Every year, many aspirants apply to some of the most prestigious management and MBA programmes worldwide. While the admission committees assess the applications holistically and comprehensively, they give significant weightage to the GMAT exam. If you’re planning to pursue an MBA abroad or in India, chances are you, too, have come across the GMAT. The Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT, is a critical yardstick that the world’s best universities use to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the applicants. While it is an essential piece of an otherwise encyclopedic application, it can still cause a lot of confusion in the minds of wary students. That’s why we’ve created this exhaustive guide of all the essential details on the GMAT to get you started on the right foot. You can contact our admission consultants here if you have any other questions about the GMAT or MBA abroad.
GMAT 2023 overview – What is the GMAT exam?
The GMAT is the leading computer-adaptive standardised test used by over 2100 universities and colleges worldwide to gauge applicants’ competence for their MBA, Master of Finance, Master of Accountancy, and doctoral-level business programmes.
It tests whether the applicants have the skills necessary to succeed in business school. While it doesn’t test raw business knowledge, it does evaluate relevant core skills through a comprehensive range of questions spanning four sections – quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, integrated reasoning, and the analytical writing assessment.
What is the difference between GRE and GMAT? Learn here.
GMAT 2023 highlights
|Full Exam Name||Graduate Management Admission Test|
|Short Exam Name||GMAT|
|Conducting Body||Graduate Management Admission Council|
|Exam Level||University Level Exam|
|Mode of Application||Online|
|Mode of Exam||Online|
|Exam Duration||3 Hours 30 Minutes|
Difference between the GMAT Focus Edition and the current GMAT exam
From October 2023, students can choose between the GMAT Focus Edition and the normal GMAT. The new revamped GMAT Focus is shorter, more efficient, and more flexible in its test-taking approach. It has only three sections with fewer questions and allows equal amounts of time for each section, unlike the current GMAT. Some new topics in Data Interpretation and insights have replaced older sections, such as AWA and IR. For more details, you can consider the table below:
|CHANGES||GMAT||GMAT Focus Edition|
|Sectional Time Limit||QR – 62 minutes
VR – 65 minutes
IR – 30 minutes
AWA – 30 minutes
|45 minutes for each section|
|Total Time||3 hours 7 minutes||2 hours 15 minutes|
|Sectional Questions||QR – 31
VR – 36
IR – 12
AWA – 1
|QR – 21
VR – 23
DI – 20
|New Sections||None||Data Insights introduced as a new topic.
AWA and IR removed.
|Breaks||Two optional breaks of 8 minutes each||One optional break of 10 minutes|
|Sections Added to End Score||Only QR and VR contribute to the end score||All three sections contribute to the end score|
|Type of Question||QR – MCQ
VR – MCQ
IR – MCQ and Multiple Answer Questions
AWA – Descriptive
|QR – MCQ
VR – MCQ
DI – MCQ
|Total Possible Score||200-800||205-805|
|Flexibility||Minimal flexibility||Freedom to attempt the sections in any order.
Ability to bookmark and review questions.
Ability to change the answers to any three questions.
|Changes in Syllabus||None||Sentence correction has been removed as a topic from VR.
The data sufficiency topic has been added to the DI section.
|Study Material||Available online and offline||The Official Guide to the GMAT Focus Edition was launched on June 6th this year.|
|Enhanced Score Report||Need to pay $30 extra for it||Included in the original score report itself|
You can read more about the new and improved GMAT pattern in our blog here – GMAT Focus Edition.
GMAT exam dates
The GMAT exam is conducted throughout the year across several Indian cities. You can choose to give it on any date at your convenience. The available dates, slots, and centres can be checked on the official website – mba.com.
You should take cognisance of your application deadlines, preparation timelines, and other important dates before confirming a date. Ensuring that you leave enough time for the official scores to be sent to your chosen colleges is crucial. This can take anywhere between 7 and 20 days. If you want to take the test multiple times to improve your score, take the GMAT well in advance.
You can appear for the GMAT consecutively after a 16-day gap. Although it is held all year round, students can only sit for it five times in a rolling 12-month period and eight times total. Be mindful of these facts before picking a final date.
GMAT 2023 registration – How to register for the GMAT?
Registering for the GMAT online is straightforward and simple. Students must visit MBA.com, choose from the two test delivery options, register, and pay to receive the test details and confirmation.
The two delivery options include online, which lets you give the test from home at any time, and test centre, which requires you to visit the nearest centre at the allotted time. You can book tests up to 6 months in advance until 24 hours before the test. Cancellation and rescheduling options are provided and can vary according to different timelines.
Most students take the GMAT exam multiple times to improve their scores. It’s important to remember that aspirants can give the test a maximum of 5 times a year and a total of 8 times before getting barred.
GMAT exam application fee
The test costs $275 or approximately Rs. 21,000. It has a score validity of 5 years, and students can choose to utilise the scores for later admissions. You’ll have to pay $30 and another $35 for every extra score report you require to get an enhanced score report. To get your AWA rescored, it’ll cost you $45.
GMAT exam eligibility
The GMAC, the exam conducting body of the GMAT, has worked hard to ensure that each student has equal and easy access to the test. They strive to eliminate discrimination based on age, caste, colour, religion, ethnicity, or nationality. So, while there are no rigid eligibility criteria that you have to meet, there are a few procedural requirements:
- Students above 18 don’t require parental permission to take the test. Those under 18 need to get a signed letter from their parents allowing them to take the test.
- You must carry your passport or any other acceptable form of Government-issued identity with you.
- Candidates should have a valid undergraduate degree from a recognised university that clearly states their credentials and qualifications.
- The GMAC leaves it up to the students to check with their respective colleges and understand their eligibility criteria. Just clearing the GMAT might not be enough to gain admission.
