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GMAT® Structure:

GMAT® – A Computer Adaptive Test

GMAT® is a Computer Adaptive Test which indicates that the test adapts itself to the correctness / incorrectness of one's responses. There is an Integrated Reasoning Section which is not adaptive. The first few questions in the Verbal and Quant sections are of moderate difficulty. With correct responses, the level of difficulty increases, and conversely - with incorrect responses the level of difficulty decreases.

The software (test engine) calculates your score based on:

  • The number of questions you answer correctly

  • The difficulty level of the questions you answer (Weight-age for tougher questions is more than for the easier questions)

  • The number of questions you complete

The test is administered on the computer and the questions have to be tackled in the order in which they appear; you cannot skip a question. All answer choices for a single question are presented on the same screen. You must submit responses to all parts of the question before moving on to a new question on another screen. Once you answer a question, you cannot go back and change the answer.

The final score will be in multiples of 10. It is essential that all questions are completed as there is a heavy penalty for the questions not attempted. These factors make time management very critical in GMAT®. You should be good at guessing too and eliminating wrong options quickly.

GMAT® – Overview of the Sections

The GMAT® has four sections which are separately timed. A brief overview of the sections is given below.
Section Type No. of Questions Time Score Final Score
AWA – Analysis of an Argument 1 Essay 30 min 0-6; incremental increase in half-point intervals 0 to 6 (The AWA Score does not contribute to the Total GMAT®Score but is available separately)

Integrated Reasoning 12 Questions 30 min 1-8; incremental increase in single digit intervals 1 to 8 (The I.R. Score does not contribute to the Total GMAT®Score but is available separately)
Quantitative (Math) 37 Questions 75 min 0-60; (Scores below 7 & above 50 are rare)
Max. Score - 51
200 – 800 (Scaled in multiples of 10).

Two-thirds of test takers score between 400 & 600.
Verbal 41 Questions 75 min 0-60; (Scores below 9 & above 44 are rare)
Max. Score - 51

The total test time is 3.5 hrs without breaks and about 4 hrs with breaks

GMAT® – Details about Question Types

Test Section Questions Time Objective of Section
AWA 1 Essay – Analysis of an Argument 30 minutes Tests one’s ability to critique an argument based on assumptions you cite, the evidence that you give in support of the conclusion, the counter-examples that may weaken the conclusion and the overall structure.
Integrated Reasoning
(Online Calculator available for this section only)
12 Questions in
Multisource Reasoning,
Table Analysis,
Graphical Interpretation,
Two Part Analysis
30 minutes To convert quantitative data between graphical and verbal formats; assimilate information from different sources (emails, tables etc.) to solve problems; accurately interpret graphical or tabular data to determine probabilities and statistics; recognize tradeoffs and the likelihood of outcomes.

Optional 8 min break

Quantitative Aptitude 37 Questions
18 to 19 questions in Problem Solving,
18 to 19 questions in Data Sufficiency.
75 minutes Measures one’s ability to reason quantitatively, solve quantitative problems, and interpret data.

Optional 8 min break

Verbal 41 Questions
15 to 19 Questions in Sentence Correction,
12 to 14 Questions in Critical Reasoning,
12 to 14 Questions in Reading Comprehension
75 minutes Tests one’s ability to comprehend data, form inferences, reason and evaluate arguments & correct sentences so that they conform to Standard English Usage etc.

Scoring on the GMAT®
  • Unofficial scores from the Verbal and Quant sections, along with the Total score, are available immediately after one completes the test.

  • The Official Score Report is sent about 20 days after the test is taken (online or in the mail). One must respond to the essay prompt and work on each of the other sections to obtain an Official Score Report.

  • The Score Report contains 5 scores on the GMAT® test (Verbal, Quantitative, Total, Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning) and a percentile rank, or the proportion of exams scoring below one’s score based on the scores of the entire GMAT® testing population for the most recent three-year period. The 5 scores that the GMAT® Exam yields are:

    Analytical writing score scaled from 0 to 6
    Integrated Reasoning score scaled from 1 to 8 
    Verbal score ranging from 0 to 60  
    Quant score ranging from 0 to 60 
    Total GMAT®® score ranging from 200 to 800 

    Only about 10% of students get a total score more than 700 out of 800. The median GMAT® score, of students who get admission in top schools like ISB and Wharton, is about 720, and only 5% of the test takers manage to get that score. 

  • One’s percentile rank may change from year to year. However, one’s scaled score never changes.

  • Like the AWA, the IR scores are computed separately from the Quantitative and Verbal sections and have no effect on the Total score.

  • A good GMAT® Score - A score of 720/800 will give an aspirant a decent chance of getting into top Indian schools like ISB, PGP-X of IIMs and top-10 schools across the world. A score of about 700 is required to get into top-25 schools across the world. A score of about 680 is required to get into top-100 schools across the world. However, GMAT® is just one of the factors influencing the admission. Other factors like quality of SOPs, work experience, recommendations and under graduate GPA/percentage also play crucial roles.

For more details regarding how one can prepare for GMAT® etc. visit http://www.time4education.com/gmat/

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