The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a worldwide accepted standardized assessment—delivered in English—that helps business schools assess the qualifications of applicants for advanced study in business and management. Business Schools use the test as one predictor of academic performance in an MBA program or in other graduate management programs.
If you want to have admission to an MBA program, chances are you’ll need to take the GMAT. About two-thirds of the 1,300+ graduate business schools around the world require GMAT scores for admission. Schools that do not require GMAT scores nevertheless welcome GMAT scores to help access an applicant’s qualifications.
NOTE: Schools that do not require GMAT scores generally have relatively lenient admission standards and/or are located outside of the United States.
How Business Schools use GMAT Score
The GMAT seeks to measure three broad areas of ability by way of its different test sections:
- Analytical Writing Assessment (two 30-minute essay sections)
- Quantitative Ability (one 75-minute multiple choice section)
- Verbal Ability (one 75-minute multiple choice section)
A separate score is awarded for each of the three abilities listed above. A combined Quantitative/Verbal score is also awarded.
The GMAT is not a pass/fail test.
Each graduate business school develops and implements its own policy concerning the use of GMAT scores in making admissions decisions. Many schools screen applicants by combining GMAT scores and undergraduate GPA (each school determining for itself their relative weight), then ranking all applicants in their initial pool accordingly. In addition — especially after the initial screening of applicants — admissions officials consider subjective factors such as work and other relevant experience, recommendation letters, application essays (personal statements), and reports of personal interviewers. In making difficult decisions between two or more similarly qualified candidates, admissions officials rely less on GMAT scores and GPA and far more on these other, more subjective factors.
What the GMAT Measures
The GMAT exam measures basic verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills that you have developed over a long period of time in your education and work. It does NOT measure:
- your knowledge of business,
- your job skills,
- specific content in your undergraduate or first university course work,
- your abilities in any other specific subject area, or
- subjective qualities—such as motivation, creativity, and interpersonal skills.
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