GMAT 2023 exam centres in India
The GMAT is held in over 115 countries. In India, there are over 30 cities with GMAT centres where one can easily take the test. Here’s a list of all those cities:
- New Delhi
GMAT 2023 exam pattern
The GMAT has four sections, as mentioned above, each designed to test a specific set of skills. 1. The analytical writing assessment focuses on the test-takers’ skill to analyse, understand, and critique a given piece of information.
- The integrated reasoning section enables students to showcase their ability to synthesise and deduce information from various sources.
- The quant section is about solving problems through deduced reasoning and interpretation of data using simple mathematical tools.
- The last section, verbal, tests students’ comprehension, evaluation, and communication abilities.
Students have 3 hours and 7 minutes to finish the test.
It’s a computer-based adaptive test that adjusts the difficulty level of the question according to the test-takers’ competency. Simply put, every time a student answers a question correctly, the following question becomes progressively more challenging, and if they answer the question incorrectly, the next question will be simpler.
No one’s allowed to skip between questions or flag questions to answer later. Once the student has moved on from the question, they cannot return to it to alter their answer.
How is the GMAT exam scored?
Students receive a total score out of 800, apart from sectional scores that vary depending on the type of questions in the section.
The verbal and quant reasoning sections are MCQs scored from a total of 60. Scores in this section are then extrapolated to 800 using a formula that accounts for the adaptive difficulty of the questions. Integrated reasoning is graded on a scale of 1 to 8, while analytical writing scores range from 0 to 6.
According to the Graduate Management Admission Council or GMAC, the mean GMAT score is 547.35, with the vast majority of students scoring between 400 and 600. Most students aim to cross 700, putting them in the 90th percentile, often considered a benchmark score for the top 25 universities.
What is a good GMAT score? Click here to learn more.
GMAT 2023 preparation tips
You need to begin your GMAT preparations a few months before the test. Depending on your target score, you’ll have to figure out the number of hours you’ll need to put in. Here are a few tips that can help you achieve your target score:
- The first step is to take a GMAT diagnostic mock test. This will determine the level your skills are at currently. Moreover, it will also introduce you to the different parts, sections, types of questions, and their pertaining difficulty levels.
- The score on your diagnostic will be your baseline score. Break it down across different categories and sections to identify your weaknesses.
- Once you have the differences between your score and the target score in hand, you can estimate the number of hours you’ll need to put in to get there. A fair standard is that for every 10 points, you’ll need to put in 7 hours.
- Use the ‘Learn First, Practise Later’ methodology to refine your conceptual knowledge before delving into its application.
- Now, create a calendar that accounts for all the topics and the corresponding time needed to master them. Break it down into a daily timetable and follow it properly.
For a more detailed plan, you can read our blog on creating a proper GMAT Study Plan to score more than 730.
Basic GMAT test-taking strategies
The GMAT is a critical juncture for all MBA aspirants who wish to fast-track career growth with the support of an internationally renowned program. Thus, students must prepare extensively before the actual test with a strategically organised approach.
This approach should allocate ample time for a prep and practice schedule that accounts for all the sections, different types of questions, and the development of tertiary skills within a stipulated time frame. GMAT coaching classes are a good opportunity for students who wish to build a focused pathway to a good GMAT score. GMAT classes provide students access to teachers, training, mock tests, and other critical resources that can make a tangible difference in students’ GMAT scores.
Best books for GMAT preparation
Much of your GMAT prep will depend on the resources you have – the right books, videos, and teachers.
For books, we recommend investing in at least two of the following. They’re some of the most renowned GMAT prep books with thousands of questions and tens of sample papers.
- GMAT Official Guide Bundle 2022
It contains 1900 practice questions, quizzes, and detailed solutions. It is the only book that can guarantee that their practice questions match the actual level of the GMAT.
- GMAT Focus Edition Official Guide Bundle 2023-24
For those eager to take the Focus Edition of GMAT, this will prove to be the ideal resource.
- Manhattan Prep All the GMAT Bundle 7th Edition
Filled with relevant strategies, secret tricks, and invaluable tips to conquer GMAT, this is a top-rated book amongst test-takers.
- Kaplan GMAT Prep Plus 2022-23
This bundle includes six online computer-adaptive practice tests and detailed answers and explanations.
Apart from these books, you should invest in Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis to refine your vocabulary.
Often, even the most extensive books aren’t enough to get your score to 730+. For that, you need guided strategic prep with an experienced mentor to take you through the concepts one by one. IMS offers both Live Online as well as Classroom programs for the GMAT with over 75 hours of learning, 1000+ practice questions, ten mock tests, and six personalised strategy sessions. You also get access to the GMAT Official Guide for well-rounded practice. Fill out the form here to call our Education Advisor today.
GMAT 2023 FAQ
- Are GMAT scores accepted in India?
Yes. Many colleges, such as SPJIMR, XLRI, MDI, IMI, and IMT, accept GMAT scores.
2. Do IIMs accept GMAT scores?
The IIMs only accept GMAT scores for their one-year programs. For their flagship two-year programs, they only accept CAT percentiles.
3. Is GMAT different from GRE?
Yes. The GMAT is a different exam with a different syllabus and pattern. However, many colleges have also started accepting GRE for their business and finance programs.
4. Should I give the normal GMAT or the GMAT Focus Edition?
The answer to this question depends mainly on your capabilities and test-taking strategy. If you think a shorter test is better suited to your experience and your target college accepts it, go for the Focus Edition. Otherwise, stick to the normal GMAT until 2024 at least.
5. Can I reschedule and retake the GMAT?
Yes. You can reschedule your GMAT test to a more suitable date for an extra charge. You can also retake the test up to 5 times in a rolling 12-month period with a 16-day gap between consecutive attempts.