If you're set on making your mark on the business world, you'll have to conquer the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) first. Here's a brief overview of the exam.

GMAT Quick Facts

Test Dates Any Day all Year Long, Minus Holidays
Duration 3 hours, 30 minutes
Sections Quantitative, Analytic Writing, Verbal
Cost $250
Max. Score 800

What is the GMAT and why is it important?

The GMAT is a computer–adaptive test (CAT) required by many business schools. If you want to get accepted to a competitive MBA program, your GMAT score is very important. 

In addition to your GMAT score, business school admissions officials consider the extent and caliber of your work experience (especially for more selective programs), undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation, interview, and essays. Be sure to contact the specific MBA programs to which youplan to apply in order to determine their unique requirements.

What is on the GMAT?

The GMAT is comprised of four sections: an Analytical Writing Assessment section, an Integrated Reasoning section, a Quantitative Section and a Verbal Section. Learn more about each GMAT section.

How is the GMAT scored?

GMAT score is made up of several different numbers, each of which covers a part of your performance on the GMAT. The most familiar number is the Overall, or composite, GMAT score. This number ranges from 200 to 800 in 10-point increments and is determined by a combination of your scores on the Quantitative and Verbal sections of the test. Business schools tend to focus on your Overall GMAT score.

Your Verbal and Quantitative sections are graded separately. You will receive a score ranging from 0 to 60 for each section. Scores below 8 and above 51 are rare.

Your Integrated Reasoning section is scored from 1 to 8 in 1-point increments. Questions have multiple parts, and you must answer each part correctly to get credit for the question. The Integrated Reasoning score is not included in the Overall score.

Your Analytic Writing Assessment (AWA) section is graded on a scale of 0 to 6 evaluated by two readers (one human and one computer). GMAC averages the two grades for the essay and rounds to the nearest 1/2 point. Your AWA GMAT score does not count toward your Overall GMAT score.

Your GMAT score remains valid for five years. If you have taken the GMAT several times, GMAC will report all GMAT scores from the past five years.

How do I know if my score is good enough to get me into my dream school?

Good question. Check out the admissions data in our business school profiles.

How do I register?

You must register to take the GMAT in advance by phone or email; walk-in GMAT registration at test centers is not accepted. 

The GMAT is given around the country and the world at Pearson VUE testing centers. Visit mba.com or call 800–717–GMAT to register. The GMAT costs $250.

How can I prepare?

We can help. We have convenient and personalized GMAT prep options that fit any learning style and schedule.