GMAT: The Computer-Adaptive Test

If you are looking to pursue an MBA degree, in India or abroad, then there are different kinds of competitive or entrance exams that you have to take. It could be the GMAT, the GRE, the CAT, etc. GMAT and GRE are globally recognized, and among the two, the GMAT is the most preferred exam for MBA. Having said that, the GRE exam is also being considered by many business schools across the world. On the other hand, the CAT is an exam that is mostly applicable for colleges in India. Though we have mentioned these three exams here, in this article, we will be focusing more on the GMAT, which is much more popular among MBA aspirants. So read on!

GMAT Exam Structure

The GMAT is divided into four sections and is scored on a scale of 200-800. Timed at 3 hours and 7 minutes, the GMAT is slightly shorter than the GRE, which is timed at 3 hours and 47 minutes. However, the GRE and GMAT are both standard tests with similar sections: analytical writing, quant and verbal reasoning. However, the GMAT has one more section, the four sections of the GMAT include: analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning, verbal and quantitative reasoning. Although analytical writing and integrated reasoning sections of the GMAT are scored separately, they’re still essential aspects of the GMAT that business schools use to gauge your application.

Types and Number of Questions in the Quantitative and Verbal Section 

The quant section has two types of questions — data sufficiency and problem-solving. And, you have to answer 31 questions in this section. Moreover, the quant section tests you on topics such as algebra, number properties, geometry and statistics. These are basic high-school maths that you are tested on.  On the other hand, the verbal section has three types of questions — critical reasoning, sentence correction and reading comprehension questions. You have to answer 36 questions in this section. The aim of the verbal reasoning section is to test how well you can read and understand the information given, analyse the arguments and correct the given material to express thoughts and ideas in the English language.

What Does Computer-Adaptive Mean and How Does It Work?

You may have heard this several times that the GMAT is a computer-adaptive test. So, what exactly is computer-adaptive? Unlike the CAT test, which is a paper-based test and has a standard difficulty set by the administering body, the GMAT is a computer-delivered test whose difficulty level adapts to the test-takers ability to answer questions correctly. The computer-adaptive nature of the GMAT is a key point of difference in the CAT vs GMAT debate. 

The GMAT uses an algorithm to set the question’s difficulty level around the way you answered the previous question. When you start the test, the GMAT presents a random question, from any topic, with medium difficulty. Based on your answer, the system presents you with a question with a higher difficulty level or lower difficulty level if you have answered correctly or incorrectly, respectively. 

The quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning section of the GMAT are computer-adaptive in nature. As mentioned, this means that the difficulty level of the next question increases or decreases depending on how you have answered the previous question. So, if the previous question you answered seemed difficult to you, then the next question posed to you will be seemingly easier.  

To score a 700+ on the GMAT, you need to ensure that you answer the right question or get as accurate as possible, so the system presents you with questions of higher difficulty. 

So, how do you familiarize yourself with this adaptive nature of the exam? The answer is simple, practice, practice and practice. You cannot score well if you haven’t prepared well and practiced enough. So if you want to make it into your dream college, put in all the hard work and effort required. Good luck!