In order to test a prospective student’s overall ability to perform well in a higher education setting, especially in MBA programs, universities are now requiring applicants to take the Graduate Management Assessment Test (GMAT).
Originally devised in 1953 by the Graduate Management Assessment Council, with various input coming from the top MBA schools around the world, almost 2,000 students applied for admission to a testing center during the first year. Today, 1,500 U.S. schools receive approximately 250,000 applications each year. In addition to this, each year these schools receive 5,400 entities offering off and online programs around the globe.
The exam itself is divided up into four sections; there is a written analysis section, a reasoning capabilities section, quantitative analysis, and finally, a section assessing the students reading comprehension level.
First is the written analysis section which is where 30 minutes is designated to the formulation of a critique relative to a given argument posed. The outcome of this section is determined by a computer evaluation with the help of a human GMAT staff who is not notified of the computer score. A four would be seen as adequate on a scale of one to six, and the average overall GMAT score, on a scale of 200 to 800, is 540.
Thirty minutes is then designated for section two of the exam where the student’s reasoning capabilities are put under the microscope. Ultimately this section of the test is to determine which of the students think outside the box. This evaluation of one’s reasoning capabilities is attained by answers to 12 questions.
With a specific focus on quantitative analysis, section three (75 minutes long) consists of 37 questions that assess a student’s math skills and ability. Last but not least, the fourth section of the exam assess the student’s reading comprehension level. This assessment is based on answers to 41 multiple choice questions in a 75 minute time period. It was in June of 2012 when the fifth section was added to the GMAT exam and it focuses primarily on an applicant’s capability to analyze data in an assortment of computerized formats.
Though the end goal of the GMAT exam is to predict the graduation success of a potential applicant, Forbes Business Magazine has stated that this is not always a guarantee. Elaborating further on this, Forbes Magazine writes that these top schools are using testing solely as a way of limiting the number of students accepted into their programs, which as one who presume, is an elite selection status incentive.
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