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The GMAT exam is designed to test skills that are highly important to business and management programs. It assesses analytical writing and problem-solving abilities, along with the data sufficiency, logic, and critical reasoning skills that are vital to real-world business and management success. In June 2012, the GMAT exam introduced Integrated Reasoning, a new section designed to measure a test taker’s ability to evaluate information presented in new formats and from multiple sources—skills necessary for management students to succeed in a technologically advanced and data-rich world.

What’s the difference between the GMAT and the GRE?

While both the GMAT and the GRE (Graduate Readiness Examination) are accepted by many business schools, the GMAT is an examination designed specifically to test skills required for success in business school, while the GRE is a more general test that is accepted by both business schools and a wide variety of other graduate programs. 


The GMAT measures higher-order reasoning skills such as problem solving, analysis, critical thinking, and making complex judgments—skills that are important for succeeding in business school.

The GMAT is given at various testing centers around the world on a year-round basis. You should register online well before your desired test date in order to secure your spot, as spaces tend to fill up quickly.


The GMAT consists of four sections: Analytical Writing, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal. There is only one of each of these sections on each GMAT.

Yes, the different sections that make up the GMAT are consistently arranged in the same order: the Analytical Writing section is always given first. It is followed by the Integrated Reasoning section, and then the Quantitative section. The Verbal section is always the last section.


The GMAT consists of three and a half hours of testing, but does not include the two eight-minute breaks offered during the exam, or the time it takes a student to check in or check out of the testing center.

Yes, students are offered two eight-minute breaks during the GMAT: one after the Integrated Reasoning section, the other after the Quantitative section. While these breaks are completely optional, using them to give yourself a moment to rest is highly recommended; however, it is important to note that you must check out of the test center and check back in during each of these eight minute breaks; you will not be given any additional time if you are late in returning from your break; any additional time that you take is deducted from your testing time, as your test automatically continues after your break ends.

GMAT scores are given on a scale of 200–800, with 200 being the worst possible score and 800 being the best possible score. The Verbal and Quantitative (and IR?) QQ sections of the GMAT are each scored on a scale from 0–60, with 0 being the worst possible score and 60 being the best possible score.

Assess your readiness by taking a Full-Length GMAT Practice Test, one of the many resources offered on Varsity Tutors’ Learning Tools. The results can aid you as you create an individualized study plan that meets your needs. The extended format gives you an opportunity to work on your test-taking pace and figure out which skills need more review. Each of the results pages for the comprehensive tests include detailed explanations of the correct answers and links to more information on key concepts. The complete Practice Tests provide the additional benefit of assisting you as you customize your GMAT review plan, as they’ll show you the concepts you’ve already mastered, and those you’ll want to continue reviewing. After you’ve spent some time reviewing with the other free Learning Tools, you can evaluate your efforts by taking another Full-Length GMAT Practice Test. In addition to the GMAT Practice Tests and GMAT tutoring, you may also want to consider using some of our GMAT Flashcards.

The test centers at which the official GMAT is given are carefully regulated. The only things that you must bring on test day is an acceptable form of identification, though you might also want to bring a small snack and beverage to consume during the breaks. The transmission of your GMAT score to five business schools is included in the cost of taking the GMAT; if you want to take advantage of these free transmissions, you should bring a list of the graduate management programs that you would like to receive your test scores, though you will not be able to bring your list of programs into the testing center. You should also bring your appointment confirmation letter or email to the test center, though if you don’t have one, you will still be allowed to test if you have a scheduled appointment.

You should NOT bring any of the following items to the test center when taking the GMAT:

Mobile phones or other communication devices

Notes or noteboards

Scratch paper

Calculators (A digital calculator is provided for you to use during the Quantitative section of the GMAT, so you don’t need to bring one with you.)

Watches, stop watches, or watch alarms

Personal data assistants (PDAs)

Beepers or pagers

Photographic devices

Stereos or radios

Any other electronic devices that could aid testing

Books or pamphlets

Dictionaries, translators, or thesauri

Pens or any other writing utensils

Rulers or any other measuring devices

Weapons, including but not limited to firearms, knives, or any object that could be used as a weapon; this policy includes off-duty law enforcement officers and persons with conceal and carry permits

The GMAT is a computer adaptive test, which means that it decides what question to ask you next based on your answer to each question it asks you. Because of this, guessing could increase or decrease your score, or leave it unaffected; it’s unique to each situation, making a general rule of thumb impossible to formulate.

Your Quantitative, Verbal, and Total GMAT scores become visible to you immediately after you have completed the exam and chosen not to cancel your scores. On the day of your test, you may choose to receive an unofficial score report of your Quantitative, Verbal, and total GMAT scores. Your Analytical Writing Assessment score becomes visible to you and any institutions you designated within twenty-one days of your test date.


Yes. You are allowed to retake the GMAT once every thirty-one consecutive days, up to—but no more than—five times per rolling period of twelve months; however, you cannot send your score from one GMAT test date and not another; all of your scores and cancellations will be reported.

GMAT scores are valid for five years after your test date.


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