The graduate management admissions test, or GMAT, is an exam taken by students who plan to pursue a graduate-level degree in business. Whether you’re going for a Master in Business Administration (MBA), master’s degree in management or marketing, or pursuing a master’s in banking or finance, taking the GMAT is a requirement for many schools just like the SAT/ACT was required for admission to the school where you obtained your undergraduate degree and the LSAT is required for those who want to go to law school. While some schools are changing this, the leading graduate business schools still expect to receive your GMAT exam score, as it was created to be a graduate business school assessment to enable business schools to find the best possible students. The GMAT exam is used to measure student’s reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and quantitative skills. On exam day, you'll solve questions from an online question bank with a varying difficulty level using quantitative and verbal reasoning using both complex and foundational concepts. Because this can have a huge impact on your higher education journey, it's best to start out by taking a diagnostic test to figure out your focus areas and what kind of test taking strategies you should use as this can help you improve performance on GMAT exam day. You can also use the GMAT official guide and many other GMAT prep guides, which offer key concepts, verbal review, quantitative review chapters, detailed answer explanations, practice questions, the chance to have access to comprehensive practice online for the test using the GMAT exam structure or even a mobile app, and more. MBA program requirements for exceptional communication skills and the ability to compute and analyze mathematical data makes it an important part of the application process, and acceptance into your dream school can hinge on your score. Because of this, it’s highly recommended that you spend time studying for the exam.
In total, the GMAT should take around 3.5 hours. However, as you likely know, it is not one long test that you will have to sit completing for 3.5 hours straight. The analytical writing assessment and the integrated reasoning sections are 30 minutes long each. And the quantitative section and verbal section are just over 60 minutes each; 62 and 65 minutes, respectively.
You may have heard that the GMAT is a computer adaptive test. This means that, depending on what answers you give, the computer will decide which questions will be asked next. That’s part of what makes the test so difficult. You can’t just study every question because there are many more questions available than what you are likely to see when you take the test. It’s impossible to just memorize them all. The test begins by giving you questions deemed to be of medium difficulty. If you do poorly with these questions, it will begin to give you easier questions, and if you do well it will move on to more complex questions. These questions are weighted, which means that, if someone would be able to pass by answering 50 difficult questions correctly, then you could not also pass by answering 50 easy questions correctly. Your score will be based on how many of each type of question you answered correctly.