People often stop me in the streets to ask Hey Mukul, what’s this GMAT thingy all about? Sometimes I can’t even walk outside my house without somebody standing there with a giant neon sign that blinks “WHAT IS GMAT”? Instead of answering every individual separately and so that you can save your money on those neon signs, I decided to write this article that would answer that simple yet complex question. My special thanks to Sir Douglas Adams, IIMs, my Wife and well…Destiny.

The first step

What is the GMAT?

The Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT) is a standardized assessment—delivered in English—that helps business schools assess the qualifications of applicants for advanced study in business and management. Schools use the test as one predictor of academic performance in an MBA program or in other graduate management programs. To add to this, most MBA schools require a GMAT.

How does GMAT look like?

The GMAT exam consists of three main parts, the Analytical Writing Assessment section, the Quantitative section, and the Verbal section.

GMAT Exam Format

No. of Questions
Time Allowed
Score Details
60 min

•Analysis of an Issue (30 min., 1 topic)

•Analysis of an Argument (30 min., 1 topic)

75 min

•Problem Solving (23-24 questions)

•Data Sufficiency (13-14 questions) Total number of questions: 37

0 – 60
75 min

•Critical Reasoning (14-15 questions)

•Sentence Correction (14-15 questions)

•Reading Comprehension

(4 passages, 12-14 questions) Total number of questions: 41

0 – 60
Total Time
4 hours (approx.)
200 – 800

Hey! What is CAT? I hear a lot about it (mostly myths).

Its not witchcraft!! It means that its a Computer Adaptive Test. Quantitative and Verbal sections consist of multiple-choice questions delivered in a computer-adaptive format. Questions in these sections are dynamically selected as you take the test; the multiple-choice questions will adjust to your ability level, and your test will be unique.

For each multiple-choice section of the GMAT exam, there is a large pool of potential questions ranging from a low to high level of difficulty. Each section of the test starts with a question of moderate difficulty. If you answer the first question correctly, the computer will usually give you a harder question. If you answer the first question incorrectly, your next question will be easier. This process will continue until you complete the section, at which point the computer will have an accurate assessment of your ability level in that subject area.

In a computer-adaptive test, only one question at a time is presented. Because the computer scores each question before selecting the next one, you may not skip, return to, or change your responses to previous questions.


Your score is determined by:

  1. the number of questions you answer,
  2. whether you answer the questions correctly or incorrectly, and
  3. the level of difficulty and other statistical characteristics of each question.

You need only minimal computer skills to complete the GMAT exam. Familiarize yourself with the mechanics of taking a computer-adaptive test by using the GMAT Tutorials that is included with the free GMATPrep® Software. The tutorials cover such topics as:

  • using a mouse
  • entering responses
  • moving on to the next question
  • using the word processor
  • accessing the Help function

What does it cost to take the GMAT?

The current fee to register for the GMAT is $250 (USD). If a test appointment is cancelled at least seven calendar days prior to the scheduled appointment, a partial refund of $80 (USD) is issued. The test fee of $250 includes the release of your score report to up to five business schools. Additional score reports can be requested for an additional cost of $25 per school.

How to report scores to the schools?

Five score reports are free. The names of these schools are supposed to be filled in before the test. You just need to know which schools you wan to apply to. The procedure is simple. You can search the schools and use the drop downs to populate the names. You DON’T have to memorize the codes!! And yes, it needs to be filled in before you take the test. So you should apply to 2 dream schools. 2 feasible schools and 1 safe school, so that you don’t waste that freebie.

When should I take the GMAT?

Okay! So obviously there’s an ideal scenario and there’s a not so ideal scenario. Strive to take the GMAT about a year prior to your expected entrance into Business School. You will have plenty of time to work on your application process, which is 20 times tougher than taking the GMAT.

Also let’s say you screwed up the first time, you cannot reschedule it within one calendar month. So keep that buffer period as well. Also your score comes only after 20 days…so that’s also a consideration. At a minimum, you want to take the GMAT a month before the application deadline. It will take anywhere from two to four weeks to get your official score, although you will get an unofficial score immediately after you take the test. You can arrange for your test score to be sent directly to you and up to 5 schools in which you are applying. If you take the test close to an application deadline, you may want to include the unofficial score report with your application.

Last but not the least, take the GMAT only when you have prepared and are confident that you’ll rock.

Where can I take the GMAT exam?

The GMAT exam is delivered in testing centers around the world. Find a test center.

What schools use GMAT scores?

Over 1900 graduate business schools around the world use GMAT scores as a part their admissions process. GMAT using schools here.

How do I schedule a GMAT appointment?

Schedule a GMAT appointment by logging on to the GMAC official site.

GMATing Top Picks!


  1. Hi Mukul,

    I started the prep couple of months back. From the experience you got through the admission process,what do you think, how much weight is given to the Gmat score? what else they look in a resume?


