The GMAT is scored on a scale from 200 (the minimum) to 800 (the
maximum). You may notice that the 200 and the 800 are reminiscent of
the 200 and 800 scale of the SAT, and this is not accidental. The 200 to
800 point scale has a special relation to the 0 to 4 grading system used by
most colleges: 800 is 200 times 4. This permits the use of a formula to
combine the two measures. For example:
[GMAT + (200 x GPA)] /2 = Index
This formula combines the two numbers to create an index. Let' s use
some numbers, say a GPA of 3.5 and a GMAT score of 700:
I = [GMAT + (200 x GPA)]/2
I = [700 + (200 x 3.5)]/2 = 700
Thus, the index for this particular applicant is a 700, an artificial number, but one
that will make sense to the admissions committee, because all other applications
at their school are classified in the same manner.
Another index formula might average the numbers, which gives a number
with a more familiar look. If you divide 700 by 200, you get 3.5. In other
words, a student with a 3.5 GPA and a GMAT of 700 is 3.5 on that index.
What does the index do? That varies from school to school. Some schools
have a fairly mechanical admissions process that emphasizes the index.
The school may set a minimum index below which applications receive
little or no attention, because they are probably going to be rejected. Such
schools may also have a second, higher minimum that triggers an
automatic acceptance (unless the application shows some glaring
weakness, e.g., the applicant has three felony convictions for stock fraud
At the opposite extreme are schools that minimize the importance of the
numbers. These schools may not even calculate an index. Such schools
have a very flexible admissions process.
Most schools fall somewhere between these extremes. Many schools use
the index as a screening device to determine how much attention to give