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GMAT Test Prep for Business School MBA

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is required for admission to most U.S. and Canadian MBA programs. Most students attend graduate business school for pursuing an MBA degree.  However, GMAT can also be used for admission to PhD program in business major, such as Finance, Accounting, and Economics.

The GMAT exam does not test any specific knowledge in business or other subjects. Rather, it tests the "mental intelligence" as well as the ability to make decision under time pressure. The GMAT now is only available on computer-based test. Format of the exam is as below:


 Number (s) of questions


Essays (1 Issue and 1 Argument)


 30 min for each essay

Verbal (about 14 RCs, 10 CRs and 17 SCs)


 75 min

Math (about 13 DSs, and 34 PSs)


 75 min

The averaged score for GMAT is 562 worldwide. What score you should obtain depends on which school you are going to apply to. Generally, the higher the school is ranked, the higher score you must obtain. For the top 50 programs, the averaged GMAT score is 646.

Admissions committees look at your GMAT score to determine if you have the academic ability to succeed in business school. An outstanding GMAT score won't necessarily get you into the school of your choice but a low score will probably keep you out. If you scored poorly on the GMAT, consider taking it again. Admissions committees usually focus on your most recent score.

How should you approach GMAT CAT?

The GMAT is a standardized test; therefore, it has standard ways of approaching it--question type strategies, time-management techniques, etc. Understanding the format of the exam and the ways you can use it to your advantage can significantly increase your score. Because of the intensity of the GMAT and the competitiveness of today's b-school admissions environment, we highly encourage you to prep formally for the exam (obvious reasons aside...). The structure that preparation provides can help you build the skills, techniques, and confidence to score your best.

What GMAT score do you need?

Although the median score is approximately 500, the latest U.S. News and World Report guide to graduate schools reports that the average GMAT scores of the top business schools in the country--such as Stanford, Sloan (MIT), Kellogg (Northwestern), and Wharton (Penn)--hover around 690. As you can see, the environment is extremely competitive. In fact, 690 translates to a percentile figure of 95 and up.
However, what you consider a good score should depend on your own expectations and goals. But, you should keep in mind that top business schools consider a score of at least 600 as competitive. Information on average test scores at different schools is readily available. Research the schools on your list. Find out what their average GMAT scores are and then develop a preparation plan to achieve it.

Average GMAT Scores*


Business School

Average Score

1 Kellogg (Northwestern) 700
2 Chicago GSB 687
3 Harvard Business School 705
4 Stanford GSB 732
5 Wharton (Pennsylvania) 703
6 Sloan (MIT) 707
7 Columbia Business School 711
8 Michigan Business School 681
9 Fuqua (Duke) 701
10 Tuck (Dartmouth) 695
11 Johnson (Cornell) 673
12 Darden (Virginia) 683
13 UC Berkeley 703
14 Yale School of Management 698
15 Stern (New York) 700
16 Anderson (UCLA) 700
17 Marshall (South California) 684
18 UNC 676
19 Carnegie Mellon 672
20 Indiana 651
21 Texas at Austin 678
22 Emory 675
23 Michigan State 639
24 Olin 651
25 Maryland 656
26 Purdue 651
27 Rochester 649
28 Vanderbilt 648
29 Notre Dame 668
30 Georgetown 663

*Sources: Business Week Online


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