    • In my experience, GMAT is more like a barrier. Once you have crossed their expectation level on the amah, it doesn’t really matter. After that other things become the deciding factor. A poor application will never get you anywhere. Rule of thumb, try to get a score around the schools median score. +/- 20-30 is fine. So as long as you are above that, the whole thing depends on your profile/application. Think of it as a minimum age limit. But yes, 720+ is a good score, with which you can apply to any top B- school.

  2. Hi Mukul,

    The gmatclub tests are open for next 3 days(i.e. Fri, Sat and Sun starting from PST) for everyone. You can inform the other members of your blog as well 🙂


  3. Hey Mukul
    I am planning to give my GMAT sometime early next year. I however wanna join a school only in fall 2013.
    Is it fine if I go ahead giving the test without sending my score to the 5 schools.?? And save my score for fall 2013 intake?

    • You cannot save the scores. But even if you send it now, it will be valid for fall 2013. I think most schools keep the record for one admission yr. and more even maybe. So if you are sure of appying to certain schools, go ahead use the free reporting.

  4. Hi Mukul! you blog is great and your story is extremely inspiring :)… I’m starting to study and wanted to have a reference… In your perspective, how many efective GMAT study hours would you recommend? I know it varies a lot, but I just wanted to have a benchmark 🙂

    • Dude the entire website talks about these things. Its 3-4 hrs daily. I would suggest reading the website properly.


      • thanks weird Indian creep!

        • wow! thanks.

          • AnotGio,neorgia, Ucrânia e Chechênia pós- comunismo ou antes?Agora, reconheçamos, nenhuma etnia chega “no chinelo” dos judeus. Eles estão em todas. Até povos reconhecidamente cultos e fortes como alemães, russos, inglêses, americanos, franceses, etc. são verdadeiros carneirinhos. A influência vem do cérebro.[]

          • Querida Bruna,Este vestido faz muito sucesso, e não é pra menos!! Ele é perfeito! Infelizmente não tenho este contato, e fico na torcida para que consiga.Obrigada pelo carinho, bjsKarin.

          • That’s a skillful answer to a difficult question

  5. hii mukul
    i gave my GMAT on 10th October 2011..and got a score of 250.
    i gave it without any sort of practice.
    i want to give it again.
    if i get a good score will my previous score be a hurdle ..
    do reply me for the same..

    • hey man, I am sorry to hear about you GMAT debacle. Anyway, all is not lost. obviously you can crack it the second time around. But make sure you STUDY. taking it without studying doesn’t make any sense to me. Thats what the mock tests are for.

      The past score is going to be a hurdle, obviously. But theres not much you can do about it at this point. So its a moot point, right? So better just focus your energy on studying and preparing rather than thinking about all this.


  6. Hi Mukul,
    I am a B.Sc. Math Hons. final year student. I know its mad to dream of a business schhol in last year of your graduation. Everybody tells me that. But I want to do be a leading business-woman one day and want to do my MBA just after my graduation.
    To be more precise,
    I have a back up plan as well. I will go for GMAT and GRE subject test and go for an integrated Ph.D from US.

    But as you said the SCORE REPORT SHALL BE SENT only to 5 SCHOOLS. I want to apply for 5 business schools and 5 other universities(for doctorate in maths) and use my GMAT score report for all of them. IS IT POSSIBLE?

    Plz reply ASAP

  7. Hi Mukul Kumar,
    I am still in preparing phase of GMAT..My mock test scores of Gmatprep are above 750..I hope,I can crack the GMAT..
    But I was intimidating about the Tuition fee of MBA from TopBschools…How to overcome this?? bcaz I dont want to burden my parents
    Waiting for your Valuable Tips

  8. hey mukul,

  9. im in my 3rd yr b.e.should i start going 4 gmat classes now?bcuz i heard v need work experience to give gmat?is it so?plz help


  10. Hi,Im from odisha,india a student of btech 2nd yr.Brother m too desperate to do mymba in London business school & im working hard for it from now. But the prob is from many sites I came to know it’ll cost 40-50lakhs to domba in LSB. My father’s annual income is 2lakh and at most he can afford at most 40-50thousand pocket money for me in a month.So can u tel me in detail how uch fees needed for LSB,how much scholarship can I get, how much money I need for living in London for 1month etc etc. As far as iknow we can do part tym job n got some scholarship fees…so including all that how much money I’ve to spent there,brother pls replyto this question.
    Bcz if I cant afford that much then I’ll quit gmat prep and start for cat.waiting for ur reply pls reply soon..!!

  11. This is Swati Mukherjee from India want u to suggest me regarding MBA from USA business school.

    I want to tell my career in brief i.e I have done BTech in Information technology in 2005..then worked as a lecturer in a private Engineering college..then I have done MTECH in Information technology in 2010 then worked with IBM India Pvt Ltd for last 4 years.I am willing to do MBA from USA business school.Is it a right direction of my career?..I have leadership power and my communication is good.Would you suggest me regarding this?

  12. Hello Mukul,

    Nice blog;Infact a thorough approach to crack gmat.


  13. Hey Mukul,
    Please update the GMAT test format.


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