Analytical Thinking and the GMAT

While not every university requires prospective business students to take the GMAT, students who study for and take the exam develop valuable analytical thinking skills necessary in an MBA program. This is a critical skill in both business school and the professional world beyond.

Analytical Thinking and the GMAT

Analyzing Arguments

The first section of the GMAT, the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), evaluates students’ ability to critically analyze arguments. In this section, students read an argument and write an essay detailing its flaws and how to fix them. This teaches students to think critically and consider how premises and conclusions relate.

Integrating Reason

The Integrated Reasoning section tests students’ ability to analyze data from the following sources:

  • Tables.
  • Graphs.
  • Charts.
  • Paragraphs.

In this section, test takers analyze the data from one source and apply it to another in order to answer the questions.

The Quantitative and Verbal Sections

The quantitative section focuses on analytical thinking and creative problem-solving. The problems in the GMAT require high-school-level math, but to complete many of the more difficult problems in the allotted time, students need to find faster ways to arrive at solutions, which requires preparation and practice.

Like the AWA, The verbal section requires students to critically analyze arguments and recognize correct grammar. However, instead of writing an essay, in this section, students answer multiple-choice questions.

Reading comprehension questions require students to analyze passages and identify the author’s main points and the reasoning behind them — in addition to making inferences about the author’s message.

Grad School and Beyond

Because the test requires so much analytical thinking, GMAT preparation must include not only memorization but also applied learning. Once a student has mastered the skills to succeed on the GMAT, he or she is already prepared for many of the challenges waiting in graduate school and the professional world beyond.

Learn more about the Baylor online MBA program.


Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) Section

Integrated Reasoning Sample Question Types

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