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Graduate Management Admission Test

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is used by universities worldwide as selection standard for admission in various management programs.
The GMAT exam consists of four main sections—
1. Analytical Writing Assessment
2. Integrated Reasoning
3. Quantitative Section
4. Verbal Section

Test Structure & Overview

Test time: Three and a half hours (with optional breaks).

Analytical Writing Assessment Section

This section consists of one 30-minute essay on the analysis of an Argument. This will be on a general topic.
You have to analyze the reasoning behind the argument and write a critique on it. You do not have to write your own views on the subject.
Skills Measured:
  • Ability to formulate an appropriate and constructive critique of a specific conclusion based on a specific line of thinking.

  • Analytical Writing Assessment Score
    Scores for the AWA range from 0 to 6 in half-point intervals.
    1. An essay that is deficient.
    2. An essay that is flawed.
    2. An essay that is flawed.
    2. An essay that is flawed.
    2. An essay that is flawed.
    6. An essay that is outstanding.

    Essays are scored independently twice and then averaged.
    Each essay in the AWA section will be given two independent ratings:

    1. An automated essay-scoring engine: This is an electronic system that evaluates more than 50 structural and linguistic features, including organization of ideas, syntactic variety, and topical analysis.
    2. College and university faculty members trained as readers for the AWA: They will consider the following:

  • The overall quality of ideas about the argument presented
  • The overall ability to organize, develop and express those ideas
  • The relevant supporting reasons and examples used
  • Ability to control the elements of standard written English
  • In considering the elements of standard written English, readers are trained to be sensitive and fair in evaluating the responses of examinees whose first language is not English. If the two ratings differ by more than one point, another evaluation by an expert reader is required to resolve the discrepancy and determine the final score.

    Integrated Reasoning Section

    This section measures the ability to evaluate information presented in multiple formats from multiple sources.

    Test time: 30 minutes.

    Skills Measured:
    The skills identified by managemen faculty worldwide as important for a graduate management student, including:
  • Synthesizing information presented in graphics, text, and numbers
  • Evaluating relevant information from different sources
  • Organizing information to see relationships and to solve multiple, interrelated problems
  • Combining and manipulating information to solve complex problems that depend on information from one or more sources
  • Question Formats

    The Integrated Reasoning section consists of four question types, which have multiple parts.
    1. Graphics Interpretation:
    You have to interpret a graph or graphical image. Each question has fill-in-the-blank statements with pull-down menus; you must choose the options that make the statements accurate.
    2. Two-Part Analysis:
    Questions in this section involve two components for a solution. Possible answers are given in a table format with a column for each component and rows with possible options. You have to choose one response per column.

    3. Table Analysis:
    You have to sort the table and organize the data so you can determine whether certain conditions are met. Each question will have statements with opposing answers (e.g., yes/no, true/false, inferable/not inferable).
    4. Multi-Source Reasoning:
    Questions are accompanied by two to three sources of information presented on tabbed pages. Test takers click on the tabs and examine all the relevant information, which may be a combination of text, charts, and tables to answer either traditional multiple-choice or opposite-answer (e.g., yes/no, true/false) questions.

  • Questions are designed to measure how well you integrate data to solve complex problems, so all parts of a single question have to be answered correctly. You are required to analyze and synthesize data in different formats and from multiple sources.
  • All answer choices for a single question are presented on the same screen. You must submit responses to all parts of the question before moving on to a new question on another screen. Once you answer a question, you may not go back and change the answer.
  • Data presented in text are approximately 300 words or fewer.
  • Answer options don’t provide information or clues that will help you solve other questions.
  • One set of data is used for several Multi-Source Reasoning questions, but the questions are independent of one another—you won’t have to answer one question correctly to be able to answer another.

    Quantitative Section

    This section measures the ability to reason quantitatively, solve quantitative problems, and interpret graphic data.
    Two types of multiple-choice questions are used in the Quantitative section:
    1. Problem Solving
    2. Data Sufficiency
    Problem-Solving and Data-Sufficiency questions are intermingled throughout the section. Both types of questions require knowledge of:
    ● Arithmetic
    ● Elementary algebra
    ● Commonly known concepts of geometry
    Skills measured:
    Problem-Solving Questions
    This measures the ability to:
    ● Reason quantitatively, solve quantitative problems, and interpret graphic data
    ● Understand problems involving arithmetic, elementary algebra, and common geometry concepts
    ● Evaluate the amount of information needed to solve quantitative problems

    Data-Sufficiency Questions
    This measures the ability to:
    ● Analyze a quantitative problem
    ● Recognize which information is relevant
    ● Determine at what point there is sufficient information to solve a problem

