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What Does the GMAT Measure?

The GMAT is an aptitude test. Like all aptitude tests, it must choose a medium in which to measure intellectual ability. The GMAT has chosen math, English, and logic.

OK, the GMAT is an aptitude test. The question is—does it measure aptitude for business school? The GMAT’s ability to predict performance in school is as poor as the SAT's. This is to be expected since the problems on the tests are quite similar (though the formats are different). However, the GMAT also includes two types of questions—Arguments and Data Sufficiency—that the SAT does not. Many students struggle with these questions because they are unlike any material they have studied in school. However, the argument and data sufficiency questions are not inherently hard, and with sufficient study you can raise your performance on these questions significantly.

No test can measure all aspects of intelligence. Thus any admission test, no matter how well written, is inherently inadequate. Nevertheless, some form of admission testing is necessary. It would be unfair to base acceptance to business school solely on grades; they can be misleading. For instance, would it be fair to admit a student with an A average earned in easy classes over a student with a B average earned in difficult classes? A school’s reputation is too broad a measure to use as admission criteria: many students seek out easy classes and generous instructors, in hopes of inflating their GPA. Furthermore, a system that would monitor the academic standards of every class would be cost prohibitive and stifling. So until a better system is proposed, the admission test is here to stay.

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