test Prep.
Want more advice?
To learn more about why the GMAT matters to top MBA programs and how to prepare, read our related articles:
- 7 Essential Tips for GMAT Prep
- How to Earn a High GMAT Score Without A Calculator
- GMAT Prep Strategies: How to Study While Working
- What MBA Candidates Need to Know About the Online GMAT
- How You Can Learn to Love the GMAT (and Why it Matters to B-schools
- Top MBA Programs Offering GMAT Test Waivers (Should You Ask for One?)
Marty Murray is the Chief Curriculum and Content Architect for Target Test Prep. A test prep veteran who has scored 800 on the GMAT, Marty is known worldwide for his understanding of the GMAT and how to prepare for it. At Target Test Prep, Marty has helped thousands of people to achieve their GMAT score goals, by creating insightful course content and challenging practice questions designed to help people learn just what they need to know to master the test.