12th May, 2009 | Source : Graduate Management Admission Council
If you’re seriously considering business school, you’ll want to learn more about the Graduate Management Admission Test, used to help make admissions decisions by more than 4,500 graduate business programs at 1,900 schools worldwide. The GMAT exam is a computer adaptive test administered in more than 100 countries. Here are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about the exam:
What does the exam cover?
It measures analytical writing and quantitative and verbal abilities rather than business knowledge. The test is one of several factors used by admissions professionals and has been shown to be a good predictor of academic success in business school.
How is the test structured?
The test is administered by computer and consists of three main sections:
Analytical Writing Assessment. The AWA starts the exam. The assessment consists of two separate writing tasks—Analysis of an Issue and Analysis of an Argument. You are allowed 30 minutes for each one.
Quantitative Section. Following an optional 10-minute break, you have 75 minutes to complete the Quantitative Section. This section contains 37 multiple-choice questions of two question types, Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency. Data Sufficiency problems ask you to figure out how much information you need to solve a problem rather than to actually solve it.
Verbal Section. After a second optional 10-minute break, you have 75 minutes to complete the Verbal Section. This section contains 41multiple-choice questions of three question types, Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and Sentence Correction. Sentence Correction problems include a statement in which some of the words are underlined and several options are offered for the underlined words. You select the best way to express the idea.
What is a computer adaptive test?
The Quantitative and Verbal sections consist of multiple-choice questions delivered in a computer adaptive format. Questions are dynamically selected as you take the test to adjust to your ability level. Your test will be tailored to you from a large pool of potential questions of varying difficulty.
How does it work?
Each section 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 probably be easier. This process continues until you complete the section. Because the computer scores each question before selecting the next one, you may not skip, return to, or change your responses to previous questions.
What if I make a mistake or guess?
If you answer a question incorrectly by mistake or correctly by guessing, your answers to subsequent questions will lead you back to questions at an appropriate level of difficulty for you. You may not skip any questions or go back to previous questions to change your answer.
What if I do not finish?
Pacing is critical because there is a severe penalty for not completing the test. The time and number of questions remaining in the section are both displayed on the screen during the exam. If a question is too time-consuming or you do not know the answer, eliminate as many choices as possible and select the answer you think is best.
How is my score determined?
Your score is determined by:
- The number of questions you answer
- Whether you answer the questions correctly
- The level of difficulty and other statistical characteristics of each question
The questions are weighted by difficulty and other statistical properties─not according to their position in the test.
What computer skills do I need?
You need only minimal computer skills. Familiarize yourself with the mechanics of the test and the needed computer skills by using the free GMATPrep® Software, which includes two full-length, computer adaptive tests with retired GMAT questions. Just remember: You can use a Help function during the test, but the time you take will count against your allotted time.
To find out more about the GMAT exam and to download the free GMATPrep® software, go to mba.com, the official site of the Graduate Management Admission Test.