All about GMAT

Any aspirant who is willing to pursue an MBA is familiar with the GMAT exam. Once you have resolved to appear for GMAT, you must have all the essential information about it. This article gives a complete overview of the newly introduced GMAT- Focus Edition exam and the latest changes in the exam pattern.
Important Update: GMAC introduced GMAT Focus Edition, a next-generation GMAT exam, on November 7th, 2023. discontinued the older version of the GMAT exam until January 31st 2024.
What is GMAT- Focus Edition ?
GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is an international-level entrance test accepted by more than 7,700 programs at over 2,400 business schools worldwide. It is developed and administered by GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council). GMAT is accepted for admissions into MBA and other master degree programmes and is one of the most preferred exams for people who aspire to pursue masters abroad.
Almost 2 lakh candidates appear for the exam every year. It is held in 600+ test centres across 110+ countries worldwide. Alternatively, it can also be taken in remote-proctored mode at home. Through GMAT, students also get personalized recommendations for the most suitable programmes.
How is GMAT Focus Edition Different from Its Previous Version?
The updated GMAT Focus Edition has made changes to the test, like format, time, scoring, and features. The goal is to improve the GMAT experience. The new test has three parts: Quantitative, Verbal, and Data Insights. Each part gives 45 minutes, making the test an hour shorter. Here's a table with the main differences:
  • Analytical Writing Assessment
  • QuantitativeReasoning
  • Integrated Reasoning
  • VerbalReasoning
GMAT test-takers are given a choiceto select the sectional order right before starting the exam.Every section is separately timed and has a different marking scheme. There is no penalty for incorrect answers in GMAT.Further, the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sectionsdisplay questions in a computer-adaptive manner, so you will only see the type of questions that you previously answered correctly.
GMAT is scored in the range of 200-800, and is based on your performance in Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections. However, the scores of other two sections do impact your admission to a B-school.
Syllabus for GMAT exam
GMAT follows a specified syllabus, as given by the official authorities. Here are the major topics that you ought to prepare for different sections of the exam:
Analytical Writing Assessment:In this, you are given an argument/ statement and are required to write an essaystating your opinions.
Integrated Reasoning:Here, you have to answer multiple questions based on the data given in tabular or graphical format. There will be several sets of information accompanied by a few questions each.
Quantitative Reasoning:For this section, you need to be well-versed with the topics of arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. There are two types of questions in quantitative reasoning: data-sufficiency and problem-solving.
Verbal Reasoning:This section is similar to the verbal ability segment of other entrance exams. Here, you will come across questions drawn from Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and Sentence Correction.
When is GMAT held?
GMAT is held all throughout the year,and the aspirants can take the exam on their chosen date and time. The exam dates are released after every six months, and you can go for your next attempt after a gap of 16 days. You can opt for a test-centre based test or take it in remote-proctored mode at home. GMAT is conducted at 600+ test centers across 110+ countries of the world.
Ideally, you should book or schedule your preferred exam date a few months before only. This will let you have a wider choice of dates to select from. At the same time, you must keep track of the application deadlines of your target B-schools and time your exam date accordingly. Further, you can also reschedule or cancel your exam.
Unlike most other entrance exams, you will get a confirmation letter for GMAT instead of an admit card.
Who can appear in GMAT?
GMAT can be taken by candidates of all nationalities and educational backgrounds. Also, there is no educational criterion prescribed for appearing in the exam. GMAT is usually sought after by students in their final year of graduation, graduates, and working professionals. However, there are certain restrictions regarding age criteria.
Generally, GMAC prescribes that you must be 18 years of age or above to appear for the exam. But, even the candidates between 13-18 years of age can also take the exam, provided they have a signed permission letter from their parent or legal guardian for the same.
Further, specific provisions are extended to the differently-abled candidates.
NOTE: Different B-schools have different eligibility criteria for admission to their respective courses. For instance, particular courses may require you to have completed graduation in the corresponding stream. Also, some courses are meant for experienced professionals only.
Did you Know: In year 1953, nine B-schools met with ETS (Educational Testing Service) to create what would later be renamed as GMAT. These schools were Rutgers, Harvard, Columbia, Chicago, Northwestern,Seton Hall, Washington University (St. Louis), Michigan, and University of Pennsylvania.
Which Institutes accept GMAT scores?
GMAT scores are accepted for 7000+ programs across 2000+ B-schools of the world. It is the most trusted and reliable academic predictor used by the top-ranked universities and institutes globally. Here are the lists of top B-schools that utilize GMAT scores for shortlisting candidates for their MBA and other masters programs:
List of International Institutes
  • Stanford University
  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of British Columbia
  • Northwestern University (Kellogg)
  • Yale University
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of California
  • Booth - University of Chicago
  • London Business School
  • MIT Sloan
List of Indian Institutes
  • BITSoM, BITS School of Management, Mumbai
  • Indian School of Business (ISB)
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM),Bangalore
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM),Calcutta
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indore
  • XLRI, Jamshedpur
  • S.P.Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR)
  • Management Development Institute (MDI)
  • Institute of Management Technology (IMT)
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)
Admission Process of GMAT-accepting Institutes
The admission procedure of various B-schools differs slightly, as per their programs and related requirements. Usually, they consideryour GMAT score, work experience, TOEFL/IELTS score, and application essays. In case of application essays, candidates are expected to write effectively and creatively about notable achievements, professional experience, short-term and long-term goals, personal background, and motivations.
