1-What is the GMAT exam? GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admissions Test. This formal exam is designed to test various aspects of a student's academic skills and grasp of the English language. Specifically, what is the GMAT test for? In most cases, it's used to determine a student's eligibility and readiness to enter a graduate business degree program. Universities may require a certain minimum score on the GMAT exam as a prerequisite for a Master of Business Administration or similar graduate degree program. Some employers take GMAT scores into account when assessing candidates for internships or full-time positions. Unlike some other graduate program assessment tests, such as the MCAT or LSAT, the GMAT doesn't measure a student's level of industry knowledge or specialized professional skills. Rather, it's designed to assess various essential soft skills that can lead to success in business school and the professional job market. This adaptive computer test focuses on determining a student's critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, logic, and proficiency with the English language, including verbal, reading, and writing skills. The exam is divided into four separate categories: a half-hour analytical writing assessment, a half-hour integrated reasoning section, a 75-minute quantitative reasoning section, and a 75-minute verbal reasoning section. Students may choose one of three options to determine the order in which to complete the sections. There is no official or preferred order. Instead, this flexibility is designed to give students the best exam experience by allowing them to tailor the experience somewhat based on their testing preferences and unique strengths. 2-Why do I need to take the GMAT? Success on the GMAT may require significant preparation along with a fee to sit the exam. It's not generally a required aspect of completing an undergraduate degree program. So, why is taking the GMAT exam important? Perhaps most importantly, this exam is used extensively by business schools all over the world as a standard admissions criterion. In fact, the GMAT score is a significant factor in about 90 percent of all business school admissions decisions. Additionally, the test's owner (Graduate Management Admission Council) performs continuous studies to determine the validity of the exam and ensure it serves as an accurate predictor of success in a business graduate degree program and a professional career path. Students who are serious about entering business school should plan on taking the test prior to applying so they can send their scores to the educational institutions they are considering. The benefits of taking the GMAT extend beyond increasing a student's chances of being accepted into the degree program of his or her choosing. The exam is specifically designed based on the standard aspects of graduate business school degree programs, so students who take it can gain an accurate picture of how their skills will hold up in such a program. It may help a student determine if he or she is ready to pursue a postgraduate business degree or if he or she needs more preparation time first. It can be an excellent way for non-native English speakers to ensure their language skills are ready to be competitive in the business world. Additionally, many employers also consider a candidate's GMAT score as an important factor when making hiring decisions. The exam is prominent throughout the world, and its standardized scoring system allows schools to make well-informed admissions decisions. A student earns a score on each of the four individual sections along with an all-encompassing total score. While the total score gives school admissions officials and hiring managers a quick and easy way to assess a student's skills, the four individual section scores provide additional data about the student's writing and reasoning abilities. Some school officials use both the total score and individual score sections when determining the makeup of each class of incoming business school students. 3-What kind of career can I expect with a business degree? Many students choose to take the GMAT in preparation for applying to business school. Earning a good score on the GMAT exam can open doors to top business graduate degree programs. It can also help a student understand what high-order skills are required to succeed in the business world, and provide an accurate assessment of his or her abilities with respect to the accepted industry standard. Once a student completes a business school degree program, such as an MBA, he or she can be eligible for a variety of career options in the diverse global business industry. Universities all over the world offer business graduate programs. Some focus on general upper-level business topics, such as management, planning, profitability, and performance improvement. Other programs include specialized courses related to specific industry subjects. Students may find degree specializations in areas such as finance, healthcare, education, research, or security. Career opportunities can vary based on the specifics of the degree program, but most students find that having a business degree qualifies them for upper-level positions, higher salaries, and career growth opportunities. They may also be more competitive in the job market compared to candidates who don't have an advanced business degree. Graduates may pursue careers as managers or executives in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, finance, technology, and healthcare. There may also be opportunities in government or nonprofit organizations; students may find jobs as directors, project managers, and strategic planners. Business school can prepare students to be entrepreneurs as well, giving them the knowledge and skills to successfully start and run a company. Large companies often have positions for private consultants to work on a contract basis to improve the overall structure and performance of the organization, and business school graduates may find temporary or long-term work as consultants. Students may decide to remain in the academic sector, pursuing additional education in the form of a doctoral degree or finding positions as educators at the undergraduate or postgraduate level. 