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What is the GMAT Exam?

The Graduate Management Admission Test, or the GMAT, is a standardised test used for admission to graduate management programs in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the United Kingdom, etc.

Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC):

Essentially, the GMAT exam is a Computer Adaptive Test conducted by the Graduate Management Council, or the GMAC, and is conducted worldwide in 114 countries.

Countries Where GMAT Is Accepted:

The GMAT exam is accepted in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the United Kingdom, etc.

Where is the GMAT exam used?

The GMAT exam is used for admissions to graduate management programs like MBA, Masters of Finance, Masters of Accountancy, etc.

How many attempts are allowed for the GMAT exam?

You can attempt the GMAT exam for a maximum of eight times in total.

However, within a single year, you can take the exam only for a maximum of 5 times.

Also, the time duration between any two consecutive attempts should be at least 16 days.

Multi Stage Test:

Essentially, the GMAT is a multi stage test. This means that firstly, in the beginning of the Quantitative section and the Verbal section, you will encounter questions of average difficulty.

Later on, the question difficulty level increases if you answer questions correctly. On the contrary, if you answer questions incorrectly, the question difficulty level decreases.

Scoring System in GMAT:

The highest score you can achieve in the GMAT exam is 800.

Furthermore, 200 is the lowest score that can be obtained in the GMAT exam.

Moreover, scores are awarded in 10 point increments.

Your Total GMAT Score includes your performance in the Quantitative section and the Verbal section combined.

Consequently, the Analytical Writing Assessment section and the Integrated Reasoning section are scored separately and are not included in the Total GMAT Score.

Cancelling Your GMAT Scores:

At the end of your GMAT Exam, you will receive unofficial scores for the Verbal section, the Quantitative section, and Integrated Reasoning, as well as your unofficial Total GMAT Score.

Consequently, at the test centre, you will have two minutes to decide if you want to keep or cancel your scores.

However, if you do not cancel your scores at the test centre but later want to cancel them, you can do so online as well. In order to do so, you can cancel your score online within 72 hours after your official exam start time.

In addition to that, for a fee of $50, you can reinstate your cancelled score within 4 years and 11 months after the exam date of that particular score

Receiving Your Scores:

The unofficial scores are available right after the exam.

Subsequently, the official score report will be available within 7 business days on your official mba.com account.

However, sometimes it may also take 20 business days for your official scores to be available on your mba.com account.

Sending Your Scores:

The fees for sending your scores to certain selected programs is already included in your GMAT online exam fees.

After you receive your official score via your official mba.com account, within 48 hours, you will be able to send 5 complimentary score reports.

Schools will receive your official scores within 24 hours after you make your request.

Format of the GMAT Exam:

The GMAT exam is divided into four sections, namely:

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
  2. Integrated Reasoning
  3. Quantitative
  4. Verbal


Time Duration

Number of Questions

Analytical Writing Assessment

30 minutes


Integrated Reasoning

30 minutes

12 questions


62 minutes

31 questions


65 minutes

36 questions

Also, the GMAT Online Exam and the exam taken at test centres has the same time limit for each section and the same number and type of items in each section.

Structure of the GMAT Exam:

Order of the sections while attempting the GMAT Exam:

You have the option to choose any of the three following orders in which the sections appear before you when you attempt the actual GMAT exam which are given below:

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment – Integrated Reasoning – Quantitative – Verbal
  2. Verbal – Quantitative – Integrated Reasoning – Analytical Writing Assessment
  3. Quantitative – Verbal – Integrated Reasoning – Analytical Writing Assessment

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA):

In the Analytical Writing Assessment, you will have to critically examine and analyse an argument and henceforth write an essay based on your analysis.

Scoring Your Analytical Writing Assessment Essay:

Your essay is rated two times and the average of these two individual ratings ultimately determines your final Analytical Writing Assessment score.

One out of the two ratings is done by the Computerised Reading Evaluation. Particularly, this rating is based on over 50 linguistic and structural features which are inbuilt in the essay scoring engine’s system. These features include your analysis of the topic, your organisation of ideas in the essay, variety in the syntax and so on.

In addition to that, a second rating is given by a GMAC appointed reader. Moreover, the computerised score will not be revealed to this rater.

In case both of these readings differ by more than one point, the essay is then rated again by another expert rater who ultimately determines the final score.

The maximum and the minimum scores that can be awarded to the Analytical Writing Assessment essay are 6 and 0 respectively. Also, scores are given in half point increments.

Score Description:

Below is a description of what each score means:




Outstanding Essay


Strong Essay


Adequate Essay


Limited Essay


Flawed Essay


Deficient Essay


Integrated Reasoning (IR):

In the Integrated Reasoning Section, you have to analyse and evaluate data presented from multiple sources presented to you in multiple formats.

