What You Need To Know About The GMAT

What is the GMAT Exam?

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) is a computer-adaptive test required by many business schools for admissions. The exam score is one piece of the admissions process along with your undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation, work experience, and the application essay. The exam has four major components: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal.

It is important to note that the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections of the GMAT are computer-adaptive, which means that the difficulty level of the test tailors itself in “real-time” to your ability level. As you take the test and answer questions, the computer scores your answer and provides the next question accordingly. For example: If you answer the first question incorrectly, the next question will be easier. If you answer the question correctly, the next question will be harder. The process will continue until you complete each section.

When do you usually take the general GMAT?

When registering for the GMAT, it is important to keep in mind the application deadline for your school(s) of choice. Ideally, you should register for the GMAT two to three months before the actual test date but some locations allow for registration up to 24 hours prior to the test. Your unofficial score report will be provided on the day of the assessment if you “accept” your scores. Within three weeks from your test date, your official online scores will be available. Your official score is valid for five years.

Important to Note:

The GMAT may not be taken more than once every 16 days and no more than 5 times in a 12 month period.

How long is the GMAT?

The GMAT is about 3 hours and 30 minutes.

How much does the GMAT examination cost?

The cost of the GMAT is $250.

What are the test sections/format of the GMAT?

The GMAT is divided into four main sections:

  • Quantitative
  • Verbal
  • Integrated Reasoning
  • Analytic Writing Assessment

Quantitative 31 multiple-choice questions

62 minutes

  • No calculators allowed
  • Measures the ability to analyze data and draw conclusions using reasoning skills when dealing with data sufficiency and problem-solving
  • Tests general knowledge in arithmetic, basic algebra, and geometry
Verbal 36 multiple-choice questions

65 minutes

  • Measures the ability to read and understand written materials and to evaluate arguments
  • Tests grammar, logic skills, and ability to answers questions after reading a passage
  • Reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction
Integrated Reasoning 12 multiple-choice questions

30 minutes

  • Calculator is provided
  • Most items require multiple steps or two-part analysis
  • Tests ability to make inferences based on data in various charts, graphs, and tables
  • Analyze data and evaluate information presented in multiple formats
Analytic Writing Assessment 1 essay topic

30 minutes

  • Measures the ability to critically think and communicate ideas
  • Analysis of an argument on either business or a topic of general interest

How is the GMAT scored?

The GMAT is scored as follows:

  • Composite score: The composite score is your “overall” score on the GMAT. This score takes into consideration your performance on the Quantitative and Verbal sections of the test. The score ranges from 200-800, in 10 point increments.
    • The average score is about 556.
    • The highest GMAT score is 800.
  • Percentile score: The GMAT also provides a percentile ranking along with the composite score. The percentile score indicates the percent of test-takers that you performed better than during the assessment. Your percentile ranking may change over the years because it is recalculated every summer using exam data from three years prior.
  • The Verbal and Quantitative sections of the GMAT are graded separately where the score range is from 6-51.
  • The Integrated Reasoning section is scored from 1-8 in 1-point increments. The Integrated Reasoning score is not included in your “Overall” score.
  • The Analytical Writing Assessment is graded on a scale of 0-6. The writing is evaluated by two separate readers and the scores are then averaged for a final score (rounded to the nearest ½ point). The Analytical Writing score does not count towards your “Overall” score.

For more information on how the GMAT assessment is scored and to see a sample of a GMAT report click here.

Tips and strategies for the GMAT

Here are a few things you can do at home to better prepare for the GMAT exam:

  • Start preparing for the GMAT at least six months prior to your test date. This will allow time to study, register, take the actual assessment and get the official scores.
  • Take practice assessments at home and work on your pacing; it is essential to watch the clock during the test.
  • Practice for the GMAT by reviewing one section at a time. Don’t try to study for each section all at once.

How can MINDSPIRE help with the GMAT preparation?

At MINDSPIRE, we provide tutoring and GMAT test prep that is tailored to specific learning styles and individual needs. If you are interested in getting a tutor for the GMAT look at our GMAT Test Prep page or give us a call at 844-537-PREP (7737).