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Please note that this blog has been created before the introduction of GMAT Focus and has not been checked and/or corrected.


practical gmat information Aug 14, 2022
A Brief History of GMAT

It is well known that the GMAT is a difficult test which students have to take when they apply for certain universities or MBA programmes. But less is known about the origin of the test. Who created the test and what does the test look like nowadays? In this blog we will give you a broader insight in the history of the GMAT.


In 1953, the first attempt was made to develop a standardized test for graduate business degree students. Representatives of the most prestigious business schools in the United States, which included Harvard University and Columbia University in the city of New York,  met with deputies of the Education Testing Service, abbreviated ETS. They created the Admission Test For Graduate Study in Business, or ATGSB. This test contained the following sections: Quantitative Reasoning, Quantitative Reading, Verbal Omnibus and Best Arguments. The aim of the introduction of the ATGSB was to provide a more transparent application process, which was identical for all students. Simultaneously it gave the universities a reliable insight in the skills of the to-be students. It became easier for them to select students based on statistics. After a couple of reformations, the ATGSB was renamed. As of then it was called GMAT. Which is short for Graduate Management Admission Test.


A lot has changed about the content of the test, after the name GMAT was chosen in 1976. For example: Analytic Writing Assessment section was added in 1994, and as of 1995 it is possible to take the GMAT outside of the United States. London was the first city in which this was possible. But, with almost certainty it can be stated that, the implementation of the computer-adaptive testing in 1997 had the most far-reaching consequences. Because of this it was possible for a broader audience to take the GMAT. Since then the number of participants skyrocketed. The most recent adjustment to the GMAT is the addition of the Integrated Reasoning and Select Section Order. The latter gives the participant the opportunity to make the different sections of the GMAT in the preferred order. In 2008 a corporation laid its hands on GMAT exam questions. Since then the security measures involving the GMAT has been drastically improved.


Annually, the GMAT is taken by 250.000 students divided over 113 countries. This is a massive growth compared to the 2.990 students who took the test in the first year that it was available. There are 5.200 courses, divided over 2.100 universities which select their students based on a required GMAT score. In the Netherlands it is possible to take the GMAT at four different locations. Two in Amsterdam, and two in Utrecht. Dutch universities usually request a score between 500 and 600. Nowadays the GMAT consists of four sections, of which two define the students’ score: Quantitative and Verbal. The other sections are called Analytic Writing Assessment and Integrated Reasoning. When applying to more prestigious universities (or universities abroad), the score on these sections is important as well.

If you would like more information about the GMAT, we encourage you to attend our free introduction session. Here we discuss in depth all the topics that are important when taking the GMAT. 

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