Moreover, there are 12 questions in this section which can consist of multiple sub parts within themselves.

The formats in which questions are asked in the Integrated Reasoning Section are given below:

  • Table Analysis
  • Graphics Interpretation
  • Multi Source Reasoning
  • Two Parts Analysis

Table Analysis Questions:

In Table Analysis Questions, you will analyse a table of information which will be similar to a spreadsheet.

Particularly, you will answer each question based on that particular table in Yes/No, True/False question type format.

Graphics Interpretation:

In Graphics Interpretation questions, you will interpret graphical images and/or graphs and answer questions based on the same.

Here, the questions will have fill in the blanks statements along with pull down menus, and you will choose the option that best suits the fill in the blank statement.

Multi Source Reasoning:

In a Multi Source Reasoning QUestion, you will encounter two or three sources of information in tabbed pages. And you will have to examine and evaluate information provided in each tab to answer the questions which follow.

Moreover, the information provided can be a combination of charts, tables and text.

The question types will either be multiple choice questions or opposite answer questions (True/False, Yes/No, etc).

Two Part Analysis:

You will encounter questions in the form of a table with three columns and any number of rows.

Also, each row corresponds to a different sub part question.

In each row, the first two columns correspond to two possible answer choices. Consequently, you have to select any one out of them based on the question in the third column.

Quantitative Section:

In the Quantitative Section of the GMAT you have to demonstrate your ability to answer questions based on analysis of information provided in the question, interpret graphical datas, etc. To sum it all, you have to reason and answer quantitative problems.

However, calculators are not allowed in the Quantitative Section of the GMAT exam.

Instead, wet erase pens and laminated graphs are provided at the test centres. Subsequently, you will have to use these and solve the questions of the Quantitative Section by doing the maths by hand.

Also, the minimum and maximum scores which can be achieved in the Quantitative Section of the GMAT are 0 and 60 respectively.

Types of Questions in the Quantitative Section:

There are two types of questions asked in the Quantitative Section of the GMAT exam. These are explained below:

1.   Data Sufficiency Questions:

In Data Sufficiency questions, you have to determine at what point enough information has been provided in the question, point out explicitly where insufficient information has been provided, and recognize the relevancy of the information provided to you in the query to solve the problem.

2.   Problem Solving Questions:

By answering the Problem-Solving questions, you essentially demonstrate your ability to understand, evaluate, and analyze quantitative problems.

Verbal Section:

The minimum and maximum scores which can be achieved in the Verbal Section of the GMAT are 0 and 60 respectively.

The types of questions asked in the Verbal section of the GMAT exam are given below:

  • Critical Reasoning
  • Sentence Correction
  • Reading Comprehension

You have to select any one out of the five answer choices in each question type mentioned above.

Critical Reasoning Question Type:

In the Critical Reasoning questions, you essentially demonstrate your reasoning skills.


Sentence Correction Question Type:

The Sentence Correction questions test your communication skills as well as your knowledge and effective and correct use of grammar.

Reading Comprehension Question Type:

In Reading Comprehension questions, you have to analyse information provided in comprehension passages which can be one or more paragraphs long.

Next, you have to draw conclusions based on your evaluation and answer questions based on the same.

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faq on GMAT

You can register yourself for the GMAT exam via two ways:

  • Online: You can register online via mba.com by creating your account on the website.
  • Offline: You can register yourself offline by directly calling any one of the GMAT test centres near you.

The cost of the GMAT exam is 250 USD.

GMAT scores are valid for 5 years from the official date of the exam.

You can attempt the online GMAT exam on both Mac and Windows laptops as well as personal computers.

You can schedule your GMAT exam maximum 6 months in advance and minimum 24 hours from the official time of testing.

You can cancel or reschedule your GMAT exam any time through your official mba.com account.

There are many websites available online to help you with your GMAT prep.

You can get free as well as paid access to study materials, question banks and mock tests, section wise as well as full GMAT tests, for doing your GMAT prep.

The online GMAT exam as well as the GMAT exam attempted at the test centres has the same questions and the same difficulty level.

You have to choose between the two modes based on your comfort and personal preference.

As the scores take 7 business days, 20 business days in some cases, it is better to take the GMAT exam at least one month prior to the college application deadline.

Also, in case you decide to take another attempt for the GMAT exam before applying to college, you should plan well in advance accordingly so that you get the scores for your second GMAT attempt on time before the college application deadline.

Certain business schools and business and management programs also accept GRE scores in order to apply to them. Look into the requirements of the universities you wish to apply to and check if they accept both GRE as well as GMAT score.

If yes, then you can either go for GMAT or GRE based on your preference. If not, then you have to appear for the specific exam that particular university requires in its application process

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