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

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 37 multiple-choice questions on problem solving and data sufficiency. It has a time limit of 75 minutes, and calculators are not allowed. (Test takers are given a dry erase pen and laminated paper to work out problems with.) There are 41 questions and a time limit of 75 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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Last updated: 09/15/2016
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