What does the GMAT test?
The Graduate Management Admission Test is a computer adaptive test conducted at authorized test centers across the world. The test writers do not give a ‘syllabus’ that a student can work through to prepare for the test. The GMAT is neither a test of academic excellence, nor a test of intelligence or aptitude. However, analyzing each section and its question types will give an insight into the content and skills tested in the GMAT.
The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) essay:
AWA tests a candidate’s ability to analyze a given argument, identifying the inherent flaws in it, and provide logical and reasonable solutions in the form of an essay. Clarity in reasoning and coherence of thought are major assessment criteria for the AWA. The essay also needs to conform to elements of standard written English.
The Integrated Reasoning section measures the candidate’s ability to evaluate information presented in multiple formats and from multiple sources – such as text, charts, graphs, tables etc. An on-screen calculator is provided only for this section of the test. The section consists of 12 questions that fall into the following categories:
- Multi-Source Reasoning
- Graphics Interpretation
- Table Analysis
- Two-Part Analysis
The quant section has 31 questions. The two question types tested in the quantitative section are:
- Data Sufficiency– a unique question type, as test takers need to evaluate whether the given data is sufficient or not to answer a question – mostly there is no need to solve these questions entirely to choose the answer.
- Problem Solving– as the name suggests test takers need to ‘solve’ these questions to get the answer.
In terms of content, the questions can be categorized as under:
The verbal section has 36 questions under the following types:
Sentence Correction: Identification of error in a given sentence and selection of the correct answer out of five given options. The errors are based on grammar rules, meaning, and concision. Common grammar topics tested are
- Subject – verb agreement
- Verb tense
- Misplaced Modifiers
Critical Reasoning: Critical reasoning questions measure reasoning skills to evaluate arguments. The major question types tested are:
- Identify the Reasoning
- Resolve /Explain
Reading Comprehension: Long and short passages followed by questions. Correct answers are supported by information given in the passage. Questions can be based on the entire passage, or specific parts of the passage.