What is GMAT? - Everything About GMAT Test

9 mins

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a crucial aspect of the application process for business schools. The GMAT is a standardized multiple-choice computer-based, computer-adaptive exam that is usually required for admission to graduate business programs (MBA) around the world.

The GMAT was established and is administered by GMAC, a test company, to provide business schools with standardized assessments of applicants' preparation for graduate-level academic work.

Business school admission committees consider your GMAT score, as well as your work experience, academic record, and supporting documents to assess your preparedness for the rigors of an MBA program.

So, what's the takeaway? A high GMAT score will have a direct and favorable impact on your MBA application to business school.


The GMAT online test evaluates your ability to perform basic math, algebra, geometry, multi-source data processing, and grammar.

More crucially, it assesses your ability to read, analyze, and evaluate written information, as well as your capacity to think critically and solve issues. The GMAT is, above all, a measure of your critical thinking abilities. The secret to a high GMAT score is knowing how to think critically and analyze data.


Although you'll employ the same critical thinking and analysis skills throughout the GMAT, the exam pattern has four separately timed sections. You will have the opportunity to take two optional eight-minute breaks during the exam.

  • Analytical Writing Assessment: determines your ability to think critically and share your ideas.
  • Integrated Reasoning: evaluates your ability to analyze and evaluate data presented in a variety of ways
  • Quantitative Reasoning: evaluates your ability to analyze data and draw conclusions using reasoning skills
  • Verbal: This test assesses your ability to read and comprehend written content, analyze arguments, and edit written material to adhere to standard written English.

GMAT Exam Pattern


GMAT SectionNumber of QuestionsQuestion TypesDuration
Analytical Writing Assessment1 essay questionAnalysis of an Argument30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning12 Multiple Choice questionsGraphics Interpretation, Table Analysis, Multi-source Reasoning, Two-part Analysis30 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning31 multiple choice questionsData Sufficiency, Problem Solving62 minutes
Verbal Reasoning36 Multiple Choice questionsReading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction65 minutes

GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) Section

This component of the test assists business schools in evaluating your writing abilities. It is scored by a computer grading system and human graders and consists of one essay-style question. The AWA segment takes about 30 minutes to complete.

This section assesses your ability to analyze and convey your thoughts and ideas. When assessing this area, ensure you clearly identify and evaluate key aspects of the case, develop and organize your views logically and thoroughly, and connect your claims with clear transitions.

Once you submit your essay, you will be graded on four categories: issue analysis, supporting ideas, language control, and assembling cohesive thoughts.

GMAT Integrated Reasoning (IR) Section

This area of the test consists of Data presented in graphs, tables, paragraphs, or a combination of the three. Multi-source reasoning, two-part analysis, graphical interpretation, and table analysis are the four types of problems addressed in this section.

This portion assesses your ability to evaluate data presented in a variety of formats. Within 30 minutes, you must complete 12 multiple-choice questions.

The IR component assesses both verbal and numerical abilities. As a result, you should focus on the verbal and quantitative components of the GMAT first.

What Skills Are Assessed on the GMAT's Integrated Reasoning Section?

The integrated reasoning component of the exam is designed to evaluate an applicant's data analysis and problem-solving abilities, two talents that many MBA companies values.

"The IR portion, which was developed with help from business schools and corporate recruiters, tests real-world abilities that are useful in today's job market, such as synthesizing data from many sources, organizing data to see links, and making judgments based on the same."

GMAT Quantitative Section

The Quant portion of the exam is designed to assess your analytical understanding of basic math concepts such as geometry, arithmetic, and geometry.

The Quant section of the exam consists of 31 multiple-choice questions that must be answered in 62 minutes. Data sufficiency and problem-solving are the two types of questions.

The Verbal Section of the GMAT

The Verbal portion assesses your ability to read critically and understand arguments, as well as your grasp of standard written English. It comprises 36 multiple-choice questions that must be answered in 65 minutes.

Critical thinking, reading comprehension, and sentence correction are the three categories of questions in the GMAT verbal section.

Control Your Test-Taking Experience

GMAT exam takers can choose which sections of the test they want to take first. When you arrive at your test center, you have the option of selecting one of three section order options for your exam:

  • Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal
  • Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

This option simply allows you more freedom and flexibility in how you take the GMAT exam, allowing you to tailor it to your strengths and testing preferences.

The GMAT is a computer-adaptive exam. So, what does that imply?

The GMAT's Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning parts are computer-adaptive, which means the test's complexity adjusts to your ability level in real-time. This feature enables the exam to analyze your potential more accurately and provide scores that business schools can rely on.

