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What is GMAT?

The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test is a standardized test that is used by many business schools to assess your application for admission. The test measures your mathematical, verbal and analytical writing skills.

The test is delivered in 3 parts: the Analytical Writing Assessment, the Quantitative section, and the verbal section. The Analytical Writing Assessment requires you to complete 2 task – analysis of an issue and analysis of an argument and you have 30 minutes to complete each task.

The Quantitative section features multiple choice questions covering data sufficiency and problem solving. There is 75 minutes allotted for this section. The verbal section contains multiple choice questions covering 3 areas: reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction. There is 75 minutes allotted for this section.

Do I need to take the GMAT?

If you want to enter one of the top business schools the answer is probably yes. Although requiring or not requiring the GMAT is not a sign of the quality of an MBA program, most top business schools do require it.

It is most popular with schools in the US, although it is also a very common application requirement internationally. Some schools shy away from standardized testing as a performance indicator for applications, and even those who require the GMAT will rarely use it as the only measure of a candidates ability to successfully complete a management school program.

An excellent GMAT is almost always required by the cream of MBA schools but an average to good score will not automatically deny you entry to most good schools.

Accordingly, an excellent GMAT score does not guarantee you admission. Most schools are looking for a diverse set of skills and abilities in their candidates, and will assess all other aspects of an application, not just a good GMAT score.

What is a good GMAT score?

The very top business schools in the US often require a 700 out of 800 GMAT score. But this average can be misleading. Because schools are looking at a whole application, including past experience and achievement, references and essays, candidates above and below this mark may be admitted or declined an offer.

Other good (non Ivy League) schools will be looking at 600+ scores, often in the mid 600s area.

Of course, the higher the score the better. But a mid range score is not the end of the world. And the test can be taken again.

How do I prepare?

Many providers like Kaplan produce GMAT preparation kits and example tests so you can practice and know what to expect when you sit the test. Tests are held around the world. More details on locations can be found at the Graduate Management Admissions Council website, www.gmac.com.

GMAT is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC). StudyLink is not affiliated with GMAC.

You may wish to also read our guide to the GRE.

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