General Things One Should Know About GMAT

What is the GMAT?

The GMAT or also known as the Graduate Management Admission Test is a standardized and computer-adaptive test that is used as part of most schools or universities’ admission process. It is required for application to graduate business programs or MBAs. 

The GMAT test is administered by GMAC. It is used to determine whether applicants are ready for academic work that is for a graduate level. It measures their knowledge in different sections or subject areas such as spelling, problem-solving, data analysis, and more. Graduate schools will look at an applicant’s GMAT score to figure out whether that individual is ready for the difficulty of MBA programs. Those who have moderately good or high scores will likely be accepted. But the GMAT score is not the only thing that is looked at but also academic records or work experience. 

Format and Content Outline

What does the GMAT consist of?

The GMAT format is that it consists of 4 sections. You have the option of choosing the order of the sections on test day. But if after 1 minute, you do not choose, then automatically it will be the first order. 

You need to select between the three orders:

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning (IR), Quantitative, Verbal
  2. Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  3. Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
GMAT Sections GMAT Questions GMAT Score Range Time Allowed
Analytical Writing Assessment Total: 1 question 0 to 6 30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning
  • Multi-Source Reasoning questions
  • Graphics Interpretation questions
  • Two-Part Analysis questions
  • Table Analysis questions
1 to 8 30 minutes
Total: 12 questions
  • Data Sufficiency  (13-14 questions)
  • Problem-Solving (17-18  questions)
0 to 60 62 minutes
Total: 31 questions
  • Reading Comprehension questions (13-14 questions)
  • Critical Reasoning questions (9-10 questions)
  • Sentence Correction questions (12-13 questions)
0 to 60 65 minutes
Total: 36 questions

The GMAT Prep Plus 2020 states that the Analytical Writing Assessment is usually the first section if you choose the first order of the GMAT exam. In this section, the applicants will be required to create an essay that will take at least 30 minutes to finish.  A topic will be given to them, and they have to analyze the argument and its logic thoroughly. To make a great essay, they have to explain the weaknesses in the author’s statements. They also have to use evidence and reasoning to back up their claims.  

The Integrated Reasoning section determines whether applicants can determine data information with the help of graphs, passages, tables, etc. They must also know how to organize data either verbally or in graphical formats, and evaluate the information given to them. 

This section contains 4 question types:

  1. Multi-Source Reasoning – These are questions that give information in the form of charts, text, or tables. Some of them can be in a multiple-choice type or true/false statements.
  2. Graphics Interpretation questions – These are questions that contain two statements that must be completed. The statements are in relation to visual information such as graphs.
  1. Two-Part Analysis questions – These are questions that are almost similar to that of the Verbal and Quantitative questions. But, the difference is that the applicant must select answers to two related questions from a list of five or six choices.
  2. Table Analysis questions – These are questions that provide information in a sortable spreadsheet, and it will contain the true/false question format. 

The Quantitative section determines the applicants basic mathematical skills. It has content areas such as Algebra, Geometry, Basic Arithmetic and Statistics, among others. The section tests the applicants’ knowledge by combining multiple skills or subjects to solve a question.  

This section has 2 question types:

  1. Data Sufficiency – These are questions that determine whether the data in the statements are sufficient for the applicants to answer the questions
  2. Problem-Solving – These are questions that will challenge the applicants understanding of basic math by testing their ability to analyze the problem and think of what math to use. 

The Verbal section tests whether or not the applicants are knowledgeable of the standard written English. They have to use their analytical  and critical skills for the various question types.

There are 3 question types: 

  1. Reading Comprehension – These are questions that will determine whether you can summarize what the passages are about, or that you can critically read them.
  2. Critical Reasoning – These are questions that involve understanding and evaluating arguments. The applicants must be able to make a plan of action by logically analyzing the evidence and conclusion.
  3. Sentence Correction – These are questions will include long sentences and a part of it or all of it will be underlined. The applicants will be asked to find the best alternative or answer to the underlined phrase or sentence.   

How is the GMAT test scored?

The GMAT test is computer-adaptive, which means that the level of difficulty will be based upon your performance as you go along the test. Based on the book GMAT Prep Plus 2020,  the GMAT test score ranges from 200 to 800, in 10-point increments. The Quantitative and Verbal sections make up the overall score. They each have a scaled score of 0 to 60. 

On the other hand, the Analytical Writing Assessment and Integrated Reasoning have independent scores. The former has 0 to 6, in half-point increments, while the latter has 1 to 8, in one-point increments. 

Here is a GMAT score chart to know what your target percentile rank is to pass the exam:

Score Range GMAT Percentiles
760 to 800 99%
710 90%
670 80%
630 66%
590 52%

How is the AWA scored?

The applicant’s essay will be scored with the help of a human grader and a computerized essay grader that is called the IntelliMetric system. The AWA score is not counted toward the overall score of 200 to 800. It is also not combined with any other subscore. The essay will also be graded based on structure, evidence, and depth of logic.

