The History of the GMAT

by on July 10th, 2015

history lessonThis year, the GMAT celebrated its 60th anniversary of offering business schools a standardized way to evaluate candidates. That’s also six decades of test takers around the world studying many hours in preparation for the exam.

Yet, the GMAT didn’t always have the reach and weight that it has today. So we thought we’d take a break from the normal studying grind and give you a brief overview of the history of the GMAT.

It all started in 1953. Representatives from nine business schools—Columbia, Harvard, Northwestern, Rutgers, Seton Hall, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, and Washington University in St. Louis—met to establish a standardized way in assessing qualified candidates.

This meeting resulted in the creation of the Admission Test for Graduate Study in Business, which we know today as the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Only 50 schools received exam scores that year, and only 2553 students took the test, a fraction of the amount of times the GMAT is taken today. Now, more than 250,000 exams are given year round.

While the GMAT has always quizzed students’ verbal and quantitative skills, you’d be surprised to see some of the sections that appeared in the original exam and that we no longer see today. For example, the Analogy and Antonym questions were eventually taken out as it relied heavily on the English language and thus, did not favor non-native English speakers. This was a practical move, considering how global MBA programmes have become. Today, GMAT scores are distributed to more than 100 countries.

There are some recent developments to the GMAT. The AWA section, for example, was added in 1994 to provide schools an assessment of the applicant’s writing skills. The CAT format was implemented in 1997 to modernize the test. With its ability to choose questions based on your previous answers, each GMAT exam is nearly unique. The most recent change to the GMAT, the inclusion of the IR section in 2012, is still the most unclear. Exactly how much weight MBA programs put on the IR score when assessing candidates remains to be seen.

In spite of its evolution, the GMAT remains an important tool for business schools to assess a global pool of applicants fairly and objectively. And while other aspects of your application can help boost your candidacy, the GMAT remains essential in showcasing your knowledge skills to admissions.

So, now that you know the history of the GMAT, let’s work on improving your score. Get started today.

This post appeared first on the Economist GMAT Tutor blog.

Ask a Question or Leave a Reply

The author Economist GMAT Tutor gets email notifications for all questions or replies to this post.

Some HTML allowed. Keep your comments above the belt or risk having them deleted. Signup for a Gravatar to have your pictures show up by your comment.