GMAT® Exam Basics

The GMAT® exam is a valid and reliable predictor of success in graduate management programs worldwide.

Related Resources

For Score Recipients


For Test Takers

Questions? Contact Us

The GMAT exam measures the skills shown to help graduate management students succeed in today's challenging classrooms.

What the Exam Is and Who It’s For

The GMAT exam is a computer-adaptive assessment with proven validity in predicting success in the first year of graduate management education. More than 6,100 programs like yours use it as a consistent, objective way to compare aspiring students worldwide—no matter what their education, age, gender, or citizenship—and to evaluate whether they are prepared for the rigors of a graduate management program.

The exam assesses higher-order reasoning skills: Verbal, Quantitative, Analytical Writing, and Integrated Reasoning. Its cost to test takers is US$250.

Why Use GMAT Exam Scores

The two main reasons for using the GMAT exam in admissions are:

  • Reliability and validity: The GMAT exam is a reliable, valid measure of skills found to be important in graduate management study. In repeat research studies, GMAT scores have been found to be an accurate predictor of academic success in the first year of an MBA or other graduate management program.
  • Standard measurement: Unlike grade point averages (GPA)—which vary in meaning according to the grading standards of each school—GMAT scores provide the same standard for evaluating all test takers. That's why you can feel confident making direct comparisons among applicants' GMAT scores.

Appropriate and Inappropriate Uses of GMAT Scores

You should use GMAT scores should to:

  • Select applicants for graduate study in management
  • Select applicants for financial aid on the basis of academic potential
  • Provide counseling and guidance

Inappropriate Uses of GMAT Scores

You should not use GMAT scores:

  • As a requisite for awarding a degree
  • As an achievement test

How the GMAT Exam Can Help You

Applicants come from different countries, cultures, academic backgrounds, and levels of work experience. Using the GMAT exam gives you as an admissions professional a consistent, objective measure of skills above all these application variables. To ensure that all your applicants' scores are comparable, the GMAT exam is administered under standard conditions around the world, with the highest level of security.

GMAT Exam Appointments & Testing Centers

Generally, GMAT appointments are available six days a week, but testing centers set their own hours to meet local and regional needs. Secure, standardized test centers deliver the exam in more than 114 countries around the world. To learn more, please visit mba.com to find a test center.

GMAT Exam Format & Length

The GMAT exam is delivered at individualized workstations in a computer adaptive format. The test tailors itself to each test taker’s ability level by using the answers given to the previous questions to select questions of appropriate difficulty. In general, the more questions a test taker answers correctly, the harder the test becomes.

GMAT Test Section Number of Questions  Question Types Timing
Analytical Writing Assessment  1 Topic Analysis of an Argument 30 Minutes
Integrated Reasoning 12 Questions Multi-Source Reasoning,
Graphics Interpretation,
Two-Part Analysis,
Table Analysis
30 Minutes
Quantitative 37 Questions Data Sufficiency,
Problem Solving
75 Minutes

Verbal

41 Questions Reading Comprehension,
Critical Reasoning,
Sentence Correction
75 Minutes
Total Exam Time 3 Hours
30 min

Testing Vendors

GMAC owns the GMAT exam and works closely with two strategic partners to manage the exam: ACT, Inc. develops the GMAT exam, and Pearson VUE delivers it at testing centers around the world.

Top of page