What is the GMAT?

August 22, 2014 |

Perhaps the largest hurdle you will face before applying to an MBA program is the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test). The GMAT is an exam required if you plan on applying to business school. Your GMAT score is a large deciding factor that the admissions team considers when determining whether or not they will admit you. As you prepare to take this test, you should know as much about it as possible.

The Exam

Business schools trust the GMAT exam to tell them what they need to know about a potential grad student. The exam will assess the skills business schools are looking for accurately . Schools are particularly interested in the integrated reasoning skill. Because most schools consider this score as a part of admissions, it is necessary that you take this test before applying to business school. You can take the GMAT any time during the year. When you are ready to take the exam, visit http://www.mba.com/us/the-gmat-exam/register.aspx to register.

When you go in to take the test, you will be given a little over three hours to complete the exam. There are four main sections: the analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning, quantitative, and verbal. The analytical writing assessment takes 30 minutes. You are given one topic to write an argument about. The integrated reasoning section  takes 30 minutes as well. You are given 12 questions, which include multisource reasoning, graphics interpretation, two-part analysis, and table analysis. The quantitative section takes 75 minutes. There are 37 questions on data sufficiency and problem solving. The final section, the verbal section, also takes 75 minutes. You are given 41 questions to check your reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction.

Because this is a difficult test, most people spend a lot of time preparing for it. There are many resources available to you to prepare for the exam. Daniels College of Business, for example, offers a GMAT prep course. You can find out more about it at http://daniels.du.edu/ai1ec_event/summer-2014-gmat-prep-course/?instance_id=.


The scoring for the exam includes five scores: one score in each section and a total score. These scores will be reported to any schools that you are applying to. The GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council) has the right to cancel your score if there are any issues with your testing or identification, or if you show any misconduct during the test. You may also choose to cancel your scores if you feel that you did not do well. You can only do this immediately after taking the test, however. This will be before you actually see the scores.

The total score will range from 200 to 800. Most people score between 400 and 600. Scores of 600 and higher are considered very good—the highest ranked business schools will expect scores higher than 600. The median GMAT score of students at Daniels College of Business is 602. You will receive a percentile rank with your score to see how you compared to others who have taken the test.

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