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

manipulation).

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