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All about GMAT


So, you are among the millions of MBA aspirants who wish to study in top-notch business schools and universities? There has been a rise in the demand of MBA graduates by employers and hence, the increased inclination of students towards the MBA. The top universities and business schools across the globe have set certain selection criteria for admission to graduate management courses like MBA and a Masters in Finance. GMAT score marks as one of the main factors in getting enrolled in your dream school.

Hereunder, we have deciphered everything you need to know about the GMAT.

What is GMAT?

GMAT is the Graduate Management Admission Test, is a computer-adaptive test conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). The test aims at testing your analytical writing, integrated reasoning, quantitative and verbal skills in English.

Who takes GMAT and why?

The students who wish to take admission in the graduate management program take this test. Top business schools and universities select students based on their GMAT score along with other requirements. GMAT score signifies your readiness for the business school. Some universities do not mandate GMAT for admission to MBA. It is recommended to check the website of the preferred university for their application prerequisites.

Exam Fee

The fee for GMAT in India is $250 USD (~ INR 17,845).

Test Duration

The duration of  GMAT is 3 hours and 30 minutes. There are a total of 4 sections and each of them has been timed differently. The total duration includes two optional breaks of 8 minutes each.

Exam Pattern

The GMAT exam consists of 4 sections, namely Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Integrated, Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning which help in the overall judgement of your capabilities to get into a business school. Different time slots have been allotted to each of the sections with a varying number of questions.

Test SectionNumber of QuestionsTime allotted Types of Questions Asked
Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)1 question30 minutesYou need to do the analysis of an argument and write an essay on that
Integrated Reasoning12 questions30 minutes Have to answer questions based on graphics interpretation, table analysis, multi-source reasoning and  two-part analysis
Quantitative Reasoning31 questions62 minutes Have to answer questions on data sufficiency and problem-solving
Verbal Reasoning36 questions65 minutes Answer questions based on reading comprehension, critical reasoning and sentence correction

NOTE: You have the flexibility to choose the order in which you want to attend the test sections. This helps you attempt the test based on your strengths and preferences.

GMAT Validity

GMAT scores are valid up to a period of 5 years. For example, if you give a test on 23rd January 2020, then your scores will be valid till 22nd January 2025.

Eligibility Criteria for GMAT

Age Limit

  • You need to be 18 years or above to appear for the GMAT exam
  • If your age is between 13 to 17 years, written permission from your parents or legal guardians is required

Educational Qualification

  • The GMAC has not set any prerequisite for appearing in GMAT
  • But, as per the university requirements, you need a bachelor’s degree to get admission in MBA

Test Scores

Once you give the GMAT exam, you receive five scores: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal and Total Score.

SectionScore Range*
Analytical Writing Assessment0.0-6.0(reported in intervals of 0.5)
Integrated Reasoning1-8(reported in intervals of 1)
Quantitative6-51(reported in intervals of 1)
Verbal6-51(reported in intervals of 1)
TOTAL200-800(reported in intervals of 10)

*Source - GMAC

Total Scores are based on your performance in the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections. They are independent of analytical writing and integrated reasoning sections. The scores are then converted to percentile comparing your scores with 100 other candidates taking the GMAT.

It is noteworthy that you should complete each section in the given time. If you fail to do so, your score will be based on the number of questions answered and it decreases with the number of unanswered questions.

Good and Cut-off GMAT Scores

The GMAT score ranges between 200-800 and about two-thirds of test takers score between 400-600. Verbal and quantitative scores range between 0-60 but scores below 6 and above 51 are rare.

There are no cut-offs given by GMAC as such. However, individual universities have their own criteria and requirement of the GMAT score as their cut-off for admission to management courses. Average GMAT score for admission to top universities falls in the 700-730 range.

Score Report

Important Points:

  • Before you start your exam, you can opt for reporting your scores to 5 different universities/colleges.
  • Once you finish your GMAT exam, you are shown your unofficial GMAT Score Report including scores of the sections: Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, and Total.
  • Analytical Writing Assessment is reported only on the official score report which is sent to you within 20 days.
  • You can choose to keep or cancel your scores within 2 minutes of the display of your score report.
  • If you fail to accept or cancel your scores within 2 minutes, then the scores will be automatically cancelled.

If you choose to keep your scores, then an official score report is sent to you which includes:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email ID
  • Date of Birth
  • Country of Citizenship
  • Appointment Number
  • Your Test Scores (Including AWA and Percentile)
  • Your GMAT Percentile Rankings
  • Names of universities where your score report has been sent
  • Scores from other GMAT exams (if any) taken in the last 5 years
  • Self-reported information including your GPA, name of your undergraduate degree and college etc.

Note- If you wish to send extra score reports to universities/colleges, you need to pay an extra amount of  $35 USD per report.

Cancelling the Scores

  • Once you choose to cancel your score report, you will not have access to your scores.
  • You will not receive an unofficial score report.
  • The official score report will not be sent to you or your preferred universities.
  • If you wish to cancel your scores online for up to 72 hours after completing the exam, you need to pay a  $25 USD  fee.

Reinstating the Scores

In case you change your decision and wish to reinstate your scores after coming back home, then you can do that online by paying a fee of $50 USD. The cancelled scores can be reinstated for up to 4 years and 11 months.

