ABOUT GMAT EXAM

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardized exam conducted by Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) to test the eligibility of an applicant for admission in Master's in Business Administration (MBA). Renowned business schools across the globe take the GMAT exam scores into consideration for admission of the candidates into the next batch.

GMAT is one of the biggest exams internationally because it provides access to a huge number of institutes and programs. The GMAT Exam Score is accepted in over 2300 colleges for over 7000 programs/courses.

The GMAT Exam is not conducted on a specific date in the year but can be given up to 5 times in a calendar year. However, each candidate is limited to a maximum of 8 attempts. The only stipulation for the attempts is that they must be at least 16 days apart.

The GMAT Exam is a computer adaptive test. What this means is that the response of each question determines the next question. If the candidate correctly answers a question, the next question will be slightly tougher. On the other hand, if the candidate fails to answer the question correctly, the level of difficulty drops in the next question.

It is pertinent to gather as much information about the GMAT Exam as possible before one starts their GMAT Exam Preparation so that they can devise the perfect GMAT Preparation strategy. Further in the article, we will talk about everything that one needs to know about GMAT Exam including the GMAT Exam Pattern, GMAT Exam Syllabus, GMAT Exam Dates, GMAT Exam Eligibility Criteria, GMAT Exam Centers, etc.

GMAT EXAM PATTERN

It is essential for the GMAT aspirant to be familiar with the GMAT Exam Pattern so that they can adequately prepare for the GMAT Exam. Being an online test, the appropriate GMAT Exam Strategy becomes even more important. The overview of the GMAT Exam Pattern is given below:

  • GMAT exam sections have four separate timed sections.
  • The four sections include Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning (IR), Quantitative Reasoning (QR) and Verbal Reasoning (VR).
  • Candidates have the 3 options in terms of selecting the order of attempting the 4 sections.
  • The total time given for the entire duration of GMAT exam is exactly 3 hours and 7 minutes.
  • Each section of GMAT exam has a time limit, and the time limit varies according to the sections.
  • The sections for Integrated Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning are computer adaptive, i.e., the questions cannot be skipped, the page cannot be returned, and the answers once marked cannot be changed.
  • Integrated Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning are multiple-choice questions.
  • Analytical Writing Assessment consists of an essay question.
  • Integrated Reasoning consists of non-MCQs.
  • For better clarity, the table below further highlights GMAT exam pattern:

GMAT exam is to test the skills that are required of a candidate in order to score a seat in a business school. It is a computer adaptive test and consist of four sections namely Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning.

  • GMAT is comprised of 80 questions and has a time frame of 3 hours 7 minutes. The exam has no defined syllabus and consists of questions focused on testing analytical and reasoning skills.
  • Each section of GMAT exam has a time limit, and the time limit varies according to the sections.
  • Candidates are given the leverage of picking three options in the order they wish to give the exam.
  • The sections for Integrated Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning are computer adaptive, i.e., the questions cannot be skipped, the page cannot be returned, and the answers once marked cannot be changed.
  • Integrated Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning are multiple-choice questions.
  • Analytical Writing Assessment consists of an essay question.
  • Integrated Reasoning consists of non-MCQs.
  • The total time given for the entire duration of GMAT exam is an approximate of 3 hours and 5 minutes.
  • For better clarity, the table below further highlights GMAT exam pattern:
Name Of The Exam Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
Official GMAT Website www.mba.com
Exam Organizer Graduate Management Admission Council
Section Division 4
Total Number of Questions 80
Score Range 200-800
Average score range 556
Language Medium English
Mode of Examination Computer Based
Negative Marking None
Exam Duration 3 hours 7 minutes

For further details about the GMAT Exam Pattern, please visit this page.

GMAT EXAM SYLLABUS

The syllabus for GMAT exam has been constant over the years, and the syllabus topics include:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment: Analysis of Argument, Issue essay.
  • Integrated Reasoning: Multi-Source Reasoning, Graphics Interpretation, Two-Two Part Analysis, Table Analysis.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: Data Sufficiency, Problem Solving.
  • Verbal Reasoning: Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction.

The table below gives the breakup of topics, the components, time variation, etc.

The syllabus for GMAT exam has been constant over the years. The table below is the breakup of topics, the components, time variation, etc.

SECTION DIVISION COMPONENTS NO. OF QUESTIONS TIME LIMIT
Analytical Writing Assessment Analysis of Argument, Issue essay. 1 30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning Multi-Source Reasoning, Graphics Interpretation, Two-Two Part Analysis, Table Analysis 12 30 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning Data Sufficiency, Problem Solving. 31 62 minutes
Verbal Reasoning Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction. 36 65 minutes
TOTAL 80 187 minutes

Analytical Writing Assessment

This section has only one question and the candidates are expected to analyze the question and craft an answer that exposes all the logical fallacies in the question. One thing that each candidate should remember is that the argument given in the question will always flaws that the candidates must identify.

