What is a good GMAT score

Your Quant and Verbal scores, contribute towards the score that you get out of 800. Following picture depcits how the percentiles stack up (Source: mba.com).

Score Overall 

Every b-school, on its website, publishes the mean/median 80% GMAT score of its current student-batch. So, if you have a specific b-school in mind, it's best to target a score in your GMAT preparation that is at least equal to the published GMAT mean/median score for that schoool. As Application Consultants will be quick to point out, GMAT is not the only factor that determines your chances of admit; numerous other factors (such as your profile) matter. We completely agree, but that discussion is for another day! 

The real challenge we typically face, is from candidates who have some specific b-school in their mind, wherein the mean/median GMAT score of that b-school is significantly lower than 700. That specific b-school has some unique characteristics that a candidate is looking for (a specific concentration, a specific Geography, a specific experience-group etc.), and the mean/median GMAT score of that b-school is much less than 700.

The biggest folly of a candidate applying to that b-school is that he/she perhaps need not put significant effort in GMAT preparation, because a score of (say) 600+ would suffice for this candidate, to get an admit to that b-school.

The one thing we try to impress upon such candidates is that while this dream b-school of their's might have a mean/median score of less than 600 (good for you), but if you do get significantly more than 600, you not only increase your chances of admit but also increase your chances of a scholarship.

Apart from this, the fact also is that almost every other thing in your application (the academic recognition of your undergrad school, quality of your experience, your statement of purpose, the clarity of your thoughts on future goals and how you expect this particular b-school to enable your career aspirations etc.) is a bit subjective in terms of comparison between you and the other candidates. The one common denominator that can be objectively evaluated across all candidates is your GMAT score. So, a great GMAT score post your GMAT preparation, gives you a head-start vis-a-vis the competition.

What is a good AWA score?

Should Analytical writing assessment (AWA) be a part of your serious GMAT preparation? That's the question that many test takers grapple with. Remember AWA is the only non-objective portion of the GMAT exam. Basically you have to write an essay that critiques the argument presented to you. AWA is graded on a scale of 6 and does not contribute to your score out of 800.

Following picture depcits how the percentiles stack up for various AWA scores (Source: mba.com).

Score AWA

A score of 4 or above is considered decent on AWA, obviously the higher the better. 

What is a good Integrated Reasoning (IR) score?

IR is graded on a scale of 1-8 and again, does not contribute to your score out of 800.

Following picture depcits how the percentiles stack up for various IR scores (Source: mba.com).

Score IR

There seems to be a variety of opinions in terms of how much the b-schools value the IR score of a candidate. Many schools go to the extent of explicitly mentioning that they do not take IR scores into consideration at all; other schools are not as explicit. Nevertheless, it is clear that IR scores do not matter as much in your GMAT preparation, as your Quant + Verbal scores do. We believe that a IR score of 5 or above should be a safe bet, for any b-school that you are targeting.