GMAT - Graduate Management Aptitude Test

About GMAT - Graduate Management Aptitude Test - GMAT Preparation

Graduate Management Admission Test. The GMAT is required for admission to business school. This computerized test is offered year-round, but only in the last 3 weeks of every calendar month. It tests students on verbal skills, quantitative skills (math) and analytical writing skills

About the GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test)

The GMAT is only available as a computer adaptive test (CAT) that adapts to your performance as you take the test. The test is no longer available as a paper and pencil exam.

The GMAT Test is a multiple-choice test that most business schools use for admission into their graduate programs.

The Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT®) consists of three main parts, the Analytical Writing Assessment, Quantitative section, and Verbal section.

Analytical Writing Assessment (30 + 30 mins = 1 hour)

The GMAT begins with the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA). The AWA consists of two separate writing tasks. Analysis of an Issue and Analysis of an Argument. Test takers are allowed 30 minutes to complete each essay.

Quantitative Section (37 questions; 75 minutes)

The AWA is followed by an optional five-minute break, hich is followed by the Quantitative section of the GMAT. This section contains 37 multiple-choice questions of two question types

  • Data Sufficiency and

  • Problem Solving.

Test takers are allowed a maximum of 75 minutes to complete the entire section.

Verbal Section(41 questions; 75 minutes)

After a second optional five-minute break, the Verbal Section of the GMAT begins. This section contains 41 multiple-choice questions of three question types

  • Reading Comprehension

  • Critical Reasoning and

  • Sentence Correction.

Test takers are allowed a maximum of 75 minutes to complete the entire section.

GMAT Scoring Pattern

The Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT®) yields four scores

  • Verbal (Scores range from 0 to 60)

  • Quantitative (Scores range from 0 to 60)

  • Total (Scores range from 200 to 800) and

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (Scores range from 0 to 6 in half-point intervals).

Each of these scores is reported on a fixed scale and will appear on the official GMAT score reports that you and your designated score recipients (schools) receive.

Scores below 9 and above 44 for the Verbal section or below 7 and above 50 for the Quantitative section are rare. Both scores are on a fixed scale and can be compared across any GMAT administration. And two-thirds of test takers score between 400 and 600.


Thousands of graduate management programs around the world use the Graduate Management Admission Test® in their admissions process. You may be considering whether your program should adopt the GMAT® exam, as well.

The GMAT is an invaluable tool for admissions professionals.

Interest in graduate management education has never been higher, and the job of selecting a class to fill the limited capacity of most MBA programs has never been more challenging. The applicants come from different countries, cultures, academic backgrounds, and levels of work experience. Using the GMAT® exam gives admissions professionals one element of the application that is a consistent measure. The GMAT® exam is given under standard conditions around the world, with the highest level of security, to ensure that scores are comparable across applicants.

The GMAT is a valid predictor of academic success for all kinds of applicants.

The GMAT® exam was created to measure the academic abilities needed to succeed in graduate management education. Over the 50 years of its use, the GMAT® has been repeatedly studied, tested, and modified to ensure that it continues to help predict performance in the first year or midway through a graduate management program.

Using the GMAT allows you to increase the objectivity in your admission process.

When you use the GMAT® in your program, you can participate in the Validity Study Service (VSS) at no charge. The VSS allows you to study the statistical relationship among GMAT® scores, other admissions criteria, and academic success in your program. A validity study helps to ensure that you are making the best admissions decisions and provides a specific, fact-based rationale in the event that applicants, faculty, or administrators have questions about how you made your admission decisions.

What is the GMAT Computer Adaptive Test?

The Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT®) is a standardized test conducted by the Educational Testing Service, ETS on behalf of the Graduate Management Admission Council of the US. The scores of these tests are used as one of the most important parameters by Universities and top B Schools in the US and elsewhere while selecting prospective students into their MBA and Ph.D programs.

The structure of GMAT CAT

The GMAT Computer Adaptive Test or the GMAT CAT comprises three sections. Each of the three sections is separately timed.

The first section of the GMAT test is an essay writing section and is known as the Analytical Writing Assessment Section (GMAT AWA Section). The next two sections in the GMAT test are objective type sections, one of which is the Quantitative section and the other is the Verbal section.

