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What is the GMAT and how is it scored?

If you are applying to an online MBA program, you will probably have to take the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Your GMAT score will help determine your eligibility for both MBA programs and scholarships, so it is important to do well. An essential part of doing well is understanding the GMAT scoring.

There are four different sections on the GMAT, each of which will give you a different score. Those sections (in order):

  • The Analytical Writing section will test you on your ability to analyze an argument. You will be presented with an argument and given 30 minutes to write an essay analyzing it.
  • The Integrated Reasoning section is also 30 minutes and tests your ability to analyze information from multiple sources. You will have to answer 12 questions, many of which will be multi-part. The IR section is only a few years old, so how admissions committees use it is still under debate, with some sources saying schools discount it.
  • The Quantitative section is a 75-minute section that has two types of GMAT questions: data sufficiency and problem solving. This section is scored on a scale from 0-60, but makes up half of your overall score. This section is also computer-adaptive, which means that the more questions you get right, the more difficult the questions will become.
  • The final section is the Verbal section, which is also 75 minutes long. This section has three different types of GMAT questions: critical reasoning, reading comprehension and sentence correction. This section is also computer-adaptive and will be scored on a scale of 0-60.

You will receive several different scores on your GMAT. The most important score will be your overall score, which will combine your verbal and your quantitative scores and will be on a scale of 200-800 in 10-point increments. GMAT scoring is based on your percentile, which means that it is based on how well you do in comparison to other test takers. According to GMAC, a score of 700 means that you have done better than 89 percent of other test takers, while a score of 500 means that you have only done better than 31 percent of other test takers. In order to figure out where you should be scoring, take a look at the average scores of your target schools. You want to aim to score higher than that.

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