Overview of the Graduate Management Admissions Test

The Graduate Management Admissions Test (almost always simply called the GMAT) is a standardized test used by graduate business administration programs to help select qualified candidates for admission. Test scores are used as part of admissions criteria by about 1,900 institutions in 83 countries. The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) is the owner of the GMAT.

The GMAT is primarily an aptitude test and therefore has some natural similarities to other well-known admissions tests such as the SAT or the GRE exams. Although the test is difficult, the subject matter is straightforward. It tests for a command of the English language both in terms of comprehension and execution. It also tests for facility with fundamental mathematical concepts such as basic number theory and geometry. The GMAT does not test business knowledge, specific subject areas, vocabulary, or advanced math.

Although it is delivered to prospective students at testing centers in more than 100 countries, the GMAT is only delivered in English and is only administered by computer. It takes about four hours to complete the GMAT; this time reflects three and a half hours of testing, with time provided for breaks.

There are four sections of the exam: (1) Analytical Writing Assessment in which the test-taker is required to write an essay critiquing a short passage. (2) Integrated Reasoning which tests the ability to understand information as presented in charts and tables. (3) The Quantitative Section which tests basic math skills and comprehension. (4) The Verbal Section which test for command of the English language.

In all, test takers receive five GMAT scores. The four sections of the exam are each graded separately. An additional score, called the total score, reflects a combination of the quantitative and verbal sections, while it excludes the written essay and integrated reasoning sections. The total score ranges between 200 and 800, however, the score is scaled on a bell-like curve such that more than two-thirds of test takers will receive between 400 and 600.

GMAC maintains a website devoted the GMAT and related topics at www.mba.com. Prospective test-takers can use the site to learn more about the exam, access free and paid resources, and most importantly find local testing centers and register to take the exam.

Related Pages

GMAT Exam Structure and Format

Preparing for the GMAT

Ace the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment

GMAT Number Theory Review

GMAT Math Review: Factors and Prime Factorization

GMAT Math Review: Fractions and Decimals

GMAT Math Review Flashcards