ABOUT THE GMAT
The Graduate Management Admission Test, aka the GMAT, is a multiple-choice, computer-based and computer-adaptive standardized exam that is used globally for admission to graduate management / business programs (such as MBA programs).
The GMAT is developed and administered by testmaker 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 your work experience, academic record, and supporting materials, to assess your readiness for the rigors of an MBA program.
What’s the takeaway? A high score on the GMAT is likely to have a direct, positive impact on your business school application.
WHAT IS ON THE GMAT?
While the GMAT does test facts and rules, including grammar as well as quantitative concepts in arithmetic, algebra, statistics, and geometry, the exam is first and foremost a test of your critical thinking skills. It tests your ability to analyze and evaluate quant and verbal material, think logically, and solve problems under time-limited conditions. Knowing how to reason through and analyze information efficiently 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, as you will during your MBA coursework.
The content on the GMAT is broken down into four scored test sections, each of which is scored separately. Two of the sections, Quant and Verbal, are also combined to generate your Total score:
- Integrated Reasoning
- Analytical Writing Assessment
GMAT test takers are able to choose the order in which they take GMAT test sections. You will choose your section order at the test center, just before you begin your test. There are three orders you will be able to choose from:
- Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal
- Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
- Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
Approximately half of test takers choose to start with the Quant section (order #3) and around one-third choose to start with the Verbal section (order #2), because the Quant and Verbal sections are generally the two most important sections for your admissions chances.
The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA or Essay) section of the GMAT is scored separately from 0 to 6 in half-point increments. The Integrated Reasoning (IR) section is scored from 1 to 8 in one-point increments. The Quantitative (Quant) and Verbal sections each have an official scaled score of 0–60, but in practice only the scores 6 to 51 are used. Your Quant and Verbal scores are also combined to generate your Total score, which is given on a 200–800 scale in 10-point increments. The Total score is the score that a majority of business schools care most about.
The mean Total score is typically in the 560 to 570 range. The mean Verbal score is typically in the high 20s and the mean Quant score is typically in the high 30s or low 40s. The mean IR score and the mean Essay score are both typically in the 4 to 5 range. See below for more on how the GMAT is scored.