The Graduate Management Admission Test

The primary purpose of the Graduate Management Assessment Test or GMAT is to test a potential student’s overall ability to perform well in the realm of higher education especially in MBA programs.

The exam was formulated in 1953 by the Graduate Management Assessment Council with input from top MBA schools around the globe. During the first year, 2,000 students applied for admission to a testing center. Currently, approximately 250,000 applications are received each year by 1,500 U.S. schools and 5,400 entities offering off and online programs around the world.

The exam consists of four sections. For the written analysis section, 30 minutes is allotted to the formulation of a critique relative to a given argument posed. The final outcome of this section is determined by a computer evaluation coupled with that of a human GMAT staff member who is not apprised of the computer score. On a scale of one to six, four is deemed adequate. The average overall GMAT score is 540 on a scale from 200 to 800.

Thirty minutes is allotted for the completion of section two in which the reasoning capabilities of a student are evaluated, essentially to determine which students are out-of-the-box thinkers. This judgment is attained by answers to 12 questions. Section three, quantitative analysis, requires 75 minutes during which a student’s math ability and skills are assessed in 37 questions.

The fourth section is designed to assess the student’s reading comprehension level based on answers to 41 multiple choice questions in a 75 minute period. As of June 2012, a fifth section has been added to the GMAT exam. The goal of this section is to evaluate a candidate’s capability of analyzing data in various computerized formats.

Although the main goal of the GMAT is to predict business school graduation success for a potential candidate, according to a recent Forbes Business Magazine article, this not a guaranteed factor. The article writer further maintained that most of the top schools use testing as a way to limit the number of students accepted to their mba programs which in turn is deemed to be an elite selection status incentive.

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