StudyLink logoHome
Students on a university campus

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.

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

Related topics

Search for courses now

International study advice

Read our key advice article to help you make the best decision for your education and start your International study adventure.

Person holding a compass
How to choose the ideal study destination for you

In this article we look at how to approach choosing where in the world you would like to study.

World map on a blackboard
Deciding to study abroad: The first steps

Read StudyLink's suggestions on your first steps when deciding where to study abroad, with helpful tips to make your decision easier.

Students reading a book
English Language Testing for International Students

Find out more about English language tests, your options and what is required as an overseas student.

Lady holding bank notes
How much does it really cost to study abroad in 2024? take a detailed look into the costs of studying abroad and all the aspects that you should budget for when embarking on your studies.

A visa document
10 Common Student Visa Question

We answer 10 common questions about applying for a student visa to help make your visa application quick and easy.

A visa document and a world map
International Study Visas

Find out more about international student visas for studying abroad, as well as how, where and when to apply for yours.

A piggy bank with coins
Funding and Scholarships for International Students

Find out more about funding and scholarships for international students, and what financial assistance might be available to you.

Person selecting a book from a shelf
How to choose the right course for you

How to choose a course that fits you? Check our top tips on choosing which course is best for you to help you make an informed decision.

See more international study advice

Sign up to

Sign up to, the home of quality study abroad advice.

Sign up now
Students with books and test tubes
Search for courses