What is the GMAT exam?

The Graduate Management Admission Test, the GMAT, is the entrance exam used worldwide by the best MBA programs. It may be preferred by MSc in Finance, MSc in Management, or MSc in Economics programs as well. The exam score is valid for five years, and you can get your score sent to your chosen universities anytime within these five years.

The exam format is CAT, which means it is a computer adaptive test. You have to take it on a computer and not on paper. It is adaptive because you will see only one question at a time on the computer screen, and if you give the right answer to that question, then the next question becomes harder, whereas a wrong answer would result in an easier subsequent question. Naturally, your goal is to give the right answer, but this will have a serious consequence: Soon you will get questions so difficult that answering them will require very intensive thinking from you at the top level of your knowledge and preparedness. In short, the exam becomes quite difficult, even if you are very well prepared. Missing a question will punish you twice. You will have fewer good answers, and while the question after the missed one will be easier, that easier question won’t raise your score as much as a harder question would. The final difficulty makes it almost impossible to answer every question right, so you should aim at answering as many as you can correctly while trying to avoid any mistakes on the easier questions.

Since it is administered on a computer, the GMAT exam can be taken almost any weekday at authorized test centers. There are such test centers in the largest cities of many countries, and it is possible to take the GMAT exam in Budapest. After registration at mba.com, you can manage the date and the location of your exam, and you can pay the exam fees too.

What are the sections and question types of the GMAT exam?

The exam has three sections, with optional 8-minute breaks between them. There are some limited options to select the exam’s section order.

During the Quantitative Section you will have to answer 31 math questions in 62 minutes without using a calculator. You will be provided with a marker and some laminated pages at the test center. Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency question types will appear in mixed order. PS questions require that you solve them conventionally and select the right answer. DS questions usually do not require conventional solutions, because in this question type, you only have to answer whether the question is solvable or not, considering two additional statements that complement the question. You have to see this question type if you would like to imagine it better. One difficulty of the DS questions is that they are sometimes unsolvable with the given conditions, but realizing this may not be easy within a few minutes.

During the Verbal Section you will have to answer 36 questions in 65 minutes. Three question types will appear in mixed order. Reading Comprehension questions require that you answer some questions in connection with a long passage. Critical Reasoning questions require that you read and comprehend a short text and answer a question about it, using logical thinking. Finally, Sentence Correction questions test your knowledge of written English.

The combined results of the Quantitative and the Verbal Sections give the most important score, with a maximum value of 800 points. The score is also given with a percentile value, which is generally used for entrance exams in many countries. The percentile value expresses your score relative to results of the other examinees.

During the IR and AWA Section, in 60 minutes, you have to answer 12 Integrated Reasoning questions in connection with a text, a graph, or a table, while the Analytical Writing Assessment requires that you write an essay.

The IR Section is scored with a maximum of 8 points, while the AWA Section is scored with a maximum of 6 points, and both sections are independent from the previously mentioned main score.

Where can you try the different question types of the GMAT exam?

After registration at mba.com, you are free to access the online GMAT Official Prep platform that contains 90 practice questions along with 2 complete exams providing an experience very similar to that on the real exam. I recommend that you take these two exams only in the late phase of your exam preparation, because there are very few complete official adaptive tests available.