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27 May 2024

7 minutes read

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT Exam): A Complete Guide

Key Takeaways

  • The GMAT evaluates core skills required for top MBA/management programs; prepare thoroughly using official resources.
  • Explore scholarships and fellowships offered by business schools to offset GMAT and graduate degree costs.
  • Beyond scores, showcase a well-rounded profile with academics, experience, leadership, and program fit.
  • Connect with online GMAT communities for insights, motivation, and peer support during your preparation journey.

We understand, that applying for an MBA or graduate management program can be hard (Too hard), with endless applications, essays, and the perfect letters of recommendation. But the biggest challenge is the GMAT exam – a standardized test designed to assess verbal, quantitative, analytical writing, and reasoning skills. Your GMAT score is a crucial factor in gaining admission to top US universities. Cracking this test can seem like a battle for many applicants.

Have you been also wondering how to clear the GMAT and secure your spot in a prestigious graduate management program? The key lies in truly understanding the GMAT exam sections – Analytical Writing Assessment, Verbal section, and Quantitative section – and preparing strategically with official GMAT test prep resources. With a solid GMAT study plan, you can master the test’s unique question types, and time management strategies for GMAT, and beat the competition. According to GMAC, your GMAT score is valid for five years, allowing you multiple test attempts every 16 calendar days to achieve your desired total GMAT score.

We will cover:

  • What Exactly GMAT is
  • GRE vs GMAT
  • GMAT Eligibility Score
  • Possible Scholarships

And many more things – stick till the end.

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What is GMAT?


The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is primarily a computer adaptive test designed to measure a test taker’s analytical, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills for admission to graduate business programs. GMAT is administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) and accepted by many top business schools entrance exams worldwide as requirements.

The GMAT consists of four sections that evaluate various aspects of a candidate’s abilities through different question types:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Integrated Reasoning
  • Quantitative Section
  • GMAT Verbal Section

While the new GMAT focuses on assessing skills for MBA programs, it is also accepted by many other graduate programs in areas like finance, management, and business analytics. The GMAT total score ranges from 200 to 800, with most competitive programs seeking scores between 430 and 670. GMAT test takers can register for the GMAT online and have the option to take the exam at a test centre or opt for the online GMAT version from the comfort of their homes. 

GMAC recommends that you must prepare for the exam thoroughly using official GMAT prep material to familiarize themselves with the current GMAT format, questions, and time management strategies to achieve your desired overall GMAT score.

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How Is the GMAT Exam Different From the GRE?

The GMAT and GRE are both standardized tests used in admission for graduate schools, but there are differences in what they test and their goals. The GMAT – Graduate Management Admission Test – has been specifically developed to enable graduate management courses to evaluate potential students for their verbal, mathematics, analytical writing, and reasoning skills that are specifically relevant to MBA and several other management courses.

It is to be noted that the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is a general examination that tests skills necessary for getting admitted into different types of master’s and doctoral programs across the spectrums of sciences, humanities, master’s in engineering in US, etc.

The Integrated Reasoning section, which the high GMAT score provides, essentially measures data analysis gathered from various sources, whereas the GRE score lacks any equivalent section. The quantitative section of the GMAT allows the use of a simple built-in calculator whereas the use of a calculator is not permitted in the GRE.

Also noteworthy is the fact that the GMAT is a computerized test that adapts the level of the questions to the performance given by the examinee in contrast to the GRE which comes with set segments. Most institutions accept both tests but some institutions have particular scores or favour the GMAT when prospective students are seeking admission into MBA programs. Finally, the choice depends on the selected graduate program and the university one prefers to attend.

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What Is The GMAT Score Eligibility?

When it comes to GMAT score eligibility, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, as it varies depending on the specific graduate business program and institution. However, here are some general guidelines:

The GMAT is primarily a computer-adaptive standardized test designed to measure a test taker’s skills crucial for success in many graduate programs in management. While a good GMAT score total ranges from 400 to 800, most competitive MBA programs typically look for minimum GMAT scores between 650 and 750. Many top-tier business schools may even expect scores above 700 from applicants.

The Graduate Management Admission Council recommends that test students prepare thoroughly using official GMAT prep material to familiarize themselves with the current GMAT format, test questions, and time management strategies. A strong performance on the GMAT’s distinct sections – GMAT AWA, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Critical Reasoning and Verbal – can significantly boost one’s chances of admission.


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Are there any GMAT Scholarships?

Today, there are several GMAT scholarships available to help offset the costs associated with taking the GMAT exam and pursuing an MBA in US or other graduate management degree. Here are some notable GMAT scholarships:

Kellogg Scholarship

The scholarship is recognizing outstanding Indian students for the Kellogg MBA program.

  • Offered by: Kellogg School of Management
  • Details: The Kellogg Scholarship is a prestigious award that recognizes outstanding academic achievements, leadership qualities, and a strong GMAT score. It aims to support Indian students pursuing an MBA abroad at Northwestern University. Recipients of this scholarship demonstrate exceptional potential for making a positive impact in the business world.

