Understanding GMAT

The Graduate Management Admissions Test, or GMAT, is a computerised adaptive test that was designed by business schools to measure the skills that are needed for students to succeed in the challenging academic curriculum of graduate management programmes. It measures analytical writing and problem-solving abilities, and addresses data sufficiency, logic and critical reasoning – all essential skills in business and management. The test not only assesses academic skills but also your ability to strictly prioritise time and effort as you have to solve a series of challenges within a set timeframe.

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What does the GMAT assess?

GMAT assesses four groups of skills, which correspond to the four sections of the test:

  • Analytical writing
  • Integrated reasoning
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Verbal reasoning

The analytical writing assessment measures the ability to analyse a specific argument and formulate a well-reasoned critique (in written English). These set of skills are similar to ones used in class discussions, in which you will have to consider your peers’ viewpoints and provide your critical analysis.

The integrated reasoning section tests your ability to analyse data and information, and identify the particular data to solve specific problems. It has been designed to combine both quantitative and verbal skills as aspiring leaders need to be able to quickly grasp and make sense of large amounts of data in text, graphs, tables, emails, etc.

The quantitative reasoning section measures your ability to understand, analyse and resolve quantitative problems. These skills are useful during the MBA programme in subjects such as finance, accounting and managerial statistics, and essential in the world of business post-MBA.

The verbal reasoning section measures your ability to read and critically evaluate texts and arguments and correct written materials using Standard English. During the MBA programme, you will explore case studies and construct arguments, write and edit essays.

Do I need to complete the Analytical Writing Assessment and the Integrated Reasoning section?

While the scores from the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) and the Integrated Reasoning section are not attributed to your total GMAT score, they are an important aspect that the admissions panel will read and evaluate.

The AWA essays are the only written essays which the admissions panel receives which are written under test conditions. It allows them to assess the overall quality of your ideas and your ability to organise, develop and express those ideas within a timeframe.

You should also complete the Integrated Reasoning section, which measures your ability to evaluate information presented in multiple formats from multiple sources – skills you need to succeed in today’s technologically advanced, data-driven world.

How does the GMAT work?

As the GMAT is an adaptive test, the software will initially offer questions with average difficulty and progressively tailor the following questions to your current ability estimate. The GMAT software will assess your ability based on your responses to the questions administered; the questions get harder or easier depending on whether you answer correctly or not. Your score is not directly determined by how many questions you get right, but by how difficult the questions you get correct are.

The GMAT has 37 quantitative questions and 41 verbal questions. If you do not finish a test section, the GMAT software will estimate your ability based on fewer questions and adjust your score, typically resulting in lower scores. Therefore, answering each question on each section to finish the test on time is essential.

How do I prepare for the GMAT?

Preparing for the exam requires commitment, dedication and discipline. Students usually prepare with the help of a GMAT coach, online tools or using preparatory guides. There are also specific courses that students use, however, it is important to only use resources that are adequate for your level, or you will not achieve your target score. Students who score more than 600 spend at least 100 hours studying and preparing.

It is also important to note that the entire GMAT exam takes around three and a half hours, during which the ability of candidates to work under pressure and remain focused for a relatively long period of time is tested.

Some preparation strategies are:

  • Learn the most typical problems and answer types
  • Make sure to improve your weaknesses as well as strengthening your expertise
  • Set up a serious test-taking environment in your house, or other space, so that you can focus on the mock tests
  • Review all mistakes in the mock and read through the explanations
  • Maintain strong momentum from beginning to end as the final problems are equally as important

How does Cass receive my score?

Before you start the exam you can select up to five recipients for the results. Every school has its own unique GMAT code; to send your results to Cass please use 2C2 - R0 – 50. We will receive the results via an online system within 20 calendar days. You are also able to add a school at a later date by contacting GMAT directly.

If you have taken the exam and not achieved your target score, you may retake the GMAT exam once every 16 calendar days, but no more than five times in a rolling 12-month period and no more than eight times in total.