Exactly How Long is the GMAT™ exam?

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Whether you’re considering taking the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT™) online or at a test center, one thing’s for sure: knowing what to expect of the exam’s structure and timing is critical to your preparation. Not only does knowing the GMAT structure and test time help you mentally prepare, but it helps you pace yourself for the exam.

Below we’ve included the GMAT time required for the in-person and online exams, and how much time is allocated for each section, so you can prepare accordingly and set yourself up for success.

What is the GMAT exam?

Before we get into the timing details, let’s revisit what the GMAT exam is. Required for admission into the top-ranked business schools, the GMAT exam is an assessment of the skills you need to perform in business school. Since it helps predict your likelihood of academic and professional success, a strong GMAT score can set you apart from the competition in the admissions process.

GMAT online exam vs. GMAT test center exam: How do the GMAT test times compare?

Earlier this year, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) shared two big announcements regarding the GMAT exam. First, the test is now offered online and second, it’s now 30 minutes shorter. So if your question is, “how long is the GMAT exam?” The answer is: It depends. While the overall GMAT test time and sections are similar for the online and in-person exam, there are a couple of differences.

If you’re taking the exam online, here’s what to expect for the GMAT length:

1. Quantitative Reasoning measures your ability to analyze data and draw conclusions using reasoning skills. Time allocated: 62 minutes

2. Verbal Reasoning measures your ability to read and understand written material, evaluate arguments and correct written material to conform with standard written English. Time allocated: 65 minutes

3. Integrated Reasoning measures your ability to analyze data and evaluate information presented in multiple formats. Time allocated: 30 minutes 

In addition to those three sections, the online GMAT test allows one five-minute break. Overall, the online GMAT length is 2 hours, 45 minutes, with 15 extra minutes allowed for check in.

The in-person GMAT format, however, includes an extra section: the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA). The AWA measures your ability to think critically and communicate your ideas. There are 30 minutes allocated for this section. In addition to that, the test center exam offers two optional eight-minute breaks. Overall, the test-center GMAT time is three hours, seven minutes, plus 30 extra minutes for check-in.

GMAT length vs. GRE length: What’s the difference in timing?

By reducing the overall GMAT length, we streamlined the test-taking experience for candidates, which can increase their confidence and improve their performance. In addition, both the online and in-person GMAT times are shorter than the online and in-person Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

The table below details the total time for each section of the in-person GMAT exam and for comparison, the current data available on the GRE.

While the online GMAT test time is shorter than the in-person GMAT test time, both the online and in-person GRE test times are 3:45.

Why GMAT prep is paramount to your success

Besides being the most widely accepted exam* for global business school admissions, the GMAT is the only exam required by the most elite business school programs. As with anything, more practice and preparation can improve your GMAT exam performance. If you’re serious about a graduate management education, the GMAT exam is the test for you. Learn more about the GMAT and how best to prepare.


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