Tahir Fellowship

Supporting Indian changemakers for the Berkeley Haas MBA.

  • Offered by: UC Berkeley Haas School of Management
  • Details: The Tahir Fellowship is designed to support Indian students with exceptional leadership skills and a commitment to social impact. This fellowship is awarded based on a combination of academic excellence, GMAT scores, and a compelling vision for creating positive change in society through business.
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George J. Stigler Fellowship

Quantify your professional achievements and highlight how they’ve prepared you for Chicago Booth’s rigorous curriculum.

  • Offered by: Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Details: The George J. Stigler Fellowship is a prestigious award that recognizes academic excellence, professional achievements, and a strong GMAT score. This fellowship aims to attract top Indian talent to the Chicago Booth MBA program and provides financial support to deserving candidates.

B.K. Birla MBA Scholarship

Demonstrate a global mindset and outline your post-MBA goals for creating a positive business impact.

  • Offered by: London Business School
  • Details: The B.K. Birla MBA Scholarship is a merit-based award that supports Indian students with exceptional academic records and leadership potential. This scholarship is awarded to candidates who demonstrate a strong commitment to making a positive impact in the business world and have achieved a high GMAT score.

Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship

Highlight how your unique experiences and perspectives will contribute to Stanford’s diverse MBA cohort.

  • Offered by: Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Details: The Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship is a prestigious award that supports Indian students with exceptional leadership qualities, academic achievements, and a strong GMAT score. This fellowship aims to nurture future business leaders who will drive positive change in their communities and beyond.

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Top GMAT Accepting Indian Business Schools for MBA

gmat 1
college girl working with laptop after lessons. rest education and relax concept.

The following top business schools in India accept GMAT scores for admission to their MBA programs. While some require work experience, others accept freshers as well. The average GMAT scores in India range from 650 to 708 for these programs.

Here are the top GMAT-accepting business schools in India for MBA programs:

One-Year MBA Programs

  1. Indian School of Business (ISB) – Hyderabad and Mohali campuses
    • Post Graduate Program in Management (PGP)
    • Average GMAT: 705-708
    • Average work experience: 4 years
    • Tuition: INR 25,00,000
  2. IIM Ahmedabad – PGPX
  3. IIM Bangalore – Executive Post Graduate Program (EPGP)
  4. IIM Calcutta – MBA for Executives (MBA-Ex)
  5. XLRI Jamshedpur – PGDM (General Management)
  6. SP Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR), Mumbai – PGPM
  7. IIM Indore – EPGP

Two-Year MBA Programs

  1. SP Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR), Mumbai
  2. Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai and Gurgaon
  3. Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon
  4. International Management Institute (IMI), New Delhi)
  5. Goa Institute of Management (GIM)
  6. Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research (WeSchool), Mumbai and Bengaluru
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Pursuing an MBA or graduate management degree is a significant investment in your future. While the GMAT exam can be challenging, it is a crucial stepping stone towards your dream business school. By understanding the test format, developing a strategic preparation plan, and leveraging available resources and scholarships, you can conquer the GMAT and unlock doors to prestigious programs worldwide.

Remember, your GMAT journey is not just about achieving a high score; it’s also about honing your analytical, reasoning, and time management skills – invaluable assets for your future career success. Embrace the process, stay motivated, and let your unique strengths shine through on test day.

As you start your GMAT preparation, we recommend you consider joining online forums or study groups. Engaging with fellow test-takers can provide invaluable insights, motivation, and a supportive community to share your experiences and learn from others on a similar journey.

Master the GMAT and pave your way to MBA excellence with Ambitio. Our platform offers in-depth study materials, practice questions, and tailored feedback, focusing on the areas you need to strengthen to boost your score and secure your place at a top business school.


Why is the GMAT the preferred test for most business schools?

The GMAT is specifically designed to assess skills relevant to business and management programs, such as critical thinking, analytical writing, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning. Business schools value the GMAT as a predictor of academic success in their programs.

How does the GRE compare to the GMAT for business school applications?

While some business schools accept GRE scores, the GMAT is still the preferred test for many MBA programs. The GMAT focuses more on quantitative and analytical skills, which are crucial for success in business school.

When should I take the GMAT in relation to my business school application timeline?

It is recommended to take the GMAT at least 2-3 months before your application deadlines to allow time for retakes if needed. This ensures that your scores are available when you submit your applications.

How many practice tests should I take before the GMAT exam?

It is advisable to take several practice tests to familiarize yourself with the format, timing, and types of questions on the GMAT. Most test prep experts recommend taking at least 4-6 full-length practice tests before the actual exam.

What factors can cause variation between practice test scores and real GMAT scores?

Factors such as test-day nerves, timing issues, and variations in difficulty level between practice tests and the actual exam can lead to score discrepancies. It’s essential to simulate test conditions as closely as possible during practice.

What is the significance of the GMAT score in MBA admissions?

The GMAT score is an important component of your MBA application, along with your academic record, work experience, essays, and recommendations. A high GMAT score can strengthen your application and demonstrate your readiness for the academic rigors of an MBA program.

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