What is GMAT?

The GMAT, short for the Graduate Management Admission Test, is a standardized exam developed by business schools for assessing candidates applying to graduate business programs. It has been around since 1953 and has undergone various updates to stay relevant to the needs of both business schools and test-takers.

The latest version of the GMAT is called the GMAT Exam - Focus Edition. It's widely accepted by a vast number of graduate business programs, with over 7,700 programs at more than 2,400 business schools recognizing it as part of their admissions process

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Changes in the New GMAT Exam

Structure The new GMAT exam consists of 3 sections with a total of 64 questions. You can complete these sections in any order you prefer: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Data Insights. In contrast, the old GMAT had 4 sections with 80 questions, and you had to choose from 3 different section orders: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing

Duration The new GMAT exam takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete, while the old version took 3 hours and 7 minutes.

Review & Edit In the new GMAT, you can bookmark and review as many of your answers as you want, and you're allowed to change up to 3 responses per section. This feature was not available in the old GMAT

Total Score The scoring scale for the new GMAT ranges from 205 to 805, with all 3 sections weighted equally towards your total score. On the other hand, the old GMAT had a scoring scale of 200 to 800, with only 2 sections, Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning, weighted equally towards your total score

Your Score After completing the new GMAT exam, you can view your unofficial score immediately. Official Score Reports can typically be accessed online within 3-5 business days, which earlier took as long as 7-8 days. This process was the same for the old GMAT

Score Sending With the new GMAT, you can send 5 free score reports to programs within 48 hours of receiving your Official Score Report. Additional score reports are available for a fee. Similarly, in the old GMAT, you could send score reports to up to 5 programs for free either before or within 48 hours of receiving your Official Score Report

Aspects Remaining Unchanged

Score Validity Scores from both the new and old GMAT exams remain valid for 5 years. Appointment Availability: Appointments for both versions of the GMAT are available up to 7 days a week at test centers or around the clock for exams delivered online. They can be scheduled up to 6 months in advance. Reschedule and Cancel Fees for rescheduling and canceling the exam still depend on location, currency, and advance notice. Exam Attempts Candidates are still allowed 5 attempts in a rolling 12-month period and 8 attempts in a lifetime across both exam versions. Cost The fees for the new GMAT exam are at parity with the old GMAT exam. Scratch Work Resources Test takers are provided with scratch work resources, either 5 laminated pages and 2 dry erase markers at test centers or a physical whiteboard, dry erase marker, and eraser for online exams. Additional online resources are also available. Accommodations Both versions of the GMAT offer accommodations such as additional testing time, breaks, and access to other resources as needed

Understanding Your GMAT Total Score:

Format Your GMAT Total Score is derived from the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the exam.

What it measures: The GMAT exam evaluates a test taker's ability in higher-order reasoning skills, including verbal, quantitative, analytical writing, and integrated reasoning. It has been shown to reliably predict success in the first year of graduate management education

How it is scored Your Total Score is determined based on your performance in the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections. Initially, your raw performance is calculated, and then it is converted into a number within the Total Score range.

Score range: Total GMAT Scores range from 200 to 800. Most test takers fall within the range of 400 to 800, with two-thirds scoring within this interval

What you should know After completing the exam, you can immediately view your unofficial scores. You then have the option to either accept or cancel these scores. If you cancel your scores, they will not be included in the Official GMAT Score Report sent to schools. However, if you later decide to reinstate your scores, you have the opportunity to do so.

The Official GMAT Score Report sent to schools includes scores from all reportable exams completed within the past five years. This includes the Total Score, Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning, Verbal, and Quantitative scores. Additionally, it provides the most recent AWA essay response and the background information provided when you created your GMAT profile

Exam Structure:

The GMAT Exam - Focus Edition lasts for 2 hours and 15 minutes, with an optional 10-minute break. It comprises 64 questions in total distributed across three sections

Quantitative Reasoning (45 minutes, 21 questions):

  • This section evaluates your understanding of foundational algebraic and arithmetic concepts and your ability to apply this knowledge to solve problems.
  • It consists of 21 Problem Solving questions that require logical and analytical skills rather than complex mathematical computations
  • You're not allowed to use a calculator during this section.

Data Insights (45 minutes, 20 questions):

  • This section measures your ability to analyze and interpret data and apply it to real-world business scenarios
  • It evaluates digital and data literacy skills, which are highly valued in today's business environment
  • The section comprises 20 questions that require you to assess various types of information, including graphic, numeric, and verbal data
  • You can use an on-screen calculator for this section

Question Types in the Data Insights Section:

  • Data Sufficiency Requires you to analyze a quantitative problem and determine whether the provided data is sufficient to solve it
  • Multi-Source Reasoning Involves examining data from multiple sources and answering questions based on the information presented
  • Table Analysis Tests your ability to analyze data presented in tabular format and draw conclusions from it
  • Graphics Interpretation Requires interpreting information presented graphically,such as in charts or graphs
  • Two-Part Analysis Challenges you to solve complex problems involving quantitative, verbal, or combined elements, assessing your ability to evaluate trade-offs and discern relationships

    This comprehensive structure aims to evaluate a wide range of skills relevant to graduate management education, including analytical thinking, data interpretation, and critical reasoning abilities

Getting ready for the exam day

The GMAT Exam - Focus Edition can be taken either at a test center or online through global partners. Here are some top strategies to ensure a successful test day

Top Exam Day Strategies

Get a good night’s sleep: Rest is crucial for optimal performance

Pace yourself: Keep an eye on the on-screen timer to manage your time effectively

Read carefully: Understand each question before attempting to answer it.

Be strategic: If a problem seems too difficult or time-consuming, eliminate obvious wrong answers and choose the best option from the remaining choicesnswer it.

Skim and Scan: Quickly skim through the passage to grasp the main idea and scan for specific information or keywords.

Time Management: Allocate time for each passage based on its length and complexity to ensure completion within the given timeframe.

Active Reading: Engage actively with the text by highlighting key points, making annotations, and summarizing main ideas.

Vocabulary Expansion: Improve vocabulary skills to enhance comprehension and tackle unfamiliar words or phrases effectively.

Question Types: Familiarize yourself with different question types, such as multiple choice, matching headings, and true/false/not given, to understand the requirements and answer accordingly. Practice Regularly: Regular practice with sample tests and authentic reading materials improves reading speed, comprehension, and overall performance. By implementing these tips and strategies, candidates can approach the IELTS reading test with confidence and effectively demonstrate their reading skills

Taking the Exam at a Test Center:

  • Confirm you have the required ID and know the location of the test center
  • Review the pre-test checklist and familiarize yourself with security measures and permitted/prohibited items

Taking the Exam Online:

  • Upload a photo of an appropriate ID and ensure your workspace is set up correctly
  • Confirm your computer meets all system requirements and review the pre-test checklist, including details on system requirements, preparing your test area, security measures, and allowed/prohibited items
  • By following these guidelines and preparing adequately, you can approach your GMAT exam with confidence, whether you choose to take it at a test center or online

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