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# GMAT Exam Pattern, Format, and Structure | GMAT Sections and Question Types

## GMAT Exam Pattern, Format, and Structure | GMAT Sections and Question Types

The General Management Admission Test, or GMAT, is a computer-adaptive test consisting of 4 different sections – Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), and Integrated Reasoning (IR). Only the scores obtained in the Verbal and the Quant section contributes to the total GMAT score, the AWA and IR scores are not computed with the total GMAT score.

### The GMAT Test Pattern, Format, and Structure – A Brief Overview

The following table provides an overview of the GMAT exam format, the score range GMAT is graded upon, GMAT test-taking fee, and the average GMAT score in 2018.

GMAT
Mode Computer-based
Duration 3 hours 7 minutes
Sections Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning (IR)
Fee USD 250
Score-Range 200 – 800
Average Score in 2018 565

### GMAT Exam Pattern

The GMAT exam consists of 4 sections, each testing a distinct skill-set of the test taker:

• Verbal Reasoning – The student’s abilities to read and analyze given information and follow the standard rules of the English language are tested.
• Quantitative Reasoning – The student’s abilities to evaluate the given set of information and solve the problem using mathematical and quantitative reasoning skills are tested.
• Integrated Reasoning – The student’s abilities to integrate and read data presented in multiple formats are tested.
• Analytical Writing Assessment – The student’s abilities to assess a given piece of information and coherently represent his/her idea on the same are tested.

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### Types of Questions on GMAT

To understand the structure of the GMAT exam, you need to understand the type of questions that compose each GMAT section:

Test Section No. of Questions Type of Questions Time
Analytical Reasoning Assessment (AWA) 1 Analysis of an Argument 30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning 12 Graphic Interpretation, Table Analysis, Multi-source Reasoning, Two-part Analysis 30 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 31 Data Sufficiency, Problem Solving 62 minutes
Verbal Reasoning 36 Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction 65 minutes

### Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning section in GMAT consists of 3 types of questions, namely, Sentence Correction, Reading Comprehension, and Critical Reasoning. In all, the test taker is to answer 36 multiple-answer choice questions in this section, in only 65 minutes.

Sentence Correction Questions

• Particularly, these questions test the student’s ability to keep to the usage of clear and concise expressions in representing information and maintain consistency in the meaning and suitability of words in the given context.
• The questions are typically in the form of 1 long statement and either a part of it or the entire sentence is underlined. The student is required to identify the error, if any, in the sentence syntax.
• Each question consists of 5 answer choices and the 1st answer choice is the underlined portion of the statement. The other 4 answer choices are variations in the phrasing of the underlined portion of the statement.
• GMAT may have about 11 – 14 Sentence Correction questions.

• These questions test the student’s ability to read a given passage, understand, and represent information from the provided passage.
• Usually, GMAT provides short passages, around 350 words long; the context of the passage may pertain to any discipline.
• Usually, for each passage, the student needs to answer 4 – 5 questions each with multiple-choice answers on the actual intent of the passage, the information that can be logically deduced from the passage, and what the author actually says.

Critical Reasoning Questions

• These questions test the student’s ability to evaluate an argument and arrive at conclusions, analyze the inferences, or identify the strength of the argument.
• Usually, GMAT provides a short question prompt, of about 100 words.
• Each Critical Reasoning questions is accompanied by 5 multiple-choice answers.
• GMAT may have about 8 – 10 Critical Reasoning questions.

### Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning section in GMAT consists of 2 types of questions, namely, Data Sufficiency and Problem Solving. In all, the test taker is to answer 31 multiple-answer choice questions in this section, in only 62 minutes.

