GMAT Frequently Asked Questions
The GMAT exam measures your command of basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, multi-source data analysis, and grammar. More importantly, it measures your ability to analyze and evaluate written material, think critically, and solve problems. The GMAT is first and foremost a test of your critical thinking skills. Knowing how to reason through and analyze information is the key to a great GMAT score.
The content on the GMAT is broken down into four scored test sections, two of which are scored separately, and two of which are scored separately but are also combined to generate your composite score:
- Analytical Writing Assessment
- Integrated Reasoning
GMAT test takers are able to choose the order in which they take GMAT test sections. You will choose your section order at the test center following the computer tutorial and just before you begin your test. There are three orders you will be able to choose from:
- Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning (IR), Quantitative, Verbal
- Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
- Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
The answer to "how hard is the GMAT?" is "it depends." If you haven't worked with math in some time, you may find the quantitative section challenging. If grammar isn't your strong suit, you may find the verbal section difficult. Remember that unfamiliar does not equal difficult. As you get to know the GMAT's content in your prep course, you'll also learn strategies for conquering the test.
How long you'll spend studying for the GMAT depends on where you start, what your target score is, and what your schedule is. Many students will study as many 100 total hours over 3 months. You'll want to study until you are consistently scoring in your goal range on full-length computer-adaptive practice tests. Make sure you allow enough time to learn new content and get plenty of realistic practice.
How you study for the GMAT depends on your goals, preferred study style, schedule, and more. The best way to study for the GMAT is to find a method that works for you, make a plan, and stick with it. You may want to study in a traditional classroom, live online, on your own, or even with a tutor. Your GMAT study plan should include reviewing basic content, as well as realistic, computer-adaptive practice.
GMAT scores fall between 200 and 800. This combines performance on the verbal and quantitative sections. The other scores are 0-6 for the analytical writing assessment, and 1-8 for the integrated reasoning section. Remember that the GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, or CAT. Your GMAT score will be determined by the number of questions you answered correctly, and their respective level of difficulty.
You can take the GMAT once every 16 calendar days, but no more than 5 times in a rolling 12-month period and no more than 8 times total lifetime. Even though you can cancel your GMAT exam and score, you should prepare for the exam so you only need to take it once. If you think you may need to test more than once, make sure to allow yourself enough time to meet application and round deadlines.
Kaplan's computer-adaptive practice tests (CATs) for the GMAT are constantly updated to match the GMAT test blueprint so you get the most realistic practice. You'll be able to select the order of your exam sections, just like on test day. Our GMAT CATs have also been updated to match the shorter test length announced in April 2018.