What is the GMAT exam?

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GMAT exam

The Graduate Management Admission Test

(GMAT®) is a requirement for admission to most top MBAs and leading specialised Master’s degree programmes and frequently for scholarship applications. It is recognised by more than 5,800 business and management programmes worldwide.

The GMAT exam measures verbal, mathematical, integrated reasoning and analytical writing skills that you have developed in your education and work. It does NOT measure your knowledge of business, your job skills, specific content in your undergraduate or first university course work, your abilities in any other specific subject area or subjective qualities such as motivation, creativity and interpersonal skills,

GMAC explains.

Structure and Scoring

GMAT exam is a computer adaptive test (CAT) conducted in English. Nowadays, it contains four parts: Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning (IR), the Quantitative section, and the Verbal section. It has been modified as it has developed, and some parts (e.g. testing on antonyms and directed memory) have been scrapped. The last major change occurred on 5 June 2012, when Integrated Reasoning (IR) was added to the test.

How to Prepare for GMAT - Essential Guide

1. Analytical Writing Assessment

The Analytical Writing Assessment – part 1 of GMAT exam – lasts for 30 minutes and concentrates on the analysis of an argument. In the first part, candidates explain the logic behind a certain argument and present their point of view. Here, critical thinking and the ability to communicate is measured.

Format: Essay
Topic: Analysis of an argument
Time: 30 minutes
Score: 0 – 6 in half-digit intervals

2.Integrated Reasoning

The idea of Integrated Reasoning is to assess the ability to combine data from multiple sources, to interpret information and the likelihood of results, and the ability to convert quantitative data between graphical and verbal formats. It comprises 12 questions that have to be answered in 30 minutes. Applicants may use a calculator but may not move to previous screens to change their answers or go back to skipped questions. The sections in IR are graphics interpretation, two-part analysis, table analysis, and multi-source reasoning.

Format: 12 questions
Topic: Multi-Source Reasoning, Graphics Interpretation, Two-Part Analysis, Table Analysis
Time: 30 minutes
Score: 1 – 8 in single-digit intervals


The Quantitative sections allow 75 minutes and test takers have to answer 37. The quantitative section tests problem-solving and the capability to reason quantitatively.

Format: 37 questions
Topic: Data Sufficiency, Problem Solving
Time: 75 minutes
Score: 0-60


The Verbal sections allow 75 minutes and test takers have to answer 41 questions. The verbal section consists of reading comprehension, critical reasoning and sentence correction questions.

Format: 41 questions
Topic: Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction
Time: 75 minutes
Score: 0-60

Testing time is 3 hours 30 minutes, but plan for about four hours if you wish to use the optional breaks. 

Overall score: 200-800

Mean GMAT Score per country:


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In your official score report, the Quantitative and Verbal scores are transformed into a scale ranging from 200 to 800. The scores that business schools require for admission to Master’s or MBA programmes usually range between 500 and 650, but the average scores of admitted students are much higher and can reach about 700 in top MBA programmes.

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Registration should be about two months in advance to allow more test date and time slot options. Registration takes place online. For Europe, you may schedule an appointment through www.mba.com

Testing and Score Reporting

Testing is conducted in certified testing centres around the world. The standard test fee is 250 USD (plus taxes) and includes reporting of your official scores to up to five programmes of your choice which you select at the beginning of the test. Plan two to four weeks for delivery of your official test scores to the programmes of your choice. The test score is valid for five years. You may take a GMAT exam again, but no sooner than 30 days after the previous test.

Test your skill with our Free GMAT Practice Test

Or Check Out This Infographic for the GMAT exam:


Test yourself with our GMAT Quiz

* GMAT is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this website.


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