Payal Tandon
Co-founder, e-GMAT
Welcome to e-GMAT Support!
I am Payal, Co-Founder of e-GMAT.
Feel free to ask any Query.
Thank you for your query.
We will be contacting you soon on

What is GMAT? The Ultimate Guide to Graduate Management Admission Test

What is GMAT? The Ultimate Guide to Graduate Management Admission Test
A 14 min read


The full form of the GMAT is Graduate Management Admission Test. It is a 3-hour 7 minutes long computer-adaptive test that is used to assess analytical, quantitative, verbal, and writing skills. The test takers are judged on these skills and are given a GMAT score between 200 and 800 in 10-point increments. This score is used by business school admissions committees when the candidates apply to their MBA program. Here are the average GMAT scores of top MBA programs.

In this article, we look at GMAT full form, GMAT syllabus, GMAT exam details, duration, score range and percentiles, eligibility, how can you score high on the GMAT exam, and much more. So, don’t forget to bookmark this article – Your one-stop destination to know everything about the GMAT test.

What is GMAT? GMAT Full form

We invite you to read our GMAT Focus Edition Series Articles, an invaluable resource to keep you at the forefront of your GMAT preparation journey.

What is the GMAT? All questions answered in few minutes!

The GMAT or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT full form) is a standardized test that you’ll have to take to apply to a business school. It is a Computer Adaptive Test and has multiple-choice questions.

The GMAT is administered and developed by GMAC to provide business schools with standard measures of applicants’ preparedness for graduate-level academic work. Along with your GMAT score, the business school admissions committees look at your academic records, work experience, extra-curricular activities, and other factors to access your readiness for the rigorous MBA program.

However, your test score holds 16% weightage (highest) in your MBA application process. Thus, scoring a 740+ on the test will definitely boost your chances of getting into a top business school.

You can also watch this video, where we answer some important questions related to the GMAT or Graduate Management Admission Test (full-form)

One of the most effective ways to familiarize yourself with the content and format of the GMAT is by taking a free mock test, which can provide you with a baseline score and help you determine how much preparation you’ll need. Check out e-GMAT’s FREE Sigma-X mock test, which offers personalized feedback to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and create a tailored preparation plan.

You can also explore our free trial, which features over 10 hours of AI-driven video lessons and more than 400 practice questions. With a proven track record of delivering more 700+ scores than any other partner on the GMAT Club, e-GMAT can help you achieve your target score. Hear from our successful students on how e-GMAT helped them excel on the GMAT.

Learn more about other components of your MBA Application and their weightage.

How does the Computer Adaptive Test(CAT) work?

GMAT is a computer adaptive test. This means that the testing software adapts to your performance as you progress through the test. Thus, your performance on each question will determine the difficulty level of the next few questions in the exam.

Only the Verbal and Quantitative sections are computer-adaptive. IR and AWA are not adaptive in nature.

Therefore, the score is calculated on your ability level, i.e., based on the difficulty level of questions that you solve correctly and not just the number of questions that you get right.

Learn in detail about how does the test work as a computer adaptive test and how you can leverage it.

What is GMAT Focus Edition- The new GMAT exam?

Attention test takers! GMAC has announced a new version of the GMAT test called the GMAT Focus edition. This new test will be launched in the latter part of 2023, while the current version of the test will be available till at least early 2024. Before we get into how the current version of the GMAT works, let us understand all about the GMAT Focus edition-

Read this article to know the key differences between the current version and the GMAT focus edition.

Also, watch the following video to learn all about the GMAT Focus edition and also understand how to decide which version of the exam to take- The current version or the GMAT Focus edition.

What are the different GMAT sections?

Different sections of the Exam

The GMAT or Graduate Management Admissions Test (full form) consists of four sections – Analytical writing assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal.

Take a look at the below table to get an idea about the number and types of questions, and the duration of each section.

GMAT SectionsNo. of QuestionsQuestion TypesDuration
Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)1 essayArgument analysis and communication in the form of a critique30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning (IR)12 multiple choiceTwo-Part Analysis, Multi-source reasoning, Graphic interpretation, Table analysis30 minutes
Quantitative31 multiple choiceData Sufficiency, Problem Solving62 minutes      
Verbal36 multiple choiceReading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction65 minutes      

Are you planning to pursue MBA at top business schools? Let us help you conquer the first step of the process i.e., taking the GMAT. Take a free mock test to understand your baseline score and start your GMAT prep with our free trial. We are the most reviewed online GMAT Prep company with 2600+ reviews on GMATClub as of July 2023.

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) Section

This section of the test helps business schools to analyze your writing skills. It consists of 1 essay-type question and is scored by a computer grading system and human graders. The duration to complete the AWA section is 30 minutes.