Data Sufficiency Questions

• These questions test the student’s ability to analyze the quantitative problem and determine if the provided data is enough to solve the problem.
• The question typically comprise of a problem and two statements consisting of data to solve the problem.
• Each question is accompanied by 5 multiple-choice answers that suggest if both the statements consist of enough data to solve the problem, if either of the statements consist of enough data to solve the problem, or if neither of the statements consist of enough data to solve the problem.
1. If statement 1 alone is sufficient, but statement 2 alone is not sufficient.
2. If statement 2 alone is sufficient, but statement 1 alone is not sufficient.
3. If both statements 1 and 2 together are sufficient, but neither statement alone is sufficient.
4. If each statement alone is sufficient.
5. If both statements 1 and 2 together are not sufficient.
• GMAT may have about 11 – 13 Data Sufficiency questions.

Problem Solving Questions

• These questions test the student’s ability to solve problems by applying the rules of basic arithmetic, geometry, and algebra.
• Not all questions will be in the form of pure mathematical problems, few may be in the form of real-life situations that require the application of mathematical concepts for resolution of the same.
• Each question is followed by 5 multiple-choice answer options.
• The numbers used in the problems are real numbers.
• The figures are mostly used to facilitate information representation and are drawn to scale, if not otherwise specified.
• GMAT may have about 14 – 17 Problem Solving questions.

### Analytical Writing Assessment

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section in GMAT consists of only 1 question – Analysis of an Argument. The test taker gets only 30 minutes to complete this section.

• A short argument is provided to the test taker.
• The test taker is to analyze the argument on the basis of its premise, that is, understand the line of reasoning used in the argument and present a critique of the same, replete with proper evidence as and where possible.

### Integrated Reasoning

The Integrated Reasoning (IR) section in GMAT consists of 4 types of questions, namely, Multi-Source Reasoning, Two-Part Analysis, Table Analysis, and Graphics Interpretation. In all, the test taker is to answer 12 multiple-answer choice questions in this section, in only 30 minutes.

Multi-Source Reasoning Questions

• These questions measure the candidate’s ability to collate data from different sources – passages or graphical representation – analyze the information, and deduce conclusions.
• Each question is followed by multiple-choice or true/false answers.

Two-Part Analysis Questions

• These questions measure the candidate’s ability to solve the problem by using two parameters of the solution.
• The questions may be of the verbal or the quantitative type or even be a combination of both types.
• Each question is followed by multiple-choice answers in table-format with columns.
• You can select only 1 answer per column for each of the part of the answer.

Table Analysis Questions

• These questions measure the candidate’s ability to sort data presented in a tabular format.
• Each question is followed by multiple-choice answers in table-format with columns.
• You need to determine if the provided statements are true/false in the context of the argument posed or information provided in the spreadsheet data.
• You can select only 1 answer per column for each of the part of the answer.

Graphics Interpretation Questions

• As the name suggests, these questions measure the candidate’s ability to interpret the graphical representation of data.
• Each question is followed by 2 questions in the fill in the blank form.
• The student may be presented with any form of graphs to interpret.
• Answer to the blanks has to be provided by selecting from the options present in the drop-down menu of the blank.

Take extensive GMAT practice tests to properly acquaint yourself to the GMAT test structure and master the concepts tested on GMAT.

To better understand the GMAT exam structure, scroll down to the end of the article for sample questions.

### GMAT Test Format

We have already discussed the GMAT exam pattern, in terms of the sections, the types of questions in each section, the number of questions in each section, and the time allowed to answer each section. Now, let us look into the GMAT exam format.

### How is the GMAT Test conducted?

The GMAT test follows a specific format.

• Questions from only 1 section are presented to the student at a time.
• The student cannot move to the next section before completing the current section.
• Once the answer option is selected, the student is prompted to confirm the answer. It is only after that the student confirms the answer that the process of submission of the answer is completed.
• Questions are not grouped into specific types.
• Test-takers get options to start with a definite GMAT test pattern. Formerly, GMAT allowed the test takers to answer the test in only 1 given format, i.e., AWA, Integrated Reasoning, (an optional break of 8 minutes), Quantitative Reasoning, (an optional break of 8 minutes), Verbal Reasoning. Since July 11th, 2017, GMAT has updated its test format to allow the test takers 3 options to choose from:
1. AWA, Integrated Reasoning, (an optional break of 8 minutes), Quantitative Reasoning, (an optional break of 8 minutes), Verbal Reasoning. – The original format.
2. Verbal Reasoning, (an optional break of 8 minutes), Quantitative Reasoning, (an optional break of 8 minutes), Integrated Reasoning, AWA.
3. Quantitative Reasoning, (an optional break of 8 minutes), Verbal Reasoning, (an optional break of 8 minutes), Integrated Reasoning, AWA.