Analytical Writing Assessment aims to test the ideas, critical thinking and their ability of expressing thoughts through writing. The topics vary and could be from anywhere from current affairs, business & economy, social issues, or other general topics.

Integrated Reasoning

Integrated Reasoning has 12 questions, and it aims to assess the candidate's ability of interpreting large datasets to solve complex problems. The questions can be quantitative or verbal reasoning or both. For this section, the online calculator can be used. There are 4 types of questions in the Integrated Reasoning section namely, Multi-Source Reasoning, Table Analysis, Graphics Interpretation and Two-Part Analysis.

  • Multi-Source Reasoning involves examining the data given in the form of texts, tables, graphics or a combination of all three.
  • Table Analysis involves analyzing and sorting tabular data similar to spreadsheets.
  • Graphics Interpretation involves interpretation of data that are represented as graphs (bar graphs, pie charts, statistical curves, etc.)
  • Two-Part Analysis involves complex questions on quantitative or verbal or a combination of both.

Quantitative Reasoning

This section has 31 questions from mathematics field, and the two types of questions asked are Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency. Problem Solving is multiple-choice based and it involves solving general mathematics questions, while Data Sufficiency involves analyzing of quantitative to deduce the best answer.

Verbal Reasoning

This section aims to assess the candidate's English language skills. It contains 36 questions on Standard English and has three types of question:

  • Reading Comprehension involves analyzing, interpreting, and answering questions on a given passage.
  • Critical Reasoning involves 100 words passages which are followed up by 5 options to pick from that either strengthen or weaken the passage.
  • Sentence Correction involves the identification of grammatical and structural errors in a sentence and rectifying it.

GMAT EXAM DATE

Unlike most Entrance Exams, the GMAT Exam is not conducted only once a year. Depending on the availability of GMAT exam dates, candidates can register in accordance to their preferred test date across the year. The registration can be done both online and offline as per the candidate's convenience. Although admissions are throughout the year, business programs tend to vary according to institutes, hence, it makes sense to set and plan the exam date in accordance to the interested institute's admission deadline. The registration process for GMAT exam can be done as early as 6 months prior to the preferred date. Below are the steps to register for GMAT exam:

  • Create an account with the official GMAT website www.mba.com
  • Once the account is created, fill in the details and complete the details for GMAT exam profile.
  • After the test date and country/location is chosen, the candidate has to pay a fee of US $240.
  • In case, the candidate wishes to book their test data offline, they can do so via phone or postal mail.
  • For candidates who prefer phone registration can call the GMAT customer service for registration but with an extra charge of US $10 (in addition to US $250).
  • For candidates who prefer to register through Postal Mail will have to pay the fee via cheque or money order.

In case of cancellation, or rescheduling, or retaking GMAT exam, the candidate has to pay a certain amount of cancellation/rescheduling fee. If a candidate cancels his exam under a given deadline, a refundable but partial fee of US $80 is given back.

  • To cancel, log in to www.mba.com and click on "cancel GMAT exam".
  • To reschedule, go to the main website www.mba.com and click on 'Reschedule your GMAT Exam.'
  • After the instructions and details are given, candidates have to pay an extra fee of US $50 as a rescheduling fee (if the candidate picks a new date that falls more than 7 days away from the initial picked date).
  • Should a candidate wish to choose a date within 7 days from the initially picked date, the candidate is liable to pay US $250.

GMAT allows candidates to retake the exam but only after a period of 16 days. The number of retakes that a candidate can give in an year is also capped at 5 attempts in a calendar year with 8 total attempts possible.

GMAT ELIGIBILTY CRITERIA

Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) is conducted by Graduate Management Aptitude Council (GMAC) and is open to candidates from around the world. However it has certain eligibility criteria, and below is a list of criteria that has to be fulfilled for the application of GMAT exam registration.

Age

A candidate must be 18 years old or above to apply for GMAT exam. Should a candidate not meet the required age, he/she must provide a written proof justifying the consent of the guardian in order to write the exam.

Bachelor's Degree

Any candidate with a bachelor's degree from a recognized institute is qualified to apply for the exam.

Nationality

There is no nationality barricade for GMAT exam. Applicants from all over the world are eligible to apply.

Re-attempt

A candidate can sit for GMAT exam maximum of five times in 12 months, but with 16 days of gap between each re-attempt.

Information Data

Candidates are expected to provide legal information such as name, Address, email address, contact number, gender, date of birth, country of citizenship, government issued identification, a digital photograph, signature, palm vein pattern, etc.

GMAT EXAM SCORE CARD

The official GMAT exam scorecard can be downloaded from the official website 20 days post the exam.

GMAT ADMIT CARD

GMAT exam does not have an official admit card. The confirmation letter received whilst registration is treated and accepted as the admit card. However, on the day of the exam, applicants should carry two, or more government issued identity card for verification purposes.

