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About the GMAT

How to Improve your score

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) is a computer adaptive test (CAT) that assesses a person's analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in standard written English in preparation for being admitted into a graduate management program, such as an MBA.

Getting into the right MBA program at your top-choice business school is highly competitive, so you'll need to prepare thoroughly for each section of the GMAT.

Click on the links below to learn more:

  1. How to Improve your GMAT Score
  2. Contact Dr. Donnelly about GMAT lessons
  3. Read our GMAT students' reviews
  4. The GMAT - Section by Section
    1. Verbal Reasoning Section
    2. Quantitative Section
    3. Integrated Reasoning Section
    4. Analytical Writing Assessment
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Overview of the GMAT Exams

Exam Format and Structure


The GMAT Exam

The GMAT Exam is accepted by over 5,600 graduate programs across 1,700 universities and organizations worldwide. The test consists of one written essay and 89 computer-adaptive questions selected based on your answers to previous questions. The GMAT Test assesses a candidate’s academic skills and predicts their success in a graduate business program.

You will have 3 1/2 hours (with breaks) to complete the test. After you take your exam, you will have two minutes to decide whether to accept or cancel your scores. You will NOT be shown your score before you decide. After you accept your score, you will be provided with an unofficial score on the screen, and you may pick up a printed copy of the score at the front desk of the testing center. Your printout will include an authentication code to access your official scores. The GMAT has four main sections:

i. Verbal Reasoning Section,

ii. Quantitative Section,

iii. Integrated Reasoning Section,

iv. Analytical Writing Assessment.

GMAT Scores

Your GMAT score report includes your Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal, and Total scores. Your "Total GMAT Score" is based only on your Quantitative and Verbal scores. Your Analytical Writing Assessment and Integrated Reasoning scores do not affect the Total score. Total GMAT scores range from 200 to 800; two-thirds of test takers score between 400 and 600. Verbal and Quantitative scores range from 0 to 60.

Analytical Writing Assessment scores range from 0 to 6. Integrated Reasoning (IR) scores range from 1 to 8 in single-digit intervals; no partial credit is given. These two sections do not count towards the "Total Score.” GMAT scores are valid for five years from the date the test taker sits for the exam until the date of matriculation. All scores and cancellations in the past five years will be on a student's score report.

Registering to take the GMAT

Registering for the GMAT is relatively straightforward but has several requirements that must be met. These are as follows: Students must be at least 18 years old; students between 13 and 17 may take the exam with parental or legal guardian approval; the GMAT cannot be taken more than five times within 12 months; there must be at least 31 days between retaking the test, The GMAT has no set test dates - students may schedule their exam. The current cost for taking the exam is $250.

Verbal Reasoning Section of the GMAT

Verbal Reasoning section of the GMAT

The Verbal Reasoning section of the GMAT exam consists of 36 multiple-choice questions. It measures your ability to read and comprehend written material, reason and evaluate arguments, and correct material to express ideas effectively in standard written English. You will have 65 minutes to complete it. There are three types of questions:

Sentence Correction,

Critical Reasoning,

Reading Comprehension.

Sentence Correction

The Sentence Correction questions of the Verbal Reasoning section of the GMAT exam present a sentence, part, or all of which is underlined. Beneath the sentence are five ways of phrasing the underlined part. Paying attention to grammar, word choice, and sentence construction, you must choose the answer that produces the most effective sentence. These questions are designed to measure two broad aspects of your language proficiency. First, correct expression refers to sentences that are grammatically and structurally sound. Second, effective expression is sentences that express an idea or relationship concisely and grammatically.

Critical Reasoning

The Critical Reasoning questions of the Verbal Reasoning section of the GMAT exam are based on a short reading passage, usually fewer than 100 words. Typically, the short text comes with a question asking which of the five answer options strengthens or weakens an argument, tells why the argument is flawed or strongly supports or damages the argument. These questions are designed to measure your ability to make arguments, evaluate arguments, and formulate or evaluate a plan of action.

Reading Comprehension

The Reading Comprehension passages come with questions that ask you to interpret material, draw inferences or apply to a further context. The passages discuss social sciences and humanities, physical and biological sciences, or a business-related field. These questions are designed to measure your ability to understand words and statements, understand logical relationships between significant points, draw inferences, and follow the development of quantitative concepts. Specifically, the following reading skills will be tested: main idea, supporting idea, inference, application, logical structure, and style.