If you do not select any format, the original format is selected by default.

Tip: The best way to determine what would be the recommended GMAT test-taking format for you is to introspect on your specific strengths and weakness. If you are confident of your skills to answer the Verbal section, start with GMAT test pattern 1 or 3 because you will need a fresh mind to focus on the other sections.

Take a free GMAT mock test to understand your core competency on GMAT and accordingly decide your approach for the GMAT test.

### GMAT Test Format – Factors to Keep in Mind

1. Option to Review – GMAT does not allow you to go back to a question to review your answers. Once you have selected and submitted your answer, you cannot go back to the same question.
2. Changing Answers – Once you have submitted the answer to a question, you cannot go back to change the answer. In actuality, GMAT does not allow you to go back to the previous screen.
3. Penalty Marking for Leaving Questions Unanswered– According to the GMAT exam structure, all questions must be answered. GMAT penalizes every question that is left unanswered. Thus, if you are running short of time, you may consider the following options:
• Take a guess and mark an option.
• Take the educated guess if you know you can eliminate at least 1 option without spending much time on it.
4. Penalty Marking for Wrong Answers – GMAT does not penalize for wrong responses.
5. Importance of First Few Questions – It is important to correctly answer the first few questions as it is the first few questions that set the pace of your GMAT test.
6. Using Calculators – GMAT offers an on-screen calculator to answer only the IR section. Students cannot avail of a calculator to answer the Quant section.
7. Computer – Adaptive – Only the Verbal and the Quant sections are computer-adaptive. Thus, the software uses an algorithm to analyze your competency and accordingly present you with difficult questions. The first questions of all sections are generally of a medium difficulty level. With every right answer, the level of difficulty keeps increasing. If you suddenly see an easy question, you can be sure that your response to the previous question was wrong. For every wrong answer, the level of difficulty is adjusted.
8. Taking Breaks – Even if for 8 minutes, you must rest and revive your intellectual faculties to proceed with the test with utmost concentration.
9. Repeating Questions – GMAC sources its questions from a vast pool of question resource. Thus, it is impossible for 1 candidate to receive the same question as answered before. Importantly, it is practically impossible to keep a track of the questions asked at GMAT.
10. Experimental Questions – GMAT asks the candidate a number of experimental questions. It is, however, not possible to know which questions are experimental. Hence, attempt all questions. However, the experimental questions only help GMAC examine various test-taking parameters and do not contribute to the total score.
11. Skipping Sections – You cannot skip a section. You must complete all the questions in the section to move on to the next section.

### The New GMAT Format, 2018 – Is it Helpful?

GMAC is consistently trying to provide enhanced test-taking experience to the students. The recent update has been eagerly accepted by the GMAT test takers, worldwide. The features of the update:

• The total test-taking time has been cut by 30 minutes. However, that does not affect the test-taking experience as the number of questions and the time allotted per section has also been reduced accordingly. For instance, while the old GMAT test format required the student to answer 37 Quant questions in 75 minutes, the new GMAT test format asks the students to answer 31 Quant questions in 62 minutes.
• Earlier the GMAT Tutorial screen would only be played at the beginning of the exam, at the test centre. Following the recent update, the GMAT Tutorial screen can be accessed via mba.com. Thus, the student can orient himself/herself to the salient rules of GMAT test-taking, understand the GMAT test structure, and acquaint himself/herself to the GMAT test-taking interface.
• Contrary to the former fixed pattern in which GMAT would ask the test takers to answer the sections, GMAT now provides 3 options to select a test pattern. If an option is not selected, the original GMAT test pattern is selected by default.

