Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) Overview
The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardized
assessment—delivered in English—that helps business schools assess the
qualifications of applicants for advanced study in business and management.
Schools use the test as one predictor of academic performance in an MBA program
or in other graduate management programs. The test is conducted by Graduate
Management Admission Council (GMAC), the people behind the GMAT—the test used
by nearly 2000 business schools.
What the GMAT Measures
The GMAT exam measures basic verbal, mathematical, and
analytical writing skills that you have developed over a long period of time in
your education and work.
It does NOT measure:
Your knowledge of business
Your job skills
Specific content in your undergraduate or first university course work
Your abilities in any other specific subject area, or
Subjective qualities—such as motivation, creativity, and interpersonal skills
Format and Timing
The GMAT exam consists of three main parts, the Analytical
Writing Assessment, the Quantitative section, and the Verbal section.
Analytical Writing Assessment
The GMAT exam begins with the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA). The AWA
consists of two separate writing tasks—Analysis of an Issue and Analysis of an
Argument. You are allowed 30 minutes to complete each one.
Following an optional ten-minute break, you begin the Quantitative Section of
the GMAT exam. This section contains 37 multiple-choice questions of two
question types—Data Sufficiency and Problem Solving. You will be allowed a
maximum of 75 minutes to complete the entire section.
After a second optional ten-minute break, you begin the Verbal Section of the
GMAT exam. This section contains 41 multiple choice questions of three question
types—Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and Sentence Correction. You
are allowed a maximum of 75 minutes to complete the entire section.
The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) consists of four separately timed
sections. Each of the first two sections consists of an analytical writing
task; the remaining two sections (Quantitative and Verbal) consist of
multiple-choice questions delivered in a computer-adaptive format. Questions in
these sections are dynamically selected as you take the test; the
multiple-choice questions will adjust to your ability level, and your test will
How Does It Work ?
For each multiple-choice section of the GMAT exam, there is a
large pool of potential questions ranging from a low to high level of
difficulty. Each section of the test starts with a question of moderate
difficulty. If you answer the first question correctly, the computer will
usually give you a harder question. If you answer the first question
incorrectly, your next question will be easier. This process will continue
until you complete the section, at which point the computer will have an
accurate assessment of your ability level in that subject area.
In a computer-adaptive test, only one question at a time is
presented. Because the computer scores each question before selecting the next
one, you may not skip, return to, or change your responses to previous
What If You Make a Mistake or Guess?
If you answer a question incorrectly by mistake or correctly by
randomly guessing, your answers to subsequent questions will lead you back to
questions that are at the appropriate level of difficulty for you.
Random guessing can significantly lower your scores. So, if you
do not know the answer to a question, you should try to eliminate as many
answer choices as possible and then select the answer you think is best. For
more testing strategies, see Test-Taking Strategies.
What if I don’t finish ?
Pacing is critical, as there is a severe penalty for not
completing. Both the time and number of questions that remain in the section
are displayed on the screen during the exam. There are 37 Quantitative
questions and 41 Verbal questions. If a question is too time-consuming or if
you don’t know the answer, make an educated guess by first eliminating the
answers you know to be wrong.
How Is Your Score Determined ?
Your score is determined by:
The number of questions you answer
Whether you answer the questions correctly or incorrectly
The level of difficulty and other statistical characteristics of each question
The questions in an adaptive test are weighted according to
their difficulty and other statistical properties, not according to their
position in the test.
Are All Questions Counted ?
Every test contains trial multiple-choice questions being
undertakenfor use in a real exam. These questions are not identified and appear
in different locations within the test. You should, therefore, do your best on
all questions. Answers to trial questions are not counted in the scoring of
What Computer Skills Do You Need ?
You need only minimal computer skills to complete the GMAT exam.
Familiarize yourself with the mechanics of taking a computer-adaptive test by
using the GMAT Tutorials that is included with the Free GMAT POWERPREP
Software. The tutorials cover such topics as:
Before the day of your test, review the testing tools covered in the tutorials.
Although you will be able to use a Help function during the test, the time
spent doing so will count against the time allotted for completing a test
Using a mouse
Moving on to the next question
Using the word processor
Accessing the Help function
Your GMAT scores are one measure of your potential for academic
success in a graduate business program. Learn everything you need to know about
them, including what they mean, how schools use them, and how to send them to
the schools of your choice
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