GMAT - SPLessons

GMAT Exam Introduction

Chapter 1

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GMAT Exam Introduction

shape Introduction

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a computer-based test conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (also referred as GMAC). It intends to assess certain skills of a candidate, including; analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning ability, quantitative, and verbal ability. The assessment so made is used for admission to graduate programs around the world and the most popular among them is Masters in Business Administration (MBA). Students from different background aspire to get admission in top business schools of the world. GMAT is the first step on the way. Best applicants are chosen on the basis of their scores. Therefore, the system for selection of students is made in a transparent manner.


shape Quick Info

The GMAT exam is a computer adaptive test and not a computer based test, which means that the candidate will get one question at a time and depending on the accuracy of the previous answer, the difficulty level of the next question will be found out. The average scores required for universities abroad varies; top level universities require at least 710, while middle level universities accept 600.

For Executive MBA, GMAC has recently introduced another Mini GMAT called Executive Assessment exam. This exam is specially designed for EMBA applicants and is of considerably shorter span. It is meant to test analytical and logical thinking of the candidates, which is more suited for the Executive MBA course.


GMAT Information
Exam Name Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
Commonly Known as GMAT
GMAT Exam Category Standardized management test
Exam Level International level test
GMAT Conducting Body Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)
Cost of GMAT 2017 US $250
Number of Sections Four (4)


shape About the Test

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) has four sections and a total of three and a half hours. The Analytical Writing Assessment takes 30 minutes and asks test takers to complete an essay critiquing a brief argument that is presented. This is the only part of the test that is not multiple-choice. Next, the Integrated Reasoning (IR) section, which was included 2012, has 12 questions. Test takers have 30 minutes to answer four types of questions: Table Analysis, Graphics Interpretation, Multi-Source Reasoning, and Two-Part Analysis. The IR section is multiple-choice but is not computer-adaptive.

Test takers have 75 minutes to complete the Verbal section of the test, which has 41 questions covering Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension. The Quantitative section contains 37 Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency questions. This section also takes 75 minutes to complete. Both combined take three and a half hours.

The computer-based sections (Verbal and Quantitative) use a computer-adaptive format, which means it adjusts the difficulty of the questions to each person’s skill level. The computer displays a question of medium difficulty at the beginning of each multiple-choice section of the test. It scores the test taker’s answer and uses the information to determine which question to display next. If someone answers a question correctly, the next question is likely to be more difficult. The computer is likely to display an easier question after someone has answered a question incorrectly. Computer-adaptive tests score each question individually, so test takers cannot change their answers or return to previous questions.

The total GMAT Score ranges from 200-800 and on an average estimate two-thirds of the GMAT Test takers obtain score 400 to 600.


shape Purpose

While GMAT score will help to fetch admission in a good business school, it is also extremely helpful otherwise. Therefore, candidates usually want to know how it will have an impact if they are not accepted in the business school. Here are a few other reasons, why an aspirant should choose to appear for GMAT?


Preparation for GMAT:
Before a candidate begins, here are a few points one must remember:


  1. Choose to appear for GMAT exam only 5 times within a time period of 12 months.

  2. Keep the minimum period of a wait at least 16 days between 2 consecutive GMAT exam attempts.

  3. If the candidate has scored a perfect 800, wait for five years before appearing for a retest.

  4. Must abide by the registration policy and testing rules set by the GMAC.

  5. One may take a re-exam for GMAT once in every 31 calendar days. This should not exceed 5 times in a role within a year.

The GMAT exam does not test student’s knowledge about business, their undergraduate course pursued, or creative work ethics. Rather it is based on these sections:


  1. Verbal reasoning: In this section, one can identify relationships between words and concepts. This is quite difficult and accuracy can only be achieved through practice and guidance.

  2. Quantitative reasoning: In this section, eighth to tenth-grade mathematics is asked. A candidate may be bad in mathematics, but practice can only be the key here. Time management is important. Do not spend too much time on questions one finds difficult to solve.

  3. Analytical writing: In this section, writing skills are tested on various levels for about an hour. It aims to check how well one can write ideas creatively such that it is spelled correctly, well-composed, and is in grammatically ordered.

There are a number of resources available for GMAT preparation. Choose the one based on choice and ease of understanding.


shape Directions

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) is the prime authority of GMAT. It has no specific eligibility criteria set for GMAT. Here are a few directions were given by GMAC for all aspirants:

GMAT Test Dates:

Unlike GRE, GMAT does not have specific test dates. It can be taken anytime at your own ease. A candidate should aim to take up a GMAT exam only when one feels fully prepared to do so. However, it is advisable to schedule exam at least 21 days prior to respective application deadline.

GMAT Test Center:

Once registered, it is advisable to find the nearest testing center. As weekend dates tend to fill up quickly, it is advisable to register for GMAT exam in advance or otherwise the candidate will have to travel some distance to reach the testing center assigned on a specific date.

GMAT Fees:

The registration fee charged by the GMAC from each candidate is $250. Although many of the applicants find it too much, however, it is relatively cheaper than the MBA investment that one may otherwise make. If the candidate is opting to reschedule the exam more than 7 days in advance, a $50 fee is charged. If the rescheduling of the test is done within 7 days, the $250 registration fee has to be paid again.

Documents to Carry to the Testing Centers:

While a passport is a must to have while going to a testing center, some other forms of ID proofs that candidate must consider carrying are:


  1. International travel passport

  2. Government-issued driver’s license

  3. Military ID card

  4. Government-issued national/ state/ province ID card.

Note that the ID must not be expired. It should be current and legible. At the time of the exam, the test administrator shall digitally take fingerprint, signature, and/or palm vein pattern, and a photograph of the candidate. Audio and video are recorded in the testing room at all centers during the exam. Anyone who refuses to participate in any part of the check-in process shall not be permitted to sit for the exam. Further, any refusal made regarding the audio/video recording, the candidate will not be permitted to take the test and the test fee shall be forfeit.

On the Test Day:


  1. Make sure well in advance the way to reach the test center. Plan travel in advance according to the traffic situation in the area.

  2. It is better to reach at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled GMAT.

  3. Post-arrival, do make a check-in. This is because if the candidate arrives more than 30 minutes late, one may not be admitted to give the exam.

  4. Checking of documents (as mentioned above) is a part of the check-in procedure.

  5. Every test center has to adhere to the Testing Rules & Agreement. Do check them before reaching the location.

  6. Personal items are not permitted. Testing aids are not allowed. Therefore, a candidate will have to store all personal belongings before sitting for the exam.