The GMAT (which stands for Graduate Management Admission Test according to ABBREVIATIONFINDER) is a globally standardized test that tests the suitability for postgraduate master’s courses in business administration faculties (“Graduate School of Business”). More than 1,500 public and private universities and colleges, especially in the USA and Great Britain, see this test as an important admission criterion for further studies (“graduate”), for example for the “Master of Business Administration” (MBA).
Since final grades are not internationally comparable, the GMAT score, like the European Framework of Reference for Languages, represents an objective selection criterion and has established itself in recent years as the most important test for admission to master’s courses. The test is also becoming increasingly important in Germany (e.g. for the Master of Management at the University of Mannheim). The test is administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) , a nonprofit organization behind numerous business schools.
Structure of the GMAT
The GMAT is held entirely in English , but unlike the TOEFL , IELTS or TOEIC, it is not a pure language test . In addition to the ability of the candidate to solve verbal and mathematical problems, the ability to work under considerable time pressure, as will later also be required in a management career, is tested.
The exam currently consists of an essay (“Analytical Writing Assessment Section”), a questionnaire on the interpretation of data sources (“Integrated Reasoning Section”) and two multiple-choice questionnaires (“Quant Section” / “Verbal Section”). 30 minutes are available for the essay and the interpretation of data sources. The last two questionnaires have to be completed in 75 minutes each. The first questionnaire tests mathematical, logical and quantitative skills, while the second questionnaire tests linguistic-analytical skills, English grammar and reading comprehension of the participant.
In many countries the GMAT is already carried out as a computer-based test . This means that the entire test, which lasts almost 4 hours, is completed on a computer at a specially set up test center.
GMAT Score – What do the scores mean?
The test procedure determines the language level of the test participants, the so-called “score”. The score is divided into 2 different ratings:
AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment)
The AWA score is formed from the evaluation of the two essays directly on the computer and by one or two human examiners. The score is given on a scale from 0 to 6 in half points. Although this result is shown in the results report, it does not currently contribute to the overall result.
Total Scaled Score / Total Percentile
The overall result is calculated from the result of the quantitative and the verbal part and is given on a uniform scale from 200 to 800 points (Total Scaled Score) and often also in percentages from 1 to 99 (Total Percentile). However, there is currently no reliable basis for transferring the GMAT points into the system of the Common European Framework of Reference . Thus, the results of the GMAT cannot be compared with the results of the other English language certificates .
The average GMAT participant achieved a point value of 500 to 550 points (this corresponds to 40 to 60 percent) within the last few years. Above-average scores achieved by students from many well-known universities are between 650 and 700 points. A nearly perfect result of 98 percent, or more than 740 points, is rare. The international ranking of MBA programs is essentially based on the average GMAT result of the admitted students. Nevertheless, many MBA programs depend on applicants with an above-average GMAT score in order to improve their average and therefore award specific scholarships to “top GMAT scorers”.
If a participant is dissatisfied with his test result, the exam can be repeated several times, but no earlier than 31 days after the last attempt in each case. In the theoretical sense, the number of repetitions is not limited, but the test is subject to a charge each time and the last 5 points achieved are transmitted to the university so that the university can find out whether a positive development can be recognized.
Participation in the GMAT test costs around US $ 250; registration takes place centrally on the MBA website . The exams are taken in the test centers identified there, and the result of the multiple-choice questions is transmitted directly.
Tips for preparing for the GMAT
Because of the test procedure and the high time pressure, the graduate management admission test is considered difficult and unfamiliar for the majority of European students, despite the rather limited examined content . Special expertise is not expected, but the test requires a correspondingly thorough preparation. In general, the following applies : Those who prepare better for the test will also achieve a higher number of points. As the competition for high GMAT scores increases annually, preparation has become more important than ever.
First of all, it is important to get some initial information about the test and the test procedure. The TOEFL test can be seen as a warm-up to brush up on English grammar and prepare for the linguistic part. The work “The Official Guide for GMAT Review” contains exercises that have to be worked through. It comes from the makers of the test. The Powerprep software, which can be downloaded free of charge, also comes from the makers of the test. It serves to get used to the test interface and the time load. For participants who do not like self-study, preparation courses are helpful in order to exchange ideas with other participants and receive tips from the team leaders.