### Scoring on GMAT

The total GMAT score is provided on a range of 200 – 800 points. The individual scores obtained in the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections only add to the total GMAT score. The score obtained in the AWA and IR sections do not contribute to the total GMAT score and are separately provided.

Test Section Increment on Score Range Scoring the Section Mean scores
AWA 0 to 6 (in 0.5 increments) The answer is scored twice. The average of the two scores provides the score of the section. 4.48
Integrated Reasoning 1 to 8 ( in 1 increments) Scoring is determined by the number of questions answered correctly. If a question has multiple parts to be answered, each part muct be correctly answered for the response to the question to be considered as correct. 4.29
Verbal Reasoning 6 to 51 ( in 1 increments) As this section is item-level adaptive, scoring is determined basis the total number of questions attempted, the level of difficulty of each question, and the total number of questions correctly answered. 27.04
Quantitative Reasoning 6 to 51 ( in 1 increments) As this section is item-level adaptive, scoring is determined basis the total number of questions attempted, the level of difficulty of each question, and the total number of questions correctly answered. 39.93

Source: mba.com

### Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning section in GMAT is scored on a range of 6 to 51, with increments in 1 point.

• As per the GMAT exam format, this section is computer – adaptive, that is, the difficulty level of the next question depends on the correct/incorrect response you provide to the last question.
• The candidate is started at the average difficulty level for each type of questions. The difficulty level keeps on increasing with each correct response.
• Thus, the scoring algorithm largely depends on the number of questions answered, the number of questions correctly answered, and the level of difficulty of the questions correctly answered.
• GMAT does not levy penalty for incorrect answers but it does levy penalty for unanswered questions.

### Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning section in GMAT is scored on a range of 6 to 51, with increments in 1 point.

• This section is computer-adaptive, that is, the difficulty level of the next question depends on the correct/incorrect response you provide to the last question.
• The candidate is started at the average difficulty level for each type of questions. The difficulty level keeps on increasing with each correct response.
• Thus, the scoring algorithm largely depends on the number of questions answered, the number of questions correctly answered, and the level of difficulty of the questions correctly answered.
• GMAT does not levy penalty for incorrect answers but it does levy penalty for unanswered questions.

### Integrated Reasoning

The Integrated Reasoning section in GMAT is scored on a range of 1 to 8, with increments in 1 point.

• This section is not computer-adaptive, that is, the difficulty level of questions do not adjust to the correct/incorrect response you provide to the last question.
• The candidate must answer every part of the question correctly for the question to be considered correctly answered.

### Analytical Writing Assessment

The Analytical Writing Assessment section in GMAT is scored on a range of 0 to 6, with increments in 0.5 point.

• This section is twice reviewed – once by an e-rater and once by a human grader.
• The e-rater analyzes the correct use of the syntax of the standard written English.
• The human reader analyzes the ability of the student to comprehend information, organize thoughts, reason effectively, and present the same in a coherent format.
• The two scores are averaged to provide the section score. However, if the scores deviate by more than 1 point, a third human reader will evaluate the answer and provide the section score.

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### Why GMAT?

GMAT is the most extensively administered and widely taken test for management admissions. As the most efficient standardized test, GMAT helps to perfectly assess one’s analytical and verbal skills. Importantly, the test has been so designed that it precisely analyzes the skills determining the competency of an industry leader or a prominent professional. That most B-schools largely prefer the GMAT score also testifies the importance that is warranted to GMAT. Further, although many B-schools accept the GRE scores, they tend to convert the GRE score to a GMAT score on an online conversion tool provided by ETS to ensure objective scanning of the applicants’ profiles.

In only 1 year, as many as 243000 GMAT exams were taken by the grad-school aspirants and 493000 GMAT scores were sent to schools. Interestingly, although the larger share of GMAT scores was forwarded to MBA programs, GMAT scores were also forwarded to grad programs in management and other disciplines.

