About the GMAT
Over five thousand business and graduate management programs at more than 1800 schools around the world factor an applicant’s score on the Graduate Management Admission Test into the admissions process. Statistics demonstrate that GMAT scores are generally better indicators of first-year grades in these programs than are undergraduate grade point averages. Admissions officers at leading business schools worldwide recognize the GMAT as the most effective predictor of success.
The GMAT consists of four sections:
- Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) – 1 Analysis of an Argument essay, 30 minutes
- Integrated Reasoning – 12 questions of various types, 30 minutes total
- Quantitative – 31 multiple-choice questions, 62 minutes total
- Verbal – 36 multiple-choice questions, 65 minutes total
When you arrive at the test center, you can choose your exam’s order from among three options:
- Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal
- Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
- Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
There are optional 8-minute breaks immediately before the Quantitative and Verbal sections.
Included within the multiple-choice sections are unscored, “experimental” questions that are indistinguishable from scored questions. Students can never be certain whether or not a question is experimental; thus, they should treat each one as if it counted toward their score.
The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
The Analysis of an Argument essay measures the ability to effectively communicate ideas through writing and the ability to critically assess an argument. Test-takers have 30 minutes to evalutate the argument in the prompt, organize their ideas, and compose the essay. Time remaining at the end of the AWA cannot be applied to any other section, so students should use the entire 30 minutes to proofread and make editorial adjustments if they finish writing before time expires.
The Integrated Reasoning section tests many of the same fundamental skills that are tested on the Verbal and Quantitative sections, but requires students to synthesize information from a variety of sources. The Integrated Reasoning section is not computer-adaptive, but test takers cannot skip questions or return to previous ones on this section.
Test-takers have 30 minutes to answer 12 questions on the Integrated Reasoning section. The questions on this section are of four different types:
- Multi-source Reasoning
- Table Analysis
- Graphics Interpretation
- Two-part Analysis
The format for selecting the correct answer choice depends on the type of question.
A Multi-source Reasoning question presents two or three separate tabs of information on the left-hand side of the screen and a question, which requires test-takers to compare, combine, synthesize, or apply this information, on the right–hand side. The information in the tabs may consist of short text passages, charts, tables, graphs, or a combination of two or more types.
Multi-source Reasoning questions can be either standard multiple-choice questions or multiple-dichotomous choice questions. Multiple-dichotomous choice questions present three statements; students must choose one of two options (e.g., true or false) for each statement, and must respond to all three statements correctly in order to get credit for the question.
Table Analysis questions present a sortable spreadsheet on the left–hand side of the screen and a single multiple-dichotomous choice question. Test-takers must use the table (and the sorting feature, if necessary) to select the correct response to each of the three statements.
A Graphics Interpretation question presents a chart or graph on the top half of the screen. The bottom half of the screen consists of two statements about the chart or graph. Each statement contains a blank; test-takers must select the option from a drop-down menu that best completes that statement, and must select the correct answer choice for both blanks in order to receive credit for the question.
A Two-part Analysis question presents a short piece of information (e.g., a short paragraph or a mathematical problem) followed by five or six answer choices. Test-takers are presented with two criteria. Test-takers must select one answer choice that meets the first criterion and one that meets the second from among the answer choices provided, and must make both selections correctly in order to get credit for the question.
An on-screen calculator is available for the Integrated Reasoning section, but not for any other section of the test.
The Quantitative Section
The Quantitative section measures the ability to reason quantitatively, solve mathematical problems, and interpret data presented visually. Arithmetic, algebra, and geometry are tested on this section; trigonometry and calculus are not. Test-takers have 62 minutes to complete 31 multiple-choice questions, which come from two distinct categories:
- Problem Solving
- Data Sufficiency
A Problem Solving question presents a mathematical problem and requires test-takers to select the correct solution from among five answer choices.
Data Sufficiency questions are unique to the GMAT. Each question of this type is followed by two numbered statements, and students must determine whether the two statements provide enough information to answer the question. Because Data Sufficiency questions test the ability to analyze information for content and relevance in addition to general mathematical skill, they require a systematic approach. The Two-Three Elimination Technique™ and The Yes/No Stratagem™ help TestMasters students navigate even the most complex Data Sufficiency questions with precision and clarity.
Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency questions are intermixed throughout the section. For example, one student’s section might begin with one Data Sufficiency question, followed by two Problem Solving questions, and then two more Data Sufficiency questions, whereas another student’s section might begin with three Problem Solving questions, one Data Sufficiency question, and then one more Problem Solving question.
Roughly two-thirds of the questions in the Quantitative section will come from the Problem Solving category.
The Verbal Section
The Verbal section measures the ability to understand and analyze written material and the ability to recognize and conform to the conventions of standard written English. Test-takers have 65 minutes to answer 36 multiple-choice questions, which come from three distinct categories:
- Sentence Correction
- Critical Reasoning
- Reading Comprehension
Although roughly one-third of the questions on the Verbal section will come from each category, questions from all three categories are intermixed. For example, one student’s section might begin with two Sentence Correction questions, two Critical Reasoning questions, and then another Sentence Correction question, whereas another student’s section might begin with one Critical Reasoning question followed by four Reading Comprehension questions.
On a Sentence Correction question, students must determine whether the underlined portion of a sentence contains any grammatical or stylistic errors. If the sentence has no errors, answer choice (A) will be correct; if it has at least one error, students must select the answer choice that provides the best corrected version of the sentence. This question category measures knowledge of and facility with the rules of standard written English.
A Critical Reasoning question presents a short passage followed by a question designed to measure a student’s ability to evaluate the information in that passage. This question category may require test-takers to support or weaken an argument or a plan of action, provide a possible explanation for a phenomenon, or identify the viewpoint presented in the passage.
Reading Comprehension questions are always presented in clusters of at least three questions. Each cluster of questions is based on the content of a single passage, which can be up to 350 words long. Approximately four unique passages—and thus approximately four clusters of questions—will be interspersed throughout the Verbal section. Reading Comprehension questions test a student’s ability to identify reasons, spot distinctions and similarities, and make inferences based on the information presented in the passage.