What are the essential sections, scoring pattern and recent updates in GMAT? 

All about Online GMAT Examination

The Coronavirus or COVID 19 pandemic that started in Wuhan city of China is now spreading all over the world and has brought all activities to a grinding halt. Similarly, it has affected business schools around the world, as well.

In this difficult situation, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which is the official administrator and owner of the GMAT Exam, has announced the closure of examination centers around the world. But it has made several updates in the GMAT exam process. Before knowing about the recent updates that have been made, you need to know a few things about GMAT.

What are the essential aspects of GMAT?

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is an adaptive computer test which is considered as an important part of the business application process. This examination has been designed to assess writing, quantitative, analytical, reading, and verbal skills of the candidates and identify them for admission into graduate-level management programs such as MBA.

The examination is a multiple-choice, computer-based examination that is required for admission in a professional Graduate business program globally. According to the test owning company, i.e., Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the GMAT assesses the analytical, writing, and problem-solving skills. It also addresses data sufficiency and critical reasoning skills that are considered to be important and useful in the business world in order to get success in business and management success as well.

The GMAT examination can be taken up to 5 times in a year, but the candidates are not allowed to take it more than eight times in total. And, they should also remember that the attempts should be at least 16 days apart from each other. This examination measures your ability to analyze, think critically, and solve problems. It is an examination that tests your critical thinking skills and having the skill of reasoning and analyzing is the key to get a perfect score in the GMAT examination

What are the sections in GMAT?

The GMAT consists of four sections, although in all the sections, you will have to use critical thinking and analytical skills. The examination content in GMAT are, categorized into four sections, two of which are scored separately, and the other two are scored separately. Thereafter, in the end, the scores are combined for calculating a final score.

Here are the four sections of GMAT: – 

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment
  2. Integrated Reasoning
  3. Quantitative
  4. Verbal

The candidates who will be appearing for the test will get to choose the order of the examination just before you begin your test. Candidates will be provided the opportunity to select the order of the sections from the three orders that have been mentioned below: –

  • Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning (IR), Quantitative, Verbal
  • Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

What is the Scoring pattern in GMAT?

  • The Quantitative and Verbal sections are scored 0 to 60. 
  • In the case of the Integrated Reasoning section, it is scored on a 1 to 8 scale in one-point increments. 
  • The Analytical Writing Assessment section of the GMAT is scored separately from 0 to 6 in half-point increments. 
  • All these scores are then combined to generate a score on 200 to 800 scale with 10 point increments. 

This, however, reflects the level of difficulty of the questions that you have answered using a proper GMAC algorithm. The mean score of the four sections are given below: –

  • For the Verbal section, the mean score is 27
  • For the Quantitative section, it is 39
  • For Analytical writing, the mean score is 4.4
  • And, lastly, the mean score for Integrated Reasoning is 4.2

However, the most weighted score that is important for your MBA program is the Verbal and Quantitative scores. 

How are you scored in GMAT?

Since GMAT is a computer-based test or CAT, so it adapts to your performance as you are taking your test. When you start giving the test, the computer assumes that you have an average score, and thereby it provides you with questions that are of medium difficulty level.

When you answer the given questions correctly, then the computer will start giving you tougher questions as it estimates your ability to be higher. But, if you end up answering the questions incorrectly, the questions which will be provided to you by the computer will be simpler because the computer has decreased the estimate of your ability.

Finally, the score in the GMAT exam is calculated with the help of an algorithm that estimates the ability of the candidate based on the level of skill and merely not on the basis of the correct and incorrect answers.

 There are many GMAC algorithms that are misunderstood, and also, there are many myths associated with cracking the algorithm. However, you should know that the best way to beat or crack the algorithm is to be prepared, and this will definitely help you to clear the examination with good scores.

You need to understand that the key lies in you striking a balance between the total time available and the time taken to answer the difficult questions. Also, you should remember that there are penalties for not answering a particular question at the end of the exam.

When it comes to the Analytical Writing Assessment, the essay written by the candidate receives a score from a computerized program as well as a human reader. The essay is scored using a 6 point scale, and it must be noted that the Integrated Reasoning section is not adaptive.

Moreover, when it comes to the Quantitative and Verbal sections, neither are you allowed to leave the questions unanswered nor return to the previous questions that were left unanswered. For the IR section, the scoring is done on a 1 to 8 scale. Also, after you are done with your test, you will get an unofficial GMAT score immediately where you will have an option to keep or cancel the score.

Time of the GMAT exam

On the day of the examination, you can expect to sit for the examination for over 3.5 hours, which includes the time of the test and optional breaks. You should know that this not include your check-in time. However, it is advised that you should reach the center at least 30 minutes prior to your examination.

