Graduate Management News

The newsletter of the Graduate Management Admission Council.
February 2014

Take the GMAT® History Quiz

GMAC celebrates the 60th anniversary of the GMAT exam this year. Test your knowledge.

60 Years Strong Small

More than nine million exams later, GMAC delivers a quarter-million GMAT exams year-round at approximately 600 test centers in 113 countries. 









Q: In 1953, nine leading US business schools met with the Educational Testing Service to create a specialized test to improve the business school admissions process. Which schools were they?

A: Columbia, Harvard, Northwestern, Rutgers, Seton Hall, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, and Washington University in St. Louis. 

Q: Until 1976, the GMAT exam had a different name. What was the test initially called? 

A: The Admission Test for Graduate Study in Business. It was changed to the Graduate Management Admission Test the same year the Graduate Business Admissions Council became the Graduate Management Admission Council. 

Q: Through all the changes in the exam, the GMAT exam has always been a test of higher-order reasoning skills rather than specific business knowledge. Which question format has been on the GMAT exam for all 60 years? 

A: Problem Solving. 

Q: What question types were included in the 1954 test? 

A: Verbal Omnibus (Analogies, Antonyms, Sentence Completion), Quantitative Reasoning (Data Interpretation, Problem Solving), Best Arguments, and Quantitative Reading. Today’s question types are Quantitative (Data Sufficiency and Problem Solving), Verbal (Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension), and Integrated Reasoning (Table Analysis, Multi-Source Reasoning, Graphics Interpretation, Two-Part Analysis). 

Q: Data Sufficiency questions ask test takers what data they need to solve a problem rather than to actually solve the problem. The question type was devised for the ATGSB and remains unique to the GMAT exam. What year was it introduced?

A: 1961.

Q: Analogy and Antonym questions were dropped in 1961, added back in 1966, and dropped again in 1976. Why were they removed from the GMAT exam? 

A: Although Analogy and Antonym questions require verbal reasoning skills, they also depend heavily on English-language vocabulary skills and can be too “coachable” and idiomatic for a test as global as the GMAT exam. 

Q: The Analytical Writing Assessment was added in 1994. Aside from a separate measure of written communication skills, what does the AWA provide schools? 

A: AWA essays provide admissions professionals a proctored, first-draft example of an applicant’s writing skills. 

Q: When was the GMAT exam made computer adaptive? 

A: 1997. The GMAT exam was the first to move away from paper and pencil to the computer adaptive format. The move improved test security, allowed GMAC to offer the test year-round and more efficiently assess a test taker’s abilities.

Q: In 2008 and 2009, the GMAT became the first standardized test to use palm vein readers for security. What do they do? 

A: The palm vein reader compares the unique palm vein patterns of all test-takers. This helps catch proxy test takers (people who try and take the exam for someone else) and ensure the test – and by extension the admissions process -- is fair to everyone. 

Q: GMAC introduced the Integrated Reasoning section in 2012 to measure the abilities to organize, analyze data to solve the kinds of complex problems test takers will encounter in the classroom and on the job. How many types of IR questions are there? 

A: Four: Multi-Source Reasoning, Graphics Interpretation, Two-Part Analysis, and Table Analysis. 

Q: The first ATGSB exam (the precursor to the GMAT exam) was offered in five different countries. What were they? 

A: The US, Canada, England (London), France (Paris), and India (New Delhi). It was also offered in Honolulu five years before Hawaii became a US state. 

Q: How many countries is the GMAT available in now? 

A: 113, on every continent except Antarctica. 

Q: The Official Guide for GMAT® Review, now in its 13th edition, is consistently a top trade best-selling book. When was it introduced? 

A: 1978. 

Q: Table Analysis and Multi-Source Reasoning are among the new GMAT formats introduced in the Integrated Reasoning section, added in June 2012. How do these two question types differ from other question formats? 

A: Test takers have to use the computer to manipulate data (sort tables and navigate tabbed pages) to answer the question.