GMAT Key Facts

Most of Business School applicants must take the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).  Beginning in 2009, many business schools started to accept the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score as well.

The GMAT is a standardized test delivered in English. Unlike academic grades, which have varying significance based on each school’s grading guidelines, the GMAT scores are based on the same standard for all test takers and they help business schools assess the qualification of an individual against a large pool of applicants with diverse personal and professional backgrounds.  The GMAT scores play a significant role in admissions decisions since they are more recent than most academic transcripts of an applicant and they evaluate a person’s verbal, quantitative and writing skills.

The GMAT is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) and can be taken at any one of many test centers around the world 5 or 6 days a week.  You may take the GMAT only once every 31 days and no more than five times within any 12-month period.  The retest policy applies even if you cancel your score within that time period. All of your scores and cancellations within the last five years will be reported to the institutions you designate as score recipients.

Total GMAT scores range from 200 to 800. About 66% of test takers score between 400 and 600. The Verbal and Quantitative scores range from 0 to 60. For the Verbal section, most people score between 9 and 44. For the Quantitative section, common scores are between 7 and 50. The Verbal and Quantitative scores measure different things and cannot be compared to each other, however, each section's score can be compared across different GMAT tests.

GMAT Test Sections

The GMAT consists of four separately timed sections. The first section consists of an analytical writing task, also known as Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA). The second section is known as the Integrated Reasoning section, which was introduced in early June 2012, in replacement of a second essay originally in the AWA section. The remaining two sections (Quantitative and Verbal) consist of multiple-choice questions delivered in a computer-adaptive format. Questions in these sections are dynamically selected as you take the test to stay commensurate with your ability level. Therefore, your test will be unique. Just one question is shown on the screen at a given time. It is impossible to skip a question or go back to a prior question. Each problem needs to be answered before the next question.

GMAT Section Comparison

Section # of Quest. Time Allowed Details Score Range Score Interval Official Score Report (within 20 days of test day) Unofficial Score Report (right after the test)
GMAT Essay (AWA) 1 30 min • Analysis of an Argument (30 min., 1 topic) 0 - 6 0.5 Yes No; Scored Separately
GMAT Integrated Reasoning 12 30 min • Multi-Source Reasoning • Table Analysis • Graphics Interpretation • Two-Part Analysis 1 - 8 1 Yes No; Scored Separately
Optional 8 Minute Break
GMAT Quantitative 37 75 min • Problem Solving (23-24 questions) • Data Sufficiency (13-14 questions) 0 - 60 1; scores below 7 and above 50 are very rare Yes Yes
Optional 8 Minute Break
GMAT Verbal 41 75 min • Critical Reasoning (14-15 questions) • Sentence Correction (14-15 quest.) • Reading Comprehension (4 passages, 12-14 questions) 0 - 60 1; scores below 9 and above 44 are very rare Yes Yes
Total 1 AWA; 12 IR; 78 Multiple-choices 4 hours (approx.) N/A 200-800 10; scaled from Verbal and Quantitative sub-scores Yes Yes

Please note that not all of the verbal and quantitative questions are scored. In the Verbal section, approximately 37 of the 41 questions are scored, and in the quantitative section, approximately 33 of the 37 questions are scored. The un-scored questions are there for the purpose of gauging results for future tests. Within the quantitative section, the different types of math questions are intermixed.

An Analysis of an Argument essay will appear in the AWA section.

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