Graduate Education: What to Expect from the GMAT Exam

Written by on September 30, 2012 in Career - No comments | Print this page


The Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT, is THE test that determines whether or not millions of management school hopefuls worldwide will be accepted into their college program of choice. The GMAT is specifically developed to separate the best and the brightest from the pack, and it can therefore be a very intimidating prospect for those who wish to sit for it. Are you planning on taking the GMAT as you proceed with your post-graduate education? If so, then you need to check out this guide to what to expect from the GMAT exam:

Computer adaptive. The GMAT is a computerized test (meaning, you take it on the computer) that is also “computer adaptive.” The term computer adaptive means that the test actually adjusts its questions as you go, in response to the answers you give; therefore, the better you do, the harder your questions will be and the better your chances will be to score higher than someone who struggles through and receives mediocre questions.

Scope and format of the GMAT. The test itself is broken into four different sections: quantitative reasoning (data sufficiency and problem solving), verbal (comprehension of written text), integrated reasoning (compiling data from various sources to draw conclusions), and analytical writing (communicating a logical, sound analysis of a given argument). Each section is scored separately, and comprised of a variety of question formats, including table, multiple choice, and essay, among others.

How long will the GMAT take? As previously described, the GMAT adjusts to suit your knowledge. That means that your test time may vary, based on any difficulties (or lack thereof) you are having with the questions. However, there are time limits for each section, which are as follows: 30 minutes for the analytical writing section, 75 minutes for the quantitative reasoning section, 75 minutes for the verbal section, and 30 minutes for the integrated reasoning section.

Where will you take your test? There are designated GMAT testing centers all over the country, and the world. You can find a testing center near you by visiting the GMAT website at From there, you can either register for the GMAT at the testing site of your choice, or stop into the testing site in person to register.

Taking the GMAT is a serious venture, and one that will require considerable preparation. While it is only natural to be nervous when facing the GMAT examination, just keep in mind that you have more than one chance to take the test, and that you can greatly increase your chances of doing well by arming yourself with knowledge of what to expect. This article is a great starting place.

This is a guest post. Lianne Mcaferty is a tutor who focuses on helping college graduates with their GMAT preparation. She enjoys helping focused students work towards their educational goals.

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