What is the GMAT?
The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a computer adaptive test which assesses a person's analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in standard written English in preparation for being admitted into a graduate management program, such as an MBA.
More than 5,900 programs offered by more than 2,100 universities and institutions use the GMAT exam as part of the selection criteria for their programs. Business schools use the test as a criterion for admission into a wide range of graduate management programs, including MBA, Master of Accountancy, and Master of Finance programs. The GMAT exam is administered in standardized test centers around the world. On June 5, 2012, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) introduced an integrated reasoning section to the exam that is designed to measure a test taker’s ability to evaluate data presented in new formats and multiple sources.
What is the format of the GMAT?
The GMAT exam consists of four sections: An analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning, the quantitative section, and the verbal section.Total testing time is three and a half hours, but test takers should plan for a total time of approximately four hours, with breaks. Test takers have 30 minutes for the analytical writing assessment and another 30 minutes to work through 12 questions, which often have multiple parts, on the integrated reasoning section. They are given 75 minutes to work through 37 questions in the quantitative section and another 75 minutes to get through 41 questions in the verbal section.
The quantitative and verbal sections of the GMAT exam are both multiple-choice and are administered in the computer-adaptive format, adjusting to a test taker’s level of ability. At the start of the quantitative and verbal sections, test takers are presented with a question of average difficulty. As questions are answered correctly, the computer presents the test taker with increasingly difficult questions and as questions are answered incorrectly the computer presents the test taker with questions of decreasing difficulty. This process continues until test takers complete each section, at which point the computer will have an accurate assessment of their ability level in that subject area and come up with a raw score for each section.
How is the GMATscored ?
The quantitative section of the GMAT measures the ability to reason quantitatively, solve quantitative problems, interpret graphic data, and analyze and use information given in a problem. The use of calculators is not allowed on the quantitative section of the GMAT. Test takers must do their math work out by hand using a dry erase pen and laminated graph paper which are given to them at the testing center. Questions require knowledge of topics such as arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. There are two types of quantitative questions: problem solving and data sufficiency. Scores range from 0 to 60, although they only report scores between 11 and 51.
The verbal section of the GMAT Exam measures the test taker's ability to read and comprehend written material, reason and evaluate arguments and correct written material to express ideas effectively in standard written English. The question types are reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction questions. Scores range from 0 to 60, although they only report scores between 11 and 51.
Integrated Reasoning (IR) is a new section (introduced in June 2012) designed to measure a test taker’s ability to evaluate data presented in multiple formats from multiple sources. The skills being tested by the integrated reasoning section were identified in a survey of 740 management faculty worldwide as important for today’s incoming students. The integrated reasoning section consists of 12 questions (which often consists of multiple parts themselves) in four different formats: graphics interpretation, two-part analysis, table analysis, and multi-source reasoning. Integrated reasoning scores range from 1-8. Like the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), this section is scored separately from the quantitative and verbal section. Performance on the IR and AWA sections does not contribute to the total GMAT score.
The AWA consists of one 30-minute writing task—analysis of an argument. It is important to be able to analyze the reasoning behind a given argument and write a critique of that argument. The essay will be given two independent ratings and these ratings are averaged together to determine the test taker's AWA score. One rating is given by a computerized reading evaluation and another is given by a person at GMAC who will read and score the essay themselves without knowledge of what the computerized score was. The automated essay-scoring engine is an electronic system that evaluates more than 50 structural and linguistic features, including organization of ideas, syntactic variety, and topical analysis. 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.
The total GMAT score ranges from 200 to 800 and measures performance on the quantitative and verbal sections together (performance on the AWA and IR sections do not count toward the total score, those sections are scored separately). Scores are given in increments of 10 (e.g. 540, 550, 560, 570, etc.). From the most recent data released by GMAC, the average GMAT score of all test takers is about a 540. The higher a test taker's score is, the higher their level of ability was on the GMAT. Business schools place their emphasis on the test taker's combined quantitative and verbal score because it is this score that gets reported when the schools publish their class profiles of the students they admit into their program. The higher the school's average GMAT score is, the more selective that school is said to be.
All scores and cancellations in the past five years will be on a student's score report, a change from the previous policy of the last three scores and cancellations being kept on the score report.
When to take the GMAT?
Test takers may register for the GMAT either online or by calling one of the test centers.To schedule an exam, an appointment must be made at one of the designated test centers. The GMAT may not be taken more than once within 31 days, even if the scores are canceled. Official GMAT exam study materials are available on the mba.com online store and through third-party vendors.
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