What is the GMAT?

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Updated September 29, 2022
The GMAT - Grad School Hub

If you are getting ready to apply to a Master of Business Administration degree program (MBA), you may be asking yourself what is the GMAT? For students who are new to the idea of applying to an advanced business degree program, the idea of taking a test just to enter into a program may be foreign. In actuality, it is very common for both MBA admissions councils and master's program admissions councils to require students to achieve a satisfactory score on an admissions test before they will be accepted to the school. If you would like to know what you will be tested on and why your scores are so important, read on and learn the basics of the GMAT.

What is the GMAT?

GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admissions Test. It is designed to test the skills of individuals who are pursuing an MBA and who already possess a bachelor's degree in any field. The test will gauge whether or not you are prepared for business school. It can also be a great platform for candidates to showcase their skills to strengthen their chances of gaining acceptance into popular MBA programs. This is why it is crucial that anyone taking the test prepares for the content well in advance.

What is the Format of the GMAT?

The GMAT is a uniform exam, which means the format is the same nationally. While the score requirements will depend upon the school you are applying to, you can feel more comfortable with the content of the test if you grow familiar with its format. According to the GMAT website, the format of the GMAT can be broken up into four different sections: analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning, quantitative, and verbal. You will be required to pose an argument for one topic in your writing piece. You will need to answer 12 questions on reasoning and interpretation. You will have 37 problem solving questions. Finally, you will have 41 critical reasoning, comprehension and sentence correction problems.

How Long Do You Have to Take the Test?

All students will have a total of 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete the entire test, with individual time limits for each section of the test. It is important to study each section to gain an understanding of how the questions are posed and phrased so that you know how to solve the questions and evaluate all of the information that is presented. If you are not comfortable with one section, it is possible to run out of time which will affect your overall score. Some of the questions in three of the four sections will be thrown out when the test is scored.

Related Resource: Graduate School Dissertation

It is important to register to set a GMAT appointment well before you plan on attending a business school. You should take the GMAT at least two months before you plan on applying to schools, but it is best to allow yourself a greater amount of time so that you have time to retake if you are not satisfied with your score. Be sure to use as many resources as possible to prep for the exam, and try and build a network if at all possible. Now that you know what is a GMAT, you can start studying so that you can get the best score.

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