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If you are finishing up your undergraduate degree and preparing to apply for MBA programs, then likely you are also preparing to take your GMAT test. Just like when you were in high school preparing for college, preparing for your MBA program is a flurry of applications, paperwork, and test taking. Below are some answers to general questions regarding the GMAT Test that should help get your started.

What is the GMAT?

GMAT Stands for Graduate Management Admissions test. The test is specifically designed to assess skills needed to be successful in a graduate management program, such as an MBA. Many business schools require the GMAT as part of their admissions application process, so chances are if you are applying to business schools, you’ll be required to take the GMAT.

When can I take the GMAT? How do I schedule to take the test?

You can register to take the test at www.mba.com. The test is available throughout the year at various testing facilities. Unlike the SAT and ACT tests, there are not set dates to take the test. You can schedule the test at any time in the year with a local facility that administers the test.

How is the test administered?

The GMAT test is computer based. It is what is called a computer adaptive test (CAT), which means that the test does not have set questions. Rather, the questions you receive are taken from a database and are based on your answer to previous questions.

What is the test evaluating?

The test is designed to measure your reading and verbal skills, quantitative and qualitative reasoning, your grammar and writing skills, as well as some math skills. It’s not testing you on your knowledge of business. It’s testing for the skills you’ll need as an MBA student to do well in the graduate program.

What is the structure of the test?

The test is broken into four sections; analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning, quantitative and verbal.

  • Analytical writing assessment: You have 30 minutes to complete this section. It consists of one essay. In the essay you will analyze an argument made in a prompt question. You’ll need to both outline the reasoning behind the argument and also provide a critical review of the argument’s validity.
  • Integrated reasoning assessment: You’ll have 30 minutes to complete 12 questions. This section tests your ability to evaluate and understand data presented to you in different formats. This may include information in writing, graphs, charts, and tables.
  • Quantitative Assessment: You’ll have 75 minutes to complete 37 questions. In this section, you will be tested on your mathematical abilities, your ability to read and interpret graphs This test your ability to solve complex problems. Calculators are not allowed in this test.
  • Verbal Assessment: You’ll have 75 minutes to complete 41 questions: The verbal section tests your written and verbal communication skills. The questions will cover things like reading comprehension, sentence (grammar) correction, as well as your critical reasoning abilities.

Are there ways to prepare for the tests?

Yes! Just like when you took your ACT or SAT, there are practice tests and prep courses available for the GMAT.