What is the GMAT?

GMAT is the Graduate Management Admissions Test and is constantly evaluated and validated by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC). The GMAC makes sure that the test avoids a bias in favor of native speakers. The three main areas that the GMAC can check for bias are:

  • Usage of vocabulary, idioms, and sentence structure
  • Usage of culturally loaded phrases
  • Usage of culturally offensive phrases (Ruder)

Is the GMAT Important?

How important is the score? GMAT is an effective tool at predicting academic outcomes in MBA programs, which makes it important. So, because of the GMAT’s effectiveness it is usually the first item that an admissions office will look at on your application.

Many factors will go into the acceptance or rejection of an application, but the GMAT score is ranked highest on the list. “Acceptance” doesn’t mean that you’re in the program, but they will continue to evaluate your application after seeing your GMAT scores.

How is the GMAT Scored?

The exam is scored based on different functional areas of thought processes. The score report will have the following five separate scaled scores:

  • a Quantitative score (on a 0-60 scale)
  • a Verbal score (on a 0-60 scale)
  • a Total (combined Quantitative/Verbal score (on a 200-800 scale))
  • an Integrated Reasoning score (on a 0-8 scale)
  • an Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) score (on a 0-6 scale)

Each one of these scores assesses different things about your potential abilities. The test calculates your score based on different algorithms. Most business schools (B-schools) will look at your Total Quantitative/Verbal score (on a 200-800 scale). This has the highest impact on an applicant’s potential admission to a B-school (Stewart). B-schools usually have a cut off threshold, and if you fall below that threshold then your application is rejected without looking at further factors. When looking at your application B-schools compare your score against other scores within a certain time frame and rank you accordingly. Since most B-schools only accept so many new graduate students a year they must only chose the highest ranking, thus the most likely to complete their new degree (Stewart).

Planning on taking the GMAT soon?

Whether you are planning on taking the GMAT, or have just finished taking it, there are a few things to consider. Always take a few pre-tests to determine a strategy for taking the GMAT. The pre-test can help you determine where you should do damage control or just cut your losses. Quick hint, if you feel that you did horrible you can always elect to cancel your score after you have completed the exam. If you feel like you did well, but think you could do better you can always retake the GMAT. Note that when you send your scores to a B-school they will get all your scores from past five years. How they determine what score to use is dependent on what their policies are. Some schools will just take your highest score and other schools will average your score in the respective section. (Stewart)

Have we learned anything?

So basically, we have learned that B-schools look at your GMAT score to determine if you qualify to be ranked in the overall application process. Your Quantitative/Verbal combined score is the most important score on your exam, but don’t discount the others as they can help boost your ranking percentile. Last but not least, make sure you are properly prepared for the test. Good luck!


Rudner, L. (2012, October 1). Behind the Scenes: Guarding Against Bias. Retrieved May 21, 2015, from http://www.mba.com/us/the-gmat-blog-hub/the-official-gmat-blog/2012/oct/behind-the-scenes-guarding-against-bias.aspx

Stewart, M. (2012). Applying to MBA Programs — How Important are GMAT Scores? Retrieved May 21, 2015, from http://www.west.net/~stewart/gmat/qa_1.htm

Schweitzer, K. (n.d.). How Important Is Your GMAT Score? Retrieved May 21, 2015, from http://businessmajors.about.com/od/takingthegmat/a/GMATScoreTips.htm


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