Getting the MBA admission edge - an overview of the GMAT exam.The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is created and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Admissions officers use the GMAT to measure academic ability. In fact, ETS data has shown that GMAT scores are consistently good, though imperfect, predictors of academic success in the first year of business school. GMAT scores are also used by admissions committees as a useful guide in comparing the credentials of candidates from widely varying backgrounds.
Standardized = Predictable
The exam itself measures general verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills. It does not test business competence nor specific subject knowledge. The GMAT is a standardized test. Standardized tests, by definition, are predictable. Knowing the format and structure of the exam and applying certain strategies to address them can significantly increase score levels. In short, targeted preparation is the key to success in the GMAT.
The GMAT consists of three sections:
- Analytical Writing Assessment
The Quantitative and Verbal subscores contribute to your total score.
Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
- Two 30-minute typewritten essays
- Topics tested include: Analysis of an argument and analysis of an issue.
- 75 minutes
- Maximum of 37 multiple-choice questions
- Question types include: Problem solving and data sufficiency
- Topics tested include: Arithmetic, algebra, and geometry.
- 75 minutes
- Maximum of 41 multiple-choice questions
- Question types include: Reading comprehension, sentence correction, and critical reasoning
- Topics tested include: Speed reading, grammar, and analytical reasoning.
The computer adaptive test (CAT) is more than just a computerized version of a paper and pencil test. In this format, the computer actually adapts to your performance as you're taking the test.
During the administration of the test, you will see one question at a time and must answer it in order to move to the next question. The first question is of average difficulty. The computer selects subsequent questions based on whether you've answered previous ones correctly or incorrectly and whether you've seen the required mix of concepts and question types.
The GMAT is created and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). To register and schedule your GMAT, follow the steps below:
1. Obtain a copy of the GMAT Bulletin.
This booklet contains information on scheduling, pricing, repeat testing, cancellation policies, and more. You can receive it by:
- downloading it from www.gmat.org.
- or calling regional ETS international registration centers:
Europe: CITO (Netherlands) +31.26.352.15.77
USA: ETS 1-800-GMAT-NOW
Latin America Sylvan Learning Systems (USA) +1.410.843.8160
Middle East: Amideast/Sylvan Prometric (Egypt) +20.2.337.8973
Australia: Sylvan Learning Systems +61.2.9903.9797
China: NEEA/Sylvan Prometric +86.10.6251.0901
India: Sylvan Testing Services +91.11.699.0637
2. Register for and schedule your exam by calling.
- The exam is offered the last three weeks of every month.
- You may schedule a few days in advance.
Scoring on the GMAT
You will receive four scores on the GMAT:
- An overall score, ranging from 200 to 800.
- A math percentile, comparing you to other test takers.
- A verbal percentile, comparing you to other test takers.
- A score for the Analytical Writing Assessment, ranging from 0 to 6.
Your GMAT score is valid for five years.
Each of the aforementioned scores are accompanied by a percentile rank. The percentile rank highlights what proportion of test takers scored lower than you on the test. The higher the percentile rank, the better you did. For example, if you received a percentile rank of 56, you did better than 56 percent of test takers. This number tells business schools exactly where you fell with respect to other candidates who took the GMAT.
Each essay is given a separate grade on a 0-6 scale by two different graders - a human and a computer named the e-rater. These grades are assigned holistically, taking into account all aspects of content, writing style, and grammar. If the two grades for an essay agree, that score will be assigned. If the two scores are markedly different, then a third scorer, a person, will read the essay to determine its grade. In addition, business schools may receive copies of your typewritten essays. Each of the aforementioned scores are accompanied by a percentile rank. The percentile rank highlights what proportion of test takers scored lower than you on the test. The higher the percentile rank, the better you did. For example, if you received a percentile rank of 56, you did better than 56 percent of test takers. This number tells business schools exactly where you fell with respect to other candidates who took the GMAT 75 minutes Source: QS TopMBA Career Guide