It is always recommended that you take the help of the best GMAT preparation program to ensure best results on GMAT!

### Quantitative Reasoning

Source: GMAT Official Guide, 2019

Data Sufficiency:

If a certain vase contains only roses and tulips, how many tulips are there in the vase?
(1)  The number of roses in the vase is 4 times the number of tulips in the vase.
(2)  There is a total of 20 flowers in the vase.
Ans. C. If both statements 1 and 2 together are sufficient, but neither statement alone is sufficient.

Problem Solving:

Over the past 7 weeks, the Smith family had weekly grocery bills of USD 74, USD 69, USD 64, USD 79, USD 64, USD 84, and USD 77. What was Smith’s average (arithmetic mean) weekly grocery bill over the 7-week period?
(A) USD 64
(B) USD 70
(C) USD 73
(D) USD 74
(E) USD 85
Ans. (C)

### Verbal Reasoning

Source: GMAT Official Guide, 2019

Sentence Correction:

Native to South America, when peanuts were introduced to Africa by Portuguese explorers early in the sixteenth century they were quickly adopted into Africa’s agriculture, probably because of being so similar to the Bambarra groundnut, a popular indigenous plant.
(A)  when peanuts were introduced to Africa by Portuguese explorers early in the sixteenth century they were quickly adopted into Africa’s agriculture, probably because of being
(B)  peanuts having been introduced to Africa by Portuguese explorers early in the sixteenth century and quickly adopted into Africa’s agriculture, probably because of being
(C)  peanuts were introduced to Africa by Portuguese explorers early in the sixteenth century and were quickly adopted into Africa’s agriculture, probably because they were
(D)  peanuts, introduced to Africa by Portuguese explorers early in the sixteenth century and quickly adopted into Africa’s agriculture, probably because they were
(E)  peanuts, introduced to Africa by Portuguese explorers early in the sixteenth century and having been quickly adopted into Africa’s agriculture, probably because they were
Ans. (E)

Critical Reasoning:

Question Type A
The sustained massive use of pesticides in farming has two effects that are especially pernicious. First, it often kills off the pests’ natural enemies in the area. Second, it often unintentionally gives rise to insecticide-resistant pests, since those insects that survive a particular insecticide will be the ones most resistant to it, and they are the ones left to breed.
From the passage above, it can be properly inferred that the effectiveness of the sustained massive use of pesticides can be extended by doing which of the following, assuming that each is a realistic possibility?
(A)  Using only chemically stable insecticides
(B)  Periodically switching the type of insecticide used
(C)  Gradually increasing the quantities of pesticides used
(D)  Leaving a few fields fallow every year
(E)  Breeding higher-yielding varieties of crop plants
Ans. (B)

Question Type B
Although Ackerburg’s subway system is currently operating at a deficit, the transit authority will lower subway fares next year. The authority projects that the lower fares will result in a ten percent increase in the number of subway riders. Since the additional income from the larger ridership will more than offset the decrease due to lower fares, the transit authority actually expects the fare reduction to reduce or eliminate the subway system’ operating deficit for next year.

Which of the following, if true, provides the most support for the transit authority’s expectation of reducing the subway system’s operating deficit?
(A)  Throughout the years that the subway system has operated, fares have never before been reduced.
(B)  The planned fare reduction will not apply to students, who can already ride the subway for a reduced fare.
(C)  Next year, the transit authority will have to undertake several large-scale track maintenance projects.
(D)  The subway system can accommodate a ten percent increase in ridership without increasing the number of trains it runs each day.
(E)  The current subway fares in Ackerburg are higher than subway fares in other cities in the region.
Ans. (D)