GMAT EXAM CENTRES

GMAT has a global platform and has exam centers all over the world. Candidates can choose to write in any place/country/city that hosts GMAT exam. Almost all the top business schools across the world be it United States, Europe, Asia, etc., accept GMAT scores as a qualifying criteria for admission into the MBA (Masters of Business Administration) Program. The GMAT exam centers in India (31 in total) are located in the cities of:

  • Bangalore
  • Cochin
  • Lucknow
  • New Delhi
  • Pune
  • Chennai
  • Mumbai
  • Ahmedabad
  • Kolkata
  • Hyderabad
  • Manipal
  • Mohali
  • Mumbai
  • Mysore
  • Nagpur
  • Noida
  • Patiala
  • Patna
  • Bhubaneswar
  • Cochin
  • Coimbatore
  • Gurgaon
  • Guwahati
  • Pilani
  • Indore
  • Jaipur
  • Vellore
  • Vijayawada
  • Ranchi
  • Tiruchirapalli
  • Trivandrum

GMAT CUT-OFF

GMAT Exam cut off varies depending on the difficulty level, number of candidates writing the exam, seat vacancies, average scores, and more. Although GMAT exam's minimum/maximum score isn't set on stone, a candidate with a score of 715 and above is considered a good score for top 10 universities.

GMAT Exam cut off varies depending on the difficulty level, number of candidates writing the ex-am, seat vacancies, average scores, and more. The total GMAT score ranges from 200-800, and based on an average estimate, two-thirds of the candidates sitting for GMAT exam obtain a score of 400 to 600. Although GMAT exam's minimum/maximum score isn't set on stone, a candidate with a score of 715 and above is considered a good score for top 10 universities. GMAT score of 760+ ranks a candidate at above 99 percentile. The table below is a list of some of the top B-schools' minimum cut-off requirement for admission eligibility.

Colleges Cutoff Score
IIM Ahmedabad 680 for EPGP, 700+ for PGPX
IIM Bangalore 680+ for EPGP
SP Jain 670+ for GMBA, 700+ for MBA
IIM Kolkata 680+ for PGPEX
BITS Pilani 600+ for MBA
IIM Lucknow 620+ for IPMX
ISB Hyderabad 690 for YLP, 660+ for PGP
IIM Indore 700+ for EPGP
IMT Ghaziabad 650+ for PGDM-Ex
XLRI Jamshedpur 640+ for PGDM-GMP
IFMR 640+ for MBA, 570+ for EMBA
IIT Madras 650+  for MBA
IIFT 650+ for MBA

*EPGP - ePost Graduate Programme
*PGPX- Post Graduate Programme in Management for Executives
*IPMX- International Programme in Management for Executives
*PGP- Post Graduate Programme
*PGDM- Post Graduate Diploma in Management
*GPM- General Management Program

HOW TO BE READY FOR GMAT EXAM

GMAT exam is known for being very challenging and that's why it is very crucial to be well prepared before sitting down for the exam. To ensure good GMAT scores:

  • Use official diagnostic tools like GMATPrepSoftware to know better about the section/area that needs more attention.
  • Understand the format of the exam and keep practicing the sample questions.
  • Time your personal mock practice according to the official GMAT section time limit.

GMAT PREPARATION: HOW TO BE READY FOR GMAT EXAM

It can be overwhelming to prepare for an exam which is known for having high score bar but preparing the right way and taking the right steps, will determine the end result. While there are many tips and advises out there to obtain high GMAT scores, there are a few fundamentals that cannot be ignored. Some of these fundamentals are mentioned below for your perusal:

Laying down the study plan

It is extremely important for every candidate to plan and strategize for their GMAT Exam attempt. This is the only way to have as high a probability of success as possible. Preparing blindly without thinking about how it would help in the exam leaves too much to chance and is not the way one should approach their GMAT Preparation.

One of the first things that every candidate should be doing is taking the GMAT Diagnostic test. The Diagnostic test allows candidates to assess their preparation and helps in setting a target score. Based on this score, the target areas for preparation can also be decided. The official GMAT diagnostic tool, GMATPrepSoftware, enables a candidate to identify their target areas. Tracking the progress and practice session each week allows the candidate to assess his weakest areas and eliminate it.

Knowing the GMAT exam format like the back of a hand

It is extremely important to be familiar with the GMAT Exam Format. It increases the chances of cracking the exam and leaves very less room for blunders or surprises on the day of the exam. Familiarity with each sections, the type of questions, will lead to be a much better understanding of how to answer the questions without fretting.

Timing the mock practices

'Time and tide waits for no man' has never been truer than during the GMAT exam. Timing personal mocks at home enables improvement in the accuracy of finishing the exam on time. Moreover, it is crucial to manage your time well across all sections rather than the entire exam due to the sectional time limits. Time Management during the exam is like a well-oiled machine. Any slip during the exam can lead to the machine malfunctioning and the candidate being forced into an incomplete submission. During personal mock practices, it is important to ensure that it is being done in accordance to the official GMAT section so as to optimize time management to the fullest.

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