The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a computer-adaptive test (CAT) that is available year-round at test centers throughout the world. The GMAT measures basic verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills that are developed over a long period of time. It is specifically designed to help graduate schools assess the qualifications of applicants for advanced study in business and management. GMAT scores are used by nearly 1,700 graduate management programs throughout the world, and about 1,000 of these programs require GMAT scores from each applicant. Your GMAT scores are only one predictor of academic performance in the first year of graduate management school.
The GMAT does not presuppose any specific knowledge of business or other specific content areas, nor does it measure achievement in any particular subject areas. The test does not measure subjective factors important to academic and career success - such as motivation, creativity, interpersonal skills, study skills, or overall success on the job. Test takers should note that the GMAT is entirely in English and that all instructions are provided in English.
In a computer-adaptive test (CAT), questions are selected while each individual takes the test. At the start of each multiple-choice section of the GMAT, you are presented a question of middle difficulty. As you answer each question, the computer scores that question and uses that information, as well as your responses to any preceding questions and information about the test design, to determine which question to present next. As long as you respond correctly to each question, questions of increased difficulty typically will be presented. When you enter incorrect responses, the computer typically will present you with questions of lesser difficulty. Your next question will be the one that best reflects both your previous performance and the requirements of the test design. This means that different test takers will be given different questions. The selection of questions you will see is based on your responses to all previous questions, and because the CAT adjusts to your individual ability level, you will get few questions that are either too easy or too difficult for you.
Because the computer scores each question before selecting the next one, you must answer each question when it is presented. For, this reason once you answer a question and move on to another, you cannot go back and change your answer. The computer has already incorporated both your answer and the requirements of the test design into its selection of the next question for you.
Each computer-based test section meets pre-established specifications, including the types of questions asked and the subject matter presented. The statistical characteristics of the questions answered correctly and incorrectly, including their difficulty levels, are taken into account in the calculation of scores. Therefore, scores of all test takers can be compared even though they received different questions.
The GMAT consists of four separately timed sections( see table below). Each of the first two sections contains a 30 minute writing task; the other two sections are 75 minutes each and contain multiple-choice questions. The first of these sections contains quantitative questions, and second contains verbal questions.
Every test contains trial multiple choice questions needed for pre-testing for future use. These questions, however, are not identified and appear in varying locations within the test. You should therefore do your best on all questions. Answers to trial questions are not counted in the scoring of your test.
In a computer-adaptive test, questions are chosen from a very large pool of test questions categorized by content and difficulty. Only one question at a time presented. The test is constantly trying to target your individual ability level; this means that the questions you are presented with depend on your answers to all previous questions. Consequently, you must enter an answer for each question and may not return to or change your answer to any previous question. If you answer a question incorrectly by mistake - or correctly by lucky guess - your answer to subsequent questions will lead you back to questions that are at the appropriate level of difficulty for you.
Your score will depend on the statistical characteristics of the questions presented to you, including difficulty level; your answers to those questions; and the number of questions you answer. Adaptive test score calculations do not assign any differential credit to questions depending on where they appear in the test. The questions in an adaptive test are weighted according to their difficulty and other statistical properties, not according to their position in the test. However, because the test is adaptive, the responses provided to early questions do influence the selection of later questions.
It is important to recognize that the GMAT evaluates skill and abilities that develop over relatively long periods of time. Although the sections are basically verbal or mathematical, the complete test provides one method of measuring overall ability. The GMAT does not test specific knowledge obtained in college course work, and it does not seek to measure achievements in any specific areas of study.
The Graduate Management Admission council recognizes that questions arise concerning techniques for taking standardized examinations such as the GMAT, and it is hoped that the descriptions, sample questions, and explanations given here will give you a practical familiarity with the concepts and techniques required by GMAT questions.
All of the multiple-choice questions in this book have appeared in the actual GMAT.
The quantitative sections of the GMAT measures basic mathematical skills and understanding of elementary concepts, and the ability to reason quantitatively, solve quantitative problems; and interpret graphic data.
Two types of multiple-choice questions are used in the quantitative sections:
• problem solving
• data sufficiency
Problem solving and data sufficiency questions are intermingled throughout the section. Both type of questions require knowledge of
• elementary algebra
• commonly known concepts of geometry
Problem Solving Questions
Problem solving questions are designed to test basic mathematical skill, understanding of elementary mathematical concepts, and the ability to reason quantitatively and to solve quantitative problem.
Data Sufficiency Questions
Each data sufficiency questions consists of a questions, often accompanied by some initial information, and two statements, labelled (1) and (2) , containing additional information. You must decide whether sufficient information to answer the question is given by either (1) or (2) individually or if not, by both combined.
Data sufficiency questions are designed to measure your ability to analyze a quantitative problem, to recognize which information is relevant, and to determine at what point there is sufficient information to solve the problem.
The verbal section of the GMAT measures your ability to read and comprehend written material, to reason and evaluate arguments, and to correct written material to conform to standard written English.
Three types of multiple-choice questions are used in the verbal section of the GMAT:
• reading comprehension
• critical reasoning
• sentence correction
These question types are intermingled throughout the verbal section.
Reading Comprehension Questions
Reading comprehension passages are accompanied by interpretive, applicative, and inferential questions. The passages are up to 350 words long and they discuss topics from the social sciences, the physical or biological sciences, the physical or biological sciences, and such business related fields as marketing, economics, and human resource management. Because the verbal section of the GMAT includes passages from several different content areas, you may be generally familiar with some of the material; however, neither the passages nor the questions assume detailed knowledge of the topics discussed.
