The basics
Study abroad : Applying to University

Studying the GMAT

We tell you everything you need to know about preparing for the GMAT


What is the GMAT?

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is a 3½-hour standardised exam designed to predict how test takers will perform academically in MBA (Masters in Business Administration) programmes.


About two-thirds of the 1,900+ graduate business schools around the world require GMAT scores for admission. Schools that do not require GMAT scores nevertheless welcome GMAT scores to help access an applicant's qualifications.


The GMAT exam measures higher-order reasoning skills. You’ll need basic English-language and math skills. However, the test measures your ability to reason with these skills.  All sections of the test, including the AWA and Integrated Reasoning sections, involve reasoning. ‘Higher-order’ reasoning skills involve complex judgements and include critical thinking, analysis, and problem-solving.


What is the GMAT structure?

The GMAT measures four broad skill areas: analytical writing, quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning and integrated reasoning. The exam gauges these skills through four components:

  1. a 30-minute Analytical Writing Assessment (one writing task)
  2. a 30-minute Integrated Reasoning section (12 multiple-choice questions, most of which are multi-part)
  3. a 75-minute Quantitative section (37 multiple-choice questions)
  4. a 75-minute Verbal section (41 multiple-choice questions)


For each of the four exam sections, a separate scaled score and percentile rank are awarded. A combined Quantitative/Verbal score (called a Total score, ranging from 200–800) and corresponding percentile rank are also awarded.


How much does the GMAT cost?

The cost to take the GMAT exam is US $250 globally. To schedule a GMAT exam, you will first need to create an account on the official GMAT website. Once you have an account, you can register, reschedule, or cancel a GMAT exam; download free test preparation software; or save your preferences.


You can schedule by phone by calling the number below from the Philippines. However, there is a USD $10 surcharge for scheduling by phone. Telephone: +852 3077 4926, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. AEST


How should I prepare for the GMAT?

The GMAT exam isn’t one to be taken lightly, and you will need advance preparation. Preparation time is individual but may take seven weeks or more. Understanding the format, practising sample questions, and reviewing one section at a time will help you arrive fully prepared on the day of your exam. 


The GMAT website offers a free download of its preparation software to registered users, which can help you discover which areas of the exam to focus on. They also provide a more detailed GMAT Prep Timeline, including links to tips, products, and advice for improving your weak areas and enhancing your strengths.


Where can I take the GMAT?

There are two test centres in the Philippines, in Manila and Cebu (details below). Appointments can be scheduled all year round.



MISNet Education, Inc.

MISNet Education Inc
Unit 2201 Antel Corporate 2000 Centre
121 Valero Street
Salcedo Village
1227 Makati City Manila

Phone: 63 2 846-8307



MISNet Education Inc. - Cebu City

Unit 401 Don A.Gothong Centre (Sugbutel)
Sergio Osmeña Boulevard
North Reclamation Area
6000 Cebu City

Phone: +63 32 2311618


What GMAT score should I aim for?

The better your GMAT score, the better your chance of attending a top university. Although the median score is approximately 540 (approximately two-thirds of all GMAT test-takers score between 400 and 600), the average score for those accepted to the top schools is often close to 700 or higher.


Average GMAT scores of the top programmes – such as Stanford, Sloan, Kellogg and Wharton – hover around 709. A 709 translates into the 92nd percentile.


What you consider a good score will depend on your own expectations and goals. Still, you should keep in mind that top MBA programmes consider at least a 600 as competitive. Research the average scores of your target schools and then develop a prep plan to achieve it.


You will also receive a percentile ranking. This ranking highlights what proportion of test takers scored lower than you on the test. The higher the percentile ranking, the better you did. For example, if you received a ranking of 75, you did better than 75 percent of GMAT test takers. This number shows business schools exactly where you fell with respect to other candidates who took the test.

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About Author

Stephen Palmer graduated from the University of Sunderland with a degree in Film and Media. Since then he has worked as a copywriter, proofreader and web editor. In his spare time he enjoys keeping fit, reading, playing video games and improving his Norwegian.