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  • GMAT Overview

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    The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is the standardized test required for admission to most business schools.

    While admissions committees do consider many other factors (including your grades, transcript, essays, resume, letters of recommendation and interview), it is important to do well on the GMAT if you hope to get into a competitive business school.

    GMAT Overview

    The GMAT is a four–hour computer-based test offered at approved testing centers around the world. Here's how the GMAT is structured:

    1. An Analytical Writing Assessment that includes one 30-minute essay called the Analysis of an Argument
    2. A 30-minute, 12-question, multiple-choice Integrated Reasoning section (followed by an optional short break)
    3. A 75-minute, 37-question, multiple-choice Quantitative (Math) section (followed by an optional short break)
    4. A 75-minute, 41-question multiple-choice Verbal section

    You must answer a question in order to get to the next question, which means you can't skip a question and return to it later. While you are not required to finish any of the sections, your score will be adjusted downward to reflect questions you did not answer.

    Scores

    Your GMAT Quantitative and Verbal scores are determined by the number of questions you answer correctly and the difficulty level of those questions. Each section starts with a medium-difficulty question. If you answer it correctly, the subsequent question will be harder. If you answer incorrectly, the following question will be easier. Scores for the Quantitative and Verbal sections range from 0 to 60, but scores below 8 or above 51 are rare.

    Business schools tend to focus on your Overall (or composite) score. The Overall score is based on your Quantitative and Verbal scores and ranges from 200 to 800 in 10-point increments.

    Both the Integrated Reasoning and the Analytical Writing Assessment section are scored separately and not factored into the Overall (200 to 800) score. Integrated Reasoning scores range from 1 to 8 in 1-point increments. The Analytical Writing Assessment section is scored on a scale of 0 to 6.

    Taking the Test

    The GMAT is offered most days, including Saturdays, throughout the year. Register early if you want to take the test on a Saturday. You can register for the GMAT at mba.com, or by calling 1–800–717–GMAT. You can re–take the test, although you must wait a month in between GMAT test dates.

    Business schools will see all your GMAT scores from the last five years, so make sure you're well prepared before you take the test. To get familiar with the exam, try a GMAT free online practice test. Or check out our GMAT Test Prep courses.