What is GMAT® ?

February 20, 2008

Hitchhiker's Guide to GMAT!
Answers to Life, the Universe and Everything (including GMAT) !!

People often stop me in the streets to ask "Hey Zaphod, what's this GMAT thingy all about"? Sometimes I can't even walk outside my house without somebody standing there with a giant neon sign that blinks "What is GMAT"? Instead of answering every individual separately and so you can save your money on those neon signs. I decided to write a post that would answer that simple yet complex question. My special thanks to Sir Douglas Adams, IIMs, my Girlfriend and well...Destiny.

What is the GMAT?

The Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT®) is a standardized assessment—delivered in English—that helps business schools assess the qualifications of applicants for advanced study in business and management. Schools use the test as one predictor of academic performance in an MBA program or in other graduate management programs. To add to this, most MBA schools require a GMAT.

How does GMAT look like?

The GMAT® exam consists of three main parts, the Analytical Writing Assessment, the Quantitative section, and the Verbal section.
Analytical Writing Assessment
The GMAT® exam begins with the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA). The AWA consists of two separate writing tasks—Analysis of an Issue and Analysis of an Argument. You are allowed 30 minutes to complete each one.

Optional Break (5 mins)

Quantitative Section
Following an optional ten-minute break, you begin the Quantitative Section of the GMAT® exam. This section contains 37 multiple-choice questions of two question types—Data Sufficiency and Problem Solving. You are allowed a maximum of 75 minutes to complete the entire section.

Optional Break (5 mins)

Verbal Section
After a second optional ten-minute break, you begin the Verbal Section of the GMAT® exam. This section contains 41 multiple choice questions of three question types—Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and Sentence Correction. You are allowed a maximum of 75 minutes to complete the entire section.

Hey! What is CAT? I hear a lot about it (mostly myths).

Its not witchcraft!! It means that its a Computer Adaptive Test. Quantitative and Verbal sections consist of multiple-choice questions delivered in a computer-adaptive format. Questions in these sections are dynamically selected as you take the test; the multiple-choice questions will adjust to your ability level, and your test will be unique.

For each multiple-choice section of the GMAT® exam, there is a large pool of potential questions ranging from a low to high level of difficulty. Each section of the test starts with a question of moderate difficulty. If you answer the first question correctly, the computer will usually give you a harder question. If you answer the first question incorrectly, your next question will be easier. This process will continue until you complete the section, at which point the computer will have an accurate assessment of your ability level in that subject area.
In a computer-adaptive test, only one question at a time is presented. Because the computer scores each question before selecting the next one, you may not skip, return to, or change your responses to previous questions.


Make educated guesses, when you have to.
Its always better to finish off the section by making logical guesses than to leave the section unfinished.

Your score is determined by:

  • the number of questions you answer,
  • whether you answer the questions correctly or incorrectly, and
  • the level of difficulty and other statistical characteristics of each question.
Some questions are not rated, but that doesn't mean you know which ones! So answer all questions properly.

Practise a lot with the GMAT Prep software. Its an exact replica of the actual test.
(Look Wise only!!)

What does it cost to take the GMAT?

The current fee to register for the GMAT is $250 (USD). If a test appointment is cancelled at least seven calendar days prior to the scheduled appointment, a partial refund of $80 (USD) is issued. The test fee of $250 includes the release of your score report to up to five business schools. Additional score reports can be requested for an additional cost of $25 per school.

How to report scores to the schools?

Five score reports are free. The names of these schools are supposed to be filled in before the test. You just need to know which schools you wan to apply to. The procedure is simple. You can search the schools and use the drop downs to populate the names. You DON'T have to memorize the codes!! And yes, it needs to be filled in before you take the test. So you should apply to 2 dream schools. 2 feasible schools and 1 safe school, so that you don't waste that freebie.

When should I take the GMAT?

Okay! So obviously there's an ideal scenario and there's a not so ideal scenario. Strive to take the GMAT about a year prior to your expected entrance into Business School. You will have plenty of time to work on your application process, which is 20 imes tougher than taking the GMAT.

Also let's say you screwed up the first time, you cannot reschedule it within one calender month. So keep that buffer period as well. Also your score comes only after 20 days...so that's also a consideration.

At a minimum, you want to take the GMAT a month before the application deadline. It will take anywhere from two to four weeks to get your official score, although you will get an unofficial score immediately after you take the test. You can arrange for your test score to be sent directly to you and up to 5 schools in which you are applying. If you take the test close to an application deadline, you may want to include the unofficial score report with your application.

Last but not the least take the GMAT only when you have prepared and are confident that you'll rock.


Suggested links : GMAC OFFICIAL SITE

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  1. Anonymous5:12 PM

    Hi there, nice site. I was wondering if you might be able to check out, or even review, my GMAT question bank that I built? Here's the link: http://www.testsandtutors.com

    People typically have to pay for Kaplan and MGMAT and big name services if they want to access online question banks. That said, we built something to solve this problem.

    By using the site, users can see, category by category, where they are weak. Then users can take that report to a tutor and build a focused gameplan to conquer the GMAT.

    Take a look, your visitors might find it compelling.

  2. Anonymous9:59 PM

    I stumbled onto your site through Google and figured this was as good as any place to comment.

    Your title is a bit ostentatious, but I did something similar when I busted out a 174 on the LSAT. I soon realized law school was for suckers and now find myself studying for the gmat. Your blog has been quite helpful in helping me develop a plan of attack. Thanks! keep up the good work - especially since google seems to love your blog.

  3. Anonymous3:19 AM

    ur site is really good...i jst want to knw whether gmat score would b accepted by universities in UK and other countries other than US???

  4. yes...most of the schools elsewhere also ask for GMAT or accept GMAT...
    you should look at the websites of the schools you are applying to.


  5. Very detailed explanation, I am 100% sure that after reading that post all the questions about what GMAT is disappeared.


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