About the GMAT in Singapore

Singapore GMAT Basics

The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is a standardized test taken as part of the application process to graduate-level business programs. More than 5,800 programs in 82 countries use the GMAT as part of their admission criteria, including more than 650 programs in the Asia-Pacific region. It is part of the admission criteria not only for MBA programs, but also for Masters of Accountancy, Masters of Public Administration, PhD programs in business and other graduate level business degree programs. In total, the test is taken more than 250,000 times a year. The GMAT is owned and administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a non-profit council of business schools.

The number of GMAT exams taken by Asian citizens is rising quickly. In test year 2012, 110,737 citizens of Asian countries took the GMAT. This marks the first time that more than 100,000 Asian citizens took the GMAT in a test year and represents a rise of 29 percent over test year 2011 and 56 percent over 2008. (A test year runs from July 1 of the previous calendar year to June 30.) In test year 2012, 4178 tests were taken in Singapore, one-third by Singapore citizens and the remaining two-thirds by residents. Some students who take the GMAT in Singapore will pursue business degrees in Singapore and other students aim to go abroad to attend business school in the US or other countries.

Singapore business schools attract strong interest from outside the border. More than 90 percent of GMAT scores sent to Singapore business schools come from outside Singapore, and Singapore is the second-most-popular Asian country to which GMAT scores are sent after India. Overall, 15,404 GMAT scores were sent to Singapore business programs in test year 2012. Among Asian citizens throughout the region, Singapore is the fourth most popular destination for sending GMAT scores, after the US, India, and the UK.

The GMAT is administered in English and takes four hours to complete (including optional breaks between sections). It is designed to test skills needed for graduate-level study in business related fields – skills such as analytical reasoning, quantitative thinking and communication of complex concepts.

Many plan to take the GMAT in the late spring or early summer so that if they are not happy with their scores, there is time to retake the test before applications are due, usually in September or October. The test can be retaken 31 days after the last time it was taken. Scores improve an average of 30 points between the first and second time taking the test. Test takers unhappy with their test session may cancel their scores immediately after taking the test and before their scores are tabulated. (Once test takers are shown their scores they are no longer allowed to cancel them.) The 31-day waiting period for retakes applies even if scores are cancelled.

GMAT Scores and the Business School Application

For many graduate business schools, the GMAT is a requirement and an important part of the application. Business schools use the GMAT as a benchmark for measuring students from different majors, different schools and different countries using a common standard.

Most business schools publish the average scores of their last incoming class. Students can use the average scores published by schools as reference points to identify what scores would make them viable candidates for their target schools. The average total GMAT score is around 540.

The National University of Singapore, for example, lists an average GMAT score for its 2012 incoming class of 658. Stanford Graduate School of Business lists the highest average GMAT score at 729. Stanford says the 729 average was based on GMAT scores for accepted candidates that ranged from 550 to 790.

GMAT Format

The GMAT is a computer-based test. It is also computer-adaptive, meaning as questions are answered correctly; the test gets more difficult; when test takers get questions wrong, subsequent questions become easier. Because of this computer-adaptive format, test takers must answer questions in order. There is no possibility of skipping questions and returning to them later. One you move on to the next question, the previous answer is finalized and can't be changed. The test is scored based on the number of questions answered correctly and the difficulty of the questions.

The GMAT Test has four sections: the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), the Integrated Reasoning section, the Verbal section and the Quantitative section.

The Analytical Writing Assessment is an essay question with a 30-minute time limit. Test takers are given an argument and they must write an essay that supports or disputes the argument's conclusion. The essays are scored partially based on how well the writer can critique the argument and organize thoughts to compellingly explain the argument's merits or flaws. It is also evaluated based on clarity of writing – how well points are expressed and whether the writer uses correct grammar and punctuation. The AWA score is listed separately and not factored into the total score. The AWA score ranges from zero to six at half point intervals.

The Integrated Reasoning section is designed to measure reasoning skills that are useful in a data-driven world. The section contains questions on interpreting graphics, analyzing tables, integrating data from multiple sources and solving complex problems with multiple variables. This section was only added to the GMAT in July 2012, making it the newest section of the test. The section includes 12 questions and has a 30-minute time limit. The Integrated Reasoning section score is not factored into the total score; it has its own score, ranging from zero to eight in single-digit intervals. As this section is still relatively new, its score is currently not as important as the total score, however the Integrated Reasoning score is expected to grown in significance in coming years.

The Verbal and Quantitative sections of the GMAT are the two most established sections of the test and they are also the two longest. The Verbal and Quantitative sections contain 41 and 37 questions respectively and both sections are 75 minutes long. The Verbal section contains reading comprehension questions, sentence correction questions that test grammar and language usage, and critical reasoning questions that measure test takers' abilities to evaluate arguments. The Quantitative section contains problem solving questions as well as "data sufficiency" questions, which ask test takers to assess whether there is enough information in a question to solve the problem. These two questions types are intermingled throughout the section. Both question types cover a variety of mathematical concepts including arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data interpretation skills. The GMAT total score, which is the most widely used score from the test, is made up the scores of the Verbal and Quantitative sections only.

Singapore GMAT Test Locations

In Singapore, the GMAT is offered in two locations:

The NTUC Learning Hub Pte Ltd
NTUC Trade Union House
73 Bras Basah Road

Pearson Professional Center Singapore
International Plaza, Level 30, Unit 3
10 Anson Road

The GMAT is offered year-round and on demand. Appointments to take the test must be scheduled centrally through the official GMAT Web site at www.mba.com.

How to register for the test in Singapore

To schedule an appointment to take the GMAT in Singapore (or anywhere else) test takers must establish an account at the official GMAT site www.mba.com. Once an account has been established, test takers click the "find a test center" button, and enter "Singapore" into the search field. They will then see the two Singapore testing locations listed.

Upon selecting a location, a calendar of available time slots for taking the test will pop up. Both setting up an account with the site and scheduling a time to take the test are relatively simple online processes and can be done quickly. Rescheduling and cancelling test appointments must also be done through the Web site.