4-When should I take the GMAT? You may be wondering: When should you take the GMAT in college? In general, you can find an opportunity to take the GMAT at any time during your education at a college or university. Unlike several other graduate-school exams, such as the LSAT, the GMAT is offered at all times of the year. Once you find a testing center in your location, you can call to schedule an appointment. Additionally, students may take the exam up to five times in a single year as long as there are at least 16 days in between each attempt. Keep in mind that universities may have access to all your scores if you take the exam multiple times. Even though you can take the GMAT at any time, you may want to consider when in your academic career is the most opportune time to take the exam. While there is no formal educational requirement, it is generally ideal to take the exam after you have had adequate time to prepare so you have the best chance of achieving a high score and avoiding the time and expense of re-taking the test. If you are planning to use your GMAT score as part of your application materials to business school, find out the application deadline for your chosen school and ensure there is enough time before that to complete the GMAT. For example, the Round 1 application deadline for many universities is in September, so you would need to have your exam completed by then. However, you may not want to be preparing for your exam while you are completing the other application materials, so you may want to take the exam earlier. If you take the GMAT several months in advance, you can have enough time to prepare for the test and have a buffer period in which to take the exam again if necessary. Many experts recommend taking the test no later than two months before you intend to apply to business school. The good news is that your GMAT score is valid for five years, so you can take it earlier if you want. Because the exam doesn't focus on specific business knowledge, you don't have to wait until you have completed certain undergraduate courses. While there is no minimum age requirement, students who are legally considered minors may be required to submit a parental consent form. 5-Where to take the GMAT? As you are preparing to take the GMAT exam, you may be wondering where you have to go to sit the test. Fortunately, there are numerous testing centers all around the world, so you should be able to find one of the more than 600 worldwide locations nearby. Each location should have numerous test days throughout the year, and you can call or use an online form to register for any date that has available seats. How do you find locations to take the GMAT exam? An internet search is the easiest way. You can find informational websites that show you testing centers based on your address, postal code or general location. You may be able to narrow your search by time of year or test dates with open seats. If you are a military member or government civilian with access to a military base, you may be able to register for an exam at a testing center located on the base. There are also exam opportunities designed to accommodate students with disabilities, including sensory, attention, cognitive, and psychological conditions. If you believe your disability prevents you from taking the test under standard conditions, you may apply for an accommodation decision through a special process. 6-How much does it cost to take the GMAT? The cost to take the GMAT exam can vary depending on your location and other factors. There is the standard registration fee to consider, which applies each time you take the exam. Under normal circumstances, there is no discount available for students who are taking the test multiple times. Some countries also charge tax on the registration fee. Additionally, you may need to factor in the transportation costs to get to the testing center, such as gas, bus or taxi fare, or overnight lodging. If you end up needing to reschedule your examination date, you may have to pay an additional fee, the amount of which can vary depending on how far from the exam date you initiate the rescheduling process. If you do have to cancel your registered exam date, you may have to forfeit some portion of the initial registration fee. However, if you cancel within 24 hours of the test time or simply do not show up, you may not be entitled to any sort of refund of the exam fee. While five copies of your official score report for educational institutions are included in the exam fee, you may purchase additional reports for an extra cost. If you take the exam multiple times, each score could be available for universities and employers to view, so you may want to cancel your scores. However, if you decide later you want to reinstate them, you will probably be charged an additional fee. Along with the actual cost of taking the exam, you may also need to spend some money on preparation materials, such as study guides, practice tests, preparation software programs, or private tutoring. The cost of preparation materials can vary widely. 7-How do I register for the GMAT? When you're ready to schedule your exam date, there are several ways to do it. First, you'll need to find dates and nearby locations of test centers. In most countries, the GMAT is offered numerous times per year at multiple places, so you should be able to find locations fairly easily. There are online sites that allow you to search for local test locations with available seats, and most of these sites also make it easy to register today once you find the best location. You may find it easiest to register for the exam online, but there are also ways to register over the phone. Some registration options may incur additional fees. When you register for the GMAT, you agree to abide by the rules and conditions in the GMAT Handbook. If you are registering for a testing location on a military base, you must ensure you are able to access the base using the identification documents required by base security. There may be additional documents or forms required during registration if you are applying for disability accommodation. You will probably be required to submit official documentation of your condition from a medical provider or other qualified party. 