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Graduate Management Admission Test: Pros and Cons Essay (Critical Writing)

Assessment Scope

Target Audience

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a test meant to assess a specific set of skills necessary for admission to a graduate management program (e.g. an MBA). As a result, the main audience is the students that are interested in business education, since approximately two-thirds of graduate business schools require the test scores for admission (GMAC, 2016). It is important to note that the students who apply for education in schools that do not require GMAT scores can still benefit from taking it as the scores are welcomed as a competent illustration of the applicant’s qualifications. Importantly, the schools that do not consider GMAT results as criteria of admission are considered as having lax admission standards (Versatile Academy, n.d.). It should also be noted that the test is the most valuable for students that aim at education in North America.


GMAT is a computerized adaptive test, i.e. the choice of questions presented to the subjects is based on their responses to the previous options. It is administered via computer software except for a situation where the computer is unavailable in the location, in which case the paper version of the test is used instead. The most common example of administration is a scheduled test taken in one of the dedicated test centers. The test can be taken on demand and requires scheduling. The maximal number of attempts at taking GMAT is five per year, with no less than sixteen days between tries. The average duration of the test is three and a half hours. The global fee of $250 needs to be paid to take the test.


The test is expected to assess the students’ problem-solving capacity, analytical abilities, logic, data handling abilities, and reasoning skills (GMAC, 2016). The test does not represent a measurement of intelligence and does not require business knowledge or skills to be taken. Therefore, it is possible to characterize GMAT as a summative test intended to predict performance based on generalized characteristics.

Test Organization

The test consists of four components, each of which is responsible for a specific area of inquiry. The analytical writing assessment consists of a single written response to an argument that requires identifying the reasoning and providing a critique. The integrated reasoning component tests the ability to evaluate the data from multiple sources in multiple formats. The quantitative section measures quantitative problem-solving capacity and data interpretation. Finally, the verbal section evaluates reading comprehension through a series of multiple-choice questions. Each section has a fixed number of questions and a recommended duration.


GMAT has several strengths that contribute to its viability as a proficiency assessment option. The primary advantage of the test is the lack of reliance on a specific set of skills or knowledge that would severely limit its audience to those familiar with the subject. In other words, the test’s structure and focus are intended to predict student success based on the generalizable data rather than familiarity with the topic. According to the latest report, there is a.459 correlation between the test results and course grades (Talento-Miller & Rudner, 2005). Another apparent strength is the computerized adaptive format, which ensures that the assessment subjected to the students is accurate, reliable, and properly represents their abilities (Versatile Academy, n.d.). The third strength is the dedicated nature of the test. GMAT is catered specifically for business education, which results in the gradual adoption of the test by a growing number of schools (GMAC, 2016). Schools also benefit from the benchmarking data provided by the company behind the tests free of charge, which enhances their admission practices. Finally, the demographic data suggests that GMAT is associated with increasing diversity in business education, including the areas of age, ethnicity, geographic location, gender, and prior education (GMAC, 2016).


However, to objectively evaluate the value of the test, it is necessary to acknowledge the potential weaknesses. One of the primary areas of concern is the technical component of the test. For instance, the validity and accuracy of the results depend on the principles of operation of the adaptive algorithm responsible for determining the selection of questions. Simply put, it is possible that under certain conditions the selection of questions will not represent realistic scenarios (Akbay & Kaplan, 2017). Since the algorithm is proprietary, it is unlikely that it can be subject to independent review. Another apparent weakness is the evaluation of the questions’ content. Certain characteristics, such as the readiness to take risks, can be viewed as both positive and negative traits, leading to unrepresentative scores (Aggarwal, Goodell, & Goodell, 2014).

Areas of Improvement

Admittedly, the most viable way of addressing the evaluation issue is the introduction of several sets of scores, which would bring in undesirable complexity. Therefore, I would recommend validating the correlation of the score to several indicators of business success. In this way, it will be possible to identify the areas in which GMAT scores have lower relevance and adjust the content and scoring principle accordingly. Another possibly viable area of improvement is the rigorous test of an adaptive algorithm to determine its accuracy. Since the adaptive nature of the test is considered one of the determinants of its validity, it would be reasonable to address the possible shortcomings of the mechanism, especially about the fact of its proprietary nature.


Aggarwal, R., Goodell, J. E., & Goodell, J. W. (2014). Culture, gender, and GMAT scores: Implications for corporate ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 123(1), 125-143.

Akbay, L., & Kaplan, M. (2017). Transition to multidimensional and cognitive diagnosis adaptive testing: An overview of CAT. The Online Journal of New Horizons in Education-January, 7(1), 206-214.

GMAC. (2016). Web.

Talento-Miller, E., & Rudner, L. M. (2005). Web.

Versatile Academy. (n.d.). Web.

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"Graduate Management Admission Test: Pros and Cons." IvyPanda, 12 Jan. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/graduate-management-admission-test-pros-and-cons/.

1. IvyPanda. "Graduate Management Admission Test: Pros and Cons." January 12, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/graduate-management-admission-test-pros-and-cons/.


IvyPanda. "Graduate Management Admission Test: Pros and Cons." January 12, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/graduate-management-admission-test-pros-and-cons/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Graduate Management Admission Test: Pros and Cons." January 12, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/graduate-management-admission-test-pros-and-cons/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Graduate Management Admission Test: Pros and Cons'. 12 January.

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