Line. Exactly when in the early modern era Native
Americans began exchanging animal furs with
Europeans for European-made goods is uncertain.
What is fairly certain, even though they left
(5)  no written evidence of having done so, is that
the first Europeans to conduct such trade during
the modern period were fishing crews working the
noticed that sixteenth-century Native American
(10)  sites were strewn with iron bolts and metal
pins. Only later, upon reading Nicolas Denys’s
1672 account of seventeenth-century European
settlements in North America, did archaeologists
realize that sixteenth-century European fishing
(15)  crews had dismantled and exchanged parts of their
ships for furs.
By the time Europeans sailing the Atlantic coast
of North America first documented the fur trade, it
was apparently well underway. The first to record
(20)  such trade-the captain of a Portuguese vessel
sailing from Newfoundland in 1501 observed that a
Native American aboard the ship wore Venetian silver
earrings. Another early chronicler noted in 1524 that
Native Americans living along the coast of what is now
trade goods: they accepted only knives, fishhooks,
and sharp metal. By the time Cartier sailed the Saint
Lawrence River ten years later, Native Americans had
traded with Europeans for more than thirty years,
(30)  perhaps half a century.

Questions 43 – 51 refer to the passage
43. The author of the passage draws conclusions about the fur trade in North America from all of the following sources EXCEPT
(A)  Cartier’s accounts of trading with Native Americans
(B)  a seventeenth-century account of European settlements
(C)  a sixteenth-century account written by a sailing vessel captain
(D)  archaeological observations of sixteenth-century Native American sites
(E)  a sixteenth-century account of Native Americans in what is now New England
Ans. (A)

44. The passage suggests that which of the following is partially responsible for the difficulty in establishing the precise date when the fur trade in North America began?
(A)  A lack of written accounts before that of Nicolas Denys in 16 72
(B)  A lack of written documentation before 1501
(C)  Ambiguities in the evidence from Native American sources
(E)  Uncertainty about the origin of artifacts supposedly traded by European fishing crews for furs
Ans. (B)

45. Which of the following, if true, most strengthens the author’s assertion in the first sentence of the second paragraph?
(A)  When Europeans retraced Cartier’s voyage in the first years of the seventeenth century, they frequently traded with Native Americans.
(B)  Furs from beavers, which were plentiful in North America but nearly extinct in Europe, became extremely fashionable in Europe in the final decades of the sixteenth century.
(C)  Firing arms were rarely found on sixteenth century Native American sites or on European lists of trading goods since such arms required frequent maintenance and repair.
(D)  Europeans and Native Americans had established trade protocols, such as body language assuring one another of their peaceful intentions, that antedate the earliest records of trade.
(E)  During the first quarter of the sixteenth century, an Italian explorer recorded seeing many Native Americans with what appeared to be copper beads, though they may have been made of indigenous copper.
Ans. (D)

46. Which of the following best describes the primary function of lines 11-16?
(A)  It offers a reconsideration of a claim made in the preceding sentence.
(B)  It reveals how archaeologists arrived at an interpretation of the evidence mentioned in the preceding sentence.
(C)  It shows how scholars misinterpreted the significance of certain evidence mentioned in the Americans for furs preceding sentence.
(D)  It identifies one of the first significant accounts of the seventeenth-century European settlements in North America.
(E)  It explains why Denys’s account of the seventeenth century European settlements is thought to be significant.
Ans. (B)

47. It can be inferred from the passage that the author would agree with which of the following statements about the fur trade between Native Americans and Europeans in the early modern era?
(A)  This trade may have begun as early as the 1480s.
(B)  This• trade probably did not continue much beyond the 1530s.
(C)  This trade was most likely at its peak in the mid-1520s.
(D)  This trade probably did not begin prior to 1500.
(E)  There is no written evidence of this trade prior to the seventeenth century.
Ans. (A)

48. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage about the Native Americans mentioned in line 24?
(A)  They had little use for decorative objects such as earrings.
(B)  They became increasingly dependent on fishing between 1501 and 1524.
(C)  By 1524, only certain groups of Europeans were willing to trade with them.
(E)  The selectivity of their trading choices indicates that they had been trading with Europeans for a significant period of time prior to 1524.
Ans. (E)

