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The GMAT Exam – Your Gateway to an MBA

The GMAT Exam – Your Gateway to an MBA

What is the GMAT?

The GMAT is the Graduate Management Admissions Test and is a standardized exam that seeks to find out how students will perform in their MBA graduate programs. It is also for making admissions decisions in various Masters of Business Administration programs.

The exam itself is designed by the Graduate Management Admission Council. So, this council determines the kinds of skills that should be on the exam, and how these skills should be measured.

In Canada, the GMAT is required to get into most MBA programs. This is because this test score is a great addition to your application and serves as a snapshot of your academic abilities and readiness for completing an MBA program. But, some universities don’t require a GMAT mark. For example, the University of Canada West requires you to have one of the following:

  • A Bachelors of Business Administration
  • A GMAT test score
  • A Canadian professional designation or equivalent international designation
  • 3 years of professional experience

So, while it’s not always required to have the GMAT, the GMAT is popular and required amongst most Canadian universities.

Test sections

The exam itself is made of four distinct sections.

Analytical writing assessment 

First, there’s the analytical writing assessment. This assessment is meant to test your abilities to point out weaknesses and strengths in writing arguments. So, you will be given an argumentative paragraph and you should comment on the author’s argument itself, identifying the weak and strong points. You should then explain how the author’s ideas and reasoning impact his overall argument.

Integrated reasoning

Next, there’s a section on integrated reasoning. This section tests you on how well you can understand different visuals or questions. You could get questions on interpreting graphics, tables, two-part analysis questions, and multi-source reasoning questions. Be sure you think critically about what the question or graphic is conveying to you and then form a response.


Another section of the exam is the quantitative part. Here, you will have to respond to two different question types: problem-solving and data sufficiency. So, in problem-solving, you will be given five possible answers to a math problem and you’ll have to search for the correct answer. The math involved is high-school level math. Next, there are the data sufficiency questions. These question types ask you to state if there is enough data to answer a question. You will need to identify what information you’d need to answer the question if there isn’t enough data, and eliminate answer choices as you go.


Finally, the last section is verbal. Here, you will need to create oral responses for 3 different types of questions: critical reasoning, sentence correction, and reading comprehension. In critical reasoning, you will need to respond to questions about an argument or a series of statements. Next, for sentence correction, you’ll have to find the best sentence to replace the underlined section of a long and informative sentence. And finally, for questions on reading comprehension, try to best summarize the text you read, and form inferences about what the author is trying to convey.

GMAT marking

credit: PlatinumGMAT

In terms of test marking, all of it is by software with the exception of the writing part. The algorithm that marks your test assumes you have an average score to start with. Then, if you’re doing well, the computer increases the difficulty of the questions. If you’re doing poorly, however, the difficulty of the questions decreases. Ideally, to get the best score you want to answer more and more difficult questions. In the end, your score is calculated and should be between 200-800.

The writing part’s scoring is done by hand by two different people. Two people marking is necessary in case their marks differ substantially, in which case they’ll need to discuss the essay together and remark.

Applying for the GMAT

The first step in applying is choosing your test center location. You can then pick a suitable time slot. After this, you will then receive an email confirmation letting you know your test has been booked.

In terms of payment, the test itself will cost around $319 CAD. If you end up needing to reschedule your test, that will cost around $60 CAD if you cancel at least a week before. Please note these payments can change over time, and these are just the updated fees for 2019.

The GMAT exam is valuable and important to Canadian business schools, as it informs them of your academic skills and readiness for an MBA program. Make sure you start applying well before MBA program!

Best of luck on the GMAT exam, and study efficiently and effectively in advance!

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