What is the GMAT Exam?

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a requirement for admission to most top MBAs and leading specialized Master’s degree programs and frequently for scholarship applications. It is recognized by more than 5,800 business and management programs 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

The 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 in April 2018, when GMAC reduced the number of questions on the Quantitative and Verbal sections as well as the total exam time.

Since 2017, test takers can also choose their GMAT section order. When you arrive at your test center, you have the flexibility to choose from three options so that you are able to sit sit the exam according to your strengths and preferences.

What is the GMAT Exam?

1. Analytical Writing Assessment

The Analytical Writing Assessment – part 1 of the 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

3. Quantitative

The Quantitative section is taken in 62 minutes and test takers have to answer 31 questions. The quantitative section tests problem-solving and the capability to reason quantitatively.

Format: 31 questions
Topic: Data Sufficiency, Problem Solving
Time: 62 minutes
Score: 0-60

4. Verbal

The Verbal section is taken in 65 minutes and test takers have to answer 36 questions. The verbal section consists of reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction questions.

Format: 36 questions
Topic: Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction
Time: 65 minutes
Score: 0-60

Testing time is 3 hours 7 minutes, but plan for an additional half hour if you wish to use the optional breaks. 

Overall score: 200-800

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 programs usually range between 500 and 650, but the average scores of admitted students are much higher and can reach about 700 in top MBA programs.

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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 centers around the world. The standard test fee is USD 250 (plus taxes) and includes reporting of your official scores to up to five programs 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 programs 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.


* 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.