This section measures your ability to analyze an argument and communicate your ideas or thoughts.

When scoring this section, you need to make sure that you clearly identify and examine parts of the case, develop and organize your ideas logically and thoughtfully, and connect your statements with clear transitions.

Once you submit your essay, it scores you on four categories – Analysis of the issue, support ideas, language control, and organizing coherent thoughts. Here are some tips for writing the AWA section.

Are you facing difficulty in scoring for the AWA section? Here are 50 AWA practice questions

Integrated Reasoning (IR) Section

This section of the test consists of data presented in graphs, tables, passages, or a combination of the three. There are four types of questions presented under this section – Multi-source reasoning, two-part analysis, graphic interpretation, and table analysis.

Check out the IR section topics in detail here.

This section measures your ability to assess information presented in multiple formats. You need to answer 12 multiple-choice questions within 30 minutes.

The IR section tests both verbal and quantitative skills. Thus you must prepare well for the verbal and quant sections of the GMAT first.

Here 10 Tips to score high on GMAT IR.

Quantitative Section

The Quant section is designed to test your analytical knowledge of basic math concepts, including geometry, arithmetic, and geometry.  Check out the quant topics that you can expect.

The Quant section includes 31 multiple choice questions that need to be completed in 62 minutes. It has two types of questions – Data sufficiency and Problem-solving.

Here are some tips on scoring Q50+ in this section.

Verbal Section

The Verbal section tests your command of standard written English, your ability to read critically and analyze arguments. It consists of 36 multiple choice questions that need to be completed within 65 minutes.

Verbal section includes three question types – Critical reasoning, reading comprehension, and sentence correction. Check out the Verbal topics in detail here.

Are you struggling in scoring high for GMAT verbal? Here are tips on scoring V40+

What is the order of the sections?

Exam  Section order

Test takers have the option to select the order of the test from 3 possibilities, given as below. The break is of 8 minutes duration and is optional. If you feel you don’t need a break, you can continue with your exam.

  • Order 1: AWA – IR – Break – Quant – Break – Verbal
  • Order 2: Verbal – Break – Quantitative – Break – IR – AWA
  • Order 3: Quant – Break – Verbal – Break – IR – AWA

How is the GMAT scored?

The score range varies from 200 to 800, in 10-point increments(for example – 700, 710, 720, and so on). The test assesses certain analytical, writing, quantitative, and verbal skills for use in admission to a graduate management program, such as an MBA. About 70% of the test takers score between 400 and 600.

Keep in mind that the IR and AWA sections do not get factored into your total score.

SectionsScore Range  
Total Scaled Score200 – 800 (In 10-point increments)      
Verbal Scaled Score6 – 51
Quantitative Scaled Score6 – 51
Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)0 – 6 (In 0.5-point increments)      
Integrated Reasoning1 – 8 (In 1-point increment)

Read this article to understand the GMAT score and percentile in detail.

What is the eligibility criteria for GMAT 2023?

Here is the list of 8 factors that make you eligible to take the GMAT:

  1. Age
  2. Nationality
  3. Academic Scores
  4. Undergraduate Program
  5. Prior Work Experience
  6. Medium of instruction
  7. Number of attempts
  8. Qualifications

Read here to know the eligibility criteria 2023 in detail.  

What is the At-home GMAT Online Exam?

What is GMAT Online Exam?

GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council) has launched an online alternative to the Exam called the ‘GMAT Online Exam,’ which will allow you to take the test at home. The decision to launch this alternative came into the picture because of the GMAT test centers closure due to the coronavirus outbreak.  

Check out this article to know in detail about the GMAT Online Exam structure, eligibility, and registration fee.

Are you planning to give the at-home Online Exam? Here are a few tips for setting up your room for the Exam. If you are waiting for the Test Center to re-open, here is a list of GMAT Testing centers resuming in India.

What is the Online Whiteboard?

Online Whiteboard is a feature available to candidates while taking the ‘GMAT Online Exam.’ It gives you the option to work through items visually by drawing shapes or entering notes.

We have built the whiteboard experience that (we think) is similar to that on the GMAT Online Exam.  Register for our FREE Trial and get access to 300 questions and 1 Mock test to hone your Whiteboard skills.

You can also use a real whiteboard on the GMAT Online Exam.

How to prepare for the Exam at Home?

Here are three tips for successful GMAT Preparation from home:

  • Find a designated study zone
  • Make sure you do not get distracted
  • Take breaks during preparation

Check out this article to know how to start your preparation at home and how much time you need to reach your targeted score.

Which are the best GMAT books for preparation in 2023?

