The GMAT Exam – Pattern, Exam Dates, Syllabus & More

The GMAT can seem like an irritant – the mountain standing between your dream business school and you. 

Students wonder why they need to give the GMAT to get admission to a business school.

“What do ‘speed time and distance’ problems have to do with business problems?”, “why am I correcting sentences? I want to be a manager, not an editor!” are common refrains. 

All these are fair questions! The GMAT can seem arbitrary. In this guide we try and explain the ins and outs of the exam to make it less of a mystery. 

Cracking the GMAT will take hard-work and patience. But rest assured, we will understanding the beast super easy! (LINKS to pages)

What is GMAT?

The full form of GMAT is Graduate Management Admission Test.

The GMAT is an online computer adaptive entrance test for admission to a masters program in business such as Masters in Business Administration (MBA).

Computer adaptive test? What is that?

Computer-adaptive tests are designed to adjust their level of difficulty—based on the responses provided—to match the knowledge and ability of a test taker. If a student gives a wrong answer, the computer follows up with an easier question; if the student answers correctly, the next question will be more difficult.

Everyone who gives the GMAT sees a different set of questions. And every question you answer correctly increases the difficulty of the next question presented to you in the exam.

So everyone who gives the GMAT sees a different set of questions. And every question you answer correctly increases the difficulty of the next question presented to you in the exam.

The final score, in GMAT therefore depends on the difficulty level of questions that the student had attempted. Correct answers to difficult questions will result in obtaining higher scores while correct responses to easier questions will result in getting lower scores.

Who conducts the GMAT exam?

The GMAT exam is conducted by Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). GMAC is an international non-profit organization of business schools that provides products and services to academic institutions and prospective graduate management education students.

GMAT Full FormGraduate Management Admission Test
Official Websitehttps://www.mba.com
Organizing BodyGraduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)
Exam ModeComputer based adaptive test
Exam Duration3 Hours 7 minutes
Acceptance LevelGlobal
Examination FeeUS$ 250
GMAT Test Centers650 Centers in 114 countries around the world
GMAT Scorecard Validity5 Years
PrerequisitesNo official prerequisites.

 

GMAT’s Official Website 

The official website of the GMAT exam is MBA.com

What does the GMAT exam test? 

The GMAT assesses: Quantitative aptitude, verbal aptitude, writing ability, analytical skills, logic, critical reasoning skills, needed for successfully completing a management course.

Which courses / programs can I get admission to with a GMAT score? 

More than 7,000 programs at approximately 2,300+ graduate business schools around the world accept the GMAT as part of the selection criteria for their graduate management programs, including

  • Masters of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Masters in Business Management (MiM / MBM)
  • Master of Accountancy
  • Master of Finance programs among others

When can I take the GMAT? GMAT Exam Dates 2020 – 2021

There is no single date to take the GMAT unlike other competitive exams which are held once or twice a year.

The GMAT is offered on many days throughout the year. You can usually find the GMAT given on almost every day of the week, especially if you live a in a large city.

Fact: Candidates have to wait at least five years to take the GMAT Exam again if the previously obtained GMAT score is a perfect score of 800 

You can register for GMAT appointments anytime between six months and 24 hours before you’re desired date, depending on availability.

Given the rush during admissions season, you should sign up at least a few weeks in advance to secure a spot.

GMAT 2020 Eligibility Criteria

Age Criteria

  • The candidate must have completed 18 years of age
  • There is no upper age limit of the candidate
  • If the candidate is between 13 to 17 years old, they should have permission in writing from their parents or legal guardian

Qualification Required

  • Nationality: There are no restrictions regarding the nationality of the applicant
  • Academic Qualification: You only need a bachelor degree from a recognized institute to be eligible for the exam. However the academic qualification criteria demanded varies for college to college
  • Age Limit: A candidates applying for GMAT Exam must be at least 18 years old. In case, a candidate’s age varies between 13-17 years, then he/she must provide a written proof of guardian’s consent for taking GMAT Test.
  • Number of Attempts: Candidates can appear for GMAT Exam a maximum of 5 times in a year.
  • Retaking the GMAT: Candidates have to wait for a minimum of 16 days before taking the test again.
  • Cooling off period: Candidates have to wait at least five years to take the GMAT Exam again if the previously obtained GMAT score is a perfect score of 800.

What is a good GMAT score? What are the GMAT Cutoffs For Top B-Schools?

Colleges that accept GMAT accept students across a range of scores – there is no one cutoff for any B-School.
There is a wide range of GMAT scores that can gain you admission to your business school of choice. Generally speaking, top 10 MBA programs consistently look for GMAT scores of 710 or above. 

