For many years the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) was a rather gruelling three-and-one-half hour computer adaptive test (CAT), comprising four sections. In April 2018 the GMAT changed: it is now 30 minutes shorter, a welcome relief to many test takers. The official GMAT test designers have pared back the quantitative and verbal sections, leaving the other two sections, the Integrated Reasoning Task and the Writing Sections, unchanged. The types of questions in both the quantitative and the verbal sections are the same as before and, therefore, you can prepare as you did before, using similar practice questions. Further details as well as practice questions can be found on the official GMAT site. The familiar scoring system has been maintained with separate “raw” scores for the Quantitative and Verbal sections, which are then promptly and magically converted into a score out of 800.

At AGF Tutoring, there are tutors with more than 20 years’ experience who have witnessed all the various changes that the GMAT has undergone, from its conversion from a paper-and-pencil test to a CAT (Computer Adaptive Test) in 1999 to the most recent of changes. Therefore, they are in an excellent position to not only tutor you but also to advise you as to the key strategies and essential techniques that you ought to employ in order to maximise your scores. Our track record speaks for itself with many students successfully securing places at the very highest ranked business schools in the world, such as Insead, London Business School, Stanford University, MIT Sloan, and Dartmouth College Tuck Business School to name just a few.

When applying to a major business school the GMAT is just one piece of the puzzle. There are many equally important criteria such as application essays, interviews, and your CV. At AGF Tutoring, there are consultants who have graduated from major business schools, awaiting to assist and guide you through the application process to ensure that you optimise your chances of securing that elusive place at one of the world’s finest business schools.

Below you will find a synopsis of the old GMAT test vs the reformed form that was introduced in 2018:

Writing SectionAnalysis of Argument EssaySame30 minutes30 minutes
Quantitative Section37 Questions31 Questions75 minutes62 minutes
Verbal Section41 Questions36 Questions75 minutes65 minutes
Integrated reasoning12 QuestionsSame30 minutes30 minutes


More about the GMAT

The GMAT is purportedly a standardized test. Thus, each time it is offered, the test has, to all intents and purposes, the same level of difficulty as every previous test. Maintaining this consistency is very difficult. So what the designers of the test do is to throw in some experimental questions to gauge how test takers respond to such questions. These particular questions are not actually scored and you, the test taker, do not know which ones they are, which is all rather exasperating and disconcerting. That means that hypothetically you could make a number of mistakes but still come out with a perfect score. This also implies that during the test you must maintain your composure and pace despite the fact that you may be experiencing difficulties – you may run into very difficult and time-consuming questions that are in fact experimental questions. There is a relatively convoluted algorithm built into the GMAT scoring system that also takes into account the amount of time that you spend on any one question: for example, if you happen to spend an inordinately long period of time doing a question and indeed answer it correctly the algorithm may not necessarily feed you with a more difficult question simply because you spent too long. Conversely, if you happen to guess the answer to a question in microseconds and click next the algorithm will detect that you probably didn’t read the question and again mark you down. Further, each question has a difficulty “weighting”: a very difficult question will carry a higher score than a very easy question. This explains why two independent test takers can get exactly the same number of questions correct but end up with very different scores.

The effectiveness of each question must be assessed before it can be used on the GMAT. A problem that one person finds easy another person may find hard, and vice versa. The experimental questions measure the relative difficulty of potential questions; if responses to a question do not perform to strict specifications, the question is rejected.

About one quarter of the questions are experimental. The experimental questions can be standard mathematics, data sufficiency, reading comprehension, arguments, or sentence correction. You won’t know which questions are experimental.

Because the “bugs” have not been worked out of the experimental questions–or, to put it more directly, because you are being used as a guinea pig to work out the “bugs”–these unscored questions are often more difficult and confusing than the scored questions.

You ought to note that the GMAT is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) and therefore can only be taken on a computer.