The Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT) is a standardized assessment-delivered in English-that helps business schools assess the qualifications of applicants for advanced study in business and management. Schools use the test as one predictor of academic performance in an MBA program or in other graduate management programs.
The GMAT® exam measures basic verbal, mathematical, and analytical
writing skills that you have developed over a long period of time
in your education and work. It does NOT measure:
your knowledge of business,
your job skills,
specific content in your undergraduate or first university course work,
your abilities in any other specific subject area, or
subjective qualities-such as motivation, creativity, and interpersonal skills.
Format and Timing
The GMAT® exam consists of three main parts, the Analytical Writing
Assessment, the Quantitative section, and the Verbal section.
Analytical Writing Assessment
The GMAT® exam begins with the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA).
The AWA consists of two separate writing tasks-Analysis of an Issue
and Analysis of an Argument. You are allowed 30 minutes to complete
Following an optional ten-minute break, you begin the Quantitative
Section of the GMAT® exam. This section contains 37 multiple-choice
questions of two question types-Data Sufficiency and Problem Solving.
You will be allowed a maximum of 75 minutes to complete the entire
After a second optional ten-minute break, you begin the Verbal Section
of the exam. This section contains 41 multiple choice questions
of three question types-Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning,
and Sentence Correction. You are allowed a maximum of 75 minutes
to complete the entire section.
The Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT®) consists of four
separately timed sections. Each of the first two sections consists
of an analytical writing task; the remaining two sections (Quantitative
and Verbal) consist of multiple-choice questions delivered in a
computer-adaptive format. Questions in these sections are dynamically
selected as you take the test; the multiple-choice questions will
adjust to your ability level, and your test will be unique.
How Does It Work?
For each multiple-choice section of the GMAT® exam, there is a large
pool of potential questions ranging from a low to high level of
difficulty. Each section of the test starts with a question of moderate
difficulty. If you answer the first question correctly, the computer
will usually give you a harder question. If you answer the first
question incorrectly, your next question will be easier. This process
will continue until you complete the section, at which point the
computer will have an accurate assessment of your ability 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
What If You Make a Mistake or Guess?
If you answer a question incorrectly by mistake or correctly by
randomly guessing, your answers to subsequent questions will lead
you back to questions that are at the appropriate level of difficulty
Random guessing can significantly lower your scores. So, if you
do not know the answer to a question, you should try to eliminate
as many answer choices as possible and then select the answer you
think is best. For more testing strategies, see Test-Taking Strategies.
What if I don't finish?
Pacing is critical, as there is a severe penalty for not completing.
Both the time and number of questions that remain in the section
are displayed on the screen during the exam. There are 37 Quantitative
questions and 41 Verbal questions. If a question is too time-consuming
or if you don't know the answer, make an educated guess by first
eliminating the answers you know to be wrong.
How Is Your Score Determined?
Your score is determined by:
the number of questions you answer,
whether you answer the questions correctly or incorrectly, and
the level of difficulty and other statistical characteristics of each question.
The questions in an adaptive test are weighted according to their
difficulty and other statistical properties, not according to their
position in the test.
Are All Questions Counted?
Every test contains trial multiple-choice questions being pretested
for use in a real exam. These questions are not identified and appear
in different 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.
What Computer Skills Do You Need?
You need only minimal computer skills to complete the GMAT® exam.
Familiarize yourself with the mechanics of taking a computer-adaptive
test by using the GMAT® Tutorials that is included with the Free
GMAT® POWERPREP® Software. The tutorials cover such topics as:
using a mouse
moving on to the next question
using the word processor
accessing the Help function
Before the day of your test, review the testing tools covered in
the tutorials. Although you will be able to use a Help function
during the test, the time spent doing so will count against the
time allotted for completing a test section.
The Verbal section of the Graduate Management Admission
Test® (GMAT®) measures your ability to:
read and comprehend written material,
reason and evaluate arguments, and
correct written material to conform to standard written English.
Three types of multiple-choice questions are used in the Verbal
section of the GMAT® exam-Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning,
and Sentence Correction.
Reading Comprehension Questions
Reading Comprehension passages are up to 350 words long. Topics
contain material from the social sciences, physical or biological
sciences, and business-related areas (marketing, economics, human
resource management, etc.).
Because the Reading Comprehension section of the GMAT® exam includes
passages from several different content areas, you may be generally
familiar with some of the material; however, no specific knowledge
of the material is required. All questions are to be answered on
the basis of what is stated or implied in the reading material.
Reading Comprehension passages are accompanied by interpretive,
applied, and inferential questions.
What Is Measured
Reading Comprehension questions measure your ability to understand,
analyze, and apply information and concepts presented in written
This section evaluates the following abilities:
Understanding words and statements in reading passages: Questions of this type test your understanding of and ability to
comprehend terms used in the passage and your understanding of the English language.
Understanding the logical relationships between significant points and concepts in the reading passages: Questions of this
type ask you to determine the strong and weak points of an argument or to evaluate the importance of arguments and ideas in a passage.
Drawing inferences from facts and statements in the reading passages: Questions of this type ask you to consider factual statements or information and, on the basis of that information, reach a general conclusion.
Understanding and following the development of quantitative concepts as they are presented in verbal material: Questions of this type involve the interpretation of numerical data or the use of simple arithmetic to reach conclusions about material in a passage.