The following is how it works: In either the Verbal or Quantitative portions, the first question will be of medium difficulty. The computer scores and uses your responses as you answer each question together with your answers to any previous questions to choose the next one.

If you properly answer the first question, the computer will normally ask you a more difficult question. If you get the first one wrong, the second question will be much easy.

This procedure continues until you finish the part, at which point the computer will have an accurate estimate of your ability in that subject based on your responses to all previously completed questions.

You will not be able to skip questions, return to them, or amend your answers. This is because the machine selects the following question based on your responses to the previous ones.


It is always a good idea to look at the mean or average GMAT score of admitted applicants to the MBA programs you're contemplating applying to before deciding on your GMAT score objective. This will provide you with a good baseline.

The total score, composed of the quantitative and verbal sections, is exclusive of the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) and ranges from 200 to 800.


The Graduate Management Admission Test is available at Pearson VUE centers all year. On the GMAT official site, you can get a complete list of testing centers as well as seat availability.

It is strongly advised that you register for your selected GMAT test date as soon as possible so that GMAT can process your scores and transmit them to the MBA institutions to which you will be applying. It may take up to 20 days for this to happen.

Seats in Pearson VUE testing centers may be limited during peak testing hours. You can take the GMAT once every 16 days, up to five times in 12 months (365 days), and up to eight times in total.


Because MBA and other business programs have a wide variety of application deadlines, you'll want to do some research ahead of time, making sure your GMAT score can be submitted in time for your earliest deadline. Your GMAT score is acceptable for five years.

Keep in mind that many MBA admissions accept applications in "rounds," which can begin as early as September for highly competitive programs and end as late as April or May for Round 3 or even Round 4 for less competitive programs.

You should plan on studying for the GMAT for 1-3 months. GMAT test-takers who achieve a score in the 90th percentile or higher spend more than 120 hours studying for the exam.

Factors to be considered when selecting test dates

Looking backward and connecting the dots is the best way to determine a GMAT date for yourself. The first thing you should do is figure out which round of MBA applications you want to apply for.

The following is a 4-step method for selecting a GMAT date:

  • Know the deadline for applying to the business school you want to attend.
  • Begin GMAT preparation at least eight to ten months before the application date.
  • Take the test at least six months before the deadline for your application.
  • Keep a month or two, in case you need to retake the test.

Why Should You Take the GMAT Exam?

Taking the GMAT distinguishes you from the competition because:

  • It displays your desire to succeed in business school, as well as your aptitude and determination to do so.
  • Through personalized program recommendations, it connects you with the best-fit program.
  • It improves your earning capacity.
  • It brings a whole new universe of possibilities.
  • This test is used by business schools to make informed admission decisions.
  • It assesses your reasoning and critical thinking abilities, which are the most important skills for admission to top business schools.

How difficult is the GMAT exam?

The Graduate Management Admissions Test is a high-order reasoning test at its foundation. Every year, over 200,000 people take this test, with an average score of 720+ at the top business schools. Not only that but there's more. Only 6% of test-takers achieve a score of 720 or higher on the exam.

Here are a few reasons why this test is difficult to pass:

  • Content
  • Computer Adaptive Nature
  • Time Management
  • Exam Structure
  • Other factors


The GMAT costs $250 and includes GMAT score reports sent to up to five programs of your choice. You must pick the best time to take the exam and the best GMAT test prep for you so that you don't have to pay the fee twice.

The price of the GMAT exam increased to $275 in the United States (excluding US territories) and Canada on February 4, 2020.

What Role Does the GMAT Score Play in MBA Admissions?

Admissions decisions at business schools are based on the GMAT or Graduate Management Admissions Test score.

Your GMAT score is the most generally recognized and trusted indication of academic accomplishment in MBA and other graduate business degree programs, and it can help you stand out during the admissions process.

If you take the GMAT, schools know you're serious about getting an MBA, and your score is a proven indicator of your likelihood to succeed in your selected program.


1. How can I schedule my GMAT appointment?

GMAT is a computer-based test that is administered multiple times a day at various test centers authorized by GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council), the test's regulating organization. Create an account on the official GMAT website, www.mba.com, and schedule an appointment online.

2. Is the GMAT a challenging exam?

It is dependent on the individual's present skill set. It's simple for some but not for others. The syllabus is confined to basic level Math and English, but the questions are complex, and if the desired score is high, one cannot afford to get too many questions wrong.

The exam pattern for the GMAT is more or less fixed, which is a plus. The same set of concepts is tested, and the syllabus' breadth is constrained. So, if you put up the necessary effort in the right direction and refer to the appropriate materials, you should be able to succeed.

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