The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test, is far and away the admission exam most commonly used by MBA programs. While a person’s GMAT score is not the only factor used by universities in making admission decisions, it is certainly one of the most important.

The GMAT test is computer-adaptive, meaning that answering a question correctly leads to harder questions, while answering one incorrectly leads to easier ones (making it harder to achieve a high score). Here’s a look at how it works:

A flowchart that shows the adaptive nature of the exam

The exam measures an applicant’s reading, quantitative, verbal, writing, and analytical skills. With breaks, it takes approximately 3 and a half hours to complete the exam, which contains four sections: Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal, and an analytical writing assessment.




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The writing assessment lasts 30 minutes, and test takers will analyze a presented argument, and then critique it. Integrated Reasoning also lasts 30 minutes, and contains 12 multi-part questions. Questions in this section are presented in several formats – table analysis, multi-source reasoning, two-part analysis, and graphics interpretation. The Quantitative section contains 31 multiple-choice questions on problem-solving and data sufficiency. It has a time limit of 62 minutes, and calculators are not allowed. (Test takers are given a dry-erase pen and laminated paper to work out problems with.) There are 36 questions and a time limit of 65 minutes in the Verbal section. All questions are multiple-choice, and assess skills in reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction.

The official score is based on the quantitative and verbal sections; the other sections receive separate scores. Scores range from 200-800, with 540 being about the average. There is no official passing or failing cutoff line for scores; MBA programs set their own standards for acceptable scores. The GMAT is widely considered to be a very difficult exam to do well on, and thorough preparation is important. You’ll find a wide variety of free GMAT test prep videos here on Mometrix Academy to help you do your best.

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: February 27, 2023