What Is The GMAT? (With Preparation Tips And FAQs)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 25 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardised examination essential to the Master of Business Administration (MBA) application process. This multiple-choice examination measures an aspirant's proficiency in mathematics, critical reasoning and data interpretation. Learning about the admission test and how educational institutes use it can help you secure an impressive score. In this article, we explain what the GMAT is, discuss how it differs from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and share some tips to help you prepare for it.

What Is The GMAT?

The GMAT is a computer-based test for admission to an MBA or a business management graduate programme. It is a standardised test that helps admission officers determine if a candidate can think logically to solve complex business problems. An individual gets three hours to write the exam, and the maximum that they can score is 800 points. Professionals who conduct the performance assessment grade each section separately, after which they calculate the total average score.

Sections Of The Graduate Management Admission Test

Here are the four sections of the test:

  • Analytical writing assessment (AWA): The AWA section, which has a time limit of 30 minutes, has an essay question that asks the individual to examine and critique an argument in a clear, organised and insightful manner. Professionals grade this section manually and may use technology to calculate an average overall score.

  • Integrated reasoning: This section consists of 12 questions with a time limit of 30 minutes. The answers to these questions show your ability to comprehend and assess data sets, such as graphs and tables.

  • Quantitative: This section has 31 questions on data sufficiency and problem-solving with a time limit of 60 minutes. Your responses to these questions show your understanding of basic mathematical concepts, such as algebra, arithmetic and geometry.

  • Verbal: This section has 36 questions for which the individual receives 65 minutes. These questions assess the individual's written English, analytical thinking and reading comprehension.

Related: 11 Programmes For MBA Health Care Management Aspirants

Tips For The Graduate Management Admission Test

Here are some tips you can follow to prepare for the admission test:

Register for the test

The first step is to register for the test online. You can do this by visiting the official website of the Graduate Management Admission Test. Create an account and explore local testing centres to select the date and time for the exam. You can schedule your exam six months or even a couple of weeks in advance. Once you have scheduled this, you can better implement a study timetable.

Before you do this, consider determining the time you may take to prepare for the test, as you can appear for it once every 16 calendar days. It is also important to note that you cannot take the test over five times in 12 months.

Related: How Much Do MBA Finance Graduates Make? (Top Jobs Explained)

Develop a study plan

Once you have selected the date and time, review the requirements for the exam, such as its structure and content. Create a study plan that aligns with the score you wish to achieve in the exam. For instance, if you intend to apply to a prestigious university for your MBA programme, you may set a target that is over 700 points. Below are some methods you may follow to thoroughly prepare for the test:

  • Completing mock tests online, and reviewing multiple sample question papers

  • Joining a coaching institute online or a physical centre

  • Practising for the test with the help of a private tutor

  • Completing an online admission test tutorial

Prepare for the test

To feel more at ease preparing for your test, seek motivation from the success stories of other aspirants. It is helpful to mentally and physically prepare yourself to deliver an impressive performance and achieve your target score. Here are some actions you may take before appearing for the exam:

  • Confirming your schedule, and verifying the centre's location

  • Taking sufficient rest to help you feel fresh and energetic on the day of the exam

  • Reviewing the route to the centre, and calculating travel time in advance

  • Arriving 30 minutes early to avoid the check-in rush

  • Carrying the necessary documents, such as photo identification that matches the registration name

Related: 12 Best MBA Specialisations To Help You Advance Your Career

Difference Between The Graduate Management Admission Test And GRE

The Graduate Management Admission Test and the GRE are part of the admission process for MBA and other business management programmes. They primarily differ in structure and content, with varying weights for their scores. You may select one based on your application requirements or your preferred school. While some schools accept the Graduate Management Admission Test scores, others may prefer GRE scores. Some schools may ask for both, as it helps them to compare and evaluate an aspirant's abilities better.

Related: 20 Highest-Paying Jobs With An MBA (With Salaries)

Graduate Management Admission Test FAQs

Below are some Graduate Management Admission Test FAQs that may help you clear any doubts regarding the examination:

How do MBA schools use the Graduate Management Admission Test?

The Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) administers the Graduate Management Admission Test. This organisation recommends that schools use the test as a standard method to determine admission for a student. This test evaluates an aspirant's competence in academic work at the graduate level. Admission committees at business schools usually assess a candidate's test score, professional experience, scholastic credentials and other achievements before deciding whether to offer aspirants the opportunity to pursue their school's MBA programme.

What are the requirements for the admission test?

The Graduate Management Admission Test is a globally recognised assessment that MBA aspirants take to pursue business education at the post-graduate level. The test examines your analytical writing, verbal and mathematical skills. Its requirements may vary and largely depend on where you prefer to study. For instance, there may be universities that accept a score of 600 or above, but some high-ranking MBA schools may require you to score 700 or above.

Related: Average MBA Salary In India (With Minimum And Starting Pay)

Can you reappear for the Graduate Management Admission Test?

Yes, you can reappear for the examination, but it may be necessary for you to consider a few points before retaking the exam. For instance, you can appear for the exam up to five times in 12 months. If you wish to reappear, ensure that you register for the same in advance. Analyse your improvement areas to increase your chances of clearing in your next attempt.

How many points do you require to pass the Graduate Management Admission Test?

The exam has 800 points, and it is typically necessary to score 50% of these points to clear the test. Apart from passing the test, it is helpful to consider the minimum requirements of the MBA school that you have selected to pursue the programme. Stay confident in your abilities and knowledge and make significant efforts to achieve an excellent score.

Related: 20 High-Paying Careers With An MBA (With Duties And Salary)

Where can you find practice resources for the Graduate Management Admission Test?

Visit the official website of the examination, which has a section allowing you to take practice quizzes. Explore their database to find past question papers. You can also visit several online forums and communities to find practice materials to prepare for the test.

When can you appear for the Graduate Management Admission Test?

You can appear for the test throughout the year. The minimum age for the test is 18 years. In some cases, aspirants between 13 and 18 years of age can get an official permission letter from their parents or guardians to appear for the test.

Related: 10 Benefits Of Pursuing An MBA For A Career Change

Do universities and employers get to know the number of attempts an aspirant makes to clear the exam?

After taking the test, you get a score that the testing organisation shares with universities and employers, which indicates your number of attempts. This information helps schools and companies to determine your willingness to achieve your career goals. For instance, if an aspirant has five attempts on their report but has passed the test with an excellent score, it may convey their determination and perseverance to recruiters. If the aspirant has cleared the test easily in just a couple of attempts, it shows their talent and proficiency in mathematics and logical reasoning.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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