Moreover, GMAC will grade the applicant’s essay using a holistic 6-point scale:  

Score Description
6 (Excellent) This score means that you earned a top score and your essay passed all the criteria. It is logically organized, well-supported by evidence and written skillfully.
5 (Good) This score means that although the essay is written well, it didn’t have enough supporting evidence and it wasn’t compelling enough. 
4 (Satisfactory) The score means that the arguments were pointed out, but it lacked explanation. It was well-organized and it had adequate evidence. 
3 (Inadequate) This score means that it wasn’t able to point out the elements of the argument. It wasn’t able to give any evidence, and it didn’t clearly express the meaning.
2 (Substantially Flawed) This score means that the essay doesn’t give any evidence at all. It is also not well-written because it contains many errors which make the meaning unclear.
1 (Seriously Deficient) This score means that it is almost incomprehensible. It doesn’t provide any argument, evidence, or any ideas at all.
0 (No Score) This score means that the applicant tried to avoid addressing the prompt by writing random characters or words, or even by copying the prompt. You can also get this if you didn’t write it in English. 
NR (Blank) This score means that you didn’t write anything at all. 

How is the IR scored?

Just like the AWA, the IR score doesn’t contribute to the overall GMAT score. It is scored from a scale of 1 to 8, in whole-point increments. 

What is a good GMAT score?

You should always look at the average GMAT score to know what the baseline is for admitted applicants. The Quantitative section has a mean score of 39, and the Verbal section has 27. Most programs prefer a mean score of 552 for the combined 200 to 800 score scale. 

What are some tips to ace the GMAT?

  1. For Analytical Writing Assessment, you must always remember the criteria on which your score will be based: structure, evidence, and depth of logic. Your essay must be able to discuss your line of reasoning, present credible evidence and make convincing statements. Moreover, it should have paragraph unity and a logical structure. Lastly, for it to be more effective, you must have great control of the English language.  
  1. For Integrated Reasoning, the book GMAT Prep Plus 2020 advises the test-takers to remember two methods when answering this section. First, they must be able to analyze the information and second they must approach each question strategically. Since you will encounter visual information in this portion, you have to be able to get the gist of the information. Otherwise, you’ll be trying to answer the questions without all of the useful facts. In addition to that, you have to answer the questions strategically so you won’t waste time. You can use strategies such as estimation, elimination of incorrect choices, etc.
  2. For Quantitative, applicants should brush up on their basic math and plan how they can solve such questions quickly. You can make use of strategic guessings, such as the process of elimination to lessen the wrong answers.
  3. For Verbal, it is important for test-takers to pace themselves. This portion contains passages that should be read thoroughly and critically. So, it is crucial that you know how to time each question. You can also use paraphrasing so you can simplify complicated prose.  

By learning all of these tips for each section, you can apply it by taking GMAT practice tests and GMAT preps. If you are a beginner, you have to accustom yourself with the test content and format. 

You can try to answer these GMAT sample questions to know what to expect:

Verbal Section

The increase in taxes on cigarettes next month will not limit the use of addictive tobacco products to the extent that health advocates hope. Many cigarette smokers will shift their spending to cigars and chewing tobacco when the law takes effect. Which of the following, if true, would most strongly weaken the argument above?

  1. Cigars and chewing tobacco can satisfy the nicotine cravings of most cigarette smokers.
  2. The taste, smell, and texture of cigars and chewing tobacco are sufficiently different from those of cigarettes to deter cigarette smokers from using them. 
  3. Many health advocates themselves use tobacco products.
  4. The government might also impose significant taxes on cigars and chewing tobacco over the course of two years.
  5. Cigars and chewing tobacco are often more expensive than cigarettes.  

Quantitative Section

The length of a rectangle is twice as long as the width, and the rectangle’s area is greater than 72 and less than 200. Which of the following could be the length of the rectangle?

  1. 8
  2. 12
  3. 16
  4. 20
  5. 24 

What is the best site to study for the GMAT?

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the eligibility for the GMAT exam?

The applicants must be at least 18 years old and are proficient in English. Those who are 13 to 17 years old may take the exam, but they must have written a proof of permission from their guardians or parents. The applicant must also have an undergraduate degree in any discipline. 

How much does it cost to take GMAT?

The GMAT cost is $250. If the applicants want to change the venue or reschedule the test, then they have to pay an additional $50. 

How to register for the GMAT exam?

The applicants have to register for GMAT 6 months before the GMAT exam dates. They can also register a day before the exam, but there won’t be any assurance that a slot will be available. 

Online GMAT Registration:

  1. You have to create an account in GMAC’s official website at
  2. You have to fill in your basic information such as name, address, etc..
  3. You’ll have to get your I.D. and password.
  4. You should pay the appropriate application fees.
  5. You have to log in to your account and schedule your GMAT test date

How long is my GMAT score valid?

The GMAT score will be valid for 5 years, starting from the date that you took the test. 

What is the time duration of the GMAT exam? 

The time allowed for taking the test is at least 127 minutes or 3.5 hours

How to ace the GMAT exam?

Can I use a testing aid such as a calculator during the GMAT?

You are not allowed to bring your own calculator since it will be provided for you during the Integrated Reasoning section of the exam. For the Quantitative section, calculators are prohibited.