Before enrolling in an MBA program, most students need to take the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). More than 7,000 graduate business programs around the world rely on the GMAT to evaluate applicants, and test takers can look up programs that use the GMAT during the admissions process. For students considering an MBA, GMAT scores can make or break their application.

The GMAT remains the most popular standardized test for MBA programs, and the majority of MBA programs require students to submit their GMAT scores when applying.

The GMAT measures a student’s analytical reasoning, critical thinking, and problem solving abilities using a variety of higher-order reasoning tests. Offered by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), the test assesses important skills required to succeed in business graduate programs. By blending multiple-choice sections that test verbal, quantitative, and integrated reasoning skills with an essay section, the GMAT predicts which students have the best chance of excelling in an MBA program.

Many potential MBA students feel intimidated by the GMAT or worry about earning the best GMAT scores for MBA admission. This guide walks GMAT test takers through the entire process, providing useful GMAT study tips and additional resources to help students earn better GMAT scores.

Do You Have to Take the GMAT for MBA Programs?

The GMAT remains the most popular standardized test for MBA programs, and the majority of MBA programs require students to submit their GMAT scores when applying. However, some schools accept a student’s GMAT or GRE for MBA admission. Some programs also offer a GMAT waiver for students who hold a certain number of years of business experience. Prospective graduate students planning to apply to MBA programs should check with individual schools to determine whether they need to submit GMAT scores or if they can obtain a GMAT waiver.

What Does the GMAT Look Like?

The Structure of the GMAT

The GMAC regularly alters the GMAT exam to better serve the needs of students and business schools. For example, in June 2012, the exam added a new integrated reasoning section. Additionally, beginning in July 2017, test takers were able to select the section order for the exam. Because the test changes frequently, students need to make sure they use the most current resources to prepare for the exam.

Today, GMAT test takers complete four sections, including an analytical writing assessment (AWA), which requires an essay response, and integrated reasoning, quantitative, and verbal multiple-choice sections. The entire exam takes just over three hours, although this may be slightly longer if students take two optional breaks.

Test takers can choose between three section order options. The original order starts with the AWA and is followed by the integrated reasoning, quantitative, and verbal sections, respectively. The two alternative orders begin with the verbal and quantitative sections, in whichever order the test taker chooses, followed by the integrated reasoning and AWA sections. Approximately 70% of test takers choose one of the alternate section orders.

Additionally, up to 25% of the questions may be experimental. GMAC uses experimental questions to gauge the test’s difficulty level and plan future exams. These experimental questions may appear anywhere in the exam, and test takers cannot differentiate real questions from experimental ones. However, experimental questions do not count toward the final score. Additionally, in May 2018, GMAC began to reduce the number of experimental questions.

Section Number of Questions Question Format Time to Complete
Analytical Writing Assessment 1 Analysis of an argument 30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning 12
  • Multi-source reasoning
  • Graphics interpretation
  • Two-part analysis
  • Table analysis
30 minutes
Quantitative 31
  • Data sufficiency
  • Problem solving
62 minutes
Verbal 36
  • Reading comprehension
  • Critical reasoning
  • Sentence correction
65 minutes

Delivery Format

Students take the GMAT at designated test centers. Starting in 1997, students could opt to take the exam on a computer; today, all test takers complete the exam using testing computers. Because of this switch, individuals can schedule an exam on almost any day of the year. However, unlike a paper exam, test takers may not go back to a question or leave questions unanswered. This rigidity is related, in part, to the “item adaptive” testing used for the quantitative and verbal reasoning sections.

Item adaptive testing changes subsequent questions based on the test taker’s previous answers. The computer evaluates each answer, updating the test taker’s score and selecting the next question based on a test taker’s skill level. This system means that test takers answer fewer questions overall and that the test remains consistent and fair. The format also increases test security and allows test takers to receive an unofficial score as soon as they complete the exam.

The Analytical Writing Assessment Section

Skill Areas

The AWA section (i.e., the essay portion of the GMAT) presents test takers with a single question based on a passage. Students must analyze an argument, assess the reasoning contained in the passage, and present a critique. As the only section in the GMAT that does not feature multiple-choice questions, the AWA looks different from the other parts of the exam.

Question Types

To assess written analytical skills, the AWA section gives students 30 minutes to critique a passage. The GMAT provides a list of sample AWA questions, which test takers can use to prepare. During the exam, students assess the strength of the argument and the use of evidence in the argument. They also look for any questionable assumptions made in the passage. The prompt encourages test takers to consider counterexamples or alternative explanations that might weaken the argument.

