The Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT, is an important part of the business school application process. The GMAT is a multiple-choice, computer-based and computer-adaptive standardized exam that is often required for admission to graduate business programs (MBA) globally.

The GMAT is developed and administered by test maker GMAC to provide business schools with common measures of applicants’ preparedness for graduate-level academic work. Business school admission committees look at your GMAT score, along with work experience, academic record, and supporting materials, to assess your readiness for the rigors of an MBA program.

What’s the takeaway? A high score on the GMAT will have a direct, positive impact on your business school application.


The GMAT exam measures your command of basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, multi-source data analysis, and grammar. More importantly, it measures your ability to analyze and evaluate written material, think critically, and solve problems. The GMAT is first and foremost a test of your critical thinking skills. Knowing how to reason through and analyze information is the key to a great GMAT score.


The GMAT contains four distinct section types, although you’ll use the same critical thinking and analysis skills throughout the test, just like you will during your MBA coursework.

The content on the GMAT is broken down into four scored test sections, two of which are scored separately, and two of which are scored separately but are also combined to generate your composite score:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Integrated Reasoning
  • Quantitative
  • Verbal

GMAT test-takers are able to choose the order in which they take GMAT test sections. You will choose your section order at the test center following the computer tutorial and just before you begin your test. There are three orders you will be able to choose from:

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning (IR), Quantitative, Verbal
  2. Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  3. Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

The Analytical Writing Assessment section of the GMAT is scored separately from 0 to 6 in half-point increments. The Integrated Reasoning section is also scored separately on 1–8 scale, in one-point increments. The Quantitative and Verbal sections each have a scaled score of 0–60. They are then combined to generate a score on the 200–800 scale, with 10-point increments, you’re probably most familiar with. Your score on the 200–800 scale, in 10-point increments, reflects the level of difficulty of the questions you answered correctly using a proprietary GMAC algorithm.

The mean score for Verbal is 27, while the mean score for Quantitative is 39. The mean is 4.4 for Analytical Writing and 4.2 for Integrated Reasoning. The score that MBA programs weigh most heavily for admission is your combined Verbal and Quantitative scores. Here, the GMAT applies its algorithm to your Verbal and Quantitative scores, converting them to the familiar 200–800 scale, where the mean score is 552.

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