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Decoding the GMAT

The charm of an MBA or Masters in Management(MiM) degree has always been appealing, and more so getting it from a world class B-School. Add to this the prestige that comes with a tag of being a Management grad with a fancy job and title, and you have hordes of people applying to numerous top colleges every year! The first step to an MBA or MiM application is the feared GMAT exam. But is it really that scary and demanding to crack? Let’s finds out.

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a computerized aptitude test that aims to gauge the analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and English reading skills as a parameter for admission into Management and MBA programs in universities worldwide. The exam itself is governed by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), and the GMAT score is accepted across the globe in over 2,100 institutions and 5,900 programs.

The exam is quite extensive and intensive, with four specific test sections each testing a particular skill. The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) is a single 30 minute section with a writing task, where a test taker analyses an argument and then presents a reasoning and critique of the argument. This is graded on a scale of 6 points, with 6 indicating an outstanding essay. A fairly recent addition of the exam has been the Integrated Reasoning (IR) section (in 2012), designed to measure a test taker’s ability to evaluate data presented in multiple formats from multiple sources. This consists of twelve questions in four formats with a score ranging from 1 to 8. The questions asked in this section were identified in a survey of 740 management faculty worldwide as important for today’s incoming students. Scores of both these sections are not counted against the GMAT score, but these scores are considered holistically when considering an application.

The Quantitative and Verbal sections are the ones whose score contribute to the final GMAT score. The Quant sections seeks to measure the ability to reason quantitatively, solve quantitative problems, interpret graphic data, and analyze and use information given in a problem. There are two sub sections here: problem solving and data sufficiency. The entire section is graded from 0-60, with scores being reported for scores between 6 and 51, and is considered a tough part of the exam. The other scoring section is the Verbal, which seeks to measure the test taker’s ability to read and comprehend written material, reason and evaluate arguments and correct written material to express ideas effectively in standard written English. It contains reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction questions with the entire sections graded from 0-51.

Phew! That’s quite a handful! It is not scary but is a revered test, with most people still picking to take the GMAT though the GRE is accepted for Management programs’ admissions these days. There is a certain exclusivity and elite characteristic associated with the GMAT making it the most popular choice. Planning to take the GMAT? Want to ace it? Look no further than our GMAT Test Prep which will help you get the score you deserve. Log on for some amazing learning!


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