A key criterion to gain entry to the world’s top MBA programmes

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardised test used by local and international business schools, including the UCT Graduate School of Business, as part of the admissions process into competitive graduate programmes. It tests far more than mathematical ability; verbal and written communication skills are heavily weighted. The test is also computer adaptive, which means that the questions are answered online, so computer literacy is an advantage. More importantly, the questions you are given become progressively more difficult depending on whether you answer correctly, and the more difficult the questions you answer correctly, the higher your score making problem-solving skills an absolute must. 


  • Analytical writing – analysis of an argument.
  • Integrated reasoning – multi-source reasoning and interpretation.
  • Quantitative section – data sufficiency and problem solving.
  • Verbal section – critical reasoning, reading comprehension and sentence correction

You will have 3.5 hours to complete the test

The GMAT is written on a regular basis. When making your booking you will be asked to nominate five preferred dates, and you will be given a test date on, or nearest to, your chosen date(s).

Yes. However, you are not permitted to rewrite in the same month.

You can purchase a GMAT text book from most major book stores. You could also download the free software from the GMAT website, and work your way through the tests.

The UCT GSB accepts a range of standardised assessments. You can find out more about these here.

Applicants who have already taken the GMAT should enclose a certified copy of their score with their application pack. Generally, GMAT scores older than four years are not acceptable unless approved by the MBA director.

Yes, we encourage this. You can begin your pre-application MBA process before you write your GMAT

Book online:

Book at the South Africa testing centre :

Contact Pearson VUE for more details   Tel: +27 (0)800 995 043 

Book through the Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) Region testing centres:

Telephone: +44 (0) 161 855 7219, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. BST


Put your best foot forward

1. Start preparation early
A standard timeline advises giving yourself three to six months before results are due, but if you can give yourself even more than that, do! You lose nothing by giving yourself a little more prep time. Moreover, if you are not fresh from your undergraduate degree, you may find it difficult to get back into study mode – so a longer run up is advisable.

2. Get the facts
Thorough organisation will stand you in good stead. It is essential to know details like the application deadline for the school(s) of your choice; GMAT score ranges; test and test registration dates, etc. There are several useful resources available at, where you can download GMAT Prep software, preparation tests and other learning tools. It’s a good idea to take a practice test before you start studying – this will give you an idea of your skills baseline.

3. Register for a prep course
There are textbooks available that cover the material you’ll need to study. But it also helps to have an experienced mentor guiding you through the process and being available to answer any questions you might have. And don’t underestimate the motivational material of having peers who are in the same boat helping you along.

4. Don’t underestimate the importance of the verbal and written section
Going back into the workplace as a leader, your communication skills will be paramount, so it stands to reason that they will feature heavily in your MBA. Many applicants make the mistake of thinking the GMAT will be a test of their mathematical skills and forget all about their interpersonal skills. In order to stand out head and shoulders above the rest, you’ll need to have the whole package – and it needs to show in your GMAT score.

5. Practise, practise, practise
On the subject of language: reading comprehension can make or break your score on data sufficiency questions. You may have all the mathematical skills in the world, but if you are thrown off by the wording of a question, you will answer incorrectly. Data sufficiency questions are notoriously tricky where wording is concerned, and when you are feeling anxious, you may be prone to misreading the answers. Taking one of the myriad practice tests available online will help you get used to the test format, recognise the wording, and remain calm during the test. “You can only achieve a good GMAT preparation through persistent practice,” says GMAT coach Thomas Graf.

6. Think like the test maker
What is being tested? Your logic, comprehension, your ability to reason, and your attention to detail. In most questions, there will be information that is either extraneous, a red herring, or an error you might be expected to make. “Spot the con,” advises the Veritas Prep blog (the writer scored 780).
“The GMAT often obscures information or hides information in the question stem or individual statements to try to trip you up. You often have to re-arrange or translate the information given to actually make it useful to the problem.” So think calmly and carefully about what the person setting the test might expect you to do, and eliminate any information in the question that is not leading you to your answer. Look at what you do see, not what you are expecting to see. Whether you are working on problem solving or analytical thinking, this will assist your clarity and help you arrive at the correct conclusion.

7. Think laterally
Great business people think of creative solutions, so if you are presented with a logic problem that seems particularly difficult, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. “I was given a logic problem about a set of light bulbs,” says one MBA graduate. “I thought the answer I came to couldn’t possibly be right, because it was such an odd solution. But I found out later that it was a well-known riddle and it was, in fact, the correct answer.”

8. Don’t panic!
The test conditions can be nerve-wracking, especially since there are (in some cases) cameras and other security devices installed to ensure no cheating occurs. It can also be intimidating to know that the first questions can determine how the rest of the test goes, given that the weighting of each successive question depends on whether you answered the last correctly. But remember – you can always take the test again. Your previous test scores will be on record, but the good news is that if you achieve a high score in your most recent test, most business schools will count this in your favour. So prepare, practise, and breathe deeply. You can only do your best – and panic will do you no favours.