About the GMAT
The GMAT is a standardized test that measures your ability to think systematically, using the knowledge and skills you have acquired throughout your years of schooling. GMAT test scores provide business schools with an objective measure of your academic abilities; it is not intended to be a measure of your knowledge in specific business or academic subjects. In addition, no business exposure is required to take the GMAT. The test assumes knowledge of basic math concepts in algebra, geometry, and arithmetic. However, advanced topics such as Calculus and Trigonometry are not tested. The GMAT also tests your abilities to write and apply standards of formal written English and compose analytical essays.
GMAT scores are just one of the many factors that business schools consider while making admission decisions. Other factors, such as your overall academic record, interviews, and references are also considered by business schools in their admission decision. The GMAT gives admissions officers at business schools a standardized test score by which to effectively compare you to other applicants. In this way, students from diverse backgrounds can be evaluated much more accurately.
Computer Adaptive Test
The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test. It can be taken three weeks per month, six days a week, ten hours a day at 400 testing centers in the United States, Canada, and major cities throughout the world. You may take the GMAT at almost any time you please, just be sure to schedule it far enough in advance so that the schools of your choice will receive your results in time for admissions deadlines. A few countries outside the United States, however, offer only the paper-and-pencil test, so be sure to check if you are taking the test outside the US.
The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is now administered as a computer-adaptive test (CAT) to all test takers. In a computer adaptive test, the computer screen displays one question at a time, which is chosen from a very large pool of questions categorized by content and difficulty. A computer adaptive test begins by giving you a question of medium difficulty. As the computer receives your initial response, each question chosen by the computer thereafter is determined by your responses to all previous questions. In other words, the computer adapts to your ability and progressively builds a more accurate picture of your real ability. The Computer Adaptive Testing environment for the GMAT requires you to answer every question. In addition, you are not permitted to return to a previous question or change your response to a previously answered question.
Not surprisingly, questions with a high difficulty level earn more points than easy ones. Again, exactly how this is configured is a secret only privy only to GMAC and the test computers. Don�t waste time trying to calculate the relative difficulty of each question on the test; apply yourself fully to each and every one.
Do I need a specialized knowledge of the test computers before taking the test?
Definitely not. The GMAT requires only basic computer skills for navigating the CAT. This means that you have to know how to use a mouse and how to scroll (navigate). If you are reading this text online, then you can rest assured that you already possess the necessary skills.
Taking the GMAT
Here is the good news: Since the GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, you may take it any time of the year. More specifically, it can be taken three weeks per month, six days a week, ten hours a day at 400 testing centers in the United States, Canada, and major cities throughout the world; just be sure to schedule it far enough in advance so that the business schools where you are applying receive your test scores well before the application deadline. The GMAT is only offered as a paper-and-pencil format in a few countries outside the United States, so if you are planning to take the GMAT outside of the United States, be sure to check with your nearest test center regarding the test format and testing schedule. As of October 2011, the fee to take the test is $250.