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Everything you need to know about the GMAT exam


What is GMAT ?

GMAT Test Types

Duration of the GMAT exam

Format of the GMAT exam

GMAT Academic or GMAT General Training

How to book your GMAT exam

Preparing for the GMAT Exam

GMAT Preparation tips

Common FAQs about GMAT


What is GMAT ?

GMAT   is short for International English Language Testing System. It is one of the most widely known and used English exams in the world. There are about 1000 GMAT testing centres in most countries.

Many people take the GMAT test to provide proof of their English skills either for immigration or academic purposes. A huge number of post-secondary institutions, governmental bodies and private corporations recognize GMAT results as confirmation of English proficiency level for countries like New Zealand, USA, Canada and Australia. It is the only English Language Test approved by UK Visas and Immigration for applications outside and inside of the UK.

It is very important for you as a test taker to study in depth in order to excel at this exam.
You should do practice tests or take private lessons because the GMAT testing process is quite challenging and the results decide a lot in the test candidate’s life.

Most importantly, you can prepare for all the parts and types of the GMAT test using the lessons, blog posts and tutorials on our website and the courses we offer.

*Recent updates about the GMAT exam

As a result of the ongoing pandemic worldwide, GMAT organisations have launched the GMAT Indicator exam to help students who are unable to take the GMAT test at an exam centre. The GMAT indicator has a similar format to the usual test and will asses a students skills in Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking. Please check with the institution that you are applying to whether they accept the GMAT Indicator results. Find out more about the GMAT Indicator here.

GMAT Test Types

How many types of GMAT tests are there? Which one should I take?

There are two types of GMAT exams:

  • General Training GMAT - needed to confirm language proficiency to an employer, or for immigration purposes, or to obtain citizenship.
  • Academic GMAT - needed for admission to colleges or universities.
  • GMAT Life Skills - needed for people who are applying for UK citizenship.


How many sections does GMAT have?
Both GMAT General Training and Academic have 4 sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

All exam sections are always taken in the same location, which is the same testing centre.

Do the sections take place in a certain order?
Yes, always in this order: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

You will always do the Listening, Reading, and Writing section on the same day, without any breaks between them.

The GMAT Speaking exam may be scheduled either on the same day, after the rest of the parts, or even before or after the other test segments (up to 7 days).
Your test centre will let you know about the exact dates.

What is the duration of the GMAT exam?

2 hours 45 minutes.

The time is split as follows:

  • Listening: 30 minutes
  • Reading: 1 hour
  • Writing: 1 hour
  • Speaking: 11-15 minutes

Format of the GMAT exam

GMAT can be taken in two formats:

  • Paper-based GMAT test: you read test materials off a paper exam booklet and write on paper using pen or pencil
  • Computer-delivered GMAT : all test materials are read off a computer screen and the writing part is typed.

However, GMAT Speaking is always taken with a real person, no matter which format you choose to take.


GMAT Academic or GMAT General Training?

  • What is GMAT Academic for?
    If you want to be admitted to higher education in an English-speaking country or to many other colleges or universities around the world, you will have to sit for the Academic GMAT exam.


  • Who accepts GMAT Academic results?
    More than 10,000 public and private higher education institutions, including all the top universities, all over the world accept GMAT Academic scores as confirmation of your language command for study.

Remember, GMAT Academic is not only required in countries which have English as the official language. For example, if you apply for a program taught in English in Switzerland, you may have to submit an GMAT certificate. This test will be taken by applicants who want to apply for higher education or professional registration abroad.

Make sure that you always check on your post-secondary institution’s (college or university) website whether they can accept an GMAT Academic certificate before you book your exam or sign up for prep classes.

What is GMAT General Training for?

  • If you want to work or to emigrate to an English-speaking country such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, USA you will need to take General Training GMAT exam.
  • GT GMAT is also one of the exams accepted as proof of language proficiency for the citizenship exam in certain countries, such as Canada.

Who accepts GMAT General Training results?

A huge number of private corporations, from the smallest to the largest, and certainly all medical institutions accept GT GMAT certificates.

They require a GT GMAT band score because it serves as a trustworthy, internationally recognized proof for professionals from abroad of appropriate language skills proficiency for employment.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) accepts GT GMAT as proof of language proficiency with applications for work visas, when registering for a certain profession, to obtain permanent residence, or to finalize a citizenship application.

Similarly, the Australian Citizenship and Immigration requires GT GMAT for the same purposes as Canada.

If you intend to apply for UK citizenship, the GMAT Life Skills exam is one of the tests that is accepted.

However, band score requirements are different for various countries and purposes.

Which exam is more difficult: General GMAT or Academic GMAT ?

There is no difference between General Training and Academic GMAT in the Speaking and Listening sections.

The only difference between GT and Academic GMAT is in the Reading and Writing parts.

GMAT Academic is thought to be somewhat more challenging, especially Writing. But in Reading you will need fewer correct answers to get a higher band score. For example: 32 marks = Band 7.0.

On the other hand, GMAT general is believed to be a bit easier, but in certain sections will need more marks to achieve a better result. For example: 32 marks = Band 6.5.