Sample Question

Question:

The following appeared in the editorial section of a monthly business news magazine:

“Most companies would agree that as the risk of physical injury occurring on the job increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase. Hence it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer: they could thus reduce their payroll expenses and save money.”

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion.

You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

Answer:

Read full essay response here.

Source: MBA.com

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

High-scoring essays present a strong, persuasive critique of the argument based on supporting evidence. While the AWA may intimidate some test takers, it follows a general format based on a standard essay structure. By studying sample essays and creating a template, test takers can avoid rambling, unstructured essays that do not address the prompt. Test takers should also keep in mind that the final score, which ranges from 0-6 (in half-point increments), is the average value of a reader score and a computer score. The computer score assesses an essay’s organization, grammar, and sentence structure, and minor flaws in the essay can harm the overall score; test takers should make sure to leave time for proofreading to catch any typos or errors.

Helpful Tips

  • Create a Template: Each essay question presents a different passage, but the fundamental elements of the response should follow a similar format. Create a template — based on the five-paragraph essay — to use during the exam.
  • Maximize Your Computer Score: Make sure to prioritize organization and grammar — losing easy points on the computer score can hurt your overall performance.
  • Read Sample Essays: Reading high-scoring essays helps test takers write stronger critiques. Study these sample essays and look at their structure, tone, and overall approach.
  • Ask Someone to Read Your Practice Essays: It is difficult to replicate AWA scoring when taking practice exams; therefore, test takers should ask someone to review their practice essays and look at the grammar, argument, and organization.

The Integrated Reasoning Section

Skill Areas

Although the integrated reasoning section only contains 12 questions, it tests a student’s ability to interpret data and draw conclusions from multiple sources; these represent some of the most important skills needed to find success in MBA programs and corporate environments.

Question Types

This section includes four different question types: graphics interpretation, two-part analysis, table analysis, and multi-source reasoning. Each question may include information presented in verbal or mathematical form, with a mix of charts, graphs, and tables. Multi-source reasoning presents data in three different forms, asking test takers to answer questions based on given information. Table analysis and graphics interpretation questions both present information in a table or graph, which students must analyze. Finally, two-part analysis questions draw on reading comprehension and math skills.

Sample Question (Graphics Interpretation)

Directions: Interpret the graph or graphical image and select the option from a drop-down list to make the answer statements accurate.

Question:

Answer:

Source: MBA.com

Sample Question (Two-Part Analysis)

Directions: Select one answer from each column to solve a problem with a two-part solution. Possible answers will be presented in a table with a column for each part.

Question:

Answer:

Source: MBA.com

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Can You Use a Calculator for This Section?

Yes. The test includes an on-screen calculator for the integrated reasoning section. However, students may not bring their own calculator.

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Studying for the quantitative and verbal sections can help improve your scores on the integrated reasoning section because these questions blend reading comprehension and math skills. However, the integrated reasoning section can be difficult if students fail to familiarize themselves with the format of the questions. Additionally, although the section only contains 12 questions, each one features multiple parts. The test provides a few key tools to help you answer questions, including the on-screen calculator and sortable tables and charts. By practicing with these tools, test takers should feel more comfortable on test day.

Helpful Tips

  • Practice Reading Graphs: The integrated reasoning section always includes graphs; as such, test takers should practice interpreting different styles of graphs and charts.
  • Time Management: Although the number of questions is relatively small, these complex and multi-step questions can easily use up the 30-minute time limit. Taking timed practice tests and pacing yourself can help improve your score.
  • Practice with the Calculator: Most GMAT test takers have several years of experience with their personal calculators, but the on-screen calculator may have a different format and be more limited than what a student is used to. Take online practice tests to familiarize yourself with the calculator.
  • Use Strategic Guessing: Like many other exams, the GMAT penalizes unanswered questions more severely than incorrect answers. If time is almost up, try and use strategic guessing to quickly narrow down your choices, and don’t leave any questions blank.

The Quantitative Section

Skill Areas

The quantitative section covers problem solving and data analysis skills. These questions measure a test taker’s ability to interpret data in graphs or visual formats, evaluate information, and solve numerical problems. This section also uses questions designed to test whether an individual can determine whether they have been given sufficient data to solve a problem.

Question Types

The quantitative section includes 31 questions drawn from two general categories: problem solving and data sufficiency. Questions related to problem solving present numerical problems that can be solved with math learned in high school. Test takers must also interpret data in graphs and evaluate numerical information. Data sufficiency questions measure a student’s ability to determine whether they can answer a question based on the provided data, identify relevant information, and analyze the data.

