GMAT Exam! What you need to know

The Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT, is an important part of the business school application process. The GMAT exam is a multiple-choice, computer-based and computer-adaptive standardized exam that is often required for admission to graduate business programs (MBA) globally.

The GMAT is developed and administered by test maker GMAC to provide business schools with common measures of applicants’ preparedness for graduate-level academic work. Business school admission committees look at your GMAT score, along with work experience, academic record, and supporting materials, to assess your readiness for the rigors of an MBA program.

What Is the GMAT exam about?

The GMAT exam measures your command of basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, multi-source data analysis, and grammar. More importantly, it measures your ability to analyze and evaluate written material, think critically, and solve problems. The GMAT is first and foremost a test of your critical thinking skills. Knowing how to reason through and analyze information is the key to a great GMAT score.

What are the GMAT sections?

The GMAT contains four distinct section types, although you’ll use the same critical thinking and analysis skills throughout the test, just like you will during your MBA coursework.

The content on the GMAT is broken down into four scored test sections, two of which are scored separately, and two of which are scored separately but are also combined to generate your composite score:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment—measures candidates ability to think critically and to communicate their ideas
  • Integrated Reasoning—measures candidates ability to analyze data and evaluate information presented in multiple formats
  • Quantitative Reasoning—measures aspirants ability to analyze data and draw conclusions using reasoning skills
  • Verbal Reasoning—measures the ability of the candidates to read and understand written material, to evaluate arguments, and to correct written material to conform to standard written English.


One timed task “Analysis of an argument”

1 Topic

30mins 0 to 6


The Analytical Writing Assessment, or “essay” section, helps business schools analyze your writing skills. It is scored separately, and your AWA score is not used to generate your 200–800 point score.


Multi-Source Reasoning

Graphics Interpretation

Two-Part Analysis

Table Analysis

12 Questions

30minutes 1 to 8


Number of Questions time Score range
Data Sufficiency

Problem Solving

31 Questions

62minutes 0 – 60

The GMAT Quantitative section is designed to test your content and analytical knowledge of basic math concepts, including arithmetic and number properties, algebra, and geometry. The section consists of two question types:

Data Sufficiency

Data Sufficiency questions consist of a question and two statements of data. Your task is to determine whether the statements provide sufficient data to answer the question. This question type requires you to quickly identify what information you would need to solve the problem and to efficiently eliminate answer choices.

Problem solving

Problem Solving is a classic standardized test question type. You’ll be presented with a question and five possible answer choices. Problem Solving questions use high school–level math up to algebra and plane geometry to test your critical thinking skills.


Number of Questions time Score range
Critical Reasoning

Sentence correction

Reading Comprehension

36 Questions

65 minutes 0 – 60


The GMAT Verbal section is designed to test your command of standard written English, your skill in analyzing arguments, and your ability to read critically. You will see three question types in this section:

Critical Reasoning

Critical Reasoning questions test the skills involved in making and evaluating arguments, as well as formulating a plan of action. Succeeding on Critical Reasoning questions requires understanding the structure of arguments and rigorous logical analysis of the connections between evidence and conclusions.

Sentence correction

In GMAT Sentence Correction, you will typically face long and involved sentences. A part—or all—of the sentence will be underlined, and you will be asked to find the best version of the underlined section out of the original or one of four alternatives.

Reading Comprehension

These questions test your critical reading skills, more specifically, your ability to summarize the main idea, differentiate between ideas stated specifically and those implied by the author, make inferences based on information in a text, analyze the logical structure of a passage, and deduce the author’s tone and attitude about a topic.

How is the GMAT scored?

The GMAT is a Computer-Adaptive Test (CAT), the CAT actually adapts to your performance as you’re taking the test.

When you begin the GMAT, the computer assumes you have an average score and gives you a question of medium difficulty. As you answer questions correctly, the computer serves up more difficult questions and increases its estimate of your ability. And vice versa, as you answer incorrectly, the computer serves up easier questions and decreases its estimate of your ability. Your score is determined by an algorithm that calculates your ability level based not only on what you got right or wrong but also on the difficulty level of the questions you answered.

