Info on the GMAT Examination

The GMAT exam is frequently required for admission to graduate-level programs in management or business administration. Read on for more information about the test and what you can to do to prepare for it.

What You Need to Know

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardized test given to students applying to graduate school. The test is administered in four parts that take about three hours to complete (total). You may retake the test several times a year. There are several options available to help you prepare to take the test and receive the score you want.

Training GMAC training programs or preparatory classes
Online Some training options are offered online
Skills Assessed Analytical writing, problem-solving and data, critical reasoning, reading comprehension and sentence correction

What Is the Purpose of the GMAT?

The GMAT can help you assess your readiness to tackle graduate-level work and find schools that match your academic abilities. While any grad school-ready student can take the GMAT, it's generally aimed at those interested in studying business and management.

What Will I Be Tested On?

The four-part GMAT exam is made up of mostly multiple-choice questions that you'll need to complete within three hours and seven minutes. The test content is as follows:

  • For the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) portion of the test, you'll analyze the reasoning of a sample argument and write a critique. You'll have 30 minutes to complete this part of this section, which will test your ability to organize, develop and support your own ideas.
  • The Integrated Reasoning (IR) section will assess how well you can interpret and evaluate information in different formats, such as graphs, two-part analyses, tables and connected multiple sources (such as a series of emails). You're given 30 minutes to answer 12 questions.
  • The Quantitative section has a maximum time limit of 62 minutes and consists of 31 multiple-choice questions that covering problem-solving and data analysis and sufficiency (whether you have enough data to solve a problem). While there is some math involved, don't worry if numbers aren't your strong suit; the skills involved are no more difficult than what you have learned in high school.
  • You'll have another 65 minutes to answer the Verbal section's 36 multiple-choice questions, which covers topics in critical reasoning, reading comprehension and sentence correction.

You will also be allowed to select the order in which these sections are presented to you.

How is the Test Scored?

Your scores will be determined by the number of questions answered, how many were answered correctly or incorrectly, and the level of difficulty for each question. You'll get a Total Score, which is calculated from the Verbal and Quantitative sections and can range from 200 to 800. Meanwhile, the AWA section can receive a score from 0 to 6 (in half-point intervals), where each essay you write receives two independent ratings. These ratings are actually determined by a computer and based on a number of linguistic criteria; if the two automated ratings happen to differ, a trained reader is called in to add a third evaluation. Finally, your IR section is worth 1 to 8 points (in whole-number intervals), and partial credit is not given for incomplete answers.

Your GMAT score report will include scores from every time you've taken the test within the last five years, so you can compare your own scores and check your progress. If you aren't satisfied with your scores, you can retake the test. However, you must wait 16 days before retaking the test, and you can do this no more than five times in a single year. The maximum number of times you make take the GMAT over your lifetime is eight total, effective December 17, 2016.

How Do I Get Started?

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), schools and training organizations offer you several options to prepare for the exam. Registering with GMAC allows you to use GMAT Official Prep software that provides question topics and formats similar to the actual test. You can also enroll in a course specifically for GMAT preparation through many graduate schools to refresh and enhance your relevant skills and knowledge. Prior to paying for any preparatory tools or classes, research the curricula and success rate of individuals that have used them.

Once you're ready, you'll need to schedule an appointment to take the exam. You can register for the exam online, via phone, fax or mail. To find a testing center, you can check with your school or GMAC. As of 2018, you'll need to pay a $250 fee at the time of registration.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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