GMAT Study Plan

GMAT Study Plan
Image credit: Pixabay

Before going into the GMAT Study Plan, few frequently asked questions first.

GMAT- Frequently Asked Questions:

What does GMAT stand for?

The General Management Admission Test or GMAT is a computer-based adaptive test administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). Contrary to popular belief, GMAT does not grade an examinee’s business skill or intelligence. Rather, GMAT is used to determine the analytical skills, problem-solving capabilities, and critical reasoning abilities of the test taker.

Launched in February 1954, GMAT was first known as “The Admission Test for Graduate Study in Business” (ATGSB) and was administered to 4,228 examinees only. The name was changed in 1976 to GMAT.

Now, GMAT is a requirement by the majority of business schools and is taken by students who are interested in applying for a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) or other programs in graduate management.

How much does the GMAT cost?

Taking the exam requires you to pay $250 globally. However, the materials for the test can be downloaded for free at

If there is a need to cancel your application, you will be refunded US$80, as long as you cancel via online and the cancelation was processed more than seven full days before the exam. The same amount is given when you cancel by phone, although there is a service charge of US$10. Rescheduling costs US$50, only when it is done seven full days before the exam. Within seven days before the test, you are required to pay the full amount.

You may use your credit or debit cards to pay for the exam. Mailed forms include cashier’s check, money order, and personal check. Remember if you are going to use any of the enumerated mailed forms, you are required to use the Scheduling Form that is available at Post-dated checks are not accepted.

How long is the GMAT? 

The examination lasts for 3 hours and 30 minutes. Another 30 minutes is allotted for break time.

The GMAT is divided into four sections, namely, Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal.

AWA assesses the test taker’s critical thinking and proper communication. In AWA, the test taker is given one topic and is asked to analyze and criticize the given argument. The test lasts for 30 minutes.

Integrated Reasoning (IR), the second part of the exam, has 12 questions and lasts for 30 minutes. In this part of the examination, the test taker’s ability to evaluate given information (all in different formats and from multiple sources) is assessed.

The Quantitative Section consists of 37 questions and lasts for 75 minutes. With questions centering on the problem-solving and data sufficiency, this part of the exam measures the test taker’s reasoning skills.

The last part of the exam, the Verbal Section, lasts for another 75 minutes. This section has 41 questions, which will assess the test taker’s reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction.

Can you use a calculator on the GMAT?

Personal calculators are prohibited and only during the Integrated Reasoning part of the exam, you can use a calculator (which will be provided). For the Quantitative Section, markers and note boards are given for the test taker’s calculations.

 Additional information:

  • Your ID must be valid (make sure it is not expired), original (avoid photocopied IDs), and government-issued.
  • A locker is supplied for all test takers. You can keep your personal belongings such as your phone and snacks. The test administrator will not be held responsible for any items missing.
  • Items accessible during break are snacks/lunch and other necessities, such as medication. You are not allowed to use your phones or any other electronic devices. If there is a need to contact anyone, you may use the telephones at the test centers during break.
  • Using your phone during examination time will result in the cancelation of your test. Your exam fee will also be forfeited.
  • If there is an emergency, you may get the administrator’s attention by simply raising your hand. However, the timer will not stop during this unscheduled break.

How to prepare for GMAT?

If you have registered already or if you are still planning to register for GMAT, it is recommended you start your preparation right now. Knowing what to study and what to expect in the test, will certainly give an advantage to test takers.

  1. Your study materials:

One of the most common mistakes made by a student is buying every GMATpreparatory book available. Not only is it expensive but it also lead to more confusion.

There is also a great chance that the book bought or the material that was downloaded is not exactly meant for GMAT.

For this, it is best to begin with one or two books. Also make sure to buy materials only from trusted brands. Do not forget some preparatory materials are available and free at

  1. Your GMAT study plan:

Each study session should be well planned. Set a good schedule and follow it religiously. You have to give your study time your dedication and attention.

Once in a while, take practice tests as well. Make sure you have a countdown timer or a stop watch to help you keep an eye on your pace. It is highly advised that you spend only two minutes on each question of the test.

  1. Understand the GMAT:

The format for the test has been changed from earlier paper method to computer pattern. Familiarizing yourself with the test will help you adapt and relax.

At, a sample study plan has been created for those who are planning on taking the examination. Go ahead and check it out – this study plan may be the perfect guide for you.

How hard is the GMAT?

Like any exam out there, GMAT is demanding – it is only difficult if you are not heavily prepared for it. As GMAT is a computer-based adaptive test, it will introduce difficult questions in the later parts.

Cramming will not work in this sense. It is good to start your preparation months before the date of the examination. Study every day (follow your study plan!) and get a good night’s rest. Eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly, practice relaxation techniques, and manage your time efficiently. Be sure to be motivated as well!

And always remember: you CAN achieve a great score. Positive thinking can do wonders for your mind and soul.

How is the GMAT scored?

  • AWA score

Answers will be independently scored and averaged. The scores in AWA range from 0 to 6. Each answer will receive two ratings, one of which will be from an automated essay-scoring engine.

An expert reader is needed if the two ratings differ by more than 1 point.

  • IR score

IR scores range from 1 to 8.

  • Quantitative and Verbal scores

Quantitative and Verbal scores range from 0 to 60. If unfinished, scores are calculated on the basis of the number of questions answered and are decreased with each unanswered question.

The total score, which is based on both Verbal and Quantitative scores, range from 200 to 800.

What is a good GMAT score?

An average GMAT score is around 500 and up. A good GMAT score is 600 and up. And a very good GMAT score crosses the 700 mark. Good luck!

Average GMAT scores for business schools:

Average GMAT scores for the top 30 MBA programs are listed at

Difference between GMAT and GRE.

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardized test which is required for admission to most graduate schools and a growing number of business schools. Unlike GMAT, which has four sections, GRE only has three sections, which are the following: Analytical Writing Measure, Quantitative Section, and Verbal Section.

The Analytical Writing Measure has two topics, and each topic is allotted 30 minutes each. The Quantitative Section has two sections, and each section has 20 questions (40 in total). Each section is allotted 35 minutes (70 minutes in total). The Verbal Section also has two sections, with each section having 20 questions. Each section is allotted 30 minutes (60 minutes in total).

All in all, the total examination time for GRE is 3 hours and 10 minutes. The cost for taking the GRE is US$195.



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