    Verbal Section

    The verbal section measures:

    ● ability to read and comprehend written material
    ● reason and evaluate arguments
    ● correct written material to conform to standard written English
    Question types

    Three types of multiple-choice questions are used.
    1. Reading Comprehension
    2. Critical Reasoning
    3. Sentence Correction
    Reading Comprehension Questions
    Comprehension passages are up to 350 words long. They are on subjects such as the social sciences, physical or biological sciences, and business-related areas (marketing, economics, human resource management, etc.). Answers are based on the given material and no specific subject knowledge is required. Interpretive, applied, and inferential questions are asked.
    Skills Measured
    Reading Comprehension questions measure your ability to understand, analyze, and apply information and concepts presented in written form.

    This section evaluates the following abilities:
    Understanding words and statements in reading passages:
    Your understanding of and ability to comprehend terms used in the passage understanding of the English language is tested.
    Understanding the logical relationships between significant points and concepts in the reading passages:
    You will have to determine the strong and weak points of an argument or evaluate the importance of arguments and ideas in a passage.
    Drawing inferences from facts and statements in the reading passages:
    You have to reach a general conclusion on the basis of factual statements or information given to you.
    Understanding and following the development of quantitative concepts as they are presented in verbal material:
    You have to interpret numerical data or use simple arithmetic to reach conclusions about the matter you are given.
    Critical Reasoning Questions The questions to test the reasoning skills involved in making arguments, evaluating arguments, and formulating or evaluating a plan of action. Questions are based on materials from a variety of sources. No specific subject knowledge is needed.

    Skills Measured

    Ability to reason effectively in three areas:
    Argument construction:
    You have to recognize the basic structure of an argument, properly drawn conclusions, underlying assumptions, well-supported explanatory hypotheses, or parallels between structurally similar arguments.
    Argument evaluation:
    You have to analyze a given argument, recognize factors that would strengthen or weaken an argument, reasoning errors committed in making an argument, or aspects of the methods by which an argument proceeds.
    ● Formulating and evaluating a plan of action:
    You have to to recognize the relative appropriateness, effectiveness, or efficiency of different plans of action; factors that would strengthen or weaken a proposed plan of action; or assumptions underlying a proposed plan of action.
    Sentence Correction Questions
    you will be asked which of the five choices best expresses an idea or relationship. You have to be familiar with the stylistic conventions and grammatical rules of standard written English and also demonstrate your ability to improve incorrect or ineffective expressions.

    Skills Measured
    Two broad aspects of language proficiency are tested:
    Correct expression: A sentence should:
    ● be grammatically and structurally sound
    ● conform to all the rules of standard written English, e.g., noun-verb agreement, pronoun consistency, pronoun case, and verb tense sequence
    ● not have dangling, misplaced, or improperly formed modifiers, unidiomatic or inconsistent expressions, or faults in parallel construction.
    Effective expression: An effective sentence should:
    ● expresses an idea or relationship clearly and concisely, as well as grammatically
    ● should not have superfluous words or needlessly complicated expressions
    ● use proper diction—the standard dictionary meanings of words
    ● appropriateness of words in context


    Total GMAT scores range from 200 to 800. Scores are given in increments of 10. The higher a test taker's score is, the higher their level of ability on the GMAT. Two-thirds of test takers score between 400 and 600.

    The Verbal and Quantitative scores range from 0 to 60. Both scores are on a fixed scale and can be compared across all GMAT test administrations. The Verbal and Quantitative scores measure different constructs and cannot be compared to each other. If you do cannot complete, you will still receive scores as long as you have worked on every section. Your scores will be calculated taking into account the number of questions answered, decreasing with every question not answered.

    The Analytical Writing Assessment score is based on the Analysis of an Argument essay. Scores for the AWA range from 0 to 6 in half-point intervals.

    Writing scores are computed separately from the multiple-choice scores and have no effect on the Verbal, Quantitative, or Total scores.

    Integrated Reasoning scores range from 1 to 8 in single-digit intervals.

    Like the AWA, the IR scores are computed separately from the Quantitative and Verbal sections and have no effect on the Total score. Most questions have multiple parts and all of them have to be answered correctly to receive credit as the questions test your ability to integrate data to solve complex problems,

    Score reports include all GMAT taken in the last five years.

    The scores on the GMAT test (Verbal, Quantitative, Total, Analytical Writing Assessment, and Integrated Reasoning) will be given a percentile rank (the proportion of exams scoring below your score you based on the scores of the entire GMAT testing population for the most recent three-year period). Your percentile rank may change from year to year. However, your scaled score never changes.

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