GMAC’s algorithm that determines your 200 to 800 score is often misunderstood, and there are many myths surrounding “cracking” the algorithm. The best way to “beat” the algorithm is to be prepared. For the Analytical Writing Assessment, your essay receives a score from one human reader and a computerized program, using a holistic 6-point scale. The Integrated Reasoning section is not adaptive, but as with the Quantitative and Verbal sections, you cannot leave questions unanswered or return to previous questions. The IR section is scored on a 1 to 8 scale.

You will receive your unofficial GMAT score immediately following the test, when you will have the option to keep or cancel your score.

What is a good GMAT Score?

When considering your GMAT score goal, it’s always a good idea to look at the mean or average GMAT score of admitted applicants to the MBA programs you’re considering applying to. This will give you a good baseline

The Quantitative and Verbal sections of the GMAT are each scored from 0 to 60, with the mean score for Quantitative at 39 and the mean score for Verbal at 27. The score business schools and MBA programs pay the most attention to is the combined 200–800 score scale, where the mean score is 552.

How long is the GMAT?

On Test Day, you can expect to sit for the exam just over 3.5 hours, including test-taking time and optional breaks. Note that this time does not include your check-in time at the testing center. It is recommended that you arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes before your exam.

When is the GMAT offered?

The GMAT is administered year-round at Pearson VUE centers. You can full list of testing centers and seat availability on the GMAT official site here.

It is highly recommended that you register for your preferred GMAT test date early so you can select a test date that will allow enough time for GMAT to process your scores and send them to the MBA programs you’ll be applying to. This can take up to 20 calendar days. During popular testing times, seats in Pearson VUE testing centers can be limited. You can take the GMAT once every 16 days, up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period (365 days) and up to eight total times.

Why take the GMAT Exam?

It is the most widely accepted exam for MBA admissions worldwide. No other exam has as wide acceptability as GMAT, as per the GMAC, globally 9 out of 10 MBA enrollments are made through GMAT Score

What is the Eligibility criteria for the GMAT exam?

As such, there is no set eligibility criteria set by GMAC, the body conducting GMAT for appearing for the GMAT exam. However, one should always meet the eligibility criteria set by the university/college one aspires to get into after giving the GMAT.

Age criteria

  • The candidate must have completed 18 years of age
  • There is no upper age limit for the candidate
  • If the candidate is between 13 to 17 years old, they should have permission in writing from their parents or legal guardian

GMAT Exam Fee: How much the exam cost?

The application fee for the GMAT exam is $250, which would translate to INR 18,300 approximately. Also, if the applicants want to change the center or reschedule the test then they will be charged extra. Candidates who do not show up for the test will be charged a full GMAT exam fee.

  • GMAT Cancellation Fee:If you cancel the exam 1 to 14 days before the test date then you will be charged $200 and $50 will be refunded. If you cancel the exam 15 to 60 days prior to the appointment then you will be charged $175 and $75 will be refunded. And if you cancel the test more than 60 days prior to the appointment then you will be charged $150 and will receive $100 as a refund. Moreover, the test appointment cannot be canceled or modified within 24 hours of the scheduled test and time.
  • GMAT Rescheduling Fee:If you reschedule the exam 1 to 14 days before the test date, you have to pay US$150. Also, if you reschedule the exam 15 to 60 days prior to the appointment then you have to pay US$100. If you reschedule the exam more than 60 days before the test date then you have to pay US$50.

How to Register for GMAT?

According to GMAC, you can register for the GMAT exam 6 months before the Graduate Management Admission Test date or latest by 24 hours before the GMAT exam date. however, the slot is not available at the last moment.



When is GMAT result available?

The candidates receive almost the entire GMAT Score Report just after finishing the GMAT test except for the AWA Score. The candidate will have the option of accepting it or rejecting it. In the case of accepting the result, the candidate and the institutes of choice can view the result; but if the candidate declines the result none of the parties will be able to view the result of GMAT. Once the exam is over, candidates can download the non-official GMAT result. Finally, the candidates receive the complete GMAT Score Report within 20 days of giving the test including the AWA Score.

How to access GMAT Score Report?

  • Candidates receive a link on their registered Email ID from GMAC.
  • Follow the instructions in the Email and with the help of that link candidates can check their official GMAT Score Report. 

Validity of GMAT Score

Candidates should note that GMAT scores are valid for a period of 5 years. Hence, candidates should check the application deadlines of various universities and schedule their GMAT exam accordingly.



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