Here is the list of best GMAT Books:

  1. Official Guide 2023
  2. Official Guide 2022
  3. Kaplan
  4. PowerScore verbal trilogy Bible
  5. Manhattan Prep Strategy Guide Set
  6. Veritas Prep Complete GMAT Course

Here is our review of the latest GMAT official guide:

Compare the Best GMAT Prep Books here.

Which are the best Online GMAT Preparation courses?

Here is a list of Top Online preparation courses:

  1. e-GMAT
  2. Manhattan Prep
  3. Economist GMAT Tutor
  4. Magoosh
  5. Veritas Prep

Compare the best online GMAT Preparation courses here.

Are you planning to pursue MBA at top business schools? Let us help you conquer the first step of the process i.e., taking the GMAT. Take a free mock test to understand your baseline score and start your GMAT prep with our free trial. We are the most reviewed online GMAT Prep company with 2600+ reviews on GMATClub as of July 2023.

Which is better – Books or Online Preparation courses?

Prep Books vs. online resources

Here are five reasons why GMAT Online courses are better than Books:

  1. Easier to focus
  2. Less Time to Consume
  3. Online content is more up to date
  4. It is an Online Test
  5. It is a computer-adaptive test

Learn in detail about the points mentioned above.

How to take the test for Free?

GMAC offers you to take the test at a reduced price or waiver off the registration fee. Anyone can apply for a GMAT fee waiver, however, the applicants cannot directly apply. Your business school should request it.

GMAC allows business schools to decide their criteria to define the financial need of their students.

Thus, if you wish to avail fee waiver, you will have to prove your financial shortcoming to your school.

Check out this article to know where you can apply for the Fee Waiver.

What is the Importance of GMAT Score in MBA Application?

 Score importance

Business schools trust and use the GMAT or Graduate Management Admissions Test (full form) score to make admissions decisions. Your score can help you stand out during the admissions process, and it is the most widely used and trusted indicator of academic success in MBA and other graduate business degree programs.

Did you know 9 out of 10 MBA admission decisions are made using a GMAT score?

Schools know that if you take the GMAT, you are serious about earning an MBA, and your score is a proven predictor of your ability to succeed in your chosen program.

Read here to know more about the importance of the test.

What is the average GMAT score for top business school?

The average score for the top 50 business schools in the US is between 634-734 in 2023.  On the other hand, the average score for the top 16 b-schools in Europe range between 638-709.

Similarly, to get into the top 10 business schools in Canada, the average score required is 620, and for Australia, it is 661 (top 5).

What is the scope of GMAT in India?

At the moment, most Indian Business schools accept GMAT scores of domestic students for their executive MBA Programs. However, the test is becoming more popular in India, and we can expect more b-schools to start accepting GMAT for MBA admissions. One of the Indian b-school that except GMAT score is ISB (Indian School of Business).

Except for 4-5 MBA colleges in India, all accept XAT/NMAT/CAT or other tests for admission to their MBA program.

Check out the other business schools in India that accept GMAT score.

Why Take the GMAT test?

Why take the GMAT exam

Taking the GMAT elevates you from the rest of the pack because:

  • It demonstrates your commitment, ability, and motivation to succeed in business schools
  • It connects you with the best-fit program through personalized program recommendations
  • It increases your earning potential
  • It opens a world of opportunities
  • Business schools trust this test to make an informed admission decision
  • It measures your reasoning and critical thinking skills – the most relevant skills you need to get into top business schools

Learn about what role does GMAT play beyond getting admission in a business school?

There are a lot of answers as to why take this test, here are the top three reasons why you should take it:

  1. High chance of scholarship
  2. Admit in the Top business school
  3. Better Post-MBA job and salary

Read about the above points in detail here.

What is a good GMAT score?

A good score is the one, which will help you get admission from your dream B-school. Thus, the answer to this question depends on which business school you are targeting.

Here is a 5 step process that you can use to identify a good test score:

  • Step 1: Self-Assessment
  • Step 2: Identify your target business school
  • Step 3: Research your target business schools
  • Step 4: Refine the list of targeted business schools
  • Step 5: Arrive at a good score for you

Check out the above points in detail here.

Good Exam Score for Business Schools

Darden School of Business, Duke Fuqua, NUY Stern, London Business School, Yale SoM, Michigan Ross, UC Berkeley Haas, Dartmouth Tuck, INSEAD, MIT Sloan, Indian School of Business (ISB), Chicago Booth, Northwestern Kellogg, Wharton, Columbia, Stanford GSB, and Harvard.       

What is a good score for MBA Scholarships?

A high score can get you an MBA scholarship. However, scholarship committees do not list a minimum score to guarantee a scholarship. But, a high score can only increase your chances of getting one. Read this article to know about the 5 secrets to getting an MBA scholarship.

Check out the success story of students who got MBA Scholarships. All scored above 730 on the test:

How to choose the test dates?

The best strategy to choose a GMAT date for yourself in 2023 is to look backward and connect the dots. Your first step should be to decide which round of MBA applications you are targeting.

Here is a 5-step process of choosing a GMAT date:

  1. Know the Application Deadline of the business school you are targeting
  2. Start preparation at least 8-10 months before the application deadline
  3. Take the test at least six months before your application deadline
  4. For the possibility of retaking the test, keep a month or two
  5. Once you ace the test, prepare your essays and arrange LORs

Check out in detail the steps mentioned above.

Learn how to register for the GMAT in 7 steps and how to reschedule or cancel your Exam.

How hard is the test?

At its core, the GMAT or Graduate Management Admissions Test (full form) is a test of high-order reasoning skills. This test is taken by 200,000+ people every year, and the average score at the top business schools is 720+. And that is not all. Only 6% of the test takers score 720 or above in the test. 

Here are some reasons for what makes this test a tough nut to crack: 

  • Computer Adaptive Nature
  • Content
  • Timing Pressure
  • Format
  • Other Factors

Are you planning to pursue MBA at top business schools? Let us help you conquer the first step of the process i.e., taking the GMAT. Take a free mock test to understand your baseline score and start your GMAT prep with our free trial. We are the most reviewed online GMAT Prep company with 2600+ reviews on GMATClub as of July 2023.

How to score high on the test?

Here are seven steps to score 700+ on the exam:

  • Attend a strategy session and decide your targeted score
  • Set up your baseline
  • Decide on the verbal and quant score
  • Create a sequence of study and allocate hours
  • Track your improvement
  • Take mock tests

Read here to know the stepwise process to score 700+ on the exam

How to overcome a low score?

How to overcome low GMAT score?

The following are some of the things you can focus on to improve your application if you have a low score and no time to retake the test:

  • Focus on optional MBA Essay questions
  • Take up some supplemental coursework to demonstrate your quantitative ability
  • Prepare and perform well for the interview
  • Prepare well for Video Essay questions
  • Ask for Waivers
  • Revisit your school selection to identify programs which have a lower average incoming score

Read here to know what Adcoms think about a low score and is retaking GMAT worth it?

How to prepare for GMAT?

Watch this video to learn about the 5 steps to scoring 700+ on the GMAT:

Here are some articles on GMAT Preparation:

Quant Preparation Articles

Verbal Preparation Articles

Are you planning to pursue MBA at top business schools? Let us help you conquer the first step of the process i.e., taking the GMAT. Take a free mock test to understand your baseline score and start your prep with our free trial. We are the most reviewed online GMAT Prep company with 2600+ reviews on GMATClub as on July 2023.

GMAT Exam – FAQs

Now that you are aware of what is GMAT and its full form, here are a few more questions related to the GMAT exam:

What is the GMAT exam for?

The GMAT Exam is designed to assess analytical, quantitative, verbal, and writing skills. It is a computer adaptive test for 3 hours 7 minutes.

How much does GMAT Exam cost?

The registration fee for the test is $275 in India. But, the cost will be more than just the registration fee of $275. There are many other costs that are associated. Read this article to know how much does the GMAT cost?

What is the full form of GMAT?

GMAT stands for the Graduate Management Admissions Test.

What is the difference between GRE and GMAT?

GRE is required for getting into graduate school, whereas the GMAT is the standardized test for getting admissions to a business school. Both tests are valid for five years. One of the significant differences between the GMAT and the GRE section is that GRE doesn’t have an IR section.
Learn more differences between GMAT and GRE.

What is the difference between CAT and GMAT?

The CAT and GMAT tests are both entrance tests accepted by top business schools in India. But, the primary difference between them is that while GMAT is a global exam accepted by over 2000+ business schools and 7000 graduate management programs, CAT is a national-level entrance exam.
Read this article to know the difference in the structure and format of the CAT and GMAT exam.

How long is the GMAT Test?

The total time to take the test is under 3.5 hours, including two optional eight-minutes breaks during the exam.

Which is easier – GMAT or GRE?

When it comes to overall difficulty level, both GMAT and GRE are similar. However, the GRE verbal section tests challenging vocabulary than GMAT. Similarly, GMAT Quant is considered to be harder than GRE as it tests your problem-solving skills.

Can I retake the GMAT Exam?

Yes, you can retake the GMAT test. Here is a five-step strategy for retaking the GMAT:
1. Identify gaps per your target GMAT score
2. Analyze your previous attempts
3. Estimate the time you need to prepare
4. Create a study plan
5. Track your improvement
Read in detail the points mentioned above.

Can I reschedule or cancel my GMAT appointment?

Yes. you can reschedule or even cancel your GMAT appointment but with a fee. Check out the reschedule and cancellation fee here.

About The Author