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

What is GMAT? The Ultimate Guide to Graduate Management Admission Test
A 13 min read

About the GMAT

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.

From February 1, 2024, the GMAT has been upgraded to GMAT Focus Edition It is a 2-hour 15 minutes long computer-adaptive test. The new exam will continue to assess the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning abilities of the candidates but with a more significant emphasis on higher-order reasoning skills and data interpretation skills . The test takers are judged on these skills and are given a GMAT score between 205 and 805 in 10-point increments. This score is used by business school admissions committees when the candidates apply to their MBA program.

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 685+ on the new test will definitely boost your chances of getting into a top business school. Learn more about other components of your MBA Application and their weightage.

Here are the average GMAT scores of top MBA programs.

The best way to understand the new GMAT exam is by trying the test out for yourself.

In this article, we look at 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

You can also read about GMAT focus SyllabusStudy plan , Scoring system , Test datesFocus Mocks and Official guide.

Access all the GMAT Focus articles here.

You can also watch this video, where we answer some important questions related to the GMAT Focus Edition:

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.

What are the different GMAT sections?

Different sections of the Exam

The GMAT Focus consists of three sections –Data Insights,, 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.

 SectionsNo of QuestionsQuestion typesSection duration
Verbal Reasoning23Reading Comprehension,

Critical Reasoning
45 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning21Problem Solving,

(Algebra and Arithmetic)
45 minutes
Data Insights20Data Sufficiency,

Multi-source Reasoning,

Table Analysis,

Graphics Interpretation,

Two-Part Analysis
45 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 2700+ reviews on GMATClub as of July 2023.

1) Data Insights Section

TThe Data Insights section measures candidates’ ability to analyze and interpret data and apply it to real-world business scenarios. With the GMAT™ Focus Edition’s updated test design, Data Insights leverages Integrated Reasoning and Data Sufficiency question types to measure a newly calibrated digital and data literacy dimension—one of the most relevant and in-demand skills in business today.

The duration to complete the Data Insights section is 45 minutes. GMAT Focus Data Insights syllabus encompasses five types of questions.

GMAT focus Edition DI Syllabus
Number of questionsMinutes to complete AWAScore range
20 Questions45 minutes60-90

You can also check Data Insights Practice Questions.

2) Quantitative Section

It includes 21 multiple-choice questions on Problem-solving (Arithmetic & Algebra) and there will be no geometry question.

Number of questionsMinutes to complete QuantScore range
21 total questions
(Problem Solving)
45 minutes60 to 90

The Quant section includes 21 multiple choice questions that need to be completed in 45 minutes.

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

3) Verbal Section

The Verbal section tests your command of standard written English, your ability to read critically and analyze arguments. It consists of 23 multiple choice questions that need to be completed within 45 minutes.

Number of QuestionsMinutes to complete VerbalScore Range
23 total problems
Reading Comprehension
Critical Reasoning
45 minutes60 to 90

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

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.

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 the order of the sections?

Exam  Section order

You can take the exam in any order with only one optional 10-minute gap between any of the two sections, so you have 18 options in total.

GMAT exam section order

How is the GMAT scored?

The score range varies from 205 to 805, in 10-point increments(for example – 645, 655, 665, and so on). The total score is composed of three subsection scores (Quant, Verbal, and Data Insights) – each of which is weighted equally and has scaled scores from 60 to 90.

SectionsScore Range  
Total Scaled Score205 – 805 (In 10-point increments)      
Verbal Scaled Score60- 90
Quantitative Scaled Score60- 90
Data Insights60- 90      

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

What is the eligibility criteria for GMAT 2024?

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 2024?

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

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?

Generally, a good GMAT Classic Edition (GCE) score falls within the range of 700 (87th Percentile) to 740 (97th Percentile) which translates to 645 (87th Percentile)- 695 (97th Percentile) on the GMAT Focus Edition (GFE), while a score of GCE 740/GFE 695 or higher is deemed excellent.

Deciphering GMAT Average Scores : Regional Insights for Business School Admission:

  • United States : GCE 713 / GFE 665, Range: GCE 670 / GFE 615 to GCE 737 / GFE 685
  • Europe : GCE 679 / GFE 635, Range: GCE 642 / GFE 595 to GCE 714 / GFE 665
  • Canada: GCE 520 / GFE 495 to GCE 780 / GFE 755
  • Australia : GCE 600 / GFE 545 to GCE 695 / GFE 635

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 2024 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 665+. And that is not all. Only 6% of the test takers score 665+ or above in the test. 

Read this article to know – “Is the GMAT Focus Edition Hard?”

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 GMAT Club as of July 2023.

How to score high on the test?

Here are seven steps to score 645+ 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 645+ 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 2 hours 15 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 2 hours 15 minutes, with a 10 minute optional break 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.

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