The Graduate Management Admission TestÂ (GMAT) measures basic verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills learned in school. It does not measure job skills, knowledge of business, specific classroom content, or subjective qualities like creativity or leadership skills. The test is broken up into three sections.
The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) measures your ability to think about and communicate ideas in essay format. The ideas found in this section are on topics of general interest, and don’t require knowledge or expertise in specific subjects. The AWA includes two writing tasks: Analysis of an Issue and Analysis of an Argument. In the Analysis of an Issue task, you will analyze an issue and write an essay explaining your views. In the Analysis of an Argument task, you must analyze the reasoning behind an argument, and write a critical essay. Your personal views are not a consideration.
The Verbal section of the GMAT includes three different types of questions: Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and Sentence Correction.
The Quantitative (Math) section contains questions which measure basic math skills, understanding of elementary concepts, and the ability to reason quantitatively. The questions cover three basic areas: Arithmetic, Algebra, and Geometry.
The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, or CAT. This means that unlike a paper-and-pencil test, the next question is always determined on the spot, pulled from a large bank of questions inside the computer. Based on your answers, you will either see more or less difficult questions, which will have an impact on your score. Overall scores on the test range between 200 and 800. The final score is determined by your performance on the Verbal and Quantitative sections, and is accompanied by a percentile rank. The average score is 500.
An Analytical Writing Assessment score is provided separately. Either two independent readers, or one reader and computerized essay-scoring software will score each essay. A third reader is used if the first two are too far apart. Each essay is assigned a score between 0 and 6, with 6 being “Outstanding”, and 0 being “Unscorable”. You will also receive a Verbal subscore, ranging from 0 to 60.
Need-to-Know GMAT Tips & Strategies
Prepare with a Practice Test
Practice tests are an ideal way to begin your preparation. They’re affordable and will give you instant results to see how you might score if the test were today. You’ll learn your strengths and weakness, and be able to develop a personalized study plan. Try prepping with Peterson’s practice tests for the GMAT.
Approach the test with a plan
Spend enough time preparing that you know where your strengths and weaknesses lie. You know you’re going to face geometry questions in the Quantitative section; are you strong with triangles and quadrilaterals, but weak with circles? Having this kind of understanding can help you decide where to focus your energies. Why spend 8 minutes stressing out over a question when there’s a good chance you’ll get it wrong, no matter what? The only way you’ll be able to use your time wisely on test day is to know your abilities beforehand.
Practice makes permanence! If you set aside time in a quiet place to take some practice GMAT exams, you’ll be ready for the rigors of sitting in a chair and focusing on test material for a few hours. Since this skill doesn’t come naturally to most people, why not practice? You can also use this opportunity to assess where you need to spend more time studying.
As you read each passage, look for its main ideas. Remember, everything the author writes is there for a reason, and these reasons are generally more important than the details in the passage. As you read, take notes about the main ideas and structure of the passage on scrap paper. Learn the most common types of wrong answers used by the test writers and how to avoid choosing them.
About one-fifth of the sentences will be correct as is. A good way to identify them is to read the sentences “aloud” in your mind. If you read one that sounds OK, it probably is. A tightly worded sentence is generally considered more effective, so, all things being equal, choose the shortest answer.
Learn to recognize the key elements of any argument – evidence, conclusion, and assumptions. Remember that when a statement makes the conclusion more likely to be true, then that statement strengthens the argument. When a statement makes the conclusion less likely to be true, the statement weakens the argument. Learn the types of fallacies that appear most often on the exam so you can recognize them when you see them. Forget what you know or think about a given topic; instead, respond to the question in terms of the argument presented.
Multiple-choice questions in the Quantitative section
Break word problems into simple phrases that you can translate into numbers or symbols. Search geometry diagrams for answer clues, and sketch your own when necessary. On graph interpretation problems, spend 30 seconds examining the graphs before tackling the questions. Don’t be afraid to “guesstimate” or look for shortcuts; many questions have them.
Learn the directions and answer choices backward and forward before the test date, since the answer choices are the same for every data sufficiency question. Tackle each item by examining the question, considering each numbered statement individually, and then combining the two statements. Don’t make any assumptions not stated in the question or the numbered statements. Remember: you do not have to find solutions; you just need to determine if the situation presented in the question can be solved.
Use the four-step process to manage your time and effort effectively:Â brainstorm, outline, write, and revise. Keep your essay simple and make sure your point of view comes through clearly. Be specific, vary sentence length, and avoid mechanical errors.
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