How to book your GMAT Exam

  1. You should find a test centre near you. You can use the centre locator webpage on the official GMAT .org website here. ()
  2. Consult the exam schedule calendar of your centre and choose one day from the dates available. Remember, you can sign up for only one exam at a time.
  3. Then you can register online or go to your test centre in person to submit an application. You can find more information about exam fees from the testing centre from your area.
  • Copies of valid identity documents (for example, passport, national ID card, driving license, etc., but depends on the country) will be required from you at GMAT registration. The same ID will need to be presented on test day.
  • When your registration request is processed, you will receive an email with information about your upcoming GMAT exam: dates, time and location of each exam section.
  • Read the emails you receive from your test centre very carefully: they also list important rules of the GMAT testing procedure.
  • Don’t forget that the Speaking section of the exam may be scheduled on a different day from the rest of the parts (Listening, Reading, Writing) - up to 7 days before or after them.
  • There is no difference between GMAT GT and Academic in terms of applying,
  • To find out more information you can consult the Official GMAT Information for Candidates booklet. ()


Preparing for the GMAT exam

How to best prepare for the GMAT exam
There is no perfect answer to this. Some students choose to use books and do tests on paper on their own, others pay for one-on-one classes with an instructor, and finally some others enroll in online courses, with lectures, extensive speaking and writing practice and essay feedback from exam experts.

All of these approaches are effective only if you are focused on your goal and ready to work hard. No doubt, it is slightly easier to work when there is structure, direction and constructive feedback. And It is more challenging to motivate yourself when you are completely on your own, without any help from outside or anyone to ask a question.

Yet, if you sign up for a well-structured course, with an experienced teacher as a guide, you may be ready for the GMAT exam in as short as one or two weeks.

It is completely your choice which path to choose, as long as you realize the importance of the goal in front of you: your GMAT score may play a decisive role in your education, work and immigration plans.



Make sure that you study for the GMAT Exam and practice doing sample tests using official GMAT practice materials, which you can find and purchase either online (for example from official GMAT websites) () or from your test centre.
Such preparation books are published by either Cambridge University Press, British Council or IDP.

It is important to make using materials a priority because they are the closest version of what the real GMAT test format look and feel like because they are carefully designed by actual GMAT test creators.

Which is the secret to get the desired band score?

  • Make the best of the time you have left until test day: plan your GMAT preparation.
  • Learn specific exam strategies.
  • Learn something new every day.
  • Build your English language vocabulary.
  • Practice how to write and say things in other words.
  • Do timed mock tests.
  • Train your attention skills.
  • Practice all test parts: listening, reading, writing, speaking.

Our website has a lot of free GMAT preparation materials to help you start your preparation:

Common FAQs about the GMAT exam

Can your GMAT test be postponed or cancelled?

  • Yes. This has to be done by the candidate in person or via e-mail, not via telephone. If you cancel more than 5 weeks before your exam, a 24% administrative fee will be kept. If you cancel less than 5 weeks before the exam or if you do not show up for the exam, you will not receive a refund.

What if I miss the GMAT exam because I am sick?

  • If you miss the exam because you are genuinely ill, you have to submit a medical certificate within 5 days of your scheduled GMAT exam, if not, you won't be able to postpone or receive a refund.

How many test dates are there for the GMAT exam?

  • Generally the GMAT exam is available to be taken at least 4 times a month. GMAT candidiates can choose any of the 48 dates for the exam to take their test. There is no limit to the amount of times a test can be taken.

How much does the GMAT exam cost?

  • The cost of the GMAT exam varies depend on the location where you are taking the exam
  • The GMAT test ranges from $140 to $310. It is always important to verify the cost of the exam before you register

Who administers the GMAT exam?

GMAT test is jointly owned by:

  • British Council
  • Cambridge ESOL
  • IDP GMAT Australia (International Development Program)

Many students wonder who is best for taking their GMAT exam and where they should take the test. There is no different between IDP and British council, read more here :

GMAT in India

In July 2021, GMAT IDP bought the rights to administer the GMAT test in India. They bought them from the British Council. Full story . 

How soon can I retake the GMAT exam?

  • There is no limitation on how many times you can sit the GMAT as long as your test centre can provide enough exam dates.

Should I retake the GMAT exam?

  • If your last GMAT certificate is more than 2 years old, and you need to submit a score to be admitted to college, to apply for work or migration, then YES, you need to resit the GMAT exam.

What if I don’t like my GMAT results, can they be changed?

  • Yes, you can apply for a re-evaluation within six weeks from your test date. You will have to pay a fee, which will be refunded only if your results are changed.
  • It may take from 2 to 21 days, depending how many test segments you have requested to be reassessed. After this reassessment, you will not be able to request another re-mark.
  • You can find out more about appealing the results of your exam results here, on the official IDP GMAT website. ()

The GMAT Podcast team wish you all the best of luck in your International English Language Testing Exam and hope our materials, advice and tips will help you achieve your desired band scores that will get you one step closer to your dream.

New September 2021: Video-Call Speaking (VCS)

Video-Call Speaking (VCS) is now being introduced in certain test centres alongside the
traditional speaking test format. Candidates still have to go to the test centre venue but will
talk to an examiner through a zoom video link. The examiner is remote; the test taker is not.
Why is it being promoted?

Covid-19 has obviously been a key factor but VCS is not simply a response to it. Over the
last ten years or so, the various bodies that organize GMAT (Cambridge Assessment
English, the British Council, IDP and GMAT Australia) have been working on the idea of
making GMAT more available by offering the test to candidates living in remote areas or in
conflict zones. The events since early 2020 have helped speed up this process. The
cancellation of exams has led to a backlog of test takers in 2021 as centres begin to open up

Examiners, all experienced in traditional in-person interviews, will be testing from their
own homes as long as their equipment for doing so is up to standard. They will be
organized regionally to thus avoid problems with time zones. Examiners might have
interviews with candidates from the country where they are based or from neighbouring