GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) – A Guide |

GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) Focus Edition

Written by Ben Taylor

The GMAT is a standardised test that measures the ability of candidates to undertake graduate study in business schools. It’s most commonly associated with entry to Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and Masters in Management (MIM).

GMAT exams are delivered in English and involve a combination of numerical, reading and reasoning aptitude tasks. Not all business schools will ask for a GMAT score, although it’s a common part of the application process in countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia and India.

If you’re thinking about studying a Business-related Masters, it’s always worth checking whether you need to take the GMAT exam. Preparing can take time and you’ll also need to register for a place in a GMAT assessment centre, so make sure you factor this into your plans.

GMAT is changing from 31 January 2024

The GMAT will be replaced by the GMAT Focused Edition on 31 January 2024. This is the date you can book a GMAT exam appointment until, after that, only GMAT Focused Edition appointments will be available. If you already have a GMAT exam appointment scheduled for after 1 February 2024 then you can contact your centre and switch over to the GMAT Focus Edition. Previous GMAT exam scores will remain valid for five years after your test date.This guide has been updated to include details about the GMAT and new GMAT Focus Edition.

How does the GMAT Focus Edition work?

The GMAT Focus Edition is a computer-based test that consists of three sections, taking 45 minutes to complete each, so two hours and 15 minutes in total:

  • Quantitative Reasoning (21 questions, 45 minutes) – This is the most mathematical part of the exam, and requires good general knowledge of arithmetic, algebra and geometry. This section no longer covers questions on data sufficiency.
  • Verbal Reasoning (23 questions, 45 minutes) – This section is designed to test your reading comprehension and critical reasoning. It no longer covers questions on sentence correction.
  • Data Insights (20 questions, 45 minutes) – This section is new for the GMAT Focus Edition and tests your ability to analyse data and apply it to real-world situations. You’ll look at data sufficiency, multi-source reasoning, analysing tables, interpreting graphs and you’ll be tested on your ability to solve complex problems.

One of the main differences between the GMAT Focus Edition and the previous GMAT exam is that there is no longer an essay section.

Your GMAT Focus Edition score is determined by the number of questions you’ve completed, the number of correct and incorrect answers, and the difficulty level of each question. All three sections are weighted equally towards your overall score.

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What GMAT Focus Edition score do I need?

The maximum GMAT Focus Edition score is 805. Your scores are valid for five years and you can view an unofficial score immediately following the exam. You’ll then receive an Official Score Report typically within 3-5 working days (but this can take longer during busy periods so be patient). Once you’ve received the official report, you can send five free reports to universities within the first 48 hours. Additional score reports will be available for a fee.


While the GMAT is designed for students looking to gain a place on a Business Masters, increasing numbers of business schools accept GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores from candidates. The GRE is designed as a more general exam suitable for students applying to a range of disciplines.

Find out more in our guide to graduate entry tests.

GMAT Focus Edition preparation

With the GMAT Focus Edition being more streamlined than it’s predecessor, you can prepare for the exam within six weeks. A great place to start is by using the free six-week planner in the starter kit.

You can take a free practice exam to work out where you’re at and what you need to work on. You might need to develop your knowledge of what the question is actually asking you so use the guide and online questions bank to help!

Where can I take the GMAT Focus Edition or GMAT exam?

There are accredited test centres around the world where you can take the GMAT throughout the year. From 1 February 2024, you will only be able to take the GMAT Focus Edition. The current GMAT will stop after 31 January 2024. You’ll first need to register an account with (a website run by the Graduate Management Admissions Council), before choosing a convenient date and location.

What is the GMAT Focus Edition and GMAT exam fee?

Fees differ across countries but institutions can apply for fee waivers to help out financially disadvantaged students. Find out what it will cost in your country using the drop down menu on the GMAT website.

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Last updated: 01 December 2023