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What’s the GMAT?

For years, only the GMAT (general management admission test) has been accepted at most business schools, but the GRE revised General Test is now available as a second option. Not all schools accept the latter, though, so students need to make an informed decision if going for the GRE instead of the GMAT test.


Picture: Robert Kneschke / fotolia

The GMAT is without doubt a very popular test with many schools. It concentrates on reasoning rather than rote learning and it is widely accepted that its outcome is a good measure if someone will be successful in their MBA studies and later on as manager and executive. People that struggle with reasoning however might do better in the GRE test and therefore need to research well upfront if this test might be accepted at their business schools of choice.

For both tests it’s important:

To know your basics
To manage time
To aim for accuracy
Not to panic!

The test itself is a 3.5 hour exam which consists of four sections: The verbal, quantitative and analytical section and integrated reasoning.


In the verbal section students have to answer 41 questions within 75 minutes. Reading and comprehending skills, identifying wrong grammar or language, sentence correction, and critical reasoning will be tested.


The quantitative section consists of 37 questions, to be completed in 75 minutes and tests students’ ability to analyse data and draw reasonably accurate conclusions from the same: Problem solving, solving quantitative problems, interpreting graphic data are important and for this students need to brush up on arithmetic, elementary algebra, and common geometry concepts.


The analytical writing assessment examines writing skills, critical assessment, and expression in the English language. But to produce an essay within 30 minutes is no easy task. It is essential to structure and organise your text well and to analyse a topic critically in a short timeframe. There is no need to “study” certain topics upfront.


The integrated reasoning section tests critical assessment and reasoning abilities. There are twelve questions that afford students to assess tables, charts or plain words and draw conclusions within 30 minutes.

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