Test structure
Test structure

Test structure

The GMAT test is a Computerized Adaptive Test (CAT) and mainly consists of multiple choice questions. Adaptive testing means that the questions are divided into different categories according to difficulty. The first question in each adaptive section is considered an intermediate level question.  If you answer correctly, a more difficult question will follow. If you answer incorrectly, an easier question will follow.  This method means that by the end of the section you reach a level which accurately reflects your ability.  The test writers claim that the test is divided to seven difficulty levels.

The GMAT test has four sections: Quantitative chapter, verbal chapter, Integrated reasoning chapter and analytical wrting assessment chapter as detailed below:



The score in the Analytical Writing Assessment section (the essay) is decided by two examiners; the first, a person, the second, a computer program.  Scores range from 0 to 6. This score is received in the post 3-4 weeks after taking the exam.

The IR score ranges from 1-8 in whole points and is received immediately after the test.

The scores for the quantitative and verbal sections range from 6 to 51. The combined score of these two parts (also called the total score) ranges from 200 to 800 and it is automatically calculated by the computer program. These scores are received in a report that is produced immediately after finishing the test. The algorithm which determines the final scores and chooses the difficulty level of the questions is complex and not officially published.

You cannot review the test's questions or appeal for re-scoring with the exception of the Analytical Writing Assessment which can be remarked at a cost  $45.

It is possible to take an 8 minute break between the sections (except between the AWA and the IR). After 8 minutes, the computer automatically continues the test.  It's important to pay attention to the time and not to be late. The duration of the test is 3.5 hours overall (including test time and intermissions).


The difficulty level of the questions

It's problematic to determine the precise difficulty level of a question for two reasons. Firstly, the definition of the term “difficulty level” is subjective, different people find different questions harder than others. Secondly, 7 trial questions are randomly planted in the test. These questions aid GMAC in preparing future exams. The difficulty level of these questions does not necessarily correlate to the examinee's current difficulty level.

The questions that appear at the beginning of the section have the greatest relative influence on the score. The influence gradually decreases as the test program becomes familiar with the examinee. Therefore, it's very important to make a great effort to finish the first 1/3 of the test with minimum mistakes (some say even the first half).  If you make a lot of mistakes at the beginning, there is a good chance you will not be able to make up for it later.

Analytical Writing
The test begins with an essay (analytical writing) for which you are given 30 minutes.  You will be required analyze a logical argument and  type the essay using a simple word processing application that allows you to cut and paste text and undo your last few actions.

Integrated Reasoning
This part of the test is relatively new (introduced in June 2012), and it requires that you analyze verbal and quantitative information which are presented in different formats such as tables, graphs and texts. The duration of this section is 30 minutes, during which 12 questions are presented. For each question, there may be a number of parts and only by answering all parts correctly will you receive points. This section is not adaptive, but like the verbal and the quantitative parts, you cannot skip a question without marking an answer and you cannot go back to a question you have already answered.

Types of Questions:
Graph Interpretation: You have to analyze the visual information that is being presented to you in the form of a graph or a diagram.
Two Part Analysis: Analyzing quantitative or verbal information in two correlating clauses.
Multi Source Analysis: Analyzing information from three text sources presented in three tabs (for example, email correspondence).
Table Analysis: Analyzing information from a table that can be sorted into different columns (like excel).

You are welcome to contact us for more information about this new section and suitable practice materials.

The Quantitative Section
This section contains 31 multiple choice questions and its duration is 62 minutes. In this section there are two types of questions: Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency.
Problem Solving: Solving different types of mathematics problems. Each question has five possible answers. The theoretical material is not of a particularly high level and covers topics studied at high school. The difficulty stems from the sophisticated wording used to present the questions. Most of the hard questions are more similar to logic riddles than to regular mathematical problems.
Data Sufficiency:  In these questions, you will be presented with a question followed by two statements with additional data or information. You will have to determine if the data or the information in these statements is sufficient in order to solve the question. The possible answers for this type of question are always the same.

The Verbal Section
This section contains 36 multiple choice questions and its duration is 65 minutes. This section has three types of questions:
• Sentence Correction
• Critical Reasoning
• Reading Comprehension

Sentence Correction: This section includes a short text (a few lines) in which a section is underlined. You are required to check if there is a grammatical mistake or more efficient way to word the underlined section. The first answer is always the underlined section as it appears in the text and the one you choose if you think there are no errors. Of course, there is no need to re-read the first answer, saving you a valuable few seconds of time.

Critical Reasoning: Logic and analyzing arguments. There are several types of questions in which you need to identify a conclusion, hidden assumption, inference, reinforcement or weakening, and more, of the argument.

Reading Comprehension: In this section you are presented with a passage generally 40-60 lines long. You will be asked 4-5 questions based on the passage. A verbal section contains 3-4 reading comprehensions.