Why is there only one verified perfect 800 GMAT scorer in the world, and why is that score from all the way back in 2015?

Admissions Stats, Harvard Business School incoming class of 2022 / Source


Earning a perfect 800 score on the question-level adaptive GMAT (which requires that you answer all 58 counted questions correctly) is a rare feat indeed, even for those who are capable of achieving such an exam score on their best / luckiest day.  Notice, for example, that even Harvard Business School's incoming class of 2022 did not include a single 800 GMAT scorer.

It is also important to keep in mind that even the world's only verified perfect GMAT scorer (now the head Verbal content creator at Target Test Prep) was only able to do so on an easier, 2015 version of the GMAT, and that he was approximately 50 years old at the time — 25 years older than the average MBA applicant.   It's also unclear how many attempts he needed at the GMAT before eventually scoring 800.  By the way, if you're a purist, then it wasn't a "true" perfect score anyway, as he "only" scored a 7/8 on the Integrated Reasoning (IR) section.

Since then, this person has perhaps-not-so-strangely declined to retake the exam, even though the added experience on a recent, official GMAT in would surely be helpful to the TTP students utilizing his Verbal course, which is included for free with the much more highly-regarded paid TTP Quant program.  It's no surprise, then, that he's not totally up to speed with what the real GMAT Verbal section, or the GMAT online, looks like in 2022-23, and that the TTP Verbal program he designed has been widely panned as overrated, overly complicated, and largely ineffective compared to free video options such as GMAT Ninja, as well as paid options such as Manhattan Prep, PowerScore, and of course me, Brian McElroy aka McElroy Tutoring. 

My advice to GMAT students in the present day? Like the LSAT, SAT, ACT, and GRE, the GMAT has evolved quite significantly over the decades, so look for an instructor who has a valid, recent GMAT score on file, as well as many references and testimonials from satisfied former students. Don't trust your GMAT scores to a teacher who hasn't seen the real GMAT in decades — or to a tutor who has never bothered to take the GMAT online, with its challenging on-camera, at-home format, and its arguably tougher Quant section. In particular, I have noted that the real GMAT Verbal section noticeably increased in difficulty sometime around early 2017 (GMAT scores are only valid for 5 years).

Finally, remember that the ability to score a perfect 800 on the GMAT is not necessarily transferable: test-taking ability does not always translate into a knack for teaching, which is why some of the world's best athletes make the world's worst coaches, and vice-versa.  Make sure that your tutor's students have great scores, too, because of course that's what truly matters in the world of test prep, not that one tutor somewhere in the world who won the GMAT PowerBall jackpot on one extraordinarily fortuitous day in 2015 — along with dozens of other anonymous MBA applicants who would probably admit that they were just as lucky to score a perfect 800 on at least one of their 8 officially allowed lifetime GMAT attempts.


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