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Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) FAQ's



What is GMAT?

GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test and is the test required by almost all MBA programs. It is a rigorous computer adaptive test that lasts 3.5 hours. You must register for the gmat at an official testing center.


What is tested on the GMAT?

Writing ability, knowledge of Basic Math (Arithmetic, Algebra, Word Problems, Geometry) and just a bit of intermediate Math (Statistics, Probability, Combinations/Permutations), and knowledge of grammar principles, logical reasoning, reading, and analytical skills.


What is the GMAT Fee?

The fee GMAC charges for the test is $250; tax applies in some of the countries


Is there such thing as GMAT payment voucher or GMAT promotion code?

No, gmat vouchers or promotion codes do not exist


What does the GMAT test consist of? What is the Format of the GMAT?

GMAT consists of 3 sections and lasts 3 and a half hours not including an optional break

Part 1: AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment) Section - 60 minutes - 2 essays 30 minutes each.

Optional 8 minute break

Part 2: Quantitative Section - 75 minutes - 37 questions

Optional 8 minute break

Part 3: Verbal Section - 75 minutes - 41 questions


How does the GMAT Test work? What is a CAT?

GMAT is a CAT test - a computer adaptive test. It starts at a medium difficulty and increases question difficulty as long as you answer the questions correctly. Once a question is missed, the difficulty decreases. This methodology allows GMAT to hone exactly on your performance. It is believed that your final score for each of the sections is know after about the 15th, question, but 30 more are given just to ensure that the original assessment was correct.


Are all GMAT questions scored/do all GMAT questions count?

No. About 20%-30% are experimental questions that do not impact your score and are designed to help GMAC evaluate questions for future tests


What is the reason for Experimental questions/Unscored questions on the GMAT?

1. Estimate difficulty level of questions to be included in future tests. Questions on the GMAT tests change every calendar month or every 30 days - that's why you can take the test only once every 31 days. Since GMAT is an adaptive test, that's quite a few new questions that GMAC needs to develop monthly and one of the hardest things about developing new questions is understanding how hard/easy they are. To help address this issue, about 20-30% of the questions you will see on the test are experimental questions (to be used on future tests) that GMAC is trying out and measuring difficulty level. This is one reason some test takers get scared when suddenly they get an easy question after a hard one, which could mean that they missed previous question, but in reality they just got served an experimental question that does not have a difficulty level assigned to it yet.


2. Measure question fit and quality - regardless of difficulty, a question may still be of poor quality - meaning it does not measure one's performance well enough, has multiple interpretations, or confusing answers. Having experimental questions on the test helps GMAC weed these out and ensure that the questions that count are close to perfect, which increases the accuracy and consistency of the test across 5 years.


3. Eliminate controversial questions. Some questions may prove controversial or inappropriate in certain cultures or parts of the world.


What is the maximum score on the GMAT?

The GMAT score range is between 200 and 800. Very few people get 200 or 800, the majority, however falls between 400 and 600. The average score is about 550. You can see the scores distribution in the Gmat Score Interpretation Guide.


How does GMAT scoring work? What is the GMAT algorithm?

There are several theories about how the test is scored: some believe the first 15 questions are critical; others think that hard questions must be answered correctly to get a good score, and another group believes that all questions must be answered to get a high score. Visit this thread for one of the many discussions about GMAT.


How do I schedule a GMAT test appointment?

You must register with one of the authorized test centers. GMAT is administered by the Vue/Pearson testing centers 6 days a week.


Can I cancel or reschedule a GMAT appointment?

Yes, and quite a few people do - there is a $50 rescheduling fee if you reschedule more than 7 days out. You will lose the $250 deposit if you decide to reschedule less than 7 days out. You can also apply for a refund as long as your appointment is more than 7 days out. However, you will get only $80 back. In general, if you got cold feet a few days before the test, and feel that you need to reschedule, it may be worth going and taking the test since you won't get any money back. Of course there are several theories about having a low score on your report, but more about that later.



Which Schools use GMAT for the Admissions process?

More than 1,900 MBA programs use GMAT as a part of the application process.



How long are the GMAT Scores valid for?

GMAT Scores are valid for 5 years. Some applicants take the test right after the undergrad (while the memory of math is still very fresh) and then apply after several years of work experience.


How many times can you take the GMAT?

You can take the GMAT 5 times in any 12 months and no sooner than 31 days after your previous appointment. Note that if you take the GMAT multiple times, all of the scores from the past 5 years will be reported to the recipients. If you get 800 on the test, you cannot retake it for 5 years (least of your worries probably), and if you attempt to take the test more than 5 times in a 12-month period, your score will be canceled and you may potentially be barred from taking the GMAT again.



After I take the GMAT, how soon will I know my score?

Your unofficial (preliminary that is) GMAT score will be made available to you immediately after you finish the test. You can also cancel your test score immediately after taking it, but in that case, your score will not be displayed. This option is not recommended unless you feel that you bombed the test and did not finish a number of questions. Your official test scores will be sent to you either by mail or via email (to be accessed on http://www.mba.com). That's when you will find out your Analytical Writing Assessment score.


How do I send my GMAT scores to the Schools?

Before or after the test, you will have a chance to enter up to 5 schools names that will automatically receive your GMAT score about 20-30 days after you take the test. You can also request for additional score reports to be sent, but it will cost $28. Some applicants prefer not to send any reports to any schools unless they are sure they received a good score, so they will actually order additional reports after they receive the score confirmation. Ordering can be done here.


What are the Identification Requirements in the US?

For US Citizens - Driver's License

For US Residents and Visitors: certain test centers will only accept a Passport as the valid ID or a Green Card but not a Driver's License.


How do I interpret my GMAT Score Report?

You will receive your official score report either by mail or electronically (you are given a choice) - you will have several scores - your raw scores are the scores for Quantitative and Verbal sections (they are between 0 and 60), though very few ever get above 50. Your score report will also have your AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment) score on a scale between 0 and 6. Most get between 4 and 6 and this score is not very critical. Your score report will also contain a percentile - that's the measurement of how you did on the test compared to ALL the other test takers in the past 5 years. See the attachment to this post - a GMAT score interpretation guide. It was discontinued by GMAC in 2004, but this copy still works.


Do I have to take GMAT to get into an MBA program?

As a matter of fact no - if you prefer or if you have taken the GRE, you can use GRE results in more than 120 schools. Check with your business schools of choice to make sure they accept GRE instead of GMAT. A program that does not require a GMAT or GRE, is a red flag for a diploma printing press.


Is GMAT easier than GRE?

Some believe that GRE is a better choice as it does not have the Data Sufficiency questions unique to the GMAT and costs only $140 vs. $250 but many do think that GRE is harder. However, it comes down to a personal preference - if you have a hard time with the GMAT, perhaps GRE offers a better format for you; give it a shot. And no, we don't have a greclub.


Is GMAT Useless After Admissions?

A number of people say - No. Many of the top companies (e.g. McKinsey) ask for your GMAT Score on the job application. Also, if you get a good score (90+ percentile, it is something else to put under your achievements section of the resume).

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