GMAT


The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a computer adaptive test (CAT) intended to assess certain analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English for use in admission to a graduate management program, such as an MBA. The GMAT does not measure business knowledge or skill, nor does it measure intelligence. According to the test owning company, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the GMAT assesses analytical writing and problem-solving abilities, while also addressing data sufficiency, logic, and critical reasoning skills that it believes to be vital to real-world business and management success. MAT is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council. More than 5,900 programs offered by more than 2,100 universities and institutions use the GMAT exam as part of the selection criteria for their programs. Business schools use the test as a criterion for admission into a wide range of graduate management programs.

TEST STRUCTURE

 

GMAT Test Section # of Questions Question Types Timing
Analytical Writing Assessment 1 Topic Analysis of Argument
Multi-Source Reasoning
30 Minutes
Integrated Reasoning 12 Questions Graphics Interpretation
Two-Part Analysis
Table Analysis
30 Minutes
Quantitative 37 Questions Data Sufficiency
Problem Solving
75 Minutes
Verbal 41 Questions Reading Comprehension
Critical Reasoning
Sentence Correction
75 Minutes
Total Exam Time 3hrs, 30 minutes

 

The Score Report

 

An official GMAT score report consists of five parts:

  • Verbal Scaled Score (on a scale from 0 to 60)
  • Quantitative Scaled Score (on a scale from 0 to 60)
  • Total Scaled Score (on a scale from 200 to 800)
  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) Score (on a scale from 0 to 6)
  • Integrated Reasoning Score (on a scale from 1 to 8)

The total score is a scaled combination of the verbal and quantitative scaled scores, and thus reflects a student’s overall performance on the multiple-choice sections of the test. The AWA and the Integrated Reasoning sections are scored independently; scores for these sections do not affect the 200-800 scaled score.

THE VERBAL AND QUANTITATIVE SECTIONS

 

To compute the scaled score for the Verbal and Quantitative sections, GMAT uses an algorithm that takes the following factors into account:

  • the number of questions answered within the time permitted
  • the number of questions answered correctly
  • the statistical characteristics (including level of difficulty) of the questions answered

At the beginning of each section, the GMAT presents a question in the middle range of difficulty. If the question is answered correctly, the next question will be harder and the test-taker’s score will adjust upwards. If the question is answered incorrectly, the next question will be easier, and the test-taker’s score will adjust downwards. (The test taker does not see this adjustment because the score is not revealed until the entire test has been completed.) Thus, the algorithm is constantly recalculating the scaled score as the student progresses through the section.

As a test-taker answers more questions, the algorithm receives more information about his or her skills and is able to calculate an accurate score with greater and greater precision. Consequently, the questions at the beginning of the section are weighted much more heavily than questions near the end of the section. For example, by the time Question 36 appears, the computer has had 35 questions from which to derive the proper score range. So even if Question 36 were answered correctly, the increase in score would be minimal compared to the increase in score if Question 2 had been answered correctly.

Upon completing the GMAT, test-takers must decide whether or not to keep their scores. Those who choose to keep their scores are able to view the total scaled score along with the separate Verbal and Quantitative scaled scores. Those who choose to cancel cannot view any scores.

The real value of a GMAT score is determined by its percentile ranking. A percentile ranking indicates the percentage of test-takers who scored at or below a particular score: the higher the percentile ranking, the more competitive the score. Percentile rankings in the charts below reflect the most current data from the GMAC (through July 2013).

The following table shows the 61 possible GMAT total scaled scores and the percentile rankings assigned to each.

 

Scaled Score Percentile
760-800 99
750 98
740 97
730 96
720 94
710 92
700 89
690 87
680 84
670 83
660 80
650 77
640 72
630 71
620 67
610 64
Scaled Score Percentile
600 61
590 58
580 54
570 51
560 48
550 45
540 42
530 38
520 36
510 34
500 31
490 29
480 27
470 25
460 22
450 20
Scaled Score Percentile
440 18
430 16
420 15
410 13
400 12
390 11
380 10
370 9
360 8
340-350 6
330 5
310-320 4
280-300 3
250-270 2
220-240 1
200-210 0
While total scaled scores range from 200 to 800, approximately half of all test takers score between 400 and 600.
The verbal and quantitative scaled scores are also assigned percentile rankings. The following table shows the possible verbal and quantitative scaled scores and the percentile rankings assigned to each.

 

VERBAL

 

Scaled Score Percentile
45-51 99
44 98
42 96
41 94
40 91
39 89
38 85
37 83
36 81
35 76
34 71
33 69
32 66
31 61
30 58
29 51
28 51
27 46
26 43
Scaled Score Percentile
25 38
24 36
23 32
22 30
21 26
20 22
19 19
18 17
17 15
16 12
15 10
14 9
13 7
12 5
11 4
10 3
9 2
7-8 1
0-6 0
QUANTITATIVE

 

Scaled Score Percentile
51-60 97
50 88
49 79
48 74
47 68
46 66
45 63
44 58
43 56
42 51
41 49
40 47
39 43
38 41
37 40
36 36
35 33
34 31
33 30
Scaled Score Percentile
32 27
31 24
30 22
29 20
28 19
27 16
26 15
25 13
24 12
23 11
22 9
20-21 8
19 7
18 6
17 5
14-16 4
13 3
10-12 2
7-9 1
0-6 0

THE ANALYTICAL WRITING ASSESSMENT (AWA)

 

The AWA essay receives two scores on a scale of 0 to 6, at least one of which comes from a human reader. The other score, however, may come from a computerized evaluation program. If the scores from the two readers are identical or differ by exactly one point, they are averaged to obtain the final score for that essay. If the scores differ by more than one point, an expert human reader determines the final score.The following table lists all of the possible AWA scaled scores and the percentile rankings assigned to each of them.

AWA Score Percentile
6.0 92
5.5 81
5.0 60
4.5 44
4.0 21
3.5 13
3.0 6
2.5 5
0.5-2.0 3
0 0

Over 90% of test-takers receive a scaled score of 3 or higher on the AWA. Since human readers are involved in the AWA grading process, students cannot view their AWA scores on the same day that they take the test. Students who choose to keep their scores receive an official GMAT score report via regular mail approximately two weeks later that includes their AWA score.

INTEGRATED REASONING

 

The Integrated Reasoning section is scored on a scale of 1 to 8, in one-point increments. This section is not computer adaptive.Test-takers will not be able to view their Integrated Reasoning scores on the same day that they take the test. Those who choose to keep their scores will receive an official GMAT score report via regular mail approximately two weeks later that includes the Integrated Reasoning score.

Score Percentile
8 92
7 81
6 67
5 52
4 37
3 25
2 12
1 0

Over 90% of test-takers receive a scaled score of 3 or higher on the AWA. Since human readers are involved in the AWA grading process, students cannot view their AWA scores on the same day that they take the test. Students who choose to keep their scores receive an official GMAT score report via regular mail approximately two weeks later that includes their AWA score.