Everything You Need To Know About The GMAT

What Is The GMAT?

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a globally recognised & computer-based standardised test used by over 6,000 business school programmes (MBA, EMBA, MiM, MFin, PhD, etc.) across the globe as a part of their selection criteria. Business schools know it’s a proven predictor of your ability to succeed in their program.

9 out of 10 new MBA enrolments globally are made using a GMAT score

The GMAT tests a number of skills b-schools care about: clarity in writing, logical reasoning, reading comprehension, math concepts and importantly, your ability to effectively use the limited resources at your disposal to solve a problem.

Time is the essence and the GMAT almost never requires you to do laborious equations out by hand. It’s about getting the right answer efficiently.

The GMAT consists of 4 sections that assesses the test-takers’ analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in standard written English. Contrary to popular belief, the GMAT does not measure business knowledge or intelligence. Therefore, students generally need to prepare thoroughly in order to put together a competitive score.

For any aspiring business school candidates, having a competitive GMAT score is imperative to a successful application. Recently, some schools also start to accept the Executive Assessment (EA) alongside the GMAT. For more information on the Executive Assessment, please read our Executive Assessment guide instead.

About The GMAT's Format

The GMAT consists of four sections: Analytical Writing, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning

The total length of the GMAT is 3 hours and 30 minutes (inclusive of breaks and test instructions). You are given two optional 8-minute breaks that can be taken during the test.

Analytical Writing | About The GMAT

Analytical Writing

  • Duration: 30 Minutes
  • Number of questions: 1
  • Question Types: Analysis of Argument

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) measures your ability to think critically and to communicate your ideas. Consequently, during the AWA, analysis of the reasoning behind a given argument and a written critique of which is required.

Integrated Reasoning | About The GMAT

Integrated Reasoning

  • Duration: 30 Minutes
  • Number of questions: 12
  • Question Types: Multi-Source Reasoning, Graphics Interpretation, Two-Part Analysis, Table Analysis

The Integrated Reasoning section measures your ability to evaluate information presented in multiple formats from multiple sources. These are skills you need to succeed in our technologically advanced, data-driven world.

Quantitative Reasoning | About The GMAT

Quantitative Reasoning

  • Duration: 62 Minutes
  • Number of questions: 31
  • Question Types: Data Sufficiency, Problem Solving

The Quantitative Reasoning section measures your ability to analyze data and draw conclusions using reasoning skills. The mathematics needed to understand and solve the questions in this section of the GMAT exam are no greater than what is generally taught in secondary school classes.

Verbal Reasoning | About The GMAT

Verbal Reasoning

  • Duration: 36 Minutes
  • Number of questions: 65
  • Question Types: Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction

The GMAT exam showcases all of your skills and not just math. Hence, the Verbal Reasoning section measures your ability to read and understand written material, to evaluate arguments, and to correct written material to conform to standard written English.

The Role of The GMAT In MBA Application

1. The GMAT helps business schools compare applicants from different countries and universities.

In that sense, the GMAT levels the playing field a bit. Applicants who majored in sciences, for example, may have faced grade deflation, and certain universities are known for having grade inflation across majors. Perhaps your university is not known for its academic rigor; a very strong GMAT score can play a part in convincing a b-school that you’ll be able to contribute academically in a class with students from even the highest ranked universities in the world.

2. When you need to shortlist schools, your GMAT score can help.

It is impossible to get into a top MBA program like Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, INSEAD and the like with a 600. Last year, 40% of our applicants got an offer from an M7 and their GMAT average stood at 745. All of our applicants ended up with at least one offer from a top 15 MBA programs; their GMAT average was 735.

You can estimate what GMAT score you need by looking at a b-school’s average GMAT score. If you only have a couple years of work experience or if you’re an international applicant, you generally want your score to be above the school’s average.

Of course, we do see exceptions to this – especially if an applicant is from a country that is underrepresented in the target business school.

Year on year, the trend is that average GMAT scores at relatively competitive b-schools are going up, which suggests that schools continue to care about the GMAT scores.

3. The GMAT also helps admissions committees to get a sense of your academic potential.

If your undergraduate GPA is from several years ago, then your GMAT score is a more recent indicator of how you will do academically. If your GPA is below the average GPA of a b-school’s admitted students, the GMAT can help compensate for that lower GPA.

Certain employers will also care about the GMAT score. Top consulting firms, for example, like to see a score of 720 or above.

By the time you apply, you can no longer influence your undergraduate GPA or past work experience but you have direct and immediate control over the GMAT.

Make sure you give yourself every advantage, and apply with a strong GMAT score . Although it’s just one piece of the evaluation, it can (like every other part of the evaluation) be a bar to admission. On the other hand, a strong GMAT score does not guarantee admission, but it will improve your admissions chances.

How Is The GMAT Scored?

The GMAT is scored on the scale of 200 to 800. This score comes from your performance for the 2 computer-adaptive sections: Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning.

In reality, it is common to score somewhere between 400 and 750 for the GMAT – with the global average GMAT score at about 720.

For more information about how the GMAT is scored, and score benchmarks at top MBA programs, read our guide to the GMAT’s score

How Do I Take The GMAT?

The GMAT is administered using a computer, as it is a computer-adaptive test. 

When you begin the GMAT, the computer assumes you have an average score and gives you a question of medium difficulty. As you get answers correct, the computer serves up more difficult questions and increases its estimate of your ability. And vice versa, as you answer incorrectly, the computer serves up easier questions and decreases its estimate of your ability.

Your section score is the algorithm’s final assessment of your level of ability.

The GMAT allows you to have the flexibility to select the order of the sections of the GMAT exam from three options:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal (original order)
  • Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

The section order selection will take place at the test center on exam date, immediately prior to the start of the GMAT exam.

Want To Score In The 99th Percentile For The GMAT? We Can Help!

With a team of veteran GMAT trainers whose scores are in the 99th percentile (750 and above), Prep Zone Academy is proud to be the #1 GMAT training team in Singapore. Our GMAT course syllabus is designed from the ground up to help busy candidates identify their weaknesses and achieve their desired results in any available time frame. We have helped many working professionals to score 750 only after 2-3 weeks of dedicated lessons.

Chat with us today and find out how we can help you achieve your dream score! We can help you to:

  • Devise a dedicated, personal plan to achieve your target GMAT score.
  • Identify your weaknesses and create a workflow for you to break score ceilings.
  • Plan your MBA admissions route and assist with your MBA application.
  • And much more!

To schedule for a chat with our trainers, you can use the on-page contact form, or fill in the following consultation form. We will get back to you as soon as we are available.

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