The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is required by most graduate business programs for admission. It is given year-round most weekdays and a few Saturdays. It takes approximately four hours in total to complete. It is a computer-adaptive test, meaning the difficulty of the questions are adjusted by the answers given by the test-taker.

Time Frame

The GMAT should be scheduled in advance, as no walk-in registrations are allowed. Also, it should be kept in mind that the GMAT results may take up to one month to be delivered to the test-taker’s designated schools.

The GMAT can only be taken once per calendar month and no more than 5 times in a 12 month period of time.

The test takes approximately four hours, and two optional breaks are allotted to test-takers. If someone takes more than the allotted time, the overage is deducted from test time.


The GMAT is comprised of three different sections: the analytical writing section, quantitative section and verbal section.

The analytical writing section is comprised of two essays, analysis of an issue and analysis of an argument. Each essay is allotted 30 minutes.

The quantitative section includes 37 multiple choice questions that are either data sufficiency questions or problem solving in nature. Test-takers are given 75 minutes to finish the quantitative section.

The verbal section contains 41 questions that cover reading comprehension, critical reasoning or sentence correction and are multiple choice. This section is allotted 75 minutes as well.


In the computer-adapted test (CAT), the questions adjust to the accuracy of the answers given. The first question is of medium-difficulty and if answered correctly, the next one will be harder. If incorrect, the next question will be easier.

In the CAT, only one question is shown at a time, so there is no skipping. Random guessing is not advised, as incorrect answers lower the score. Not finishing incurs a severe penalty, so it’s important to pay attention to the time and remaining number of questions, both of which are displayed on the computer screen.


The overall or composite score ranges from 200 to 800 in ten point increments. This score is the combination of the verbal and quantitative sections.

The writing section is scored separately on a scale of 0 to 6. Each essay is evaluated by two scorers, one human and one computer. Those 4 scores are averaged and rounded to the nearest half-point.


GMAT scores are a significant factor in many competitive business schools’ admissions standards.

It’s important to note that GMAT scores can be cancelled if done immediately after taking the test, before the score is given. Scores are kept and reported for five years, not just the last score, but all of those for that time period.

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