GMAT Guide

The Graduate Management Admission Test, generally abbreviated as GMAT is a computer-based and computer-adaptive which is commonly taken by the students globally to qualify for getting admitted to a business program/course (MBA) and the college they are aspiring to be in.

Updated by TCM Staff on 20th July 2020


What is the GMAT?

The Graduate Management Admission Test, generally abbreviated as GMAT is a computer-based and computer-adaptive test (considered to be a standard test) which is commonly taken by the students globally to qualify for getting admitted to a business program/course (MBA) and the college of their dreams. 

This exam is developed and regulated by GMAC to provide business colleges with students who have common-caliber with respect to academics. The college admission committee will not only look out for your GMAT score but also your work experience, services, supporting materials, and academic consistency to analyze if you will be able to manage to study the business program.

Sections of GMAT Exam

The GMAT exam measures your knowledge of basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, data analysis, and also most importantly grammar. It also assess your capability to analyze and evaluate technical writing, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

GMAT’s first priority is to test your critical thinking skills. Knowing how to collect information and analyzing it is the key to a great GMAT score. There are basically four sections involved in this test in which critical thinking and analysis is the first step. But the final GMAT score will be equal to the summation of scores of each section. 

The four sections of the GMAT test are as follows

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

  • Integrated Reasoning (IR)

  • Quantitative

  • Verbal

Analytical Writing Assessment

It is basically an essay session that helps the business schools analyze your writing skills and also to check grammatical mistakes (if any). The essay you write will receive a score from one human and a computerized program. The expectation from the output will be the knowledge you have regarding the topic and your creative skills. Also your ideology and the way you represent it

Session Duration: 30 Mins

Score Range: 0 - 6

Integrated Reasoning

Number of questions:

  • Multi-source reasoning questions
  • Graphics interpretation questions

  • Two-part analysis questions

  • Table analysis questions

  • 12 questions in total.

Total duration: 30 minutes

Score range: 1 to 8


Number of Questions:

  • Data sufficiency questions (14 to 15)

  • Problem-solving questions (16 to 19)

Total duration: 62 minutes

Score range: 0 to 60


Number of questions:

  • 12 reading comprehension questions

  • 10 critical reasoning questions

  • 14 sentence correction questions

Total duration: 65 minutes

Score range: 0 to 60

How Long is the GMAT Test? 

Generally, GMAT lasts for 3 hrs 23 mins including the optional breaks.

The optional break will be given up to 16 minutes. It is recommended to be in the college test premises before a minimum of 30 minutes to avoid unnecessary problems.

GMAT Section

Duration of Test

Analytical Writing Assessment

30 minutes

Integrated Reasoning

30 minutes


62 minutes


65 minutes


16 minutes 

GMAT Test Dates

We recommended you to register for your preferred GMAT test date as early as possible so you can select a test date that will allow enough time for GMAT to evaluate your scores and send them to the MBA programs that you are applying for. This procedure takes not more than 20 working days.

Since the business programs will have a wide range of application deadlines, you will have to research programs of your interest and ensure that your GMAT score can be reported in time for your earliest deadline.

Your GMAT score will be valid for five years after you clear it. Many business programs accept applications in “rounds” that can end in September for 1st Round and can go as late as April or May for 3rd Round or even till 4th Round.

How to study for GMAT?

It's really important to plan your studies and prepare for your exams with a proper schedule. Understanding how to study for your test will drop 50% of your pressure and help you score better. Here are a few tips that are worth considering if you are about to start preparing for GMAT.

  • Start your GMAT preparation at least six months prior to your test. Most test-takers report a minimum eight-week study timeline is ideal if you are somewhat familiar with the test content. But, you are the one who knows when to start and how much time to spend on studying. 

  • Study one section of the test at a time. Do not try to multitask which might end up in confusion.

  • Revise basic math skills as it is one of the important subjects which is involved in the test.

  • Practice with time, because time management plays an important role to complete the GMAT exam.

  • Review the type of questions that might come in the different sections by previewing the previous exam papers.

  • Along with all these steps, try to spend time on solving mock papers with time constraints which helps you during the exam. 

How Hard is the GMAT?  

It's definitely a challenging exam but also a skill-based test that helps you enhance your knowledge and skills in the respective field.

There are many aspects of this test that make it complex for students. First, the special format of the computer-adaptive GMAT because of which you will not be able to skip a hard question and come back to it later.

You must pick an answer even though you are not sure about the choice you are making. You are rewarded not only for the correct answers but also by answering correctly for high-level questions. It means that you will have to answer difficult questions and be snappy. There are chances that you will see question formats that you have never seen in your academics before.

How is the GMAT Scored?

On the GMAT, the Computer Adaptive Test actually follows based on your performance as you are the one who is taking the test.

The moment you start answering the questions, the computer assumes you to be an average student and gives you a medium difficulty questions. But as you progress and start answering every problem correctly, the difficulty level of questions will also increase and vice versa.

Your score is evaluated by an algorithm that calculates your ability level based on the questions you have answered. 

There will be no option for you to skip a question or come back. The best way to cope up with is to be prepared and think twice before smashing that 'enter' button.

You will have to strike a balance between answering the questions you know and the difficult ones you don’t know. There are certain penalties for leaving questions without answering at the end of the exam.

Students who take this test can decide the order for answering different sessions before the test starts. There are three standard orders from which you will have to choose one.

  • Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

  • Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal

  • Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

For the Analytical Writing Assessment, the essay you write will receive a score from one human and a computerized program, using a standard 6-point scale. For the other sections, you cannot leave questions unanswered or return to previous ones.

What is a Good GMAT Score?

When you are considering keeping a college as a goal, then it is a good idea to analyze the mean or average GMAT score of previously admitted students to the MBA programs you are willing to apply. This will give you a basic idea of how much to score in order to get into a school of your dream.

The score business schools and MBA programs pay the most attention to is the combined scale of 200–800, where the mean score is 552 and with the mean score for Quantitative at 39 and at 27 for Verbal.

The following table represents the statistic of the results of the year 2019:


Total GMAT Score
















760 to 800


How often can I take the GMAT?

You can take this exam once every 16 days, up to 5 times within any continuous rolling 12-month period (365 days) and up to 8 total times (lifetime limit).

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