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First of all, you should take the time to learn all about the GMAT exam format. If you have reached the end of this guide, then this mission has already been completed!
Although you may not know much about the exam, you should keep as few surprises as possible. This way, you can focus all your energy on solving problems, and you don’t have to spend time reading instruction screens or trying to figure out how these complex data adequacy issues work.
Understanding the GMAT format will also help you develop a sense of time. You know how many questions and how much time you have per section, so you can start allocating your time in such a way as to maximize your efficiency.
Is GMAT totally computer-based?
All four GMAT sections are delivered on a computer at the Pearson VUE test centre. During the GMAT, the only break you get from looking at the electronic screen is to take one or both optional breaks (and we strongly recommend that you do!). There used to be a paper-based GMAT, but it was long gone. (By the way, those old paper GMATs had a slightly different GMAT format, but they still provide great practice if you can find them. If not, there are now more digital practice tests that you can use for additional practice).
In the Integrated Reasoning section you will have access to the IR on-screen calculator; in the quantitative section you will not get a calculator.
What is GMAT Exam format?
Both quantitative and verbal sections use computer adaptive testing. As you go through each of these sections, the algorithm adjusts the complexity of each new question based on your overall performance at the moment. If you’re good, on average you get a more difficult question. If you have problems, on average you will get easier questions. Only the last two sections use CAT. In the “Integrated Considerations” section, you just get a package of 12 questions, and these are the ones you follow: nothing adapts to you when you move through IP.
The GMAT exam outline contains both subjective and objective questions. This is a computer adaptive test with a total of 80 questions to be answered in 3 hours and 7 minutes. This is one of the most important exams for students who want to enter one of the most respected business schools in the world.
The universal nature of the GMAT exam means that competition among students is quite high. The GMAT exam scheme is established by the Graduate Management Board (GMAC), the test administrator. The Qualitative and Verbal sections of the GMAT adapt to your computer, which means that the complexity of the test adapts in real time to the level of your abilities. This feature allows you to more accurately assess your potential on the exam and get the points that business schools trust.
How long does GMAT exam last?
The GMAT is a 3-hour exam plus you can take two additional eight-minute breaks. You will also take 15 to 20 extra minutes to enter recipients, confirm your personal information, read instructions, and decide whether you want to keep or cancel your scores.
The AWA and Integrated Reasoning sections are designed for 30 minutes each, and the quantitative and verbal sections are 62 minutes and 65 minutes, respectively.
How does GMAT exam work?
The first question you get in the Oral or Quantitative sections will be of medium difficulty. When you answer each question, the computer evaluates your answer and uses it, as well as your answers to any previous question, to select the next question. If you answer the first question correctly, your computer will usually ask you a more difficult question. If you answer the first question incorrectly, the next question will be easier. This process continues until you complete the section, using the answers to all the questions that have been answered, after which the computer will accurately assess your abilities in this subject.
Can you change your answers on GMAT once you’ve written them?
You will not be able to skip, return to, or change your answers to questions. This is because the computer uses your answer to each question to select the next one. The quantitative and verbal sections of the GMAT are adaptive, which means that questions are selected based on your performance at runtime. Adaptive sections rely on an algorithm that answers questions to the level of your abilities.
This adaptive GMAT format is designed to accurately measure your skills. It also allows you to compare GMAT scores with each other in different versions of the test.
Experimental questions are scattered in the sections “Integrated reasoning”, “Quantitative” and “Verbal”. These experimental questions test the material for future tests, and they do not count toward your final scores. However, you will not have an idea of which issues are experimental, so you should treat all tasks as equally important.
Now that you have a general idea of how the GMAT works, let’s take a closer look at the GMAT exam template and the format of each section.
What you need to know about GMAT exams?
- GMAT is a computer-based test: A computer-based test works with test takers when they take the GMAT exam. The correctness of each of your answers is the deciding factor for the next question you receive. This GMAT system adjusts the level of complexity of your work.
- You CANNOT view the GMAT question: Because the GMAT runs on a computer adaptation system, you cannot return to a question you have already answered for each of its questions. The selected / confirmed answer is your final answer. Therefore, you must be 100% sure of the choice of answer.
- You control your own GMAT exam template: Another interesting factor of the GMAT is that you control your own GMAT exam template. At the beginning of the exam, students have the choice to choose the series in which they would like to answer the different sections of the test. Using this feature to your advantage can help you manage your time. Also, starting the test from the sections you are confident in, you can get a high score.
GMAT Exam format & Patterns
1. Integrated reasoning section
After you write the essay, you will be taken to the Integrated Considerations (IR) section with instructions. Again, you should already be familiar with these instructions. You will only have one minute to read them on the day of testing, or you can click before this minute starts.
The IR section was introduced in the GMAT in 2012. You will answer 12 questions in 30 minutes. Unlike the quantitative and verbal sections, IP is not adaptive. The questions do not change depending on your work. This section is rated from 1 to 12.
IR is the only GMAT section where you can use a calculator. You can’t bring your own, but use an on-screen calculator. You will also use drop-down menus to manage data. For example, you can reorganize a chart into different columns.
So what is checked in the IR section? This relatively new section of the GMAT invites you to evaluate data in several formats. This data can be represented by an excerpt, chart, graph or other graphic image. Your task is to interpret and synthesize information and evaluate statements. Although IR questions consist of several parts, you cannot get a partial score. To get points, you must answer all parts of the IR question correctly.
2. Quantitative section
The Quantitative Section is one of two adaptive GMAT sections. Questions are selected depending on your performance. Basically, adaptive testing works like this: if you ask the right question, the next question will be more difficult. If you ask the wrong question, you will move on to an easier question. It’s not always that simple, but you get the idea.
In the quantitative section you are asked 31 math questions in 62 minutes and get from 0 to 60 points. Even if you haven’t studied math in years, you’ll be able to handle this section well, as proven concepts aren’t very advanced. .
You do not need to know advanced calculations or statistical analysis. The quantitative section focuses mainly on arithmetic, algebra, geometry and logic. The quantitative section is adaptive, but don’t worry about it. Some people think that easy questions mean they are doing poorly.
However, it is not really possible to understand how questions develop, and trying to do so only exhausts your precious mental energy. Focus on solving problems and you will get your points soon enough. There is nothing particularly unusual about the types of issues to be solved in the GMAT Quantitative section. They probably resemble the tasks from most other math tests you took. Your main way to prepare for them is to review the relevant concepts.
Questions about the adequacy of the data are a bit more unusual, and you should start the test, familiar with the choice of answers. They will always look the same on every question about data adequacy, but they can be confusing if you are reading them for the first time on the day of testing.
3. Verbal section
The verbal section lasts 65 minutes, contains 36 questions and is adaptive. Like the quantitative section, it receives from 0 to 60 points. As the name implies, this section tests your verbal skills, including reading comprehension, grammar comprehension, and critical thinking.
As in the other three sections of the GMAT, your critical thinking skills are at play here. You will need to evaluate the arguments and identify their strengths and weaknesses. There are three main types of questions in the Verbal section: reading comprehension, critical thinking, and sentence correction. Read on to learn more about each type, as well as a sample question.
You should get about four passages in the “Words” section. You will read the passages and then answer three or four questions about each one. These questions may be about meaning, logic, or a central premise. You can interpret the main idea of the passage, auxiliary details, structure or tone.