Cost of the exam

In order to appear for the GMAT examination, you have to pay $250, which includes sending score reports up to 5 programs of your choice. So, it is important that you choose an appropriate time for the examination and also the right test preparation so that you do not have to pay the fee more than once. 

What are the recent updates in the GMAT examination?

As said earlier, due to the rapid spread of COVID 19 around the world, it has created a huge impact on business schools. Due to this, the GMAC has announced that the GMAT exam will be conducted online to allow the business school to complete their admission process during this pandemic situation. Therefore, those who are interested in taking up this examination can register online from 14th April with testing appointments available from 20th April to 15th June 2020.

The test is available except for the markets that are limited by regulatory restrictions. For candidates with disabilities, GMAC is attempting to provide better online exam options. This facility will be extended to only those candidates who meet the specific eligibility criteria. 

Presently, conducting the GMAT exam in online mode is being considered as a temporary solution that has been designed to help the candidates whose applications have been stuck due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Though, it has been specified that before 15th June 2020, GMAC will further review the need for a more permanent solution.

What are the Eligibility criteria for GMAT?

As such, there are no eligibility criteria set by GMAC. However, candidates who are appearing for GMAT should satisfy the eligibility criterion that has been set by the university or college; one would like to join after giving the GMAT examination.

However, the age criterion of the candidate is as follows: –

  • While there is no upper age limit to appear for the exam, the minimum age requirement has been pegged at 18 years.
  • If the age of the candidate is between 13 to 17 years, he/she should have written permission from either one of the parents or legal guardians.

The educational qualification of the candidates is as follows: –

  • The candidates who wish to enroll in an MBA program should have a Graduation degree in any discipline from a recognized University.

GMAT Examination fee

  • The application fee for the GMAT examination is $250 or appx Rs. 18,000. Also, if the candidates wish to change their examination center or want to reschedule the test, then they will have to pay an extra charge of $50.
  • If you want to cancel the exam more than seven days before the test, then you will be refunded with an amount of US$80. But, if you cancel the test within seven days of the date of the test, then you will not get any refund. Moreover, the candidates should note that they cannot cancel the test within 24 hours of the scheduled time.
  • A fee of US$60 is payable if the candidates are looking to reschedule the examination, seven days before the test. If they want to reschedule the exam within seven days before the test, they will have to pay a fee of US$250. Again, the candidates cannot reschedule the examination within 24 hours of the scheduled date and time.

GMAT registration

If the test centers are closed in your area due to the COVID 19 pandemic, you can consider taking the GMAT online examination, which is an interim that is invigilated examination that you can take in the comfort of your home. To enroll for this test, you need to create a GMAT account on its official website. Before you start with the registration process, you need to make sure that you have the following documents/details: – 

  • Personal details like your name, age, etc.
  • A valid email address and a highly secured password
  • Credit/ debit card details for online submission of fee

Here are some of the steps in order to do the GMAT registration: –

  1. The first step is to create an account, and for this, you need to visit the official website for GMAT. After this, you can click on “Take the GMAT exam.” Now, you have to create an account by entering details like name, email ID, and password. After this, you need to accept all terms and conditions and then click “create an account.”
  2. After the first step, you need to fill all the details. There are six steps involved in the GMAT registration that includes personal information, profile details, verify profile, schedule your exam, confirm exam details, and payment process. The next thing is you need to schedule your examination where the candidates can choose the maximum three examination centers. After selecting the center, you need to pay the registration fee without which the registration will be incomplete.

After the registration, the candidate can log in to their accounts and make changes to the schedule of the examination, reschedule the examination or even cancel a GMAT appointment. Also, they can also download free test preparation software and view scores as well.

How to prepare for the GMAT examination?

  • The GMAT measures the skills of the candidates that are developed over time. So, taking practice tests and reviewing the exam preparation guides will definitely help the students to learn strategies in order to answer difficult questions. You need to develop pacing skills as well because there is a significant penalty if you do not complete any section of the GMAT examination. For this purpose, the students can also take several practice tests so that they will help them to learn how to pace themselves and aid them in completing each section of the test.
  • The Analytical and Writing Assessment and the Integrated Reasoning are both unique, and in order to prepare for these sections, it is critical to be familiar with different types of questions, and you also need to practice time management as well.
  • The Verbal section contains different types of questions, so you need to become familiar with each type of questions to avoid mistakes. Also, there is no requirement of any previous knowledge for the critical reasoning and reading comprehension section. But it is advisable that the candidates learn about GMAT test-taking strategies and practice them on GMAT style questions.

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