GMAT Info and FAQ
The GMAT is a 3.5-hour computer-adaptive test designed to predict a student’s success in business or management school.
Click the links below for answers to commonly asked questions about the GMAT.
- Who takes the GMAT?
- What subjects does the GMAT cover?
- How long is the GMAT?
- How is the GMAT scored?
- What is a CAT test?
- How long should I prepare for the GMAT?
- How long is a GMAT score valid?
- How much does the GMAT cost?
- Where can I take the GMAT?
- How many times can I take the GMAT?
- When will I receive my GMAT scores?
- What are the test dates for the GMAT?
- Can I cancel my GMAT score?
Who takes the GMAT?
Students planning to apply to graduate programs in business and/or management should take the GMAT.
The GMAT is a three-and-one-half hour computer adaptive test (CAT). There are four sections in the test.
You can choose the order in which the sections of the test appear.
The GMAT is a standardized test. Each time it is offered, the test has, as closely as possible, the same level of difficulty as every previous test. Maintaining this consistency is very difficult—hence the experimental questions (questions that are not scored). The effectiveness of each question must be assessed before it can be used on the GMAT. A problem that one person finds easy another person may find hard, and vice versa. The experimental questions measure the relative difficulty of potential questions; if responses to a question do not perform to strict specifications, the question is rejected.
The experimental questions can be standard math, data sufficiency, reading comprehension, or arguments. You won’t know which questions are experimental.
The three parts of the test (Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Data Insights) are scored independently and contribute equally to your total score (205 to 805).
In addition, you will be assigned a percentile ranking, which gives the percentage of students with scores below yours.
Are you ready for the GMAT?
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Dedicated preparation with Nova’s GMAT Prep Course has been shown to significantly increase GMAT scores. If you want to get your best score on the GMAT, you can’t afford not to try it!
- Math: Twenty-two chapters provide comprehensive review of GMAT math.
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- Reading Comprehension: Develop the ability to spot places from which questions are likely to be drawn as you read a GMAT passage (pivotal words, counter-premises, etc.).
- Mentor Exercises: These exercises provide hints, insight, and partial solutions to ease your transition from seeing GMAT problems solved to solving them on your own.
- Test Mentality: 15% of this book is dedicated to training you to think like a test writer to help you spot red herrings AND correct answers.
- Hundreds of GMAT-style questions with detailed solutions!
- Study plan suggestions based on the amount of time you have before the exam
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CAT stands for computer adaptive test. Most standardized paper-&-pencil tests list problems in ascending order of difficulty. However, on a CAT test, the first question will be of medium difficulty. If you answer it correctly, the next question will be a little harder. If you answer it incorrectly, the next question will be a little easier. Because the GMAT “adapts” to your performance, early questions are more important than later ones.
Before developing your GMAT study plan, try taking a practice test to see where you stand. The average student will want to start preparing for the GMAT at least 2 months in advance.
A GMAT score is valid for 5 years
Most people are better off preparing thoroughly for the GMAT, taking it one time and getting their top score. You can take the GMAT as often as you like, but many business schools will average your scores. You should call the schools to which you are applying to find out their policy. Then plan your strategy accordingly.
You will receive your unofficial score for the verbal and quantitative sections as well as an overall score immediately after you take the test and before leaving the testing center. Official scores including the writing score will be available online within 20 days.
The GMAT is given year-a-round during normal business hours. There is often one week during each month in which the test is not offered.
Yes. When you finish the GMAT test, the computer will offer the option of canceling the test or accepting it. If you cancel the test, neither you nor any school will see your score. If you accept the test, the computer will display your GMAT score and it will be available to all schools.