The ultimate GMAT guide for MBA

Expat life
04 Sep 2023
9 mins read
Written by Riona lye

Is getting an MBA degree really the Holy Grail of education, or is it just an overhyped relic from our parent’s era? As the cost of education skyrockets faster than our salary, we might as well ponder if we need to break the bank and sacrifice precious time for this so-called prestigious degree.

Sure, they say an MBA offers a practical crash course in business, covering finance, accounting, marketing, strategy, human resources, and whatnot – like a business superhero curriculum. But not all MBA programs are created equal. There’s a world of difference between boasting a Harvard MBA and one from your local regional university.

Nowadays, MBA programs are sprouting up like mushrooms after rain, eager to enrol anyone with a bachelor’s degree. Acceptance letters are almost becoming like flyers at a rock concert. “Hey, you get an MBA! And you get an MBA! Everybody gets an MBA!”

However, if you’re dead set on aiming for the creme de la creme of business schools in the world, you might want to consider taking the GMAT entrance exam first.

What is a GMAT exam?

GMAT exam full form stands for Graduate Management Admission Test.

What is the GMAT exam used for?

This computerized wizardry exam is designed to assess your analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in the realm of written English.

Okay, that sounds like any other exam you take in school – so, really: GMAT exam, is for what purpose?

It’s like a challenge straight from the academic overlords, determining if you’re MBA material or not.

So, if you’re eyeing that Master of Business Administration crown, the GMAT is your gateway to the kingdom of graduate management programs.

What schools accept the GMAT?

Brace yourselves, for more than 7,700 programs at 2,400 universities and organizations in 110 countries bow down to the almighty GMAT as part of their selection process. Talk about global domination!

So, whether you dream of studying locally, spreading your wings abroad, or conquering the virtual realm, there’s a school out there with GMAT acceptance written all over it.

GMAT exam syllabus

There are four sections for your GMAT exam paper:

  • Quantitative Reasoning,
  • Verbal Reasoning,
  • Integrated Reasoning,
  • and the dazzling Analytical Writing Assessment.

Test Section

Analytical Writing Assessment

Integrated Reasoning

Quantitative Reasoning

Verbal Reasoning

Time limit

30 mins

30 mins

62 mins

65 mins

Number of questions





Types of questions

Argument analysis

  • Multi-source reasoning

  • Table analysis

  • Graphics interpretation

  • Two-part analysis

  • Data Sufficiency

  • Problem solving

  • Reading and understanding

  • Critical reasoning

  • Sentence correction

Score range

0 – 6

1 – 8

6 – 51

6 – 15

The GMAT exam lasts 3 hours and 7 minutes (plus the 30-minute check-in – don’t be fashionably late!). Lucky for us, you get two 8-minute breaks.

Phew, time to stretch those ageing bones and avoid the dreaded sore neck and back!

Now, for all you non-geniuses out there (don’t worry, you’re in good company), taking a few swings at the GMAT might be the game plan. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are our brilliant scores. So, embrace those attempts and keep your eyes on the MBA prize at the top schools.

The best part? You’ve got five shots in a year and eight shots in your lifetime to conquer this exam! That’s more chances than a cat has lives! And if you strike gold, your GMAT scores will shine for five fabulous years.

GMAT online

The reality is, not all of us are cut out for the epic quest of the exam hall! For some, anxiety is like a pesky dragon, ready to strike at any moment. But fret not, for there’s a secret portal to success. If the exam hall seems like a dark dungeon, the online GMAT awaits!

GMAT exam fees

Paying for the GMAT exam paper is a piece of cake. It’s like having a dessert menu of payment options – choose the one that tickles your taste buds.

But beware of the secret ingredient: location, location, location. Prices may dance around like a mischievous sprinkle, and just when you think you’ve got it figured out, the tax monster sneaks in for an extra bite.

PS: To get the precise fee for your location, just check online. Let’s take a look at the example below:

GMAT exam fees in India

In India, for instance, you might find yourself dishing out $275 USD at the test centre or $300 USD for the online GMAT exam cost.

Service Fees

GMAT exam cost

Delivered at a Test Center

Delivered Online

GMAT entrance exam

 $275 USD

$300 USD

Enhanced Score Report

 US$30 USD

Not Available

Additional Score Report

 $35 USD each

$35 USD each

 Cancel score

$25 USD

Not Applicable

Reinstate score

 $50 USD

Not Applicable

AWA Essay Rescoring

 $45 USD

$45 USD

Reschedule Fees

Delivered at a Test Center

Delivered Online

More than 60 days

before appointment

 $55 USD


15-60 days

before the appointment

 $110 USD

$120 USD

14 days or less

before the appointment

$165 USD

$180 USD

Cancellation Fees

Delivered at a Test Center

Delivered Online

More than 60 days

before the appointment

 $110 USD refund

$120 USD Refund

15-60 days

before appointment

 $80 USD refund

$90 USD Refund

14 days or less

before appointment

 $55 USD refund

$60 USD Refund

GMAT 2023 exam date

You’ve got the plan and date, but now comes the dreaded anxiety. Will that day even be available? Hold tight -there’s no fixed schedule! If you live in a city, almost every day of the week might have a GMAT slot. And the test itself?

Choose either morning or afternoon.

In the morning, you’ll face the challenge with a fresh mind, ready to conquer the GMAT beast like a caffeine-fueled superhero! Or, opt for the afternoon, giving your brain a chance to warm up like a well-oiled machine.

GMAT exam eligibility

If you’ve reached the age of 18, you’re good to go – no permission slip is required. But if you’re younger, be prepared to furnish written proof of your parent’s consent.

Now, let’s talk about attempts. Too many shots at the GMAT bullseye might leave you stranded without a retake option. If you are wondering how frequently you can take your GMAT, here is the answer:

You can do the GMAT test every 16 days, but not more than 5 times in a year or 8 times in your whole life.

GMAT exam registration

When it comes to registering for exams, planning is your secret weapon.

With your earliest application deadline as the final destination, work your way backwards to find that perfect test date. So, when’s the ideal moment to shoot for the stars? Six months before your preferred test date – that’s the magic spot!

But don’t dawdle, Book the GMAT exam two-three months prior for the smoothest journey. And if you really want to play it safe, add 15 days for mailing your registration.

Made the bold decision to take on the book GMAT exam? Registering is a breeze – simply:

  1. Create an account on, the official GMAT website.
  2. Choose between a test centre or home setup,
  3. Find a time slot that suits you.

GMAT exam sample paper

Book GMAT exam? Check. Time to figure out the GMAT exam pattern and practice, practice, practice. With limited attempts, it’s essential to be prepared before registering. Too many failed attempts can be demoralizing, so arm yourself with practice and determination.

Let’s face it, practice makes perfect, and lucky for you, the GMAT has got your back with GMAT exam sample.

  • The GMAT Official Starter Kit, offers tips and tricks to get used to the GMAT exam pattern.
  • You can also grab GMAT Official Practice Exams 1 & 2 for free through your account.
  • And if you need more GMAT exam sample papers, the GMAT Official Prep products are available for purchase.

As for everyone’s biggest headache – the analytical writing assessment, you can find the list of GMAT exam sample questions at

GMAT exam total marks

You’ve braved the GMAT entrance exam and received your score. Now you’re curious how to decode that magic number.

The total score dances over 800, but hold your horses, it’s not just a ticket to school – there are also Percentile Rankings in the mix.

Each of your five GMAT scores comes with a percentile ranking, revealing how many test-takers you’ve outshined.

Does the score of the GMAT entrance exam sound complicated? Here’s a simpler understanding.

Imagine you’re playing a game with other kids, and the game has a score. Your score is like a number that shows how well you did in the game. But there’s something called a percentile ranking that helps compare your score with other kids’ scores.

If there are 100 kids playing the same game and your ranking is 75%, it means you did better than 75 of those kids, and only 25 kids did as well or better than you. So, if your ranking is high, you did really well compared to most kids.

But here’s the scoop – while your scores stay the same, those rankings like to change their dance moves every year, based on the last three years’ exam data.

Is GMAT tough?

Those who really invest in their prep, like every single day after work and weekends – bam, they can score a mind-blowing 780! Those who take it nice and slow can be trudging along for a whole two years before they hit that ideal score.

So here’s the deal: take that practice test to reveal your weaknesses, study hard, and then hit the exam battlefield. Not all of us are one-hit wonders, right? If you stumble, no biggie! You’ve got time to bounce back and master this GMAT game. Keep at it, and you’ll shine like a star.

Before you go…

Finished with your GMAT? Considering studying abroad? Remember to think about sending money back home to your family. It can be quite a hassle due to expensive remittance services and currency fluctuations.

Fortunately, there’s an option like Instarem, an online money transfer service. It’s known for its improved rates and quicker transactions, offering a sigh of relief.

You won’t have to worry as much about your family receiving the funds on time.

Give Instarem a try – it might help ease the load for us students dealing with the challenges of adult responsibilities.

Feel free to download the app or sign up here!

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. All details are accurate at the time of publishing. Instarem has no affiliation or relationship with products or vendors mentioned.

About Instarem

Instarem stands at the forefront of international money transfer services, facilitating fast and secure transactions for both individuals and businesses. Our platform offers competitive exchange rates for popular currency pairs like USD to INR, SGD to INR, and AUD to INR. If you're looking to send money to India or transfer funds to any of 60+ global destinations, Instarem makes it easy for you. We are dedicated to simplifying cross-border payments, providing cutting-edge technology that support individuals and businesses alike in overcoming traditional fiscal barriers normally associated with banks. As a trusted and regulated brand under the umbrella of the Fintech Unicorn Nium Pte. Ltd., and its international subsidiaries, Instarem is your go-to for reliable global financial exchanges. Learn more about Instarem.