Sample Question (Problem Solving)

Directions: Solve the problem and indicate the best of the answer choices given.

Question:

If u > t, r > q, s > t, and t > r, which of the following must be true?

I. u > s
II. s > q
III. u > r

  • (A) I only
  • (B) II only
  • (C) III only
  • (D) I and II
  • (E) II and III

Answer: (E)

Source: MBA.com

Sample Question (Data Sufficiency)

Directions: This data sufficiency problem consists of a question and two statements, labeled (1) and (2), in which certain data are given. You have to decide whether the data given in the statements are sufficient for answering the question. Using the data given in the statements, plus your knowledge of mathematics and everyday facts (such as the number of days in July or the meaning of the word counterclockwise), you must indicate whether:

  • Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
  • Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (1) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
  • BOTH statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are sufficient to answer the question asked, but NEITHER statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked.
  • EACH statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked.
  • Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient to answer the question asked, and additional data specific to the problem are needed.

Question:

If a real estate agent received a commission of 6 percent of the selling price of a certain house, what was the selling price of the house?

(1) The selling price minus the real estate agent’s commission was $84,600.

(2) The selling price was 250 percent of the original purchase price of $36,000.

  • (A) Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient.
  • (B) Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (1) alone is not sufficient.
  • (C) BOTH statements TOGETHER are sufficient, but NEITHER statement ALONE is sufficient.
  • (D) EACH statement ALONE is sufficient.
  • (E) Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient.

Answer: (D)

Source: MBA.com

Can You Use a Calculator for This Section?

No. Students may not use a calculator on the quantitative section. Test takers should practice answering these types of questions without a calculator to prepare for the exam.

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Many test takers consider the quantitative section the most challenging. Although it does not require advanced math skills, some students have not used the math concepts covered in this section since high school. GMAT preparation can make a big difference, and students should be sure to review algebra, multiplying and dividing fractions, and exponent rules. Rather than wasting time puzzling over mathematical processes during the test, commit these rules to memory beforehand. Finally, because this section often includes data presented in the form of graphs, charts, and tables, test takers should remember to carefully analyze any graphics to avoid missing critical information.

Helpful Tips

  • Practice Using Graphs, Charts, and Tables: Learn how to pull critical information from graphs, charts, and tables. Also, make sure to pay attention to units of measure, keys, and axis titles.
  • Study the Data Sufficiency Answers: Each data sufficiency question has the same answers, which ask students to evaluate two statements. By memorizing the answers in advance, test takers can save time during the test.
  • Work Backwards: The test presents five options for problem solving questions. Plug in numbers that seem to be in the correct range to answer questions backwards rather than writing out the algebraic solution.
  • Carefully Read the Questions: Skimming questions can lead test takers down the wrong path, particularly if they miss an important word like “not.”

The Verbal Section

Skill Areas

The verbal reasoning section of the GMAT tests a student’s ability to analyze and apply material presented in written form. Questions measure proficiency with English by assessing the test taker’s ability to create grammatically correct sentences. This section also determines how well an individual evaluates arguments and plans of action.

Question Types

The verbal section consists of 36 questions and features a 65-minute time limit, making it the longest section of the GMAT exam, both in terms of the number of questions and the time allowed. Three types of questions appear in the verbal section: reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction. Reading comprehension questions present a passage and ask students to absorb and analyze information, while critical reasoning questions test a student’s analytical and reasoning skills. Finally, sentence correction questions present students with options to create a grammatically correct sentence.

Sample Question (Critical Reasoning)

Directions: For this question, select the best of the answer choices given.

Question:

The cost of producing radios in Country Q is ten percent less than the cost of producing radios in Country Y. Even after transportation fees and tariff charges are added, it is still cheaper for a company to import radios from Country Q to Country Y than to produce radios in Country Y.

The statements above, if true, best support which of the following assertions?

(A) Labor costs in Country Q are ten percent below those in Country Y.
(B) Importing radios from Country Q to Country Y will eliminate ten percent of the manufacturing jobs in Country Y.
(C) The tariff on a radio imported from Country Q to Country Y is less than ten percent of the cost of manufacturing the radio in Country Y.
(D) The fee for transporting a radio from Country Q to Country Y is more than ten percent of the cost of manufacturing the radio in Country Q.
(E) It takes ten percent less time to manufacture a radio in Country Q than it does in Country Y.