You can also submit recommendation letters from your previous academic institutions and workplaces. Depending on all these factors, the respective B-school will call you for the interview.
ROI of Programmes offered by GMAT-accepting Institutes
GMAT is the best choice for management aspirants as the return on investment is quite high. Since an MBA course follows a hefty tuition fee, it is incumbent that you are well-acquainted with the reputation and career prospects of the program before opting for one. An MBA degree from a top-level B-school can help you land into the most competitive business sectors likethe Wall Street finance industry or Silicon Valley tech companies.
Besides, there are three major types of programmes offered in B-schools via GMAT: regular full-time MBA, part-time MBA, and executive MBA. Given below is a glimpse of placement statistics and salary packages bagged by management graduates of popular B-schools:
  • At ISB Hyderabad, PGP batch of 2021 received 1195 offers, with the highest package being Rs. 72 LPA and the average beingRs. 27.13 LPA. The income raise for the students before and after the programmewas more than100%.
  • At IIM-A, PGPX batch2020-21 achieved the highest package of Rs. 82 LPA, and the average package stood at Rs 30 LPA.
  • For the Executive MBA programmes at IIMs, the average placement package is mostly above Rs. 25 LPA.
  • The graduates of the topmost international B-schools are known to earn an average compensation of $172,265.It is important to remember that the exact remuneration of MBA grads is determined by the sector they enter into. For instance, those who work in the consulting sector have an average base salary of around $152,500, and the ones working for nonprofit sector typically get $67,400-$85,100.
Preparation Tips for GMAT 2023
Before starting your GMAT preparation, you must have a proper study plan and strategy to follow up until your exam.The first step to beginning your preparation journey is to familiarize yourself well with the exam pattern and syllabus of GMAT. Generally, aspirants devote 3-6 months in GMAT preparation, depending upon their available time and regular schedule. Since the exam presents a high competition, it is critical that you stay focused and build your understanding of important areas. Given below are the expert tips to include in your study schedule for GMAT:
  • Read:To begin with, you must develop a regular habit of reading. This will greatly refine your knowledge and improve your comprehension skills. At the later stages, you should start working on your writing skills. A smart way is to read a particular issue-based article and write an analysis of it in 20-25 minutes. Thereafter, spend 5-10 minutes to revise and polish your essay.
  • Develop Conceptual Clarity: In order to gain speed and accuracy in mathematical questions, you need to be aware of the related formulas, tricks, and shortcuts. These questions basically entail the knowledge and understanding of fundamental concepts like averages, percentages, ratio & proportion, etc.
  • For verbal portion, you should learn about the standard conventions and rules of grammar, parts of speech, etc.
  • Practice: Lastly, your exam preparation is incomplete without a sufficient amount of practice. So, ensure that you practice different types of questions from all sections and also, keep the time limit in mind.
Further, you can also make use of the study sources on the official site. GMAC authorities provide a guide for preparation plan, practice tests, and more.
FAQs Regarding GMAT 2023
  1. What is the validity of GMAT score?
  2. Your GMAT score is valid up to five years and you can access them at the official site for 10 years.
  3. What is the difficulty level of GMAT, compared to CAT?
  4. The difficulty levels of both the exams are on comparable terms. The mathematical part in CAT is tougher than that in GMAT, while the verbal part is more difficult in case of GMAT. However, both the exams require nearly same amount of hard work.
  5. What is the ideal score in GMAT?
  6. Most of the top B-schools have a GMAT cut-off score between 710-740. So, you will need to target a score of 740+ to get into your dream B-school.
  7. Will I receive my score soon after taking the exam? And what scores will my report show?
  8. Soon after you complete your exam, you will get four of the five scores: Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning and the Total scores (based on the Quantitative and Verbal sections). You will have two minutes to accept or cancel these unofficial scores, after which your scores will be automatically canceled. At the test center, you will get a print-out of this score report before leaving the test center.
    The official score reports will be released in 7-20 business days. You will receive a notice by email when your official scores are available. Apart from the scores in your unofficial score report, the official report will include your AWA Score, GMAT percentile ranking, your personal information provided at registration, and scores from the previous GMAT exams you have given in the last five years.
  9. How do I connect with the GMAT-accepting B-schools?
  10. GMAC extends a service called Graduate Management Admission Search Service (GMASS) to connect you to the respective B-schools around the world. Nearly 500 institutions utilize this tool to review your background and help you explore about their programs.
  11. What is the registration fee for GMAT?
  12. The application fee for GMAT varies from country to country. In India, the fee is US$275. For rescheduling and additional score reports, extra fee will be charged. If you have to cancel your application, you will be refunded a part of the fee.
  13. Do all IIMs accept GMAT?
  14. A total of 16 IIMs accept GMAT scores for their programs.
  15. How much work experience is generally considered for admission to top B-schools?
  16. Majority of the foreign B-schools require the candidate to have professional experience of 2-6 years. However, some of the Indian B-schools accept the candidates of fresher level too.

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