Everything You Need To Know About The GMAT Test

Ariana Cardozo

Ariana Cardozo

Content Writer At Gradehacker

Everything You Need To Know About The GMAT

So, you want to get into a cool business program, but you need to take the GMAT Test, right? But do you know what this is? How does it work? How is the GMAT prep? Are there tough questions? Do you know everything you need to know? Keep reading and find out! 

First, GMAT means Graduate Management Admissions Test. Back in 1953, the GMAC organization started to be associated with nine business schools to create a standardized test to help business schools select qualified applicants.

Then it was used in 54 schools for admissions, and now this test is being used by more than 7,000 programs worldwide. When the COVID-19 pandemic sadly arrived, the in-person testing centers were closed, and they launched an online format for the exam. Now you can choose whether to take it at home or in person. But we’ll get to that. 

Here at Gradehacker, we are the nontraditional adult student’s most trusted resource. We know how important it is to have the correct information to help you through this process and make it easier for you. 

In this blog, you will find everything you need to know about the GMAT test preparation, alongside handy tips. 

What Exactly Is The GMAT Test?

The GMAT is an adaptive computer test that helps you evaluate your potential to succeed in the business world. It’s designed to measure how well you understand complex concepts.

What and how are the sections divided?

Each section measures different aspects of your mathematical and logical capabilities. Although you’ll use the same analytical reasoning, problem-solving, and reasoning skills throughout the test, the GMAT Exam format is divided into four main sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Ability.

Each one is scored independently.

Two sections, Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning, are also combined to produce a total score. But without further due, let’s start naming and explaining them one by one:

Analytical Writing

This section lasts 30 minutes to be completed. You must write a short essay based on a prompt, using a specific language and structure to communicate effectively. This evaluates your critical thinking and communication skills and is graded based on your command of vocabulary, sentence structure, and style. The assessment is graded on a scale of 0 to 6.

Integrated Reasoning

This section tests your problem-solving skills, requiring you to analyze information presented in tables, graphs, charts, diagrams, or flowcharts. It accounts for 25% of your total score and asks you to apply logic and common sense to a problem set. Integrated reasoning scores range between 1 to 8. 

Quantitative Reasoning

This section tests how well you apply logic to solve real-world problems. You must answer multiple-choice questions based on numerical data presented in graphs, charts, tables, and formulas. This section accounts for 50% of your total score, ranging from 0 to 60.

Verbal Ability

The verbal section consists of five passages containing both reading comprehension and critical reasoning questions. You must read the passage and determine what it says, identify the main idea, and provide supporting evidence. 

The passages are graded based on your understanding of the text and your ability to interpret the author’s purpose. Scores range from 0 to 60; however, the majority of applicants don’t score less than 9 points or more than 44 points in this section.  

Your scores for each section are added together to determine your total. 


But now it’s time to understand better how the scores work. 

How Is The GMAT Test Scored?

The algorithm in this exam adapts to your performance as you take it since it’s a Computer-Adaptive Test, so the level of difficulty varies. It works like this: 

However, there is one section in which humans and technology blend together. In the Analytical Writing Assessment, your essay will be scored by a human reader and the computerized program. 

The good news is that candidates can preview their unofficial score reports once they finish their exams! You won’t be tortured by waiting, so that’s a relief! 

The official score report will be available within seven business days. Sometimes, it may take up to 20 business days to process scores.   

We also want to mention not to be so hard on yourself and be realistic. Only some people achieve an excellent score the first time they do this; however, if you don’t, you can repeat the exam.

Yes, the exam has many questions, but the good news is that even if you answer some questions wrong, you could still get a great score.

Now that we understand better, let’s talk about the preparation for the exam. 


How To Prepare For The GMAT Test

The GMAT Prep must be based on your time, so organize yourself. But keep in mind the following tips to achieve a great performance: 

Download The Official GMAT Exam 8-Week Study Planner

There is something great about this planner: it’s free! You can download it from the official website.

With this planner, you will have access to tips and tools from the exam creators, learn which GMAT product or tools to use each week, track your progress as you learn, pinpoint your exam strengths and focus areas, develop a plan to improve, and also your test day strategy. 

You will be able to access it for 12 months once activated! 

Choose Wisely The Right Preparation Study Materials For The GMAT Test

We recommend that you choose the Official GMAT preparation study materials because it uses the same algorithm for the scores as the actual test and contains real GMAT questions from past exams. 

You can download the following: 

Keep Track Of Your Time While Studying

After understanding the concepts, you can start by practicing the area you believe is your weakness, and tracking time will definitely train you for when the time comes.

Don't Get Stuck On The Questions

There are different types of questions: table analysis, graphics interpretation, multi-source reasoning, and verbal questions.

 Remember that time is really important in this test, so if you are uncertain about a question, rule out the wrong answers and select the best remaining choices. Give every question about 2 minutes to think about, and don’t waste it! 

If you’re stumped, make a strategic guess. You can access practice questions to avoid this from happening!

Practice Your Mental Math

Improving your mental math is a must because it will save you time in the quantitative section. While practicing, avoid using your calculator. 

In the test, you won’t be able to have it! 

By applying these tips, you will do much better and be very prepared for the test.

Now we have another question to answer. As we mentioned above, taking the exam online or in person is possible. Let’s find out what suits you best and their differences. 

GMAT Test Online vs. In-Person, what is better for you?

The exam is similar in both ways. The questions are computerized, so there’s no difference in that aspect. 

The exam is 3 hours and 7 minutes, and you will be given two optional 8-minute break times. Another good thing is that you can choose the sequence in which you take the test.

Let’s review the pros and cons of taking the test online or at a testing center. 


Pros of Taking the GMAT Test Online

Cons of Taking The GMAT Test Online


Pros Of Taking The GMAT Test In Person

Cons Of Taking the GMAT Test In Person

Either way, it’s up to you. It depends on your personal preference. 

Requirements Of Taking The GMAT Online

If this is what you decide to do, you must take into consideration the following requirements: 

Now what about the pricing? Let’s see. 


How Much Does It Cost To Take The GMAT Test?

The cost of the exam varies depending on your location. Specifically, in the United States, the exam costs $275 if you take it at a test center, and if you do it online, the price is $300. 

Any additional score reports are also available for a fee. For example, you can also ask for an Enhanced Score Report, a detailed analysis of your performance on the GMAT exam. This additional cost is $30, only at a test center. 

You can find more details and service fees on the GMAC Website. 

And the final question is: 

How Much Does The GMAT Matter In The Admissions Process?

The truth is that many factors beyond test scores go into the admission-decision process. A strong GMAT score certainly plays a role in the decisions, but it isn’t the sole factor. 

We recommend you consider other things, such as professional experience, letters of recommendation, and an entrance essay. 

However, as we mentioned in the beginning, it’s important to many business schools, so it’s better to be prepared. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of exam study materials that you can integrate into your routine to reach your target score. Doing this test is an excellent start to meeting your business school goals.  

Remember that you can always count on Gradehacker!

We can help you finish your degree sooner with your homework assignments, essays, and more! With us, you will definitely be able to graduate a business program faster! 

And if you are looking for more tips as a non-traditional student, check out these blog posts:

Ariana Cardozo

Ariana Cardozo

Ariana Cardozo is a screenwriter with a passion for film, writing and theater. She is a content creator for our blog, Youtube channel and Instagram. She loves helping non-traditional students by sharing the best tips to make their college experience easier.