Answer: (E)

Source: MBA.com

Sample Question (Sentence Correction)

Directions: This question presents a sentence, part of which or all of which is underlined. Beneath the sentence you will find five ways of phrasing the underlined part. The first of these repeats the original; the other four are different. If you think the original is best, choose the first answer; otherwise choose one of the others.

This question tests correctness and effectiveness of expression. In choosing your answer, follow the requirements of standard written English; that is, pay attention to grammar, choice of words, and sentence construction. Choose the answer that produces the most effective sentence; this answer should be clear and exact, without awkwardness, ambiguity, redundancy, or grammatical error.

Question:

While larger banks can afford to maintain their own data-processing operations, many smaller regional and community banks are finding that the cost associated with upgrading data-processing equipment and with the development and maintenance of new products and technical staff are prohibitive.

(A) cost associated with
(B) costs associated with
(C) costs arising from
(D) cost of
(E) costs of

Answer: (B)

Source: MBA.com

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

The verbal section can easily trip up test takers, leading to a lower GMAT score. One of the most common pitfalls is simply not reading questions closely. Questions often present dense, content-rich material, and students may feel lost trying to deconstruct each line in a reading comprehension passage. To prevent confusion, test takers should avoid skimming questions. Developing good time management skills also helps in the verbal section, which includes more questions than the other sections. Test takers can also gain an advantage by breaking down the questions and rephrasing them, which can help identify the most important information.

Helpful Tips

  • Practice Active Reading: Rather than simply skimming questions, test takers should practice active reading by identifying the main purpose of each passage.
  • Break Down the Question: Verbal questions often come in set formulas. By identifying the type of question, test takers can quickly distill the most important information.
  • Manage Your Time: With 36 questions and only 65 minutes, it’s easy to run out of time on this section. During practice sessions, set a timer for reading passages and answering individual questions, and learn how to move on if time is running short.
  • Read for Argument and Evidence: The verbal section tests your ability to identify and analyze arguments and evidence — focus your reading on those areas.

How is the GMAT Scored?

Different sections of the GMAT use different scoring systems. The quantitative and verbal reasoning sections both award scores based on the number of questions answered, the number of correct answers, and the difficulty of the questions. Scores for these sections range from 6-51 points. The integrated reasoning section gives a score from 1-8 based on the number of correctly answered questions. Finally, the analytical writing assessment section receives a score from 0-6 based on scores granted by a human reader and a computer. The writing section is the only one that awards scores in intervals of 0.5 points.

The GMAT total score ranges from 200-800 points and combines a test taker’s scores on the quantitative and verbal reasoning sections. The unofficial score report lists the test taker’s quantitative, verbal, integrated reasoning, and total score, but omits the analytical writing score.

Score Ranges on the GMAT General Test

GMAT Section Score Range
Analytical Writing Assessment 0.0-6.0
Integrated Reasoning 1-8
Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning 6-51
Total 200-800

MBA.com

What is Your Percentile Ranking?

In addition to raw scores, test takers need to understand their percentile ranking. The percentile number included with the GMAT total score places the number in context by indicating how many students earned a lower score on the test. For example, a percentile rank of 75% means that only 25% of test takers earned a higher score. Percentile rankings appear on the score report and use exam data from the last three years. GMAC recalculates these GMAT percentile rankings every summer.

What’s an Average Score on the GMAT?

Average Scores on the GMAT, 2015-17

GMAT Section Score Range
Analytical Writing Assessment 4.48
Integrated Reasoning 4.29
Quantitative 39.93
Verbal 27.04
Total 561.27

MBA.com

How Do You Register for the GMAT?

Students register for the GMAT online. However, before signing up for the exam, prospective test takers must complete several steps. In order to register, individuals must first create a GMAC account. Students can then search for local testing centers that offer the GMAT exam. Next, students can schedule their exam. As part of the process, students must pay a $250 registration fee. After scheduling their testing appointment, students have the option to reschedule or cancel their registration; however, test takers do not receive a refund if they reschedule or cancel less than seven days before their exam date.

When Should You Take the GMAT?

Plan to take the GMAT at least two months before business school application deadlines. By taking the exam early, test takers give themselves the option of retaking the test.

How Much Does the GMAT Cost?

The GMAT costs $250. Test takers can reschedule their exam for a $60 fee if they do so more than seven days before their scheduled appointment. Additionally, students can recoup $80 of their registration fee if they cancel their exam appointment at least seven days in advance.

How Many Times Can You Take the GMAT?