Section 1.a - Analysis of an Issue (30 min)

The first section in GMAT-CAT is an analytical writing task and has to be completed in the first 30 minutes. In this section, the candidate is expected to analyse an issue, take a position and support it using relevant reasons and examples from his or her own experience, observation, or reading.

Section 1.b - Analysis of an Argument (30 min)

The second section in GMAT-CAT is also an assesment of analytical writing skills and is to be completed during the next 30 minutes. In this task, the candidate has to analyse how logically persuasive the argument presented in the question is?

Section 2 - Quantitative Section (75 min) - 37 questions

This section (Quantitative) consists of multiple-choice questions delivered in a computer-adaptive format. Questions in this sections are dynamically selected as you take the test. Therefore, your test will be unique, and the multiple-choice questions will adjust to your ability level. A total of 37 questions are served in this section and comprise two types of questions within this section viz., Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency.

Section 3 - Verbal Section (75 min) - 41 questions

The last section in GMAT - CAT is the Verbal section. This one is also a multiple-choice section delivered in a computer-adaptive format. There are three types of questions in this section viz., Reading Comprehension, Sentence Correction and Critical Reasoning.

At the end of the GMAT test, you will be given an unofficial score for the second and third section (i.e. the multiple choice Quantitative and Verbal sections). The official GMAT scores that include your performance in the Analytical Writing Assessment will be sent by mail to you a few weeks after you have taken the GMAT test.

The scores in the quant section and the verbal section of the GMAT test are cumulatively graded and represented on a scale of 200 to 800. Your performance in the GMAT AWA sections is rated on a scale of 1 to 6.


What exactly is computer-based testing (CBT)?

In CBT, you appear for an exam that is conducted entirely on the computer. The multiple-choice questions appear on the computer screen along with the answer choices, and you have to indicate your answer choice by clicking the mouse at the appropriate place.

In what respects does CBT differ from Paper-based testing (PBT)?    

Other than the fact that the mouse does the work of a pen in case of CBT, the two differ on the following counts :

Question/Time Ratio : The CBT allows more time per question as compared to PBT, having a fewer number of questions than the PBT.

Scores : In CBT, you get to know your score immediately on completion of the test. Official score reports, however, are sent to you later by post, just as in case of PBT.

Skipping questions : Unlike PBT, the CBT does not allow you to leave a question unanswered. You must attempt a question in order to get to the next one. And once you have answered a question, you cannot go back to it.

Adaptive Testing : This is probably the most important difference between the two kinds of tests. The CBT software is such that the level of difficulty of your next question depends on the correctness of your previous response. In other words, no two tests are alike - each examinee will get a different set of questions to attempt based on his or her ability level. (More on adaptive testing in the next question).

How does the computer-adaptive test work?      

In a computer-adaptive test, the computer screen displays one question at a time, which is chosen from a very large pool of questions categorized by content and difficulty. The test starts out by posing questions of average difficulty. As you answer those questions, depending on whether you are correct or incorrect, the test poses future questions accordingly. So if you answer a question incorrectly, the next question will be easier, with a smaller point value; and conversely, if you answer the question correctly, the next question will be more difficult, with a larger point value. The larger number of difficult questions you answer, the higher score you receive.

What computer skills do I need to take a computer-based test?    

Though previous computer experience is not a prerequisite, familiarity with the use of a personal computer does help. All CBTs have a detailed tutorial before you actually start the test, which tells you how to navigate through the test, how to answer, and what the various buttons on the screen indicate. There is no time limit for this tutorial, so you can make yourself comfortable before you start answering.

The GMAT requires you to type two essays for the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) Section, within a total of sixty minutes. This implies that some practice with the keyboard would certainly help. You do not have to be an expert typist - the AWA is not assessed on the number of words that you type - but some typing experience will surely stand you in good stead.

What are the conditions like at the Test Centre?     

For taking the test, you will be assigned to an individual testing station (similar to a partitioned cubicle in an office). Other than your admit card and compulsory identification, you cannot carry anything with you - not even a pen. You are provided pencils, a sharpener, and ample sheets for rough work.

Do I have the option of canceling my score?    

Yes, you have that option, but the decision to cancel must be made before you view your scores. Once you choose to view scores on the computer screen, you cannot cancel them - either at the test centre or later. Once you cancel the scores, you will not be able to view them.

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Apr 13, 2009, 8:28 AM