What They Really Assess in GMAT

The GMAT or The Graduate Management Admission Test is the arch-nemesis of many. While the questions asked, seem to be based on school-level Mathematics and English, we all know that the ultimate purpose of this test is to secure an entry into one of the 7000 post-graduate programs offered by around 2300 business schools worldwide. It’s not going to be as simple as it looks. So let’s not get fooled by the outward description of this test and its curriculum. Let’s explore in detail what is really being assessed at the GMAT Test.

The GMAT doesn’t test how elegant your English is or how mathematically agile you are while calculating. It does test English and Maths levels, but with the objective of assessing your critical thinking and problem-solving ability which is important to succeed in real-life business management situations! After all, your aspiration to crack GMAT is to support your aim of entering the corporate world and becoming future business managers. Can you be solution-oriented? Quick thinker? Can you attend to the details without losing the track of the big picture? All this, maintaining your efficiency and time management? Yes, all this, within 3.5 hours of GMAT Test. Here’s how:

The exam has 4 assessment areas. Each of these has a specific duration and area of focus”

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
  • Integrated Reasoning
  • Math
  • Verbal Reasoning

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Let’s explore each of these sections in detail to understand the focus of assessment:

  • The Analytical Writing Assessment or AWA is a 30 – minute writing exercise. The test will contain prompts based on topics of general interest. You need not be aware of the details possess in-depth knowledge of the topic at hand. You will be required to analyze the argument/s provided, understand the reasoning behind it and write a well-articulated critique. The AWA tests your logical flow of thoughts, ability to interpret and present your viewpoint succinctly. It tests how well are you able to arrange your thoughts in a presentable manner and produce them within a limited time span. Thus it tests whether you can communicate your ideas logically and effectively in English.
  • Integrated Reasoning tries to infer your problem-solving ability. It assesses whether you are able to cull out critical information from multiple sources and formats. Whether you are able to interpret the data presented in graphics, focus on the vital and relevant information and fill the gaps and organize and synthesize the data to come up with the right solution. The race against the time makes it a formidable challenge. You need to complete 12 questions in 30 minutes.
  • Math or the Quantitative section relies on the assessment of your agile thinking and problem-solving ability through the use of school-level mathematical problems with a twist. These questions could involve some lateral thinking on your part. Your ability to reason mathematically is tested and you get 62 minutes to complete 31 problems. 
  • The last, but not the least is the Verbal Reasoning Section which tests your critical reasoning ability, reading comprehension and ability to express correctly and effectively. You get 65 minutes to solve 36 questions. 

It is clear that these are life – skills, especially essential as a decision-maker. As business leaders of the future, you will use these skills several times in a day while making complex decisions. Once you assimilate the fact that GMAT primarily checks your critical thinking and decision making, you must try to practice with the mindset of a decision-maker. By now you must have realized that its not necessary to know all the theoretical concepts or details in a subject. What is more important is how you are able to arrive at the decision, making most of the available information. Equally important is how quickly you are able to make such decisions. Thus, the most critical skill that you must develop is the ability to process data fast, identify relevant information from multiple sources and arrive at a decision. You have just 3.5 hours to stand out from the rest. This you will be able to do by solving maximum answers correctly. 

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