Every student taking their 10th or 12th board exams must have heard or talked about GMAT. You would have heard merits and demerits of GMAT from friends, siblings or peers, whenever you discussed different options for further studies with them.
After all the discussions and contemplations, you would have realized that GMAT is your passport to entering the best Management Programs offered by reputed Management institutes all around the world.
What is GMAT?
Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a test to assess various skills required in students, who wish to pursue Management programs in future. GMAT determines a student’s English, Geometric, Arithmetic, and Algebra skills. These skills are believed to be imperative when the students enter the tough, challenging and ever-changing real business environment.
How is GMAT exam designed?
The GMAT exam is designed by Business schools to test students in areas specifically relevant to Management business programs.
There are four sections in a GMAT. The time allotted is 3 and 1/2 hours and the maximum marks that can be obtained are 800. Candidates can take an 8-minute break between all the tests.
a. In Analytical Awareness Assessment section (AWA) you need to write an essay within the stipulated 30 minutes, presenting reasoning behind some arguments, i.e., Analysis of argument. Assessed on a scale 0 to 6 this test is reviewed both by the computer and one of the team members of GMAC.
b. Integrated Reasoning (IR) has 12 questions in the form of graphs, two-part and multi-source analysis and table analysis to be answered in 30 minutes. This is graded on the scale of 1-8 in single-digit intervals.
c. Quantitative reasoning (Quant) assesses your arithmetic and statistical skills through 37 questions to be answered in 75 minutes. The score is between 0 – 60
d. Verbal scores test your grammar, comprehensive, critical reasoning and communication skills. The test has 41 questions and should be completed in 75 minutes. The score for this section is also from 0 -60.
Overall score is between 200 to 800.
In the official report which you receive, the scores are transformed into a scale from 200 to 800. A score between 500 to 650 is considered good. But top B-school’s lookout for students with GMAT scores above 700.
Registration for the test should be made 2 months in advance. Fees for the test is 250 USD plus taxes. This fee includes sending reports of your Official GMAT scores to five B-school programs of your Choice. A point to note here is that, when you register yourself for GMAT, you can choose from a few B-School programs that you are interested in taking up. So, it is these schools to whom your GMAT scores will be automatically sent within two to four weeks of the announcement of Official test scores.
These GMAT scores are valid for a period of 5 years.
How to Prepare for GMAT questions?
The minimum age eligibility for taking GMAT is 18 years. So, students fresh out of undergraduate course can start GMAT training. There various resources online and offline to help you crack this exam. One can also take the help of numerous GMAT Study Guides available for free as well as for a fee. Here are a few techniques to approach this exam.
1. Make your own GMAT strategy
GMAT is not necessarily an English Language Proficiency test or a test to check your knowledge of Maths. According to GMAC, the authority that conducts the exam, GMAT examines the Quantitative, Analytical and critical thinking abilities of an individual, which is vital for pursuing graduation or post-graduation in Management.
Hence it is wise to prepare a strategy to approach this exam. There are four sections to be completed within the stipulated time. Analyse which sections you are weak in and accordingly plan your schedules for preparation for this internationally famous exam.
Think of your first attempt at GMAT as the last attempt and accordingly prepare for the exam with wholehearted dedication.
GMAT Preparation can be planned this way:
a) First, keep an eye on the admission dates of all the Management Programs and when you wish to enter them
b) Register yourself accordingly for GMAT exam. Download the Official GMAT Handbook to familiarize yourself with the syllabus and format.
c) Practice GMAT sample questions
d) Since importance is given to all sections, language, logical skills, and reasoning, it is better to allocate time accordingly for preparation of all these sections.
e) You can take a practice exam with GMAT Prep Software.
f) The results can help you identify your weak areas and then you can concentrate on them
g) Also work on your timing. Check your progress and work accordingly
h) Keep practicing until you become confident to take up the exam. You can use laminate drawing boards for practice as you will not be allowed to use calculators in the examination.
Practice is the best and only way to get top scores in your GMAT examination.
i. AWA Prep
Sometimes we feel that we are good at grammar just by reading a sentence and guessing if it sounds right. This may be a good technique, but it is always good to refer grammar books to brush up the basics. Don’t be overconfident or under-confident while analyzing your strengths and weaknