What Is GMAT

The GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test

Tina S
Tina S
Jan 15, 2010
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Overview of GMAT

The GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test.  It is administered by Graduate Management Admission Council (or GMAC) and required for admission to most U.S., Canadian, and European business school MBA programs. Also, the GMAT test result can be used for admission to business PhD program, such as Harvard Business School DBA program.

Over the 50 years of its use, the GMAT has been repeatedly studied, tested, modified and updated to ensure that it continues to help predict performance in the first year or midway through a graduate management program. The GMAT exam is conducted under standard conditions across 150 countries, with the highest level of security, to ensure that the scores are comparable across all applicants.

The GMAT is a standardized test that is somewhat similar to other admission tests, such as the SAT or Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GMAT consists of two main sections, a written section with two essays and a quantitative and verbal section. The minimum score required varies by school, but these typically range from 400 to 650.
You might also see the GMAT referred to as the "GMAT CAT"; the acronym CAT stands for "Computer Adaptive Test." The GMAT is administered only by computer now, except in certain locations outside North America, where the test is referred to as the "paper-based" GMAT. 

The global benchmark

The GMAT score being more reliable in predicting the performance of the student during the graduate management programme compared to the grades obtained during undergraduate study, it has thus become an invaluable tool to assess applicants' potential for success in an MBA programme.
Accordingly, the GMAT has emerged as a global benchmark for evaluating applicants for admission to business schools across the globe. In fact, almost all the top business schools make the GMAT a mandatory part of the application.
The global acceptability of the GMAT has also eliminated the need of various tests for each school, region or country. By taking this test an applicant can apply to most business schools in the world irrespective of the geography in which it may be located.

How does GMAT work
The GMAT is done on a computer, and the test wriers have taken advantage of this. The verbal and quantitative sections of the GMAT are adaptive tests; that is, they are tailored to your performance level and provide precise information about your abilities using fewer questions than traditional paper-based tests.
At the start of the test, you are presented with test questions of average difficulty. As you answer each question, the program grades that question and uses that information, as well as your responses to preceding questions and information about the test design, to determine which question is presented next. As long as you respond correctly, the program will typically present harder questions. When you respond incorrectly, the computer will typically present easier questions. Your next question will be one that best reflects both your previous performance and the requirements of the test design. Thus, different test takers will be given different questions.
Because the program grades each question before selecting the next one, you must answer each question when it is presented. You may not skip questions or return to previous questions. Only one question is given at a time. On the analytical writing section, the 2 writing tasks are delivered on the computer, and you must enter your responses through a word processor.

The GMAT is a 3-1/2 hour standardized exam designed to predict how test-takers will perform academically in MBA (Masters in Business Administration) programs. GMAT scores are used by graduate business schools to make admission decisions.

Ability measure
The GMAT seeks to measure three broad areas of ability by way of its different test sections:
 Analytical Writing Assessment (two 30-minute essay sections)
 Quantitative Ability (one 75-minute multiple choice section)
 Verbal Ability (one 75-minute multiple choice section)
A separate score is awarded for each of the three abilities listed above. A combined Quantitative/Verbal score is also awarded. The GMAT is not a pass/fail test.
The GMAT is divided into three sections, as follows:
Sections Number of Questions Time
  Analytical Writing Assessment Present your perspective on an issue. Analysis of an argument.

2 essays 30 mints for each essay
  Quantitative (Multiple-Choice) Problem Solving Data Sufficiency

Total 37 75 mints
  Verbal (Multiple-Choice) Sentence Correction  Critical Reasoning Reading Comprehension

Total 41 75 mints
There are optional 5-minute breaks between sections.
The GMAT primarily tests four skills:
1. Endurance and ability to focus
2. Basic knowledge of grammar, math, reasoning, and argument formation
3. Test-taking skills: ability to guess, work at an appropriate pace, and make decisions under pressure
4. Problem-solving abilities
When is the GMAT held
All-round-the-year. Unlike other exams, you can choose your own date and time for taking the GMAT. 
The test is administered in the above cities five-days-a-week (Monday through Friday), twice-a-day. September to December is the high season for GMAT, so in case you intend to take the test during this period, you need to register very early (say 90 days in advance) to get a date of your choice. Otherwise, registering at least 15 days in advance is mandatory. The GMAT test lasts roughly four hours, and most centers offer two slots: 9 A.M. and 2 P.M.

Eligibility and Fees

Anyone and everyone is eligible for taking the GMAT - there are no restrictions based on age or qualifications. The test scores are valid for five years, i.e., most universities accept scores up to five years old. But it is always better if your scores are recent (not older than 2 years).

The fee to take the Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT) is US$250 worldwide. You will incur taxes when you schedule an exam in certain countries.  

The fee can be paid using a credit or debit card, demand draft or money order. The amount has to be in US dollars and drafts have to payable in banks located in the US.

Preparation for GMAT

You should take a few mock GMAT exams in the computer-adaptive format, to familiarize yourself with the system and for practice. 
Try to simulate the testing environment by refraining from breaks until you finish a section, etc. You are also encouraged to use actual past exam questions, instead of those written by GMAT prep companies.


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