The GMAT assesses the test-takers’ analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in standard written English. The test does not measure business knowledge or intelligence, and students generally need to prepare thoroughly and professionally in order to put together a competitive score.
The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) measures your ability to think critically and to communicate your ideas. During the AWA, you are asked to analyze the reasoning behind a given argument and write a critique of that argument.
The Integrated Reasoning section measures your ability to evaluate information presented in multiple formats from multiple sources – skills you need to succeed in our technologically advanced, data-driven world.
The Quantitative section measures your ability to analyze data and draw conclusions using reasoning skills. The mathematics needed to understand and solve the questions in this section of the GMAT exam are no greater than what is generally taught in secondary school classes.
The GMAT exam showcases all of your skills – not just math. The Verbal section measures your ability to read and understand written material, to evaluate arguments, and to correct written material to conform to standard written English.
The overall testing time for the computer-adaptive GMAT is about 3 hours and 46 minutes. There are four sections with two optional 8-minute breaks.
- Analytical Writing
- 30 mts
- Analysis of Argument
- Integrated Reasoning
- 30 mts
- 75 mts
- 75 mts
Each section is important, but the all-important “GMAT score”, reported on a scale from 200 to 800, is calculated using only the last two sections.
The section order is rigid at the moment. The Analytical Writing section will always be first, followed by Integrated Reasoning. Thereafter you’ll have the option to take an 8-minutes break before the Quantitative section. After Quantitative section, you’ll have another opportunity to take an 8-minutes break. Finally, you’ll be presented with the Verbal section.
GMAC is planning to allow test-takers to choose their section order. Under this new plan, AWA and IR will be presented en bloc but you will be able to choose the order of Quantitative, Verbal, and AWA/IR.
The Quantitative and Verbal sections of the GMAT are computer-adaptive.
The GMAT computer adaptive test (CAT) is more than just a computerized version of a paper-and-pencil test. The GMAT actually adapts to your performance as you’re taking the test.
This means that whether you answer a question correctly or not determines what questions you will see later. It also means that any two people, even two people of nearly identical abilities and preparedness, will not see identical questions when they take their respective GMATs.
When you begin the GMAT, the computer assumes you have an average score and gives you a question of medium difficulty. As you get answers correct, the computer serves up more difficult questions and increases its estimate of your ability. And vice versa, as you answer incorrectly, the computer serves up easier questions and decreases its estimate of your ability. Your score is determined by an algorithm that calculates your ability level based not just on what you got right or wrong; but also on the difficulty level of the questions you answered.