Test takers can retake the GMAT once every 16 calendar days. However, students may only take the exam five times in a 12-month period. Additionally, in 2016, GMAC instituted a lifetime limit of eight attempts.

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How Should You Prepare for the GMAT?

At-Home Study Methods

Test takers can study at home using many tools, including GMAT study guides, flashcards, and apps designed to build GMAT skills.

  • Printed Study Guides: Many organizations provide printed study guides for at-home use; these emphasize key skills and methods to improve GMAT scores. GMAT guides often include GMAT sample questions and practice tests.
  • Flashcards: Particularly useful for the verbal section, flashcards can build GMAT vocabulary, emphasize grammar, and increase reading comprehension skills.
  • Private Tutoring: Several different companies offer private, in-home tutoring for the GMAT, including face-to-face tutoring and private online tutors.
  • Studying Apps: Study apps help students integrate GMAT studying into their daily lives by providing tools that individuals can use any time. Study apps may focus on verbal, math, and/or quantitative skills.
  • Online Practice Tests: The official GMAT website — as well as many other sites — offer online practice tests, enabling students to review key material and practice completing a full exam.

GMAT Prep Courses

Some students prefer the structure of an official GMAT prep course. Participants choose between in-person courses and online courses, which may also include private tutoring. Courses typically feature live instruction, prep books, and computer adaptive practice tests that replicate the conditions of the official exam. Some prep courses, including those provided by Kaplan and Princeton Review, guarantee higher scores. However, GMAT prep courses tend to be expensive, ranging from $500-$1500 or more.

Studying Tips for the GMAT

  • Take Computer Practice Tests: The GMAT is an adaptive computer exam. Therefore, when studying, students should make sure to take at least one practice test on a computer.
  • Time Management: Because the GMAT is a timed exam, test takers need to manage their time carefully. Practice spending no more than three minutes on each question.
  • Eliminate Wrong Answers: When attempting to answer a difficult question, start by eliminating incorrect answers. This strategy increases your chances of choosing the correct response.
  • Practice with a Scratch Pad: Test takers can’t bring scratch paper into the exam. Instead, they receive a plastic scratch pad and a wet erase marker. Get used to writing on a laminated pad so this does not feel awkward on exam day.
  • Study Your Practice Tests: Don’t only focus on your raw score when it comes to practice tests. Study completed exams to determine your strengths and weaknesses, and try to learn from your mistakes. Some websites also provide free practice test analysis.

Helpful Resources

Students can access many free resources while preparing for the GMAT to help improve their scores.

  • MBA.com: The official website of the GMAT provides test-taking guidelines, practice exams, and several exam-specific resources. Students can also register for the exam and find testing centers.
  • PrepScholar GMAT Blog: PrepScholar offers free diagnostic assessments of a student’s strengths and weaknesses. The site also creates personalized study guides.
  • Manhattan Prep: This site provides practice tests, study guides, and local study meetups. Manhattan Prep also offers a blog and community forum, allowing students to connect with other test takers.
  • Magoosh Flashcards: Magoosh offers free flashcards that reinforce the most important math and verbal material found on the GMAT.

What Should You Expect on Test Day?

On test day, students sign in, show identification, and begin testing after sitting at a computer workstation. Each testing appointment lasts approximately three hours and 30 minutes, including the two optional breaks. During breaks, students can use the restroom and access snacks or water in their storage locker. Test takers cannot bring their own scratch paper; instead, they receive special notepads from the administrator. Students can also go to the restroom during the exam by raising their hand, but the timed portion will continue unless they wait for a break.

Students can learn more about planning for the test day and exam administration rules at MBA.com.

GMAT Security

Security measures ensure the validity of GMAT test results. Before entering the testing center, students undergo biometric identification with a palm vein reader. Test takers place their palm above a sensor, which identifies individuals based on their unique blood vein pattern. The device prevents people from taking the test under someone else’s name. Test takers also sign the GMAT nondisclosure agreement, vowing not to provide false information or violate any rules.

What Should You Bring with You?

  • Valid ID: Acceptable forms of identification include a government-issued passport, driver’s license, and official identity or military ID cards. Expired identification documents cannot be accepted.
  • Names of Programs You Wish to Send Your GMAT Scores to: Bring a list of business schools that you want your GMAT scores forwarded to. However, you cannot bring this list into the testing room.
  • Appointment Confirmation Number: Try and remember to bring either your appointment confirmation letter or the email you received from Pearson VUE. Both contain your confirmation number.
  • An Extra Layer of Clothing: The room temperature in testing centers can vary significantly — it’s a good idea to dress comfortably and bring an extra layer of clothing to make sure you don’t get cold.

