Planning on giving the GMAT soon? What can you do to prepare for GMAT? In our previous article, we covered the exam structure of GMAT, giving you a brief overview on how the exam is constructed, etc. In this article, we will look at the four sections that comprise this examination, and go a little in depth for each of them. What kind of questions are asked in each section? What are they trying to evaluate based on your answers? How much time do you have to attempt each of these sections? Find answers to all that, and more, in this article.
The Four Sections:
In brief, the following are the four sections that comprise the GMAT exam.
- Analytical Writing Assessment
- Integrated Reasoning
- Quantitative Analytics
- Verbal Reasoning
Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA):
Also known as ‘The Essay’, this section tests your analytical ability, critical thinking and communication skills. You will be given a statement, and you have to analyse it. Your analysis should include understanding the logical reasoning behind the statement. In the form of an essay, you have to present your analysis, identify the flaws in logic and present a counter argument.
Your argumentative essay will be judged by a human examiner, followed by a computer program. If the score given by the human and computer assessments varies drastically, then a second expert reader will check your essay for a final evaluation. Your evaluation will be done based on the following factors:
- English Language Proficiency: Basically, your command over the language, and ability to write in English whilst following all rules of grammar and syntax.
- Analytical ability: You not only have to identify the given logical reasoning, but also have to analyse the reasoning so as to identify the problems with the logic so as to develop a counter argument.
- Presentation:Your ability to present your counter argument in an organised fashion. You must structure your essay in a way that you identify the given logic and acknowledge it, point out the flaws, present your argument and justify your argument with relevant examples, all the while being logically and structurally sound. A structured essay shows clarity.
Examples: This is very important for your presentation. Even if you are able to present your argument effectively, a lack of relevant examples will reflect poorly on your essay. On the contrary, if you aren’t sure of your presentation, but are able to present a solid example that can help strengthen your argument, that works in your favour. So don’t take this lightly.
An example of the kind of questions asked:
“As violence in movies increases, so do the crime rates. To tackle this problem, a board to censor certain movies has been established, and persons under the age of 18 are denied entry into halls screening such films. Apparently, some filmmakers and producers are of the opinion that such restrictions are too harsh, and the quality of their films is declining due to heavy censorship rules.”
You have 30 minutes to read and understand the given statement, and write the argumentative essay. It is a healthy practice to keep some extra time in the end to proofread your essay. Nobody is perfect and it is probable that you have made a few errors. Having extra time in the end will help you spot these errors and rectify them.
Integrated Reasoning (IR)
Integrated Reasoning tests your ability to analyse data that is presented to you in various formats, including graphics, tables, etc. You are expected to interpret and evaluate said data accurately in the given time limit.
There are 4 types of questions that comprise the Integrated Reasoning Section:
- Multi-Source Reasoning: You are presented data from multiple types of sources, namely text, table, graphics, or a combination of the three. You are expected to integrate data from all these sources and then answer the given questions accurately. The tricky part of this section is that you will be required to draw conclusions based on the multiple data sources, or recognise the discrepancies in the data. You might be asked to identify whether the data is relevant or not. Therefore, understanding data from each source is very important.
Here’s a sample question.*
- Table Analysis: As the name suggests, you will be given a table with data that you have to understand and analyse. It is similar to identifying data in a spreadsheet. Again, this section looks at how you are able to organise the given data, and spot the discrepancies in the data and the relevancy of given data.
Here’s a sample question.*
- Graphic Interpretation: Again, you will be asked to understand, interpret and analyse data presented to you in the form of a graphic. Said graphic may be an x/y graph, a pie chart, a bar graph, statistical curve, etc.
Here is a sample question.*
- Two-Part Analysis: You are expected to solve complex problems presented in the form of content that is quantitative, verbal or a combination of the two. A problem scenario is given, with two answer choices. Both choices might be connected, for eg. the given problem might have a two-step process to find the solution. The answers are presented in a table format, and you will be evaluated based on your ability to analyse the given data, identify the relationship between the two factors, evaluate trade-offs and solve simultaneous equations.
