Student Advice


Ben Maples  · Feb 3rd 2023

Applying to certain universities can be a tough process, not least because of the high entry standards, but also because they have rigorous entrance exams for students as well.


As university applications are constantly on the rise and more and more students begin to apply to the crème de la crème of universities, there has been a rise in methods to test a student’s aptitude.

For some, these are done via Aptitude Tests, for others, they offer university entrance exams, often referred to as a GMAT.


What is the GMAT?

GMAT is a Graduate Management Admission Test, which is a computer adaptive test (CAT) which is intended to ascertain the abilities of the applying student.

The tests are usually split into four separate sections:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA): This is a section where you are expected to complete a writing task in 30 minutes. This is usually to present an argument over a specific series of text.
  • Integrated Reasoning: This section was introduced in 2012 as a means of measuring the tester’s ability to evaluate data from multiple sources.
  • The section lengths can change depending on the university, however, for the most part, the GMAT is usually split by the length of the test.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: This is a section designed to analyse your abilities to interpret data and information from graphs, charts and other graphic formats. You cannot use a calculator in this section of the GMAT.
  • Verbal Reasoning: This is a section that focuses on reading comprehension, critical reasoning and sentence correction.

These sections can be studied in different orders and are often handled in different ways by different universities.

The test is mainly for applying to American universities and UK business schools, however, schools in the UK have been known to accept GMATs as well, especially Russell Group Universities.

Manhattan GMAT

How long is each section?

The section lengths can change depending on the university, however, for the most part, the GMAT is usually split by the length of the test.

The section lengths change all the time, but for the most part, the lengths are as follows:

Section Duration Questions
Analytical writing assessment 30 minutes 1 (Essay question)
Integrated reasoning 30 minutes 12
Quantative reasoning 62 minutes 31
Verbal reasoning 65 minutes 36

All of these are completed online, however, those that need special help with disabilities etc, may be granted the ability to complete the test offline. You will also have the option for an 8-minute break between tests, though these are optional and there are 90 multiple-choice questions.

GMAT percentiles

What is a good GMAT score?

What constitutes a good score is very much dependent on the university that you're applying to. Many different universities have different score requirements as part of their university entry requirements.

Score Percentage
760 to 800 99%
750 98%
740 97%
730 95%
720 94%
710 90%
700 88%
690 85%
680 82%
670 80%
660 77%
650 73%

These scores are considered to be on the high end of the spectrum and are usually considered to be enough to get students into most good business schools or into the vast majority of Russell Group Universities.

GMAT score table

What is the score needed to get into business schools or Russell Group universities?

The score requirements are constantly changing and have been known to fluctuate all the time. Most students should aim for the highest score possible, as with all tests and examinations, however, the majority of schools have accepted the following scores:

Institution Avg. Score
London Business School 700
Saïd Business School - University of Oxford 692
Judge Business School - University of Cambridge 690
Cranfield School of Management - Cranfield University 680
Warwick Business School - University of Warwick 667
Cass Business School - City University London 650
Imperial College Business School - Imperial College London 647
Alliance Manchester Business School - Manchester University 640

Economist GMAT

How much is the GMAT?

The GMAT costs roughly $290 (£225), which is just a general registration fee. There are also fees for rescheduling your GMAT. For rescheduling, fees are as follows:

  • 60 days before the test: £45
  • 15-60 days before the test: £85
  • 14 days before the test: £125

Cancelling your registration can also incur further fees as well, and as with rescheduling, you will need to make sure that you cancel as soon as possible in order to recoup as much money as possible from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

Those that need special help with disabilities etc, may be granted the ability to complete the test offline.

The later you cancel, the less you will be refunded, the fees are as follows:

  • Cancelling 60 days before the test: £85
  • Cancelling 15-60 days before the test: £70
  • Cancelling 14 days before the test: £45
  • Cancelling 24 hours before the test: £0

As you can see, you will never receive the full payment back, however, you will receive some money, except if you are cancelling 24 hours beforehand.

How do I receive my GMAT score?

On the day of your test, you will receive your results, known as Score Reports. With these, you will be able to send them out to five institutions anywhere on the planet. If you need any more to send, you will be required to pay $35 (£27) for each report.

Students are also allowed to receive an Enhanced Score Report (ESR), which is a more detailed breakdown of the scores you received for each section. However, to receive the ESR, students need to pay £24.


Where are the GMAT test centres in the UK?

The UK operates 11 GMAT test centres, which are:


  • Crawley
  • London
  • Reading
  • Salford
  • Sutton Coldfield
  • Watford
  • Wolverhampton

Northern Ireland

  • Belfast


  • Dublin


  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow

Of these 11 cities, only Belfast allows students to sit the test on weekends, for other cities, students can only work between Monday and Friday.

Traditionally, the test has been studied at one of the many test centres, however, owing to certain events, such as the recent global COVID-19 pandemic, the test has been made available to study at home, as of April 20th 2020. Indeed, many top business schools and universities such as Harvard Business School or MIT have announced that they would now be accepting virtual score exams as well.

GMAT London

How to study for the GMAT

Much like other tests and examinations, the best way to revise is to look at previous papers online. There are plenty of GMAT past papers available for you to consider and there are a number of GMAT resources available for students too.

We recommend starting your revision process around six months before the exam, this gives you sufficient time to revise and to begin honing your writing skills, which may be a little rusty.

Take a look at the types of questions that are common on a normal Verbal Reasoning Test, Situational Awareness Test or Aptitude Test and begin to familiarise yourself with the way that you are expected to answer these kinds of questions.

Many top business schools and universities have announced that they would now be accepting virtual score exams.

What scores can you get on the AWA?

Your essay is given a score between 0 to 6. There are two independent scores that are given to your essay, which are then averaged together to determine the overall score. This is done by a computerised reading evaluation and the other is by a third party, a human, who will read your essay.

These are the essay score definitions:

Essay Score Reason
0 Nonsensical, blank, incoherent or off-topic
1 Of insufficient quality
2 A flawed essay
3 Somewhat limited essay
4 An adequate essay
5 Strong essay
6 Oustanding essay

There are also half-points offered as well, where round figures could not be averaged.

Free GMAT practice test

What is the difference between the GMAT and GRE?

The GMAT and the GRE are two very different tests and are used for very different reasons. The GMAT is used for applying to business schools in the US and Russell Group Business Schools in the UK, whereas, the GRE is used for application to graduate schools in the US and Canada.

The structure and the scoring between the GMAT and the GRE are very different too.

Sections GMAT GRE
Length 3 hours 30 minutes 3 hours 45 minutes
Number of essays or essay questions 1 2
Multiple-choice questions 90 80 (including 20 unscored research questions)
Sections 4 6 (including unscored research sections)
Scoring range 200-800 (ten point increments) 260-340 (one point increments)
Cost $290 (£225) $205 (£160)

As you can see, the difference between the two is quite vast. The other main difference is that, as it is a CAT, the difficulty of the next question is determined by how well you answer the current one, whereas, the GRE assigns a level of difficulty for sections, as opposed to questions.

The GMAT has become the standard for a number of universities that offer an entrance exam and the GMAT has fast become one of the premier entrance exams for business schools in the UK, the US and in Canada.

undergraduate Uni's

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