“Survey finds that 50% of business schools pinpoint a low GMAT score as “the biggest application killer,” confirming that applicants still need to submit a strong score overall.”

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardized examination that is used by business schools, including online ones, to assess applicants around the world. GMAT assesses analytical writing and problem-solving abilities, while also addressing data sufficiency, logic, and critical reasoning skills that it believes to be vital to real-world business and management success.

If you’re serious about going to business school, take the exam that means business. More than 5,900 programs offered by more than 2,100 universities and institutions use the GMAT exam as part of the selection criteria for admission into a wide range of graduate management programs, including MBA, Master of Accountancy, and Master of Finance programs. It is the gold standard when it comes to business schools.

Given its design, the GMAT is used as a predictor of academic performance and ability to be successful in the advanced study of business and management, as well as a realistic indicator of present and future ability in management positions. Taking the GMAT exam alerts programs around the world that you are serious about your pursuit of a graduate management education, thereby increasing your likelihood of admission.

For a select group of companies, mostly top consulting, finance, and banking firms, employers routinely look to MBA graduates’ GMAT scores. The test scores can be the difference between an interview and the dustbin.

Another reason MBA Admissions Committees place a high value on GMAT scores is that it provides an easy benchmark to compare candidates against one another and against the school’s student profile. GMAT’s validation assessments are shared with schools directly.

Taking the GMAT

Because the GMAT exam assesses higher order reasoning, a skill that improves with practice, preparing for the exam takes a great deal of time and practice – significantly more than for a conventional test.

The GMAT isn’t supposed to be easy. The Graduate Management Admission Council has spent six decades tweaking things, striking questions deemed too simple, and ensuring that the result is equally tough on all entrants.

The GMAT is not a math or grammar test. They are just there tools to allow the exam writers to test you on your decision-making ability and your executive reasoning skills. You of course need to know content (certain facts, rules, formulas) in order to do well, but that level of study is not enough; you also need to lift yourself to a second level of understanding that allows you to think your way through these sometimes bizarrely-worded problems as effectively and efficiently as possible.

When to Take GMAT

First, keep in mind that you can take the GMAT almost any time you want. One of the rules for deciding when to take the GMAT is very simple – When you are ready. A lot of time, students do not take into account the time required to prepare for the test.

It is recommended that MBA program hopefuls take the GMAT about a year before they plan to enroll and begin preparing for the GMAT about three to six months beforehand. This can be done in several ways: on your own, with a group or a combination of both.

It is suggested that you take the longest, most comprehensive course available with good instructors. A good teacher can reveal subtleties about the test that aren’t written into any book, and just having the structure of a class will force you to work harder than you would if you chose to study on your own.

GMAT Scores

The majority of GMAT scores fall between 400 and 600. The average score is about 550. Typically there is no cut-off point. Depending on your previous work experience and achievements, along with your GPA, the GMAT score is a balancing consideration.

In the US, the top Ivy League schools report an average score above 700. More average US universities claim an average of 550, which is slightly higher than the global GMAT average score.GMAT Scores are valid for 5 years.

While GMAT scores should not be utilized solely as a sole factor in MBA Admission, they are very commonly utilized as a cut off tool for MBA Admissions Committees to quickly assess large numbers of applications.

As an applicant, you should consider it an essential way for you to demonstrate that you can be academically successful in an MBA program. A strong GMAT score is not sufficient to guarantee you admission into a top MBA program – it merely enables you to move on to the next step.

In short, a good GMAT score can help round out your application packet, verify your potential and make you a more attractive candidate.