8-What do I need to bring to the GMAT? Once you've studied for the GMAT and registered for an exam date at a location close by, it's time to prepare for the actual test day. Make sure you know how to get to the testing center and leave enough time to account for traffic, weather, and public transportation schedules or delays. Arriving after the examination start time may have negative results, as you could be denied entrance and lose your registration fee. It's a good idea to plan on arriving at least half an hour before the test begins. Make sure to bring the correct identification materials, such as a government-issued I.D. You should check ahead of time with your testing location to understand what types of identification are acceptable. You may also be required to bring your appointment confirmation letter and a list of schools to which you want to send your scores. Once you arrive at the testing center, you will probably need to follow a check-in procedure that may require additional security measures, such as digital photographs, signatures, and bio-identification processes. Many centers use palm-line scanners to ensure security, and you may have to scan your hand every time you enter the testing room, including after scheduled breaks. You may be reminded of the testing rules you must follow, and these can differ depending on the country in which you are taking the exam. During the exam, you may not have any contact with outside persons, such as friends or family members. In most centers, guests are not allowed to remain in the lobby or building where the test is given. You will probably be required to store purses and backpacks, as no testing aides or personal items, such as mobile phones, notes, cameras, books, or pagers, are allowed. The test is administered on a computer, usually at a private workstation. You may have access to noteboards and writing utensils provided by the test administrators, though you are not allowed to take these materials outside the testing room. You may want to bring food and water for use during the breaks. 9-How to prepare for the GMAT? Taking the GMAT exam can be an excellent first step toward earning a graduate business degree and succeeding in the professional world. There are several important things to do to prepare for the exam to give you the best chance of scoring well. One of the most important things to remember is that the test is only available in English. If you are not a native speaker, it's essential to improve your language skills as much as possible before attempting the exam. The test includes both reading and writing assessments, so you may find it useful to improve your English with help from a professional instructor or tutor. Along with English skills, the GMAT assesses four unique areas: verbal reasoning, integrated reasoning, analytical writing, and quantitative reasoning. You can improve these skills through practice, study, and preparation. There is a wide variety of study and preparation materials and methods, so it's a good idea to look at the available options and choose the ones that work best with your schedule and learning style. You may want to use a combination of study guides, formal preparation courses, online resources, and private instruction from qualified professionals. Many students also benefit from taking practice tests. These can allow you to get a feel for the format of the exam, the type of questions, and the testing environment, including how the computer adaptive testing system works. Improving your time management, study skills, and critical thinking can also be extremely helpful as you prepare for the exam. There is a writing portion as well, so you may want to take the time to answer sample essay questions. Many experts recommend allowing yourself three to four months to prepare for the GMAT. During this time, you may want to take a preparatory course, study online materials and tips, and get used to the testing procedures with practice exams. You could combine this preparation with related tasks, such as working on your business school applications and improving your planning, organizational, reading comprehension, and memorization skills. It's essential to prepare for the day of the exam as well. The GMAT exam takes 3.5 hours, but you may want to allow at least four hours of time at the testing center. There are optional breaks during the exam, and you will need time to get through the sign-in procedures as well. 10-Can I take the GMAT online? Opportunities for online learning have dramatically increased as technology has advanced. In fact, you may be able to complete many of your undergraduate and business school courses online. Currently, however, you are not allowed to take the GMAT online. While you may register for the exam over a website and find numerous preparation materials online, you still need to physically attend a testing center to complete the exam. The GMAT is designed to be fair for everyone who takes it and to guard against bias as much as possible. Because of this, the test is tightly controlled to guarantee verifiable results and reduce the possibility of cheating. An online format doesn't allow for this level of security, so you must go to a physical testing location to prove your identity and ensure your test results are actually yours. The controlled environment of a testing center also helps certify every student has a similar experience. That way, university admissions officials and hiring managers can be confident that GMAT scores accurately reflect a candidate's abilities in comparison with everyone else who has taken the exam.