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What Is the GMAT Really Testing?
The GMAT is essential for admission to many graduate management and business programs. It is a daunting test that strikes fear into the hearts of takers and has inspired the consumption of large quantities of coffee in countless late night study sessions. However, a question that is often asked is, "What is the GMAT really testing?" Here's a quick overview of what the GMAT entails and assesses.
As you probably expect its title, the Analytical Writing section focuses on analytical writing. In the context of the GMAT, this writing is based on a prompt given in the form of an argument. Your task as a test taker is to assess the validity of the argument and critique it based on the quality of its logic. It's important to remember that your opinion of the subject at hand does not matter. This is not a place to get on your soapbox. Rather, you must assess the validity of the argument based on the factual information given and find holes in the presented logic. Then, you must present this critique in an ordered, logical, well-articulated essay. This section is testing your ability to think critically about a problem and communicate that thinking in a clear and concise way.
The Integrated Reasoning section takes complex data and presents it in different formats. These formats can be tabular, graphical, written, or any combination thereof. The goal is to assess your ability to solve complex problems by integrating different data from different forms.
The Quant section of the GMAT is where mathematics plays the biggest role. This section focuses on your ability to reason mathematically using graphical and tabular information from which you solve problems and draw inferences. While math is prevalent, it is important to remember that the GMAT, even in the Quant section, fundamentally remains a test on logical and higher-level thinking, not mathematics. It's a higher-level cognitive skills exam that uses math as an element of the assessment and not the other way around.
This section tests your ability to read, understand, evaluate, and correct written material Sentence correction, reading comprehension, and critical reasoning are used to assess your aptitude in this exam. Just as in the Quant section, the Verbal Reasoning section uses English language and grammar in the assessment, but it is not fundamentally an English/grammar test. It is a reasoning assessment that uses those things to provide the evaluation.
GMAT and Higher-Level Cognition
The GMAT focuses on assessing your ability to succeed in the graduate management course of study which you are pursuing. It does this by evaluating your cognitive abilities, specifically the higher-level thinking skills that you have been developing over your whole life. While there are technical skills involved in the exam, it is not a technical skills assessment but an assessment of your likelihood to succeed in a rigorous business program. EMPOWERgmat offers the best preparation options to get you ready for the GMAT exam in an innovative, simple, and successful format. Check out our course tour, and let us help you succeed!