English certification: all you need to know about the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test, assesses a candidate’s level of English among other skills, using English writing, math and logic tests.

It is widely used by higher education establishments to select students who wish to join their courses and is used to measure the ability to study management in English at an international level.

What is the purpose of the GMAT? 

The purpose of this test is to assess the  English language abilities of students  pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) at the international level. It is used to assess the candidate’s level of English and their ability to follow a higher education course in business and management.

A good GMAT score is essential to study an MBA at prestigious establishments such as Harvard, HEC Paris, INSEAD or Wharton. Some studies have shown that high GMAT scores can also help with applications for jobs with higher-than-average salaries. 

What does the test involve? 

The GMAT is comprised of four parts, consisting of quantitative, verbal, analytical writing and integrated reasoning assessments. It measures a candidate’s reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and ability to correct written and verbal sequences.

  • Quantitative: this first part consists of answering a series of 37 questions. The areas tested are algebra, arithmetic and geometry. All exercises are divided into two sections. The first is “problem-solving”, in which the aim is to determine a problem, perform calculations and obtain a solution (multiple choice). This is followed by“data sufficiency” which involves the evaluation of data through complex questions.
  • Verbal: this section tests candidates’ vocabulary. There are 41 vocabulary questions, with three types of questions: Sentence questions, which require a good grasp of grammar; Critical reasoning questions, which are answered after reading a text presenting an argument; and Reading Comprehension.
  • Analytical Writing: this section involves an analytical writing test in essay form.
  • Integrated Reasoning: in this section, there are 12 questions to be answered after studying data from graphs, tables or texts. This test measures a student’s analytical skills. 

How long does the test take? 

The first two sections take 75 minutes each and the other two take 30 minutes each. In total, the test takes between 3 and a half and 4 hours.

What levels can the GMAT assess? 

On the CEFR scale, the Graduate Management Admission Test is primarily intended for students applying to business and management schools. To obtain it, it is necessary to have a good level of professional English and also to have advanced knowledge in other fields (such as mathematics) and be able to express this knowledge in English.

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What grading system does the GMAT exam use? 

The test is taken on a computer and the questions are random. The algorithm adjusts to the candidate’s responses. The final test score is awarded following a comparison between the different candidates. 

Scores obtained in the GMAT range from 200 to 800 points. While it is possible to obtain the diploma with 250 points, a higher score obviously improves your chances of getting into a top school. A minimum score is necessary to be able to apply to certain establishments: Stanford requires 730 points, Harvard 724 points, Wharton 718 points, Columbia 716 points and the London Business School 700 points. 

How much does the exam cost? Where can you take it? 

This English exam (valid for 5 years) is taken in approved test centers. Candidates can register on the official GMAT website and select a date. Examination fees vary by test center – the average cost is around $250.

It is possible to take this test five times a year (provided that each session is at least one month apart). Note: the number of attempts is recorded in the candidate’s file, so advance preparation is a good idea!

The GMAT at a glance

Name of certificate / diplomaGMATGymglish learning report, professional English
Validity periodFive yearsDoes not expire
Skills testedAnalytical Writing, Reasoning, Quantitative, VerbalReading, listening, written (business and professional English)
Target level(s)AdvancedAll levels except beginners (A2 to C2)
Price$250From €14 /month
Duration3 hours 30 min to 4 hoursTraining + learning report: 6 months
Face-to-face / RemoteAt a test centreRemote / online

The GMAT test is one of many options for English certification. At the end of our English language training, we also provide a personalized learning report.

See our section on English tests and diplomas

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