Enhanced Score Report

If you wish to see your overall, section-wise performance and ranking, you can opt for an enhanced score report by paying a fee of $30 USD. This report gives you detailed information about your time management skills, your performance compared to others, etc.

Exam Syllabus

The GMAT exam consists of 4 different sections -

Analytical Writing Assessment

This section requires you to analyze an argument given in the form of a passage and write a critique to that argument. This section assesses your critical thinking and communication in English in the form of an essay. An electronic system evaluates the structural and linguistic aspect of your essay and experts analyze your expression of your ideas in a well-defined manner.

Note- You can get this section rescored once by an expert after paying a fee of $45 USD within 6 months of your test date.

Integrated Reasoning

This section judge you on the basis of your data integration skills to solve  complex problems. This section includes four types of questions-

  1. Table Analysis- Measures your ability to sort and analyze data in a tabular form, like a spreadsheet, to determine relevant information or the one that meets certain conditions.
  • Graphics Interpretation- Measures your ability to interpret the information presented in a graph or other graphical image (scatter plot, x/y graph, bar chart, pie chart, or statistical curve distribution) to determine relationships, and make inferences.
  • Two-Part Analysis- Measures your ability to solve complex problems that could be quantitative, verbal, or some combination of both. Your ability to evaluate trade-offs, solve simultaneous equations, and discern relationships between two entities is measured.
  • Multi-Source Reasoning- Measures your ability to examine data from multiple sources text passages, tables, graphics, or some combination of the three—and to analyze each source of data carefully to answer multiple questions.

Quantitative Aptitude

This section measures your ability to reason mathematically, solve quantitative problems, and interpret graphic data.

 Two types of questions are asked in this section:

  1. Problem Solving- It measures your ability to use logic and analytical reasoning to solve   problems.
  2. Data Sufficiency- Measures your ability to analyze a quantitative problem, recognize which data is relevant, and determine at what point there are enough data to solve the problem.

Basic concepts used in this section are:

  • Geometry
  • Arithmetic
  • Elementary Algebra
  • Ratio Proportions
  • Exponents and roots
  • Linear equations
  • Properties of Integers
  • Permutation and combinations

Note - Calculators are not allowed in this section.

Verbal Reasoning

This section measures your ability to read and understand written material, reason and evaluate arguments, and correct materials for effective expression in English.

Three types of questions are asked in this section-

  1. Reading Comprehension- Measures your ability to   draw inferences, understand logical relationships between significant points, words and statements  and follow the development of quantitative concepts.
  • Critical Reasoning- Measures your ability to evaluate & make arguments, and formulate or evaluate a plan of action.
  • Sentence Correction- Mainly checks your language proficiency in terms of correct and effective expression. Clear, concise, structurally and grammatically correct sentences are to be produced.

How to Register for the GMAT?

You can register for the GMAT exam by three different means which include:

Online Registration

You can register online on mba.com  between 6 months to 24 hours before your desired test date. You need to -

  • Make an account on the official website
  • Fill in the required details
  • Select the preferred test centre, date and time slot
  • Pay the GMAT fee online through credit/debit card

Registration via Phone

To register via phone, make a call to GMAT Customer Service on +91 120-439-7830 and tell you details to them. An additional surcharge of $10 USD is applied on registration by phone.

Registration via Mail

To register via Mail, download the application form, fill it out and mail the same along with the registration fee to the address mentioned in the form. Please make sure that you send the form at least 3 weeks before the test date.

Registration via Fax

To register via Fax,  fill the form and fax it on  +91-120-4001660

You can pay the registration fee of $250 USD by using Debit/Credit card, cheque or money orders. The cheques and money orders are payable to Pearson VUE-GMAT in US Dollars only.

GMAT Test Centers in India

There are a total of 39 GMAT centers in 34 different cities in India.

Test Dates

GMAT is conducted all year round and there are no fixed official dates.

Important facts:

  • You can register for the GMAT exam 6 months before your desired date.
  • If you register online or via phone, you can register latest by 24 hours before the test date.
  • You can appear for the GMAT exam for a maximum of 5 times a year.
  • In a lifetime, you can give GMAT 8 times only.
  • You can retake the GMAT exam after a gap of 16 days.
  • It is advisable to register in advance to be on the safer side. This will help you prepare in a well-planned manner.

Rescheduling or Cancelling the GMAT Test Registration

If in an unavoidable situation you need to reschedule or cancel the test, you can do that online or via phone.

Important points to be considered:

  • You can reschedule your test by paying a certain amount depending upon number of days left for your test.
  • You can cancel the test and you will get a certain refund amount
No. of days before the test dateRescheduling amountRefund amount on cancellation
60 days before$50 USD$100 USD
15- 50 days before$100 USD$75 USD
14 days or less$150 USD $50 USD
  • You can not reschedule or cancel the test 24 hours before the chosen date. If not done on time, the fees paid will be forfeited.
  • You need to pay a $10 USD surcharge if you reschedule or cancel via phone.

Since, GMAT demonstrates your motivation, ability and commitment to get into a business school, you need to be very particular about the application process.

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