49. The passage supports which of the following statements about sixteenth-century European fishing crews working the waters off Newfoundland?
(A)  They wrote no accounts of their fishing voyages.
(B)  They primarily sailed under the flag of Portugal.
(C)  They exchanged ship parts with Native Americans for furs.
(D)  They commonly traded jewelry with Native Americans for furs.
(E)  They carried surplus metal implements to trade with Native Americans for furs.
Ans. (C)

50. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage about evidence pertaining to the fur trade between Native Americans and Europeans in the early modern era?
(A)  A lack of written evidence has made it difficult to establish which Europeans first participated in this trade.
(B)  In general, the physical evidence pertaining to this trade has been more useful than the written evidence has been.
(C)  There is more written evidence pertaining to this trade from the early part of the sixteenth century than from later in that century.
(D)  The earliest written evidence pertaining to this trade dates from a time when the trade was already well established.
(E)  Some important pieces of evidence pertaining to this trade, such as Denys’s 1672 account, were long overlooked by archaeologists.
Ans. (D)

51. The passage suggests which of the following about the sixteenth-century Native Americans who traded with Europeans on the coast of what is now called New England?
(A)  By 1524 they had become accustomed to exchanging goods with Europeans.
(B)  They were unfamiliar with metals before encountering Europeans.
(C)  They had no practical uses for European goods other than metals and metal implements.
(E)  By 1524 they demanded only the most prized European goods because they had come to realize how valuable furs were on European markets.
Ans. (A)

### Analytical Writing Assessment

Source: mba.com

The following appeared in the editorial section of a monthly business news magazine:
“Most companies would agree that as the risk of physical injury occurring on the job increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase. Hence it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer: they could thus reduce their payroll expenses and save money.”
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion.
You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

Ans. (This is a real response that had received the highest score).
This argument states that it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer because by making the workplace safer then lower wages could be paid to employees. This conclusion is based on the premise that as the list of physical injury increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase.
However, there are several assumptions that may not necessarily apply to this argument. For example, the costs associated with making the workplace safe must outweigh the increased payroll expenses due to hazardous conditions. Also, one must look at the plausibility of improving the work environment. And finally, because most companies agree that as the risk of injury increases so will wages doesn’t necessarily mean that all companies which have hazardous work environments agree.
The first issue to be addressed is whether increased labor costs justify large capital expenditures to improve the work environment. Clearly one could argue that if making the workplace safe would cost an exorbitant amount of money in comparison to leaving the workplace as is and paying slightly increased wages than it would not make sense to improve the work environment. For example, if making the workplace safe would cost \$100 million versus additional payroll expenses of only \$5,000 per year, it would make financial sense to simply pay the increased wages. No business or business owner with any sense would pay all that extra money just to save a couple of dollars and improve employee health and relations. To consider this, a cost-benefit analysis must be made. I also feel that although a cost-benefit analysis should be the determining factor with regard to these decisions making financial sense, it may not be the determining factor with regard to making social, moral and ethical sense.
This argument also relies on the idea that companies solely use financial sense in analyzing improving the work environment. This is not the case. Companies look at other considerations such as the negative social ramifications of high on-job injuries. For example, Toyota spends large amounts of money improving its environment because while its goal is to be profitable, it also prides itself on high employee morale and an almost perfectly safe work environment. However, Toyota finds that it can do both, as by improving employee health and employee relations they are guaranteed a more motivated staff, and hence a more efficient staff; this guarantees more money for the business as well as more safety for the employees.
Finally one must understand that not all work environments can be made safer. For example, in the case of coal mining, a company only has limited ways of making the work environment safe. While companies may be able to ensure some safety precautions, they may not be able to provide all the safety measures necessary. In other words, a mining company has limited ability to control the air quality within a coal mine and therefore it cannot control the risk of employees getting Blacklung. In other words, regardless of the intent of the company, some jobs are simply dangerous in nature.
In conclusion, while at first it may seem to make financial sense to improve the safety of the work environment sometimes it truly does not make financial sense. Furthermore, financial sense may not be the only issue a company faces. Other types of analyses must be made such as the social ramifications of an unsafe work environment and the overall ability of a company to improve that environment (i.e., coal mine). Before any decision is made, all these things must be considered, not simply the reduction of payroll expenses.

