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Post by Pruthvi Bharadwaj on Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:20 pm

Verbal Section

The verbal section consists of 41 multiple choice questions, which must be answered within 75 minutes. There are three types of questions: sentence correction, critical reasoning and reading comprehension. The verbal section is scored from 0 to 60 points with a current mean of 27.3/60.

* Sentence Correction

This tests grammar and expression. Sentence correction items consist of a sentence, all or part of which has been underlined, with five associated answer choices. The test taker must choose the best way of rendering the underlined part. This question type tests the ability to recognize standard Written English. The task is to evaluate the grammar, logic, and effectiveness of a given sentence and to choose the best of several suggested revisions. Choice (A) repeats the original; the other answer choices vary. It tests the ability to recognize correct and effective expression. It follows the requirements of Standard Written English: grammar, word choice and sentence construction. The goal is to choose the answer that results in the clearest, most exact sentence and does not change the meaning of the original sentence.

* Critical Reasoning

This tests logical thinking. Critical thinking items present an argument that the test taker is asked to analyze. Questions may ask test takers to draw a conclusion, to identify assumptions, or to recognize strengths or weaknesses in the argument. It presents brief statements or arguments and ask to evaluate the form or content of the statement or argument. Questions of this type ask the examinee to analyze and evaluate the reasoning in short paragraphs or passages. For some questions, all of the answer choices may conceivably be answers to the question asked. The examinee should select the best answer to the question, that is, an answer that does not require making assumptions that violate common sense standards by being implausible, redundant, irrelevant, or inconsistent.

* Reading Comprehension

This tests the ability to read critically. Reading comprehension questions relate to a passage that is provided for the examinee to read. The passage can be about almost anything, and the questions about it test how well the examinee understands the passage and the information in it. As the name implies, it tests the ability of the examinee to understand the substance and logical structure of a written selection. The GMAT uses reading passages of approximately 200 to 350 words. Each passage has three or more questions based on its content. The questions ask about the main point of the passage, about what the author specifically states, about what can be logically inferred from the passage, and about the author's attitude or tone.

Quantitative Section

The quantitative section consists of 37 multiple choice questions, which must be answered within 75 minutes. There are two types of questions: problem solving and data sufficiency. The quantitative section is scored from 0 to 60 points and the current mean score is 35.0/60.

* Problem Solving

This tests the quantitative reasoning ability. Problem-solving questions present multiple-choice problems in arithmetic, basic algebra, and elementary geometry. The task is to solve the problems and choose the correct answer from among five answer choices. Some problems will be plain mathematical calculations; the rest will be presented as real life word problems that will require mathematical solutions.

Numbers: All numbers used are real numbers.
Figures: The diagrams and figures that accompany these questions are for the purpose of providing useful information in answering the questions. Unless it is stated that a specific figure is not drawn to scale, the diagrams and figures are drawn as accurately as possible. All figures are in a plane unless otherwise indicated.

* Data Sufficiency

This tests the quantitative reasoning ability using an unusual set of directions. The examinee is given a question with two associated statements that provide information that might be useful in answering the question. The examinee then must determine whether either statement alone is sufficient to answer the question; whether both are needed to answer the question; or whether there is not enough information given to answer the question.

Data sufficiency is a unique type of math question created especially for the GMAT. Each item consists of the questions itself followed by two numbered statements. The examinee must decide whether the statements either individually or in combination provide enough information to answer the question.

(A) If statement 1 alone is sufficient to answer the question, but statement 2 alone is not sufficient.
(B) If statement 2 alone is sufficient to answer the question, but statement 1 alone is not sufficient.
(C) If both statements together are needed to answer the question, but neither statement alone is sufficient.
(D) If either statement by itself is sufficient to answer the question.
(E) If not enough facts are given to answer the question.

Analytical Writing Assessment

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section of the test consists of two essays. In the first, the student must analyze an argument and in the second the student must analyze an issue. Each essay must be written within 30 minutes and is scored on a scale of 0-6. The essay is read by two readers who each mark the essay with a grade from 0-6, in 0.5 point increments with a mean score of 4.1. If the two scores are within one point of each other, they are averaged. If there is more than one point difference, the essays are read by a third reader.

The first reader is Intellimetric, a proprietary computer program developed by Vantage Learning, which analyzes creative writing and syntax of more than 50 linguistic and structural features.The second and third readers are humans, who evaluate the quality of the examinee's ideas and his or her ability to organize, develop and express ideas with relevant support. While mastery of the conventions of written English factor into scoring, minor errors are expected, and evaluators are trained to be sensitive to examinees whose first language is not English.

Most business schools don't weigh the AWA as heavily as the verbal and quantitative sections of the test. Some schools ignore the AWA altogether.

Each of the two essays in the Analytical Writing part of the test is graded on a scale of 0 (the minimum) to 6 (the maximum):

* 0 An essay that is totally illegible or obviously not written on the assigned topic.
* 1 An essay that is fundamentally deficient.
* 2 An essay that is seriously flawed.
* 3 An essay that is seriously limited.
* 4 An essay that is merely adequate.
* 5 An essay that is strong.
* 6 An essay that is outstanding.
Pruthvi Bharadwaj

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