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The basics
Study abroad : Applying to University

Why you should study the GMAT

A practical guide to studying the GMAT for Nigerian students

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There are around 250,000 MBA-to-be students going through the GMAT experience yearly. The admission fee is around $250 and offers two free practice tests and a lot of anxiety! Most MBA programmes only admit students with a high GMAT score. Is it all worth it? Yes! We’ve come up with a list to help you get through the challenge.


What is the GMAT?


The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test, or is a computer adaptive test aimed at assessing one’s analytical, writing, quantitative, reading and verbal skills in English to gain admission to a graduate management programme like MBA. Started in 1953 in the US by the Graduate Management Admission Council, the standardised test gained worldwide recognition and is still preferred by the majority of schools to tests like GRE (Graduate Record Examinations).


GMAT Eligibility


  • You must be at least 18 years old and get written permission from a parent or legal guardian if you are between 13 and 17 years old
  • You may take the exam no more than five times within a 12 month period
  • You must follow all of the registration and testing rules.


GMAT Structure


On the test day, you have three and a half hours to complete the four sections of the GMAT exam.

  • Analytical writing assessment - 1 topic analysis of argument with 30 minutes allocated
  • Integrated reasoning - 12 questions which include multi-source reasoning, graphics interpretation, two-part analysis, table analysis, 30 minutes
  • Quantitative - 37 questions on data sufficiency and problem solving, 75 minutes
  • Verbal - 41 questions to test your reading comprehension, critical reasoning and sentence correction, 75 minutes


How Much Does the GMAT Cost?


The cost of the exam is fixed at $250 US dollars globally. Upon completion of the test, you will have the option of cancelling or reporting the score which you must decide on within 2 minutes of seeing the results.


How Should I Prepare for the GMAT?


There are test preparation companies that offer GMAT courses. If you prefer to  study on your own, there are plenty resources including GMAT handbook, Official Guide for GMAT Review and Software, various university text books and preparation books, sample tests and free online resources.


Tip: check that all details in your confirmation letter match your passport as you may be denied test entry on the day if there is an error!


Where Can I Take the GMAT?


Before registering for your exam find test centres near you and available dates. There are currently three centres in Nigeria with two offices in Lagos and one in Abuja. Test takers may register for the GMAT either online or by calling one of the test centres. Keep in mind that if you are unhappy with the results and decide to retake exam, you cannot do so more than once within 31 days, even if the scores are cancelled. Read more on the country specific test centre regulations in Nigeria here.


Tip: don’t forget your passport and rules like ban on using your mobile, as you will not be allowed to take the test or can have results cancelled.


What GMAT Score Should I Aim For?


Most applicants believe the difference between a 680 and a 720 score may impact school admission, however those who have taken GMAT and been successfully admitted to MBA programmes advise to focus on your essays rather than retaking the exam. To gain entry to Harvard you are likely to need a high score of about 770 but these tend to change each year, typically going up. The most recent average score for admission to an MBA programme at London Business School in the UK in 2015 was 695 with the highest being 790.


Tip: Learn to keep record of the time at GMAT as you can’t go back or skip and return to questions. The good thing is that you will receive unofficial scores when you finish the test and two minutes to decide whether you wish to accept or cancel the score.


Application deadlines


You can register up to 6 months prior to your preferred test date. If you are really in a rush, it is normally possible to register for the test online 24 hours before the test. Aim to allow 21 days before your admission deadline as GMAT needs to process results and send these to your future school. If you suddenly have to reschedule the date, do not worry as rescheduling more than 7 calendar days before your test will allow you to get a partial refund.


Why Should I Take the GMAT?

More than 6,000 programmes worldwide use GMAT scores to help the institution select top students for their programmes. Taking the exam lets them know you are serious about graduate management education. Also your scores are a way to compare your knowledge with other graduate applicants and focus on areas which you may need to improve, both for the GMAT and your future MBA and career.

Good luck with your GMAT! Hopefully our guide has helped you feel more confident about the process.

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