### Integrated Reasoning

Graphics Interpretation:

Source: mba.com

Refer to the photograph of a survey of students at Central Community College. Each symbol represents 10 students in a sample of 300.
Use the drop-down menus to complete each statement according to the information presented in the diagram.
If one student is selected at random from the 300 surveyed, the chance that the student will be under 30 or a high school graduate or both is Choose an item. (Ans.) 5 out of 6
If one student is selected at random from the 300 surveyed, the chance that the student will be both under 30 and a high school graduate is Choose an item. (Ans.) 1 out of 3

Two-part Analysis:
Source: mba.com

Organization A currently has 1,050 members. Organization B currently has 1,550 members. The number of members of Organization A and the number of members of Organization B are increasing annually, each at its own constant rate. Analysts project that if each of these organizations maintains its constant annual rate of membership increase, five years from now they will for the first time have the same number of members, and in subsequent years Organization A will have more members than Organization B.

In the table below, identify a rate of increase, in members per year, for Organization A and a rate of increase, in members per year, for Organization B that together are consistent with the analysts’ projection. Make only one selection in each column:

Organization A Organization B Rate of increase (members per year)
10
Ans. 30
40
120
Ans. 130
150

Table Analysis

Source: mba.com

Percentage of population visiting selectedd cultural institutions, single year

For each of the following statements select Would help explain if it would, if true, help explain some of the information in the table. Otherwise select Would not help explain.

Would help explain Would not help explain Statement
Ans. The proportion of the population of Brazil that lives within close proximity to at least one museum is larger than that of Russia.
Ans. Of the countries/political unions in the table, Russia has the fewest natural history museums per capita.
Ans. Of the countries/political unions in the table, the three that spend the most money to promote their natural history museums are also those in which science is most highly valued.
Ans. Science and technology museums are less popular than other cultural institutions in the majority of the countries/political unions in the table.

Multi-source Reasoning

Source: mba.com

Email 1: from administrator to research staff
January 15, 10:46 a.m.
Yesterday was the deadline for our receipt of completed surveys from doctors who were invited to participate in the Medical Practice Priorities Survey. Did we get enough returns from this orginal group of invitees to get reliable statistics? Do we need to invite additional participants?

Email 2: from project coordinator in response to administrator’s January 15, 10:46 a.m. message
January 15, 11:12 a.m.
Altogether we got exactly 350 actual survey completions. We need at least 700 and were hoping for even more, so we plan to invite a second group to participate. Both the results from this first group and other research indicates that with this type of survey and this type of participants there is about a 40 percent probability that any given invitee will submit the completed survey in the time we’ll allow. (Obviously that doesn’t mean that if we invited 1,000 we’d necessarily get at least 400, so we need to think in terms of the risks of getting too few returns or exceeding the budget.) All of the participants who submitted their surveys by the deadline will get the \$50 payment we promised. What is our total budget for compensation to participants?

Email 3: from administrator to project coordinator in response to the project coordinator’s January 15, 11:12 a.m. message
January 15, 1:54 p.m.
The budget we allocated for compensation to those who complete and submit the Medical Practice Priorities Survey is \$45,000. We will honor our commitment to pay \$50 to each participant – in the second group as well as the first – who completes the survey and submits it by the deadline we specify when we invite them to participate. However, we will need to try not to exceed the total amount that is budgeted for this purpose.

Q. Suppose that the total number of invitees in the second group is 560. Then, if all of the information in the three emails is accurate, the probability that the budget for compensating participants will be exceeded is nearest to:
(A)  1.00
(B)  0.80
(C)  0.50
(D)  0.20
(E)  0.00
Ans. (E) 0.00