What is the GMAT ?

The Graduate Management Admissions Test is used by business schools worldwide, to access MBA candidates. Unlike psychometric tests, you are meant to study for the GMAT. The GMAT develops and tests your critical thinking, analytical and problem solving skills. Your test score is valid for five years.

How long should you study for the GMAT?

You will need (ideally, everyone is different) 100 to 120 hours to get your best score on the GMAT. A large part of the GMAT skill-set is gained through practice. Lots and lots of practice. The rote learning approach most of us were exposed to at school just won’t cut it.

What does the test look like?

Here is a breakdown of the test sections.  You can also change the order of sections (to tackle the Quantitative section first and Verbal section second, or visa versa).

GMATAnalytical Writing

You’ll have half an hour to write an essay responding to a prompt. You will have to analyse the argument presented to you and identify flaws and solutions. This is scored out of 6. Scores of 4 and above are considered good. Scores of 3 and below will be red flags for schools.

Integrated Reasoning

Here you have to use both verbal and quantitative skills to make sense of diagrams, tables and complex information. You have half an hour for this section. There are 12 questions in total, in 4 different formats.

Quantitative Section

This is a multiple choice format. There are 37 questions and 2 question types. Problem solving questions are straightforward. They ask you to choose an answer to the question posed.

Data sufficiency questions give you a question prompt and then two further pieces of information. You are then asked to evaluate which (if any) piece/s of information are sufficient to answer the question prompt.

Verbal Section

This is a multiple choice format. There are 41 questions and 3 question types. Critical Reasoning questions give you an argument to read. You then asked to analyse the argument and answer a question prompt.

In the Reading Comprehension section, you will be given a long passage. You will then have to answer  a series of multiple choice questions based on the passage.

The last question type in this section is Sentence Correction. Part of a sentence will be underlined. You’ll need to identify the grammatically correct version of that part of the sentence, out of multiple choice answers.

How hard is GMAT maths?

The maths tested in the GMAT is basically high school level maths (with one or two more topics). The difficulty comes in as you’ll have about one and a half minutes per question. This forces you to find creative shortcuts and learn clever new approaches. You are also not allowed to use a calculator – so you’ll have to relearn those multiplication tables.

What is a good score?

It really depends on a few factors. The GMAT is only part of your application. In general you need 550 for GMAT accepting schools on the continent and 650 for international schools.

How does the scoring work?

The GMAT is a Computer-Adaptive Test. This means it continuously adjusts to your skill level. Your score is based on the number of questions you answer correctly and their level of difficulty.

Your percentile measures your performance against other test-takers. If you are in the 80th percentile this means you have scored better than 80% of test-takers and worse than 20% of test takers.

Your score out of 800 is made up of your score for the quantitative section and your score for the verbal section. Your scores for the Analytical writing section and Integrated Reasoning sections are sent to business schools but do not count towards this score.

How many times can you take the GMAT?

Technically, you can take it 5 times a year, 16 days apart. And 8 times in your lifetime. But at $250 a test, you should aim to take the test once.

Do you have to take the GMAT to get into a good business school?

No. There are some schools that don’t require the GMAT (including many schools in Africa). These schools usually have their own admissions test as an alternative. Many schools also accept the GRE. Here’s how to convert your GRE score into an equivalent GMAT score. You’ll see you have to score much higher in the GRE.

Lastly, bear in mind that the top consulting firms prefer to hire applicants with a high GMAT score.

Where can I try a test?

You can find out more information and download practice tests at www.mba.com 

Where and when can I take the test?

The GMAT is offered year round. To find the nearest test centre and to book an appointment go to www.mba.com