The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is an important part of the business school application process. The GMAT is a multiple-choice, computer-based and computer-adaptive standardized exam that is often required for admission to graduate business programs globally, like the MBA.

Conducted By: Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)

The GMAT Exam Has Four Sections


1. Analytical Writing Assessment – This measures your ability to think critically and to communicate your ideas.

  • Time Limit/Number of Questions: 30 minutes/1 question
  • Question Types: Analysis of an Argument
  • Score Range: 0-6 (in 0.5-point increments)

2. Integrated Reasoning — This measures your ability to analyse data and evaluate information presented in multiple formats.

  • Time Limit/Number of Questions: 30 minutes/12 questions
  • Question Types: Graphics Interpretation, Table Analysis, Multi-source Reasoning, Two-part Analysis
  • Score Range:1-8 (in 1-point increments)

3. Quantitative Reasoning – This measures your ability to analyse data and draw conclusions using reasoning skills.

  • Time Limit/Number of Questions: 62 minutes/31 questions
  • Question Types: Data Sufficiency, Problem Solving
  • Score Range: 6-51 (in 1-point increments)

4. Verbal Reasoning – This measures your ability to read and understand written material, evaluate arguments and correct written material to conform to standard written English.

  • Time Limit/Number of Questions: 65 minutes/36 questions
  • Question Types: Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction
  • Score Range: 6-51 (in 1-point increments)

In total the test takes just under 3 1/2 hours to complete, including two optional breaks.

    Structure of the GMAT Exam

    The GMAT Exam has four separately timed sections. You will have the opportunity to take two optional eight-minute breaks during the exam.

    The Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections of the GMAT are computer-adaptive, meaning the difficulty of the test tailors itself in real-time to your ability level. This feature allows the exam to assess your potential with a higher degree of precision and deliver scores that business schools trust.

    When you begin the GMAT, the computer gives you a question of medium difficulty. As you answer questions correctly, the computer presents more difficult questions and increases its estimate of your ability. The opposite is also true. If you answer incorrectly, the computer presents easier questions and decreases its estimate of your ability. Your score is determined by an algorithm that calculates your ability level based not only on what you got right or wrong but also on the difficulty level of the questions you answered.

    A Good GMAT Score

    The Quantitative and Verbal sections of the GMAT are each scored from 0 to 60, with the mean score for Quantitative at 39 and the mean score for Verbal at 27. The score business schools and MBA programs pay the most attention to is the combined 200–800 score scale, where the mean score is 552.

    GMAT – A Challenging Exam

    There are several aspects of the GMAT that make it a tough test. First, the unique computer-adaptive format of the GMAT means that you will not be able to skip a hard question and come back to it later; you must pick an answer and move on. At the same time, you’re rewarded not only for correct answers but also for correct answers to high-level questions. All of this means that you have to both answer difficult questions and do it quickly. In addition, you’ll see question types and formats that you’ve likely never seen in your academic career.

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