GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test, is an integral part of the application process of a business school. This is a standardized exam, which is computer-adaptive and computer-based. The test score is usually a part of the requirements for admission into graduate business programs all over the world. The exam is developed and administered through GMAC to offer business schools a standard evaluation of the preparedness of applicants for graduate academic work. It is critical to mention that the GMAT Study Guide and Training Course is not the only requirement for admission process into an institution. Business school admission team also evaluates the applicants’ academic record, work experience, and other supporting documents to evaluate their readiness for an MBA program.
GMAT Test: General Overview
The GMAT test verifies your understanding of basic arithmetic, geometry, algebra, grammar, and multi source data analysis. It also measures your ability to think critically, solve problems, evaluate and analyze written material. Most importantly, the exam is designed to measure your skill level in critical thinking. Therefore, it is crucial that you know how to think through and analyze given information in order to achieve an excellent score.
The GMAT exam covers four different sections, and these sections form the basis of scoring for the test. Two of the sections are scored separately while the remaining two are also scored separately but later combined to produce a composite score. These parts include Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal. There is no specific order that the candidates must take the sections of the exam. They can choose their preferred order. You will make this decision at the test center after the computer tutorial and before you start the test. You have three orders to choose from, namely:
- Verbal→Quantitative→Integrated Reasoning→Analytical Writing Assessment
- Quantitative→Verbal→Integrated Reasoning→Analytical Writing Assessment
- Analytical Writing Assessment→Integrated Reasoning→Quantitative→Verbal
The Integrated Reasoning part is scored on a scale of 1-8 in one-point intervals. This section is scored separately. The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section is also scored separately on a scale of 0-6 in half-point intervals. The Verbal and Quantitative segments are also scored on a scale of 6-51. The most important score for the MBA program is the combination of Quantitative and Verbal scores. For this score, the GMAT test uses the algorithm on the Quantitative and Verbal scores and converts them to the standard 200-800 points.
The time allocated for the GMAT exam is a total of 3 hours and 50 minutes, including the optional breaks. It is advisable that you arrive at your test center at least thirty minutes before the commencement of the test. The breakdown of the exam duration is as highlighted below:
- Analytical Writing Assessment – 30 minutes
- Integrated Reasoning – 30 minutes
- Quantitative – 62 minutes
- Verbal – 65 minutes
- Optional Break – 16 minutes
GMAT Test: How Is ItScored?
The GMAT exam is a Computer Adaptive Test. When one starts the GMAT, the computer brings up a medium-difficult question with the assumption that the candidate has an average score. As the student continues to answer correctly, the computer gives more difficult questions and adapts its estimate of one’s ability. If the applicants answer wrongly, the level of difficulty reduces and keeps adapting to the performance of the candidate. The score is computed through an algorithm, and it is calculated based on the ability level of the individual. The scores are based not only on right and wrong answers but also on the level of difficulty of questions that one answered.
By the adaptive nature of the exam, the candidates are not allowed to skip questions. This means that you have to answer every question that the computer gives to you. Therefore, it is crucial that you fully prepare for the test. You also need to know how to strike a balance between dedicating your time to answer difficult questions accurately and running out of time before finishing the exam. It is essential to mention that there are penalties for not answering all the questions at the end of the test.
The Analytical Writing Assessment section gets a score from a computerized program and a human reader. The Integrated Reasoning part of the exam is not adaptive. However, you cannot leave any of the questions unanswered,and you cannot return to the questions after answering them. Immediately after the test, the students receive an unofficial score.
A good score in the GMAT test is relative. It all depends on the requirements of the MBA program you are applying to. Therefore, it is crucial to know the average score of other admitted applicants in the MBA program of your choice. This will give you a good idea of the baseline score to aim for. Although the GMAT uses technical ratings to generate the scores, the MBA programs and business schools usually focus on the 200-800 score combination scale, with a mean score of 552. If you are applying to one of the most competitive MBA programs, you should aim for scores above the 710 points range, which means you should score about 90% or higher in the exam.
GMAT Test: Registration Process
The exam is administered all year round at designated Pearson VUE test centers. You should register for your GMAT test early so that you can choose the exam date that will give ample time to compute your test score and forward it to the business school you are applying to. Usually, the process of sending scores to schools can take up to twenty calendar days.