Here’s a sample question.*
You have 30 minutes to answer 12 questions for this section.
Once again, you are expected to analyse data, but in this section you must use your reasoning skills to draw logical conclusions. Your mathematical skills, ability to solve quantitative problems and interpret graphic data will be put to test.
This section includes two types of questions:
- Problem Solving: You are presented with a quantitative problem, which you will be required to solve using logic and analytical reasoning. You have to solve the problem and answer the best of 5 choices.
If x > a, y > q, z > a, and a > y, which of the following must be true?
- x > z
- z > q
- x > y
(A) I only
(B) II only
(C) III only
(D) I and II
(E) II and III
- Data Sufficiency: You will be evaluated on your ability to analyse a given quantitative ability, identify which data is relevant, and evaluate which point there is enough data to solve the problem. You are given a problem along with two statements, and you have to determine whether the given data is enough to solve the issue based on your mathematical ability, facts, etc.
If a real estate agent received a commission of 6 percent of the selling price of a studio apartment, what was the selling price of the studio apartment?
(1) The selling price minus the agent's commission was $73,500.
(2) The selling price was 250 percent of the original purchase price of $29,400.
(A) Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient.
(B) Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (1) alone is not sufficient.
(C) BOTH statements TOGETHER are sufficient, but NEITHER statement ALONE is sufficient.
(D) EACH statement ALONE is sufficient.
(E) Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient.
You have 62 minutes to answer 31 questions for this section.
This section tests your ability to read, understand, evaluate and correct a given text. There are 2 types of questions in this section:
- Reading Comprehension: This part evaluates your ability to understand a given text, identify the logic and important facts presented in the statements, and draw conclusions. Basically, you have to identify: the primary idea, supporting idea, application, logical reasoning, writing style and conclusion. Each passage comes with a set of questions asking you to interpret the text and draw conclusions. The subject of the passages can range anywhere between humanities to sciences, as well as business-related topics.
- Critical Reasoning: This section tests your ability to evaluate and make arguments, along with formulating a plan of action which is logical. The given passage comes with a set of questions which asks you to identify which of the given options strengthens the argument, points out flaws, etc.
The cost of producing television sets in Country H is ten percent less than the cost of producing television sets in Country F. Even after transportation fees and tariff charges are added, it is still cheaper for a company to import television sets from Country H to Country F than to produce radios in Country F.
The statements above, if true, best support which of the following assertions?
(A) Labor costs in Country H are ten percent below those in Country F.
(B) Importing television sets from Country H to Country F will eliminate ten percent of the manufacturing jobs in Country F.
(C) The tariff on a television sets imported from Country H to Country F is less than ten percent of the cost of manufacturing the television sets in Country F.
(D) The fee for transporting a television sets from Country H to Country F is more than ten percent of the cost of manufacturing the television sets in Country H.
(E) It takes ten percent less time to manufacture a television set in Country H than it does in Country F.
- Sentence Correction: This part evaluates your ability to recognise sentences that are grammatically and logically sound, as well as your ability to identify statements that effectively express the idea. You are presented with a sentence where part, or the full sentence, is underlined. You are given 5 options of how to phrase the underlined part, and are required to select the most effective sentence based on sentence construction, grammar, syntax, vocabulary, etc.
While larger consultancy firms can afford to maintain their own data-processing operations, many smaller consultancies are finding that the cost associated with upgrading data-processing equipment and with the development and maintenance of new products and technical staff are prohibitive.
(A) cost associated with
(B) costs associated with
(C) costs arising from
(D) cost of
(E) costs of
You have 65 minutes to answer 36 questions for this section.
That’s all there is for today. Do you think we missed anything? Write to us in the comments, and tell us what more you would like for us to cover.
*sample questions have been taken from mba.com
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