WHAT IS MEASURED
Reading comprehension questions measure your ability to understand, analyze, and apply information and concepts presented in written form. All questions are to be answered on the basis of what is stated or implied in the reading material, and no specific knowledge of the material is required. Reading comprehension therefore evaluates your ability to
• understand words and statements of this type are not vocabulary questions. These questions test your understanding of and ability to comprehend terms used in the passage as well as your understanding of English language. You may also find that questions of this type ask about the overall meaning of the passage.)
• understand the logical relationships between significant points and concepts in the reading passage (for example, such questions may ask you to determine the strong and weak points of an argument or to evaluate the importance of arguments and ideas in a passage.)
• draw inferences from facts and statements in the reading passages (the inference questions will ask you to consider factual statements or information and , on the basis of that information ,reach a general conclusion.)
• understand and follow the development of quantitative concepts as they are presented in verbal material ( this may involve the interpretation of numerical data or the use of simple arithmetic to reach conclusions about material in a passage. )
Critical Reasoning Questions
Critical reasoning questions are designed to test the reasoning skills involved (1) in making arguments, (2) in evaluating arguments, and (3) in formulation or evaluation a plan of action. The material on which question are based are drawn from a variety of sources . No familiarity with the subject matter of those materials is presupposed.
WHAT IS MEASURED
Critical reasoning questions are designed to provide one measure of your ability to reason effectively in the areas of
• argument construction (questions in this category may ask you to recognize such things as the basic structure of an argument; properly drawn conclusion; underlying assumptions; well-supported explanatory hypotheses; parallels between structurally similar arguments.)
• argument evaluation (questions in this may ask you to analyze a given argument and to recognize such things as factors that would strengthen, or weaken, the given argument; reasoning errors committed in making that argument; aspects of the method by which the argument proceeds.)
• formulation and evaluating a plan of action (questions in this category may ask you to recognize such things as the relative appropriateness, effectiveness, or efficiency of different plan of action; factors that would strengthen, or weaken the prospects of success for a proposed plan of action; assumptions underlying a proposed plan of action.)
Sentence Correction Questions
Sentence correction question ask you which of the five choices best expresses an idea or relationship. The questions will require you to be familiar with the stylistic conventions and grammatical rules of standard written English and to demonstrate your ability to improve incorrect or ineffective expressions.
WHAT IS MEASURED
Sentence correction questions test two broad aspects of language proficiency:
1. Correct expression.
A correct sentence is grammatically and structurally sound. It conforms to all the rules of standard written English (for example: noun-verb agreement, noun-pronoun agreement, pronoun consistency, pronoun case, and verb tense sequence). Further, a correct sentence will not have dangling, misplaced, unidiomatic formed modifiers, unidiomatic or inconsistent expressions, or faults in parallel construction
2. Effective expression.
An effective sentence expresses an idea or relationship clearly and concisely as well as grammatically. This does not mean that the choice with the fewest and simplest words is necessarily the best answer. It means that there are no superfluous words or needlessly complicated expressions in best choice.
In addition, an effective sentence uses proper diction. (Diction refers to the standard dictionary meanings of words in context) In evaluating the diction of a sentence, you must be able to recognize whether the words are well chosen, accurate, and suitable for the context. The directions for sentence correction questions read as follows:
This question presents a sentence, part of which or all of which is underlined. Beneath the sentence you will find five ways of phrasing the underlined part. The first of these repeats the original; the other four are different. If you think the original is best, choose the first answer; otherwise choose one of the others.
This question tests correctness and effectiveness of expression. In choosing your answer, follow the requirements of standard written English; that is, pay attention to grammar, choice of words, and sentence construction. Choose answer that produces the most effective sentence; this answer should be clear and exact, without awkwardness, ambiguity, redundancy, or grammatical error.
Analytical Writing Assessment
The analytical Writing Assessment consists of two 30-minute writing tasks, "Analysis of an Issue" and "Analysis of an Argument." for the Analysis of an Issue task, you will need to analyze a given issue or opinion and then explain your point of view on the subject by citing relevant reasons and/or example drawn from your experience, observations, or reading. For the Analysis of an Argument task, you will need to analyze the reasoning behind a given argument and then write a critique of that argument. You may, for example, consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking, what alternative explanations or counter examples might weaken the conclusion or what sort of evidence could help strengthen or refute the argument.
WHAT IS MEASURED
The analytical Writing Assessment is designed as a direct measure of your ability to think critically and to communicate your ideas. More specifically, the Analysis of an Issue task test your ability to explore the complexities of an issue or opinion and, if appropriate, to take a position informed by your understanding of those complexities. The Analysis of an Argument task tests your ability to formulate an appropriate and constructive critique of specific conclusion based upon a specific line of thinking.
The issue and argument that you will find on the test concern topics of general interest, some related to business and some pertaining to a variety of other subjects. It is important to note, however, that none presupposes any specific knowledge of business or of other specific content areas: only your capacity to write analytically is being assessed.
College and university faculty members from various subject matter areas, including but not confined to management education, will evaluate how well you write. To qualify as GMAT readers, they must first demonstrate their ability to evaluate large number of sample responses accurately and reliably, according to GMAT standards and scoring criteria. Once qualified, readers will consider both the overall quality of your ideas about the issue and argument presented and your overall ability to organize, develop, and express those ideas; to provide relevant supporting reasons and examples; and to control the elements of standard written English. In addition, responses may be scored by E-raterTM, an automated scoring program designed to reflect the judgment of expert readers.
In considering the elements of standard written English, readers are trained to be sensitive and fair in evaluating the responses of English as a Second Language [ESL] examinees.