The Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT, is required by most business schools in North America for admission to MBA programs. Increasingly, the GMAT test is being required by schools in Europe and Asia as well. Most GMAT test takers start preparing 3-6 months before the actual test date.
The GMAT is a 3.5-hour computer-adaptive test that tests you on basic verbal, math and analytical abilities. Plan for about four hours for the entire process. The GMAT test currently consists of four sections, in this order:
Analytical Writing - one essay question, 30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning - 12 questions, 30 minutes
Quantitative - 37 multiple choice questions, 75 minutes
Verbal - 41 multiple choice questions, 75 minutes
The GMAT test adjusts to your individual ability level. At the start of the GMAT math and GMAT verbal sections, you are typically presented a question of medium difficulty. However, you should not count on the first question being a medium-difficulty question: on occasion, the GMAT has been known to start off the test with a 700-800 level question. If you correctly answer a question, the GMAT test will increase the difficulty of the next question. If you answer incorrectly, you will be given a less difficult question. This process continues until you complete the section.
Only one question at a time is presented. Because the computer scores each question before selecting the next one, you may not skip, return to or change your responses to previous questions.
The GMAT score report consists of five scores:
Total GMAT score, range 200~800
Quantitative score, range 0~60
Verbal score, range 0~60
Analytical Writing Assessment score, range 1~6, which does not contribute to your Total GMAT score
Integrated Reasoning score, range 1~8, which does not contribute to your Total GMAT score
Your GMAT scores for the GMAT math and verbal sections are determined by how many questions you answered, how many you answered correctly, and how difficult the questions were.
For additional details on what your scores mean, see Understanding Your Score Report on the official GMAT website.
Your GMAT score is valid for five years.
The GMAT can be taken at any time of the year, subject to certain restrictions such as holidays and seat availability at a test center. Watch the video below to learn about the GMAT test center experience. To find a test center, register for the GMAT test in Austin, or find out more, visit www.mba.com.
The GMAT test includes a 30-minute "integrated reasoning" section that requires you to analyze information from multiple sources and formats, including graphics, evaluate how the various data points relate and determine the correct outcome. The score for GMAT Integrated Reasoning (or GMAT IR) is separate from the Total GMAT Score.
You will not be allowed to use a calculator during the test. GMAT test-takers have been removed from the test center for checking texts and emails on smartphones and tablets during the optional breaks. Keep your smartphone or table in the locker provided to you (don't sneak a peek) to avoid this risk.
You can preview your unofficial GMAT score before deciding to accept or cancel the score. If you accept, you have the option at that time to have the GMAT score sent to business schools.
When you take the GMAT exam, you will see your unofficial score – Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal, and Total – and given two minutes to decide whether to accept the score. If you do not make a choice, your score will be canceled, and that score and its cancellation will not appear on your record.
If you accept your GMAT score, you still have 72 hours to change your mind. You may cancel your score online (for a small fee).
If you change your mind about canceling that score, you have the option to reinstate it up to four years and 11 months after the test date (for another fee). Read Dr. Amar's blog post Should You Cancel Your GMAT Score? for more information.
You may take the GMAT only five times in one year (12 months) and only eight times in your lifetime.