Standardized Tests - GMAT

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  • Test Content and Structure
  • Analytical writing assessment


Graduate Management Admission Test

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardized, computer-adaptive test of Mathematics and English. More than 5,400 programs offered by more than 1,500 universities and institutions in 83 countries use the GMAT exam as part of the selection criteria for their programs like graduate management programs, including MBA, Master of Accountancy, and Master of Finance programs. The GMAT exam is administered in more than 110 countries around the world. On June 5, 2012, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) introduced an integrated reasoning section to the exam that is designed to measure a test taker’s ability to evaluate data presented in new formats and multiple sources.

The GMAT consists of four main sections—Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal. You have three and a half hours in which to take the exam, but it takes the total time of approximately four hours, including optional breaks.

The GMAT is designed to adjust to your individual skill level. At the start of each multiple-choice section of the exam, you are presented with a question of medium difficulty. The computer scores your answer and uses it—as well as your responses to any preceding questions—to determine your skill level and which question to present next. Correct responses typically prompt questions of increased difficulty. Incorrect responses generally result in questions of lesser difficulty. On completion of the section, the computer will have an accurate assessment of your skill level in that subject area. In a computer-adaptive test, only one question at a time is presented. Because the computer scores each question before selecting the next one, you may not skip, return to, or change your responses to previous questions.


Quantitative section

The quantitative section of the GMAT measures the ability to reason quantitatively, solve quantitative problems, and interpret graphic data. It requires knowledge of arithmetic, elementary algebra and commonly known concepts of geometry. There are two types of quantitative questions

Problem solving questions designed to test the ability to reason quantitatively and solve quantitative problems, and data sufficiency questions designed to measure the ability to analyze a quantitative problem, recognize which data are relevant and determine at what point there is enough data to solve a problem.. Scores range from 0 to 60.

Verbal section

The verbal section measures the ability to read and comprehend written material, reason and evaluate arguments and correct written material to express ideas effectively in standard written English. The question types are reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction questions. Scores range from 0 to 60.

Reading comprehension passage topics contain material from the social sciences, physical or biological sciences, and business-related areas (marketing, economics, human resource management, etc.). Reading comprehension passages are accompanied by interpretive, applied, and inferential questions. This section measures the following abilities:

1. Understanding words and statements in reading passages

2. Understanding the logical relationships between significant points and concepts in the reading passages

3. Drawing inferences from facts and statements in the reading passages

4. Understanding and following the development of quantitative concepts as they are presented in verbal material.

Critical reasoning questions are designed to test the reasoning skills involved in making arguments, evaluating arguments, and formulating or evaluating a plan of action. Questions are based on materials from a variety of sources. This section measures the following abilities:

1. Argument construction

2. Argument evaluation

3. Formulating and evaluating a plan of action

Sentence Correction questions ask which of the five choices best expresses an idea or relationship. The questions require familiarity with the stylistic conventions and grammatical rules of standard written English. This section measures the following abilities:

1 .Correct expression

2. Effective expression

Integrated reasoning

Integrated reasoning is a new section introduces which is designed to measure a test taker’s ability to evaluate data presented in multiple formats from multiple sources. The integrated reasoning section consists of 12 questions in four different formats: graphics interpretation, two-part analysis, table analysis, and multi-source reasoning. Integrated reasoning scores range from 1-8. Like the AWA, this section is scored separately from the quantitative and verbal section. Performance on IR and AWA 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, similar to a spreadsheet, which has to be analyzed. Each question will have several statements with opposite-answer options (e.g., true/false, yes/no).

Graphics interpretation questions ask test takers to interpret a graph or graphical image. Each question has fill-in-the-blank statements with pull-down menus.

Multi-source reasoning questions are accompanied by two to three sources of information presented on tabbed pages. Test takers click on the tabs and examine all the relevant information, which may be a combination of text, charts, and tables to answer either traditional multiple-choice or opposite-answer (e.g., yes/no, true/false) questions.

Two-part analysis questions involve two components for a solution. Possible answers are given in a table format with a column for each component and rows with possible options. Test takers have to choose one response per column.

Analytical writing assessment:

Analytical writing assessment

The AWA consists of one 30-minute writing task to analyze the reasoning behind a given argument and write a critique of that argument. The essay will be given two independent ratings, one of which may be performed by an automated essay-scoring engine. 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. The analytical writing assessment is graded on a scale of 1 to 6.


The total score ranges from 200 to 800 and measures performance on the quantitative and verbal sections (performance on the AWA and IR sections does not count toward the total score.)

All scores and cancellations in the past five years will be on a student's score report.

The following provides a brief description of the different sections, number of questions, question types, allotted time for each section, and total time.

GMAT Test Section Number of Questions Question Type Timing
Analytical writing assessment 1 Topic Analysis of an Argument 30 Minutes
Integrated reasoning 12 Questions Multi-Source Reasoning Graphics Interpretation Two-Part Analysis Table Analysis 30 Minutes
Quantitative section 37 Questions Data Sufficiency Problem Solving 75 Minutes
Verbal section 41 Questions Reading Comprehension Critical Reasoning Sentence Correction 75 Minutes
Total Exam Time 3 Hours,30 min