About the GMAT

GMAT Basics

The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT®) is a computer-based standardized test used as an admission criteria for graduate business schools. It is used by 5,400 programs at more than 1,500 universities in 82 countries. It is used for a variety of graduate level business programs including full-time and executive MBA programs, Masters in Accountancy, Masters in Public Administration, Ph.Ds. in business and more. The test is taken more than 250,000 times a year.

The test is four hours long (including optional breaks between sections) and is administered in English. The purpose of the GMAT is to assess skills, such as critical thinking, quantitative reasoning and the ability to communicate complex ideas. It is intended to provide graduate programs with a common measure of aptitude for students from different schools, different academic majors, different experiences and even different countries.

The test may be re-taken at least 31 days after the last time it was taken and can be taken up to five times in one year. Scores generally improve 30 points between the first and second time they are taken. Immediately after concluding the exam and before the scores appear on the computer screen test-takers are given the opportunity to cancel their scores. If scores are cancelled, the test-taker will never get to see them. The rule about a 31-day waiting period to retake the test still applies if the scores have been cancelled.

The GMAT is a requirement for many business school programs and it is an important component of the business school admission process. Students applying to top schools should look at the range of scores that their school publish for the most recent incoming class. Most schools also list the scores for the middle-80 percent of incoming students. Test-takers should aim for scores within that middle 80 percent range.

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