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EDUCATION REPORT - Taking the GMAT to Get Into Business School

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This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

For several weeks now, our Foreign Student Series has dealt with college admissions tests. We have talked about the SAT, ACT, GRE and the MAT. We have also discussed the English tests known as the TOEFL and the IELTS.

Now, a listener from Thailand has asked about a test used to get into graduate programs in business and management. Varongsri Saengbanchong asks about the Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT.

The Graduate Management Admission Council is the non-profit organization responsible for the GMAT. The council describes the exam as a test of general skills and abilities gained over time. The test is designed to show how well a student will do in programs leading to a master's of business administration and other degrees.

But the council also says the test is not the only tool that should be used to measure future success in business school. Admissions officers also may consider college grades and other information, like work experience.

The GMAT tests skills including reading, mathematics and writing. It does not measure knowledge of business or what a person learned in college.

The test is divided into three main parts. The first is the writing test. You have to write two essays. In one, you take a position on an issue and support your position with arguments. In the other, you consider the reasoning behind a given argument and write about the strengths and weaknesses.

Test-takers have thirty minutes to write each essay.

The math part of the test takes seventy-five minutes. There are thirty-seven questions involving data and problem solving.

The third part of the GMAT is also seventy-five minutes long. It measures understanding of written passages and the relationships among ideas. You have to show reasoning skills and the ability to follow the development of ideas. There are forty-one questions to answer.

Graduate schools in the United States generally require some kind of admissions test. Medical schools, for example, require the MCAT -- the Medical College Admission Test. And law schools require the Law School Admission Test, known as the LSAT.

Links to the Web sites of all the tests we have discussed in our Foreign Student Series can be found at www.unsv.com. And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. I'm Doug Johnson.

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