What is the GMAT?

The GMAT is a standardised test used by admissions officers of MBA, specialised Master's, and some PhD programmes to help assess whether you possess the foundations needed for success in their programme. The GMAT provides a common measure, so schools can compare applicants with a wide range of different educational backgrounds, skills, and experience.

What Does the GMAT Actually Test?

The GMAT Measures:

  • General Verbal skills
  • Mathematical skills
  • Analytical Writing skills 

It is not a test of specific subject knowledge, nor does it assess business competence. The test evaluates analytical skills and features both multiple-choice and essay questions. The GMAT is taken as a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) in most parts of the world.

GMAT Test Structure:

GMAT timing:  The total exam time is 3.5 hours long, including optional breaks.

Section Time Format Question Types
Verbal 65 minutes 36 Multiple-choice Reading Comprehension, Sentence Correction,Critical Reasoning
Quantitative 62 minutes 31 Multiple-choice Problem Solving, Data Sufficiency
Integrated Reasoning 30 minutes 12 Multiple-choice Graphics Interpretation, Two-Part Analysis, Table Analysis, Multi-Source Reasoning
Analytical Writing Assessment 30 minutes 1 Essay Analysis of an Argument

You can now choose the order in which you take the GMAT. At the start of the exam, you will be able to choose between three options:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal (this is the original section order)
  • Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

There is no “correct” or “recommended” section order. It is up to you which one to choose and just allows you to have more control and flexibility taking the GMAT based on your strengths and testing preferences so you can feel confident on test day.

Learn more about the select section order and which could be the best order for you here.

You can also learn more about the new section selection process at GMAC.com.

Why is the GMAT Important?

The GMAT provides a common benchmark for comparing candidates.
There are many components in a graduate programme application: forms, essays and personal statements, undergrad transcripts, letters of recommendation and more, but many of these are subjective and difficult to compare. GMAT scores are very useful to admissions committees in comparing the credentials of candidates from widely varying backgrounds and with different levels and areas of experience.

Programmes that accept the GMAT

A high GMAT score will increase your chances of getting into the MBA or Master's programme of your choice. More than 250,000 people take the GMAT each year — so ensure you prepare thoroughly to beat the competition!

Taking a high-stakes test like the GMAT will never be stress-free, but it can be far less stressful with the correct approach and proper preparation. Our mission at Kaplan is to break everything about the GMAT down to exactly what you need to know to test confidently and score higher. If you're looking to succeed on the GMAT, you're in the right place.

View our Prep Options

Have a look at our GMAT preparation options.