The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is the standardized test that every business school applicant must take if he/she is looking at joining a credited MBA. While admissions committees do consider many other factors (including your grades, transcript, essays, resume, and interview), it is important to do well on the GMAT if you hope to get into a competitive business school.
GMAT is a 3.5-hour long computer adaptive test offered by Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) at approved testing centers around the world.
Here is how the GMAT Test is structured:
- Analytical Writing Assessment Section - 30-minute analysis of an argument
- Integrated Reasoning Section - 30 minutes, 12 multiple-choice questions
- Quantitative Section - 62 minutes, 31 multiple-choice questions
- Verbal Section - 65 minutes, 36 multiple-choice questions
There will be two optional 8-minute breaks. On the test day, test-takers will have to choose a section order from one of the following before starting the exam:
1. Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal (original order)
2. Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
3. Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
You must answer a question in order to get to the next question – which means you cannot skip a question or return to it. While you are not required to finish any of the sections, not answering all the questions attracts severe penalty.
Your GMAT score is determined based on the number of questions you answer correctly, the number of difficult questions you get right and the number of questions you answered.
Medium difficulty questions come at the beginning of each section and are weighted more heavily than those that come at the end.
Business schools tend to focus on your overall (or composite) score. The composite score includes both the Math and Verbal sections of the test and ranges from 200 to 800 in 10 point increments. The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section is scored on a scale of 0 to 6 and is not included in your composite score. The IR Section is scored on a scale of 1 to 8 and is not included in your composite score.
Taking the GMAT
The GMAT is offered most weekdays throughout the year, as well as a few Saturdays. Register early if you want to take the test on a Saturday. You can retake the test 5 times in a 12-month period although you must wait 16 days in between test dates. With effect from 17th December 2016, a test taker is allowed only eight lifetime GMAT exam.
Business schools will see your three most recent GMAT test scores from the last five years, so you should make sure you are prepared.
GMAT is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which is not affiliated with The Princeton Review.