Which Items Should You Leave Behind?

  • Study Notes and Books: Like most standardized tests, the GMAT does not allow individuals to use study notes, books, or any other documents that might help answer questions.
  • Your Own Scratch Paper: Leave your scratch paper at home. When students arrive to take the GMAT they receive a notepad and marker to use during the test.
  • Your Own Calculator: Students cannot bring a calculator into the test center; however, they can access an on-screen calculator during the integrated reasoning section.
  • Watches, Cell Phones, and Other Electronic Devices: All electronic devices, including smartphones and watches, must be left outside the testing center.

Leading Up to Test Day

Do

  • Get a full night of rest. Studies show that a lack of sleep can adversely affect cognitive performance and test scores.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced breakfast. Certain foods, like almonds, can help improve your cognitive performance and memory.
  • Plan to arrive at the test center at least 30 minutes before your scheduled test time. Running late can be stressful, and if you arrive more than 15 minutes after your appointment you will not be allowed to take the exam.
  • Pack your photo ID, water bottle, and any snacks the night before to avoid feeling rushed the morning of the exam.
  • Use deep breathing techniques to stay calm. Studies show that slow breathing creates a feeling of tranquility, which can improve your test performance.

Don’t

  • Cram for a test the night before. Studies suggest that students perform better when they maintain a regular study schedule.
  • Skip breakfast or only drink coffee. You should also avoid fast food, which may make you feel groggy or sluggish.
  • Skim the directions. After preparing and taking practice tests, you may feel comfortable with the test format; however, always remember to read all directions carefully.
  • Get discouraged by a difficult question. After all, given the adaptive format of the test, this may be a sign that you’re performing well.
  • Forget to review your scores. Choose the minimum score you plan to accept before the test; this allows you to cancel a low score without having to pay additional fees.

Accommodations for Test Takers with Disabilities or Health-Associated Needs

Test takers with disabilities can apply for accommodations online by completing an exam accommodations request form and providing medical or clinical documentation related to a disability. Students with disabilities or health-associated needs should submit their request at least 25 business days before they plan to take the exam. Approved test takers can schedule an accommodated GMAT test, which could include additional testing time, additional or extended rest breaks, or a reader or recorder to assist the test taker.

Preview Your Test Scores

GMAT test takers do not have to wait for their official score report to learn how they performed on portions of the exam. Directly after completing the GMAT, test takers can preview their unofficial scores on the integrated reasoning, quantitative, and verbal sections. Students also have the option of cancelling their scores. Cancelled scores do not appear on an official score report. Additionally, students may opt to reinstate cancelled test results for up to five years. Test takers who have left the testing site may also cancel scores within 72 hours of the exam date for an additional $25 fee.

GMAT Enhanced Score Report

The GMAT Enhanced Score Report (ESR) helps test takers analyze their results and improve their scores on subsequent tests. This report provides a breakdown of a student’s performance on each section and question type. The ESR also provides a time management ranking, showing test takers which sections they spent the most time on. Students can also see their average response time and receive a customized report assessing their strengths and weaknesses on each section of the exam. The ESR costs $25.

Submitting Your Scores

When Will You Get Your Official Scores?

Before sitting for the exam, test takers provide an email address; a message with a link to their official GMAT scores will be sent to this address. Test takers should receive this email within 20 calendar days of taking the GMAT.

How Do You Submit Your Scores to Schools?

Before their test day, test takers can pick up to five programs to automatically send their test scores to. The GMAT program database provides a complete list of schools that opt to receive scores electronically. Once test takers choose these schools, they cannot change or delete their selections. To send scores to additional schools, test takers must pay an additional fee.

What Scores Will Schools See If You Take the Test More Than Once?

The GMAT score report shows the results for all GMAT exams a test taker has completed within the past five years. However, the report only includes GMAT scores that the test taker accepted. Cancelled GMAT scores do not show up, nor does the score report show that a GMAT score was cancelled.

How Long Will Your Scores Be Valid?

GMAT scores remain valid for five years. However, test takers can request score reports from tests taken 5-10 years ago for an additional fee. GMAT scores from more than 10 years ago cannot be accessed.

Video: How to Adapt to the GMAT's Adaptability

Brian Galvin, Veritas Prep's Director of Academic Programs, discusses exactly how the GMAT is adaptive, and how you should adjust your test-taking strategy accordingly.