All About The GMAT


The Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT®) examination is a standardized test designed to measure an aspirants’ aptitude for business studies at graduate school. The GMAT® is required for admission to more than 2000 B-schools across the world. GMAT® is also accepted by Indian schools like Indian School of Business (ISB), XLRI and Great Lakes as well as for the PGP-X MBA programs at the IIMs. In Nov-2011, AICTE has approved that GMAT® can be taken as a qualifying test for MBA admission and hence more Indian schools are likely to accept GMAT® scores.

GMAT® is administered round the year and candidates should book a slot on to take the test. GMAT® score is valid for five years unlike most of the examinations like CAT whose scores are valid only for one year.

This test has been administered, for over 50 years, in more than 150 countries around the world including USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New-Zealand, India and China by the GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council). From January 2006 onwards, the test is being administered by Pearson VUE headquartered at Minneapolis.

The application for the test is to be submitted with a payment of US$250. One should have a valid passport at the time of applying for the test. Before taking the test, the test takers are asked to submit the names of 5 B-Schools that they would like to send their scores to. This facility is part of the US$ 250 fee that is charged for the test. A further payment of US$28 (per copy) should be made for additional copies of the score sheets, whenever these may be required, especially to send the scores to B-Schools. Hence, test takers should decide which schools they wish to apply to even before appearing for the test. The test can be taken 5 times in a year and there must be a gap of at least 16 days between two attempts.

GMAT® is a Computer Adaptive Test which indicates that the test adapts itself to the correctness / incorrectness of your responses. There is an Integrated Reasoning Section which is not adaptive. The first few questions in Verbal Ability and Quantitative sections are of moderate difficulty. With correct responses, the level of difficulty increases, and conversely - with incorrect responses the level of difficulty decreases. The score does not depend only on the number of correct and incorrect answers. It also depends on the difficulty level of the questions encountered. The weightage for tougher questions is more than for the easier questions. The test is administered on the computer and the questions have to be tackled in the order in which they appear; you cannot skip a question. Neither can you revert to an earlier question to change the answer. The final score will be in multiples of 10. It is essential that all questions are completed as there is a heavy penalty for the questions not attempted. These factors make time management very critical in GMAT® .

It is enough if you are familiar with the basic functions of the computer and no special expertise is needed. An online calculator is provided only for the Integrated Reasoning Section.

You can view the total score obtained on completion of the test. However, if you are dissatisfied with your performance, and wish to have the test attempt cancelled, this can be done immediately on completion of the test and BEFORE the test score is viewed.

A score of 720/800 will give an aspirant a decent chance of getting into top Indian schools like ISB, PGP-X of IIMs and top-10 schools across the world. A score of about 700 is required to get into top-25 schools across the world. A score of about 680 is required to get into top-100 schools across the world. However, GMAT® is just one of the factors influencing the admission. Other factors like quality of SOPs, work experience, recommendations and under graduate GPA/percentage also play crucial roles.