Read this article to understand What is a Good GMAT Score? (LINK)

GMAT scores for Top 10 US MBA programs


GMAT Scores at Top One Year MBA Programs in India

Institute
Program
 Average GMAT  Score
ISB Hyderabad and Mohali
POST GRADUATE PROGRAMME IN MANAGEMENT (PGP)
700-710
IIM Ahmedabad
PGPX-Post Graduate Programme in Management for Executives (PGPX): One Year Full Time Executive MBA
700
IIM Bangalore
Executive Post Graduate Programme (EPGP) – One Year Full Time Executive MBA
709
XLRI Jamshedpur
PGDM (General Management) – 15 Months Programme
700
SPJIMR
PGPM – 15 Months Programme
700
Great Lakes Institute of Management Chennai
PGPM- 15 Months Programme
600

 

 

Top 10 Indian MBA choices with GMAT scores

University/CollegeProgramAverage GMAT Score Range Over the Years (out of 800)Total Fee
Indian School of Business (ISB), HyderabadPGP, YLP700-710INR 25,54,725
Indian Institute of Management, AhmedabadPGPX700-710INR 24,00,000
Indian Institute of Management, BangaloreEPGP695-7INR 22,77,500
Indian Institute of Management, CalcuttaPGPEX700-710INR 22,00,000
Indian Institute of Management, LucknowIMPX680-700INR 19,11,000
XLRI, JamshedpurGMP680-700INR 14,95,000
Indian Institute of Management, IndoreEPGP680-700INR 18,00,000
S.P.Jain Institute of Management & Research, MumbaiPGDM680-700INR 17,40,000
IMT, GhaziabadPGDM, PGDM-Ex690INR 15,00,000
Great Lakes Institute of Management, ChennaiPGPM680INR 17,70,000

Read more

Recent updates in GMAT

  • The Graduate Management Admission Council has shortened the GMAT exam by 30 minutes (effective from 16 April 2018).
  • The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative sections are shortened by 13 and 10 minutes respectively
  • The new exam will be of 3 hours and 30 minutes including test instructions and breaks. 
  • The Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment along with the Score Preview and the optional break time remain the same.
  • Candidates now have the flexibility to customize their GMAT experience by choosing the section order in which they feel most comfortable taking the exam

Fact: GMAT 2020 does not have any negative marking

Why GMAT? Why Do I Need To Give GMAT?

The GMAT can seem like an irritant – the only thing between your dream business school and you.

It’s not uncommon for students to wonder “What do ‘speed time and distance’ problems have to do with business problems? Why am i correcting sentences? I want to be a manager, not an editor!”

Fair questions. 

And you are right! The GMAT exam is not a good predictor of your success in running your own business or managing a business for someone else.

What it is good at, is predicting how well a student will perform academically in the first year of a graduate business education, at least as per GMAC. According to GMAC, it has continually performed validity studies to statistically verify that the exam predicts success in business school programs.

Second, the GMAT is a standardized test, so it’s seen as an equalizer in the admissions process. Some business school admissions factors, like letters of recommendation or undergraduate GPA, are more subjective. For example, your undergraduate GPA could be influenced by the rigor of the school you attended or the exact courses you took. By contrast, the GMAT is administered in the same format and under the same time limits to thousands of students every year, and the content has been examined and revised to ensure it’s fair for students of various backgrounds.

And hate the GMAT all you want, the reality is that the GMAT is still the number one choice for MBA aspirants despite the increasing acceptability of GRE scores. About 90% of people applying to business school submit GMAT scores.
However more and more people are submitting GRE scores each year. And some studies even suggest that you may be able to get admission with a lower GRE score than an equivalent GMAT score at the same B-School. (LINK to GMAT vs GRE)

For MBA aspirants in India, with the GMAT exam scores you can apply to the following types of management programs:

  1. International MBA
  2. International Masters in Management programs
  3. One Year MBA in India at ISB, IIMs, etc 
  4. Two Year MBA in India at 100+ B-schools/Universities (for foreign students)

GMAT Exam Pattern 

SectionTime LimitNumber Of QuestionsQuestion TypeScore Range
Analytical Writing Assessment30 min1Analysis of an Argument0-6 (in 0.5-point increments)
Integrated Reasoning30 min12Graphics Interpretation, Table Analysis, Multi-source Reasoning, Two-part Analysis1-8 (in 1-point increments)
Quantitative Reasoning62 min31Data Sufficiency, Problem Solving6-51 (in 1-point increments)
Verbal Reasoning65 min36Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction6-51 (in 1-point increments)

GMAT Syllabus

GMAT is a three and a half hours test with a maximum score of 800 points. The entire GMAT Exam syllabus divided into four sections.

  • Analytical Reasoning
  • Integrated Reasoning
  • Quantitative Aptitude Section
  • Verbal Reasoning Section

GMAT Registration 2020:

  • Candidates aspiring to take the GMAT can register themselves any time of the year.
  • It is advisable that candidates devise a proper timeline prior to registering for the examination.
  • The GMAT Registration process is accessible in both online and offline modes.

How to register for the GMAT?

  1. The first step is to create an account with GMAC on the official website of GMAT.
  2. Once the account is created the candidates can opt for any of the below-mentioned GMAT 2019 Registration. The same modes are available for rescheduling or canceling GMAT Test:
  • Online on the official website of GMAT: The candidate can register themselves directly on the official website of GMAT
  • Through Phone: This can be done by calling the GMAT Customer Service in your region with an additional fee of US$10.
  • Through Postal Mail: If the candidate pays via cheque or money order, this is the only option to register and schedule the GMAT Exam.

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