GMAT is a computer adaptive test intended to assess certain analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English for use in admission to a graduate management program, such as an MBA. It requires knowledge of certain grammar and knowledge of certain algebra, geometry, and arithmetic. The GMAT does not measure business knowledge or skill, nor does it measure intelligence. It assesses analytical writing and problem-solving abilities, while also addressing data sufficiency, logic, and critical reasoning skills that is believed to be vital to real-world business and management success.
It can be taken up to five times a year. Each attempt must be at least 16 days apart. 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 consists of four sections:
- An analytical writing assessment,
- An integrated reasoning section,
- A quantitative section, and
- A verbal section.
Total testing time is three and a half hours, but candidates should plan for a total time of approximately four hours, with breaks. They 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 and 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.
Three options will be available:
- Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal (original order)
- Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
- Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
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.
Integrated Reasoning (IR)
This section is designed to measure a candidate’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 consist 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 to 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 do not contribute to the total GMAT score.
The integrated reasoning section includes four question types: table analysis, graphics interpretation, multi-source reasoning, and two-part analysis. In the table analysis section, test takers are presented with a sortable table of information, like a spreadsheet, which must be analyzed.
The quantitative section of the GMAT seeks to measure the ability to reason quantitatively, solve quantitative problems, interpret graphic data, and analyze and use information given in a problem. Questions require knowledge of certain algebra, geometry, and arithmetic. There are two types of quantitative questions: problem solving and data sufficiency. 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 wet erase pen and laminated graph paper which are given to them at the testing center. Scores range from 0 to 60, although GMAC only reports scores between 6 and 51.
Problem solving questions are designed to test the ability to reason quantitatively and to solve quantitative problems. Data sufficiency is a question type unique to the GMAT designed to measure the ability to understand and analyze a quantitative problem, recognize what information is relevant or irrelevant and determine at what point there is enough information to solve a problem or recognize the fact that there is insufficient information given to solve a problem.
The verbal section of the GMAT exam includes the following question types: reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction. Each question type gives five answer options from which to select. Verbal scores range from 0 to 60; however, scores below 9 or above 44 are rare. According to GMAT, the reading comprehension question type tests ability to analyze information and draw a conclusion. Reading comprehension passages can be anywhere from one to several paragraphs long. According to GMAT, the critical reasoning question type assesses reasoning skills. According to GMAT, the sentence correction question type tests grammar and effective communication skills. From the available answer options, the test taker should select the most effective construction that best expresses the intent of the sentence.
The GMAT test lasts for about four (4) hours, so candidates are advised to plan their test day properly. No other serious appointment should be fixed for that day.
At least eight weeks of sound preparation is recommended for the GMAT examination. For answers to other questions regarding the GMAT test in Nigeria, please visit the GMAT FAQ page.