What is the GMAT and why should you know?

GMAT Percentiles

What is the GMAT and why should you know?

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) can be confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with the topic. Here are some things you should know about the GMAT and how it works so that you’ll feel more comfortable on test day. The following information focuses on the GMAT in its current form—a computer-based standardized test administered by Pearson VUE at testing centers throughout the world.

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)
The Graduate Management Admission Test, commonly known as the GMAT, is a standardized exam designed to assess your suitability for business school. It’s required by many of the world’s top programs, including those at Harvard Business School and Stanford University (just to name a few!). You don’t need to take it more than once — most schools will count your highest score. The scores are reported on a 200 – 800 scale. A high-level understanding of what to expect from each section will help get you ready before test day. Let’s get started!

Why do they take it?
The MBA degree isn’t for everyone, but if business school is a part of your career goals, then it makes sense to take a good look at your options. One essential step in that process is determining whether or not you have what it takes to get into business school. While most schools don’t require an entrance exam, some will only accept students who have tested very well on one standardized test: The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

When should I take it
The majority of business schools require that applicants take either the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Some programs accept both tests, while others only accept one. The majority of business schools use either standardized test scores or an applicant’s undergraduate GPA as a way to determine an applicant’s readiness for an MBA program. Therefore, it is vital that those who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in business carefully research which admissions requirements each school holds before applying.

The Analytical Writing Assessment
The Analytical Writing Assessment: The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) measures critical thinking and analytical writing skills. To put that in terms with which we’re all familiar, it measures how well you can construct an argument through reasoning (as opposed to memorizing or citing facts). Unlike other sections, no formal preparation is allowed for the AWA portion; however, a little common sense goes a long way here: making sure that your content is thoughtful and carefully thought out will help ensure your success on test day. But I have no experience writing essays! Sure you do—even if your experience comes only from reading them.

Integrated Reasoning Section
(30 minutes) The Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT tests your ability to analyze information presented in charts, tables, or complex graphical displays. You will be required to examine several charts and graphs within a single integrated reasoning question. As with all sections of the test, you’ll need to read through all of it before jumping into analysis—and note that there may be multiple answers that are correct.

Verbal and Quantitative sections
You may have noticed that there are two sections to the GMAT exam—the Verbal and Quantitative sections. As with most things in life, they’re both incredibly important. Each section contains multiple question types (essay, critical reasoning, etc.), which makes each section more complex than just answering questions. But don’t worry: MBA HOUSE can break down all of it for you. Be sure to check out our GMAT Verbal Reasoning Guide and GMAT Quantitative Reasoning Guide for detailed explanations of how each section works. And don’t forget about test strategies and tips for every question! There’s no magic solution, but we promise to help make your studying as efficient as possible.

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