As an Indian student looking to study business in the US or the UK, you may be wondering what are the requirements to get into a graduate program. The GMAT is one test you may hear about, but what is it? In this GMAT official guide, SchoolApply will help explain the test and the process to take it. 


What is the GMAT?

GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test and is recommended, often required, for students looking to get their MBA. The four areas include analytical writing, integrated reasoning, quantitative and verbal assessments. Here is a break down of the number of questions Indian students can expect on each section and how much time they’ll have to complete them:

Test Section

Number of Questions

Number of Minutes to Complete

Analytical Writing Assessment

One argument analysis


Integrated Reasoning

12 (some with multiple parts)



31 (16-19 problem-solving, 14-15 data sufficiency)



36 (14 sentence corrections, 12 reading comprehensions, 10 critical reasoning)


In the Analytical Writing Assessment part of your test, your writing skills are carefully looked at. To begin with, you are given a brief argument to critique. You must look for whether the author had sound evidence and reasoning and express this in an essay, showing your developmental, organizational and transitional writing skills.

The Integrated Reasoning section tests your ability to examine data in different formats and evaluate them. You are tested on multi-source reasoning, graphics interpretation, table analysis and two-part analysis. 

The Quantitative part of your test examines whether you can interpret graphic data, determine sufficiency, solve quantitative problems and reason quantitatively. You are asked to analyze information and find solutions for the problems presented. An understanding of mathematical concepts and the ability to quickly calculate mentally is essential for success in this section, as no calculators are permitted.

The Verbal section of the test has three types of questions: sentence correction, comprehensive reading and critical reasoning. What the test is looking for is your ability to understand written English, read critically and analyze written arguments as well as the strategy you use to compile answers.


Do I need the GMAT for my master’s degree in business?

Yes. Most business schools in the US and UK require the official GMAT as part of your application for a master’s program in business. While there are a few exceptions, it would still look good for you if you have done the test, especially if you receive a decent score. For one, the GMAT shows universities whether you will do well in business school. Your performance on the test is a predictor of future performance at school and beyond. Secondly, the test is not biased. Indian students, American students and all others take the test in the same format and similar atmosphere. The content of the GMAT has been closely examined to make sure that it is a fair representation for every population.

Is the GMAT not for you? SchoolApply can help you find an alternative!

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Do all US and UK business schools require the GMAT?

There are seven universities in the US that don’t require the GMAT. If you don’t feel you can successfully take the test, you may want to consider applying to one of these schools. SchoolApply can help you with your applications to these schools. The schools that do not require the GMAT include:

  • Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California
  • Sawyer Business School at Suffolk University
  • Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
  • Hult International Business School
  • College of Business at Florida International University
  • Lubin School of Business at Pace University
  • Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics at the University of Delaware

How does the GMAT compare to the GRE?

If you’ve been learning everything you can about getting into a university abroad for your master’s program, you’ve no doubt heard about the GRE as well. So which is better for Indian students, the GRE or the GMAT?

A better question might be “which is more relevant?” The GMAT is designed especially for students applying to business school. The GRE is for those applying to any graduate program. The GRE is acceptable at most business schools while the GMAT is accepted at all business schools. If you’re unsure which international university you’ll be attending for business school, the GMAT might be a better option. If you already know which university you’ll be attending and it accepts both, you can determine which test to take by weighing the pros and cons of each and by studying an official guide to the GMAT and GRE. 

How do I prepare for the GMAT?

Preparing for the GMAT is essential if you plan to do well. Like any test you’ve ever taken, the more you prepare the better. GMAC, which is the Graduate Management Admission Council, has the resources to connect you to practice questions, exams, GMAT study guides, books and videos. Using the Management Admission Council content is one of the best ways to stay connected with everything you need to know.

You can also find a practice test and other test prep aids at examPAL and the Manhattan Prep site. Whether you purchase a book, download a GMAT practice test on your mobile device or watch a video, when test day comes, you want to feel confident that you did everything you could to succeed.

When is the test and how do I register?

GMAT dates are flexible and take place multiple times throughout the year. With test centers all over India, including Mumbai and Pune, you can generally find a test day that would work well with your schedule. You can register, find exact dates and exact locations for upcoming tests in 2019 on


What is a good GMAT score?

Good scores are relative and depend on the pool of test-takers. You receive an overall score ranging from 200 to 800. The majority of students who take the test, score between 400 and 600. When you receive your official scores, notice the percentile ranking. This ranking shows you how many test-takers you did better than. For example, results from tests spanning 2015-2017 show 56% of students at 600 or below. If you received a score higher than 600, you did better than 56% of the candidates that took the exam, which is slightly above average and pretty good. The same data showed 2% at a score of 200, which is not a good score.

Upon finishing the GMAT, you are given an unofficial score. If you are unhappy with the results, you can choose to cancel. If you’re satisfied, you can accept. Test retakes for international students can happen every 16 days, but no more than five times every 12 months. Keep in mind your university could also take a look at your CGPA. With both a high GMAT score and a high CGPA, it shows a university you have what it takes to succeed  at their school.

Getting started

Whether you’re heading to business school in the US or UK, Indian students need to carefully consider and prepare for the GMAT. Get your GMAT review guide and begin studying so that you are prepared to apply for school. Contact SchoolApply for assistance in finding the right business school for your MBA.