GMAT Test Overview

GMAT TestThe GMAT Test is a standardized exam that is used by many graduate business programs in their admissions process.  The GMAT Test serves a similar function to the GRE Tests in that both are used by colleges and universities as a factor in admissions to graduate programs.  Different institutions place varying degrees of importance on standardized tests, such as the GMAT, and use them along with other factors such as GPA, class rank, community service, recommendations and extracurricular activities.  The GMAT is currently accepted by over 5,600 graduate programs across 1,700 universities and organizations around the world. 

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The GMAT Test is meant to assess a candidate’s academic skills and predict their success in a graduate business program.  The GMAT Test focuses on assessing quantitative, verbal, analytical writing skills, and integrated reasoning.  The GMAT exam is given in a  computer-adaptive format which selects questions based on previous responses.

Combined GMAT Test Scores range from 200 to 800 for the total score.  GMAT Scores are also given for the individual verbal, quantitative, analytical writing, and integrated reasoning components.

GMAT Test FormatGMAT Test Format

The GMAT Exam consists of one written essay and a total of 89 questions.  You are given a total of approximately 3 1/2 hours (with breaks) to complete the test.  The table below lists the sections of the GMAT test in more detail.

GMAT Test Sections


Section Time Limit Number of Questions Summary
GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment 30 minutes 1 Analysis of an Argument Evaluates your ability to explore complex issues, articulate positions, and formulate critiques.  The essay will be scored based on the overall quality of your ideas, your ability to organize and develop your ideas, and your control of the elements of standard written English.
GMAT Verbal 75 minutes 41 questions Evaluates your reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction. You will be asked to analyze and evaluate written material, including: understanding and applying concepts; making and evaluating arguments; formulating a plan of action; and correcting sentences based on stylistic conventions and grammatical rules.
GMAT Quantitative 75 minutes 37 questions

Covers basic mathematical concepts such as problem solving and data sufficiency that are typical for a college graduate.  You will be tested on: elementary mathematical concepts, quantitative reasoning, and problem solving.  You will be asked to determine if there is sufficient data necessary to solve a problem.

Integrated Reasoning 30 Minutes 12 Questions

Assesses a student's ability to evaluate information from multiple sources and in different formats.  Question types include: multi-source reasoning, graphics interpretation, two-part analysis, and table analysis.

GMAT Test Registration

Registering for the GMAT is a relatively straight forward process.  You must understand the requirements, schedule the exam, and pay the appropriate fees.  The requirements for the GMAT are:

  • Students must be at least 18 years old.  Students between 13 and 17 may take the exam with parental or legal guardian approval
  • The GMAT cannot be taken more than 5 times within a 12 month period
  • There must be at least 31 days between taking the test again

The GMAT has no set test dates - students may schedule their own exam. Students should check with their desired schools to understand admissions deadlines. It is recommended that a student register about 2-3 months prior to their preferred test date.  The current cost for taking the exam is $250.

GMAT Test Preparation

Students have a wide variety of options available to them to prepare for their GMAT exams. To prepare for the GMAT students should become intimately familiar with the content and format of the exam.  Many students opt for GMAT tutoring or taking a traditional test preparation class.  Other ways of preparing for the GMAT include purchasing a GMAT study guide, taking GMAT practice tests, or using online test prep resources.

GMAT Test Scores

After you take your exam, you will be given two minutes to decide whether to accept or cancel your scores.  You will NOT be shown your score before you decide whether to accept your score.  After you accept your score, you will be provided with an unofficial score on the screen and you may pickup a printed copy of the score at the front desk of the testing center.  Your printout will include an authentication code that will enable you to access your official scores.  Each of the test sections is separately scored which are combined into a total score in the range of 200-800.  See our overview of GMAT Test Scores for more details.