The Graduate Management Admission Test

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The GMAT exam is conducted entirely in English and is administered on a computer at a GMAT approved test center. You will only see one question at a time and you cannot skip or go back. The questions are divided into four compulsory, separately timed sections, with two optional timed breaks.

To ensure fairness, all test takers around the world:

  • Are evaluated on the same number of questions
  • Answer the same type of questions
  • Are subject to the same time limits
  • Are tested in similar conditions.
  1. Analytical Writing

The GMAT exam begins with the Analytical Writing Assessment. This 30-minute writing task measures your ability to analyze the complexities of an argument and formulate a well-reasoned critique.

You will be asked to write an essay in response to one Analysis of an Argument question. The question will concern a topic of general interest and may relate to a business topic or some other subject. However, it presupposes no specific knowledge of business or any other content areas. Only your capacity to write analytically is assessed.

In the Analytical Writing Assessment, you should demonstrate your ability to:

  • Identify and think critically about the key elements of the argument
  • Communicate your ideas clearly and logically.
  • Formulate an appropriate and constructive response
  • Use your command of the English language.

The Analytical Writing Assessment does not test for perfect English, only your ability to use English to analyze the argument presented and to write a well-articulated response. Additionally, you are not asked to present your own views on the topic.

2. Integrated Reasoning

The Analytical Writing Assessment is followed by the 30-minute Integrated Reasoning section. This part of the GMAT exam is designed to mimic today’s business world that demands managers synthesize data from multiple sources to identify patterns, make decisions and solve business problems.

There are 12 multiple response questions in the Integrated Reasoning section using four different question formats:

  • Multi-Source Reasoning: Using data from multiple sources, you answer multiple choice or yes/no and true/false questions.
  • Table Analysis: Using a sortable table containing numeric data, you must determine if a set of statements are true or false.
  • Graphic Interpretation: Using a chart or graph, you find or extrapolate a value to complete fill-in-the-blank statements from a drop-down list.
  • Two-Part Analysis: Using quantitative and/or verbal information, you must weigh trade-offs and make decisions with more than one variable. Possible answers are presented in a table and you should choose the correct options.

In the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT, you should demonstrate your ability to:

  • Understand and evaluate multiple sources and types of information – graphic, numeric and verbal – as they relate to one another
  • Use quantitative and verbal reasoning to solve complex problems
  • Solve multiple problems in relation to one another

Advanced statistical and spreadsheet manipulation skills are not necessary. A basic on-screen calculator is provided for this section, but is not available on the Quantitative section.

The Integrated Reasoning section is not computer adaptive and does not count towards your Total GMAT score.

3. Quantitative Reasoning

After a short break, you move on to the Quantitative Reasoning section. This section of the exam tests your ability to reason, solve problems and interpret data. It measures the skills you will use in quantitative-based subjects such as finance, accounting and managerial statistics.

The Quantitative Reasoning section lasts for 75 minutes and includes 37 multiple choice questions. You have approximately two minutes to answer each question. It is also the first computer adaptive section of the GMAT exam. The questions in this section are a mix of problem solving and data sufficiency questions, and require common knowledge of concepts related to arithmetic, elementary algebra, geometry and word problems.

4. Verbal Reasoning

After the Quantitative Reasoning section, you can have another short break before moving on to the final section of the GMAT exam, Verbal Reasoning. The Verbal Reasoning section assesses your ability to comprehend and draw inferences from written material, to evaluate arguments, and to make corrections to conform to standard written English.

You have 75 minutes to complete the Verbal Reasoning section, which includes 41 multiple-choice questions. You have roughly one and three quarters of a minute to answer each question. Like the Quantitative Reasoning section, this part of the GMAT exam is computer adaptive. This section features a mixture of three types of multiple choice questions:

  • Reading comprehension: passages of up to 350 words are followed by a set of questions testing your ability to interpret the text, to draw inferences from it, and to identify logical relationships between elements of the content.
  • Critical reasoning: measuring your ability to draw conclusions from short arguments.
  • Sentence correction: choosing the phrase that completes a sentence with the most grammatical accuracy

 While the GMAT is not designed to test your English language skills, you will require a good understanding of standard written English to be able to understand and answer the questions in this section.

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