About the GMAT in Hong Kong

Hong Kong 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. The GMAT is not only used as admission criteria for MBA programs, but also for Masters of Accountancy, Masters of Public Administration, PhD programs in business and other graduate level business degree programs. 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.

Hong Kong has seen strong growth in use of the GMAT in recent years. More than 13,000 GMAT scores were sent to schools in Hong Kong in the 2012 testing year, representing more than 22 percent of the total number of scores sent to schools in the Asia-Pacific region. This makes Hong Kong the third most popular Asian destination to which scores are sent, after India and Singapore.

GMAC does not break down how many tests are taken in Hong Kong or by residents of Hong Kong as it does with other areas. Overall, however, more than 58,000 Chinese citizens take the GMAT every year, and Hong Kong is the most popular Asian destination to which Chinese citizens to send scores. Hong Kong receives five times as many GMAT scores from Chinese citizens as all the rest of China. In Asia as a whole, 110,737 citizens of Asian countries took the GMAT in the 2012 test year. 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.

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

Many take the GMAT for the first time in the late in the spring or in early summer so that if they are not satisfied with their scores they can retake the test before business school applications are due, usually in September or October. The GMAT may be retaken 31 days after the last time it was taken. Scores improve an average of 30 points the second time taking the test. Test takers who think they did poorly may cancel their scores immediately after completing the test before they are shown their scores. (Once test takers have seen their scores they may no longer cancel them.) The 31-day waiting period for retaking the test applies even if scores are canceled.

GMAT Scores and the Business School Application

The GMAT is a requirement for many graduate level business schools and an important part of the application. As a standardized test, business schools use the GMAT to measure students from different majors, different schools and different countries using a common benchmark.

GMAT scores range from 200 to 800 with two-thirds of test takers scoring between 400 and 600. Most business school publish the average GMAT scores of their last incoming class. Students trying to identify what scores they need to get into certain schools can used the average scores reported by each school as a reference point.

The average GMAT score worldwide is around 540. The University of Hong Kong, for example, lists an average GMAT score for its 2012 incoming class of 693 based on scores that ranged from 650 to 770. Stanford Graduate School of Business lists the highest average GMAT score at 729, based on a range for accepted candidates of 550 to 790.

GMAT Format

The GMAT is administered via computer. It is a computer-adaptive test, meaning as questions are answered correctly, the test gets more difficult; when questions are answered incorrectly, subsequent questions become easier. Because of the computer-adaptive format, questions must be answered in order and it is not possible to skip a question and return to it later. Once a question is answered, it is finalized and can't be changed. The final score is based on the number of questions answered correctly and the difficulty of the questions.

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

The Analytical Writing Assessment is always the first section of the GMAT. It is an essay question with a 30-minute time limit. The essay is referred to as an "analysis of an argument" exercise, because test takers are given an argument that they must either critique or support. The essays are scored partially based on how well writers can organize their thoughts to compellingly evaluate the argument's merits or flaws. Essays are also reviewed for clarity of writing – are points expressed coherently and logically using correct grammar and punctuation? The AWA is scored by two separate reviewers with their scores averaged together. The final score ranges from zero to six at half point intervals. The score is listed separately and not factored into the GMAT total score.

The Integrated Reasoning section is the newest section of the test and was added to measure reasoning skills useful in a data-driven world. The section, added in July 2012, includes questions about interpreting graphics, analyzing tables, integrating data from multiple sources and solving complex problems with multiple variables. There are a total of 12 questions and the section has a 30-minute time limit. Like the AWA, the Integrated Reasoning section score is scored separately and not factored into the total score. The Integrated Reasoning score ranges from zero to eight in single-digit intervals. As the 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 longest-standing and most established sections of the test. They are also the longest in duration. The Verbal and Quantitative sections contain 41 and 37 questions respectively and each has a have 75 minute time limit. The Verbal section includes reading comprehension questions, sentence correction questions about grammar and language usage, and critical reasoning questions that measure the ability to evaluate arguments. The Quantitative section contains problem solving questions and "data sufficiency" questions that ask test takers to review whether there is enough information available to solve a problem. These two question types are intermingled throughout the Math section. The problems in the Math section deal with a variety of mathematical concepts including arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data interpretation. The scores from these two sections are added together to make up the GMAT total score. The total score, which ranges from 200 to 800, is the most widely-used score from the test and is the benchmark score that schools report when they list the average GMAT scores of their incoming class.

Hong Kong GMAT Test Locations

The GMAT is offered at one location in Hong Kong:

Pearson Professional Centers-Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Wan Chai
139 Hennessy Road, Wanchai
Office B, 18/F, China Overseas Building

It is also offered in Guangdong very close to Hong Kong at:

NEEA-Shenzhen SEG Training Center
11/F., West Section
Bldg. 4. SEG Science & Technology Park
North Huaqiang Road

Test takers must schedule their appointment to take the test through the official GMAT Web site at www.mba.com. The GMAT is offered year-round and on demand.

Registering for the GMAT in Hong Kong

To schedule an appointment to take the GMAT in Hong Kong (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 "Hong Kong" into the search field. They will then see the Hong Kong and Guandong testing locations listed as well as several others that are farther away. (The list of testing centers plots the different testing centers in the region on a map and lists the distances from each of the centers to Hong Kong.)

Upon selecting a testing center, 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. Any changes to a test appointment, such as rescheduling or canceling the appointment, must also be done through the Web site.