Graduate Management Admission Test
(Graduate Management Admission Test) is a 3-1/2 hour
standardized exam designed to predict how test-takers will
perform academically in MBA (Masters in Business
Administration) programs. GMAT scores are used by graduate
business schools to make admission decisions.
You might also
see the GMAT referred to as the " GMAT CAT "; the acronym CAT stands for "Computer Adaptive Test." The
GMAT is administered only by computer now, except in certain
locations outside North America, where the test is referred to
as the "paper-based" GMAT. (Since you’re reading this on the
Web, no doubt the GMAT CAT is available where you are.).
According to GMAT Survey Sixty-six percent of the test-takers
had U.S. addresses at the time of registration in TY 2000,
which increased to 68% of test takers
in TY 2004. The next largest concentrations in both testing
years came from Asia and Western Europe, with approximately
12% and 7% of the test-taker
Administer the GMAT Test?
The GMAT is the brainchild of the GMAC (Graduate
Management Admission Council), which determines what kinds of
skills the GMAT should measure — and how it should measure
The Graduate Management Admission Council (R) GMAC,
based in McLean, Va., is a non-profit education organization
of leading graduate business schools worldwide, dedicated to
creating access to and disseminating information about
graduate management education. The GMAT exam was created in
1954 and remains the first and only standardized test
specifically designed for graduate business and management
Pearson VUE, the company
now administering the GMAT through its global network of test
centers, is providing an increased level of service to test
takers and schools. People receive their official scores
faster through Pearson VUE's online score-reporting system.
This system also allows admissions offices to more efficiently
obtain scores for their applicants and gain a deeper
understanding of how they stack up with their competition.
ACT now manages the development of the GMAT. ACT is
responsible for the development of GMAT questions,
construction of item pools, implementation of test
specifications, scoring of the Analytical Writing Assessment
essays, and working with GMAC to strengthen the exam's
capacity to remain in step with the evolving needs of business
When is the GMAT Test held?
All-round-the-year. Unlike other exams, you can choose your
own date and time for taking the GMAT! The test is
administered five-days-a-week (Monday through Friday),
twice-a-day. September to December is the high season for
GMAT, so in case you intend to take the test during this
period, you need to register very early (say 90 days in
advance) to get a date of your choice. Otherwise, registering
at least 15 days in advance is mandatory. The test lasts
roughly four hours, and most centres offer two slots : 9 A.M.
and 2 P.M.
There is no formula
for acceptance of applications for B- schools. Though the
policies vary from school to school all B schools are
committed to evaluating the whole package an applicant
presents. For instance, Chicago has accepted applicants with
GMAT scores in the 300s; Darden one year rejected five out of
six applicants with perfect GMATs.
GMAT Score –These
scores are rarely the sole determining factor for admission,
but don't take them too lightly, either. A good GMAT score
does not necessarily help one get admission, but a poor one
can more often than not mar one’s chances of selection in a
good B- school. At top schools, one competes against people
with very high scores, and many of them don't get in. So
should aim to get a GMAT score within 50 points of a school's
2. Work experience - What admissions committees are
looking for here is evidence that the applicant has made
progress in his career, taken on increasing responsibility,
and demonstrated leadership. Strong communications skills and
a proven ability to work well in groups are also important.
Highlight these experiences throughout your application.
B-Schools want candidates who have demonstrated an ability to
work well in group setting. More often than not, work
experience provides individuals an opportunity to work in
teams, and demonstrate team work and people skills. You don't
necessarily have to work for Goldman Sachs or Andersen
Consulting to get into a good school (although it certainly
couldn't hurt). You simply need to demonstrate that you have
good organizational skills and leadership abilities. A prior
history of leading teams by an applicant at work is considered
a very important factor by all B-schools.
Almost every school will want to see recommendations from
people that have seen your work and know your abilities.
Choose your recommenders carefully -- a big name won't help
you as much as a thoughtful, positive letter from someone who
knows your work well. B-schools want to see how your
supervisors evaluate your work and what kind of potential for
leadership they think you have.
These are one the most important components of the application
package. Examples are:
Harvard University: Describe a situation in which you
failed and explain why it happened.
Stanford University: What
course you would pursue if getting an MBA did not exist as an
In the essays, the applicant has
to clearly articulate one’s career goals, potential for
success in high-level management, and the ability to handle
the academic challenges of the institution. Only your essays
can convey the important facets of your work experience and
the attractive aspects of your personality. Without nailing
the essays, no matter how high your GMAT score is or how high
your college GPA is, you will never be admitted to a top
business school. More so with business schools which
absolutely require that you clearly demonstrate your ambition,
confidence, maturity, passion, creativity, and career-focus.
You can only communicate these qualities through your essays.
record: Schools also pay attention to applicant’s academic
performance. The overall difficulty of applicant’s course load
and the school's reputation will also likely be factored in.
Unfortunately, one can't go back and change the transcripts,
so what can be done to overcome a less-than-stellar college
career? Strong GMATs and solid work experience might be
enough, but essays are very powerful tools here. As the
essays can help an applicant you discuss circumstances that
might have affected your GPA -- perhaps you had to work your
way through school, experienced a personal tragedy (steer
clear of whining here, just talk about how the experience
changed you), or were just young and too focused on having a
great time instead of paying attention on academics.