Qualitative Reasoning Section of the GMAT

Quantitative Reasoning section of the GMAT

The Qualitative Reasoning section of the GMAT exam measures your ability to reason mathematically, solve quantitative problems, and interpret graphic data. It consists of 31 multiple-choice questions. You will have 62 minutes to complete it. You cannot use a calculator while working on the Quantitative section.

There are two types of questions in the Quantitative Section: Problem-Solving , and Data Sufficiency.

Both types of questions require knowledge of arithmetic, elementary algebra, and commonly known geometry concepts. Rest assured that the difficulty of the questions stems from the logic and analytical skills required rather than the underlying math skills.

Problem Solving

The Problem-Solving questions measure your ability to use logic and analytical reasoning to solve quantitative problems. You solve the problem and indicate the best of five answer choices.

Data Sufficiency

The Data Sufficiency questions measure your ability to analyze a quantitative problem, recognize which data is relevant, and determine at what point there are enough data to solve the problem. You will be given a problem that consists of a question and two statements. Using the data in the statements, plus your knowledge of math and everyday facts, you decide whether you have enough data in the statement to answer the question asked.

Integrated Reasoning Section of the GMAT

Integrated Reasoning Section<

The Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT exam contains 12 questions—most requiring multiple responses. You will have 30 minutes to complete it. This section measures how well you integrate data to solve complex problems.

Specifically, the Integrated Reasoning section tests your ability to: synthesize information presented in graphics, text, and numbers. Evaluate relevant information from different sources, organize information to see relationships and solve multiple interrelated problems, and combine and manipulate information from multiple sources to solve complex problems.

There are four types of questions in the Integrated Reasoning Section

  1. Multi-Source Reasoning
  2. Table Analysis
  3. Graphics Interpretation
  4. Two-Part Analysis.

Many questions require more than one response, and you can access an online calculator with basic functions. Because the questions are designed to test your ability to integrate data to solve complex problems, you must answer all responses to a question correctly; no partial credit will be given.

Multi-Source Reasoning

The Multi-Source Reasoning questions measure your ability to examine data from multiple sources text passages, tables, graphics, or some combination of the three—and to analyze each source of data carefully to answer multiple questions. Some questions will require you to recognize discrepancies among different sources of data. Others will ask you to draw inferences, and still, others may require you to determine whether data is relevant.

Table Analysis

The Table Analysis questions measure your ability to sort and analyze a table of data, similar to a spreadsheet, to determine what information is relevant or meets certain conditions.

Graphics Interpretation

The Graphics Interpretation questions measure your ability to interpret the information presented in a graph or other graphical image (scatter plot, x/y graph, bar chart, pie chart, or statistical curve distribution) to discern relationships, and make inferences.

Two-Part Analysis

The Two-Part Analysis questions measure your ability to solve complex problems. They could be quantitative, verbal, or some combination of both. The format is intentionally versatile to cover a wide range of content. Your ability to evaluate trade-offs, solve simultaneous equations, and discern relationships between two entities is measured.

Analytical Writing Assessment Section of the GMAT

Analytical Writing Assessment section of the GMAT

The Analytical Writing Assessment section of the GMAT exam consists of one 30-minute writing task—Analysis of an Argument. It requires you to analyze the reasoning behind a given argument and write a critique of it. Your ability to think critically and to communicate your ideas through an essay in English is measured. The arguments on the test include topics of general interest related to business or various other subjects. Specific knowledge of the essay topic is not necessary; only your capacity to write analytically is assessed.

In this section, you will discuss how well-reasoned you find a given argument. To do so, you will analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. Before writing, you must take a few minutes to evaluate the argument and plan your response. Your ideas will need to be organized and fully developed. You will want to leave time to reread your response and make revisions, but remember you only have 30 minutes.

Your essay is evaluated using two independent ratings combined to compute a single AWA score. Firstly, an electronic system will evaluate your essay’s structural and linguistic features, including the organization of ideas, syntactic variety, and topical analysis. Then a trained evaluator will assess the overall quality of your thinking and writing, including how well you: identify and analyze important features of the argument, organize, develop, and express your ideas, provide relevant supporting reasons and examples, and use standard written English.