What is the GMAT?

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The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardized exam that is used by various colleges and universities in the U.S. as a factor in determining graduate school admissions.

The GMAT test is only one factor that colleges use in the admissions process, but it can be an important factor – you should prepare and strive to do well on the test.

Summary: Learn everything you need to know about the GMAT. If you want to start studying, use our reviews of the best GMAT prep courses.

What is the GMAT?

The GMAT is a computer adaptive exam given by colleges and universities to students applying to their graduate programs. The exam is most commonly taken by individuals who are applying for graduate management / business programs (MBA).

The GMAT is developed and administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). The exam will be taken on a computer and can be taken in the following locations:

  • Online at home
  • Online at a proctoring center

The GMAT is similar in purpose to the GRE test.

How Many Questions are on the GMAT?

The GMAT includes 4 different sections with a total of 80 questions. Each section is given separately and has a different number of questions:

  • Analytical Writing – 1 Essay
  • Integrated Reasoning – 12 Questions
  • Quantitative Reasoning – 31 Questions
  • Verbal Reasoning – 36 Questions

You can practice these questions by taking our GMAT practice test.

How Long is the GMAT?

Individuals will be given 3 hours and 7 minutes to complete the GMAT. Each section has a time limit:

  • Analytical Writing – 30 Minutes
  • Integrated Reasoning – 30 Minutes
  • Quantitative Reasoning – 62 Minutes
  • Verbal Reasoning – 65 Minutes

What is on the GMAT Exam?

The GMAT test contains 4 sections. Each section is given separately and has a time lime limit.

SubjectTotal Number of QuestionsTime Limit
Analytical Writing1 Essay30 Minutes
Integrated Reasoning12 Questions30 Minutes
Quantitative Reasoning31 Questions62 Minutes
Verbal Reasoning36 Questions65 Minutes

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

The GMAT analytical writing assessment section tests your ability to communicate your thoughts in a clear and concise manner. Along with communicating your thoughts, you will be expected to think critically.

The purpose of this section is to evaluate your ability to communicate effectively via an essay.

You will be given 30 minutes to complete this section. You will be given one topic in which to write on. The topic will ask you to analyze an argument.

Specific knowledge of the individual topics is not required – all that is required is your ability to think critically and analyze the argument given to you.

Number of QuestionsTime LimitScore Range
1 Timed Task30 Minutes0-6

Integrated Reasoning

The GMAT integrated reasoning portion will evaluate your ability to process information in multiple formats from various sources. This is an important skill for everyone to have due to the numerous ways information and data is presented in the real world.

You will have 30 minutes to answer this portion of the GMAT exam. The integrated reasoning portion includes 12 questions – the questions consist of the following question types:

  • Multi-Source Reasoning
  • Table Analysis
  • Graphic Interpretation
  • Two-Part Analysis
Number of QuestionsTime LimitScore Range
12 Total Questions30 Minutes1-8

Quantitative Reasoning

The GMAT quantitative reasoning portion will evaluate your mathematical skills, as well as your ability to interpret graphic data. You will have 62 minutes to answer 31 multiple choice question.

You are not permitted to use a calculator on this portion of the exam.

There are two types of questions for the GMAT quantitative reasoning portion:

  • Problem Solving
  • Data Sufficiency
Number of QuestionsTime LimitScore Range
31 Total Questions62 Minutes6-51

Verbal Reasoning

The GMAT verbal reasoning portion will evaluate how well you can read and understand written material. As well as understanding written material, you will also be evaluated on how well you can evaluate arguments and correct information in the English language.

You will have 65 minutes to answer 36 questions. The questions are multiple choice and consist of the following types:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Sentence Correction
Number of QuestionsTime LimitScore Range
36 Total Questions65 Minutes6-51

How Many Times Can You Take the GMAT?

You are able to take the GMAT a total of 8 times in your lifetime. Some additional limits include:

  • The GMAT online exam can only be taken 2 times
  • You can only take the GMAT 5 times during a rolling 12-month period
  • You can only take the GMAT once every 16 days

Can You Use a Calculator on the GMAT?

You will not be allowed to bring or use your own calculator. However, a calculator will be provided for you during the integrated reasoning portion of the exam.

Note: You will not be able to use a calculator during the quantitative reasoning section. You will be provided with an area to make your own calculations.

GMAT Scoring

You will receive a score from 200-800. This is referred to as the GMAT total score. This total score is what schools will mostly use when determining your admission into their program.

This total score is calculated from the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections. You will receive a score from 6 to 51 for each of those two sections.

Those scores will then be scaled to give you a score from 200-800.

You can review our complete guide on scoring to find out what a good GMAT score is.

How to Register for the GMAT

The GMAT test is given year-round. You can register for the GMAT on the official GMAT website. You will be able to pick from a list of dates, times, and testing centers.

Time & Date of GMAT Tests

GMAT test dates are given year-round. You can take the exam whenever it works best for you. However, you should check with the programs you wish to apply to and ensure your scores will be available before the application deadline.

You will be able to choose the time of day you take your GMAT test. If you are a morning person, schedule your exam for the morning. If you are an afternoon person, schedule your exam for the afternoon. Use the scheduling process to your advantage.

GMAT Registration Fees

For all U.S. testing locations, the GMAT costs $250. Students can choose up to 5 schools to send their scores too. Prices may vary for various international testing centers.

Prepare for Your GMAT Test

The GMAT is an important exam for individuals interested in getting into a graduate program. Studying for the exam can be very stressful and time consuming.

Utilize our GMAT practice tests to begin your studying journey.

Trevor Klee
Trevor is our GMAT and GRE expert. Trevor runs his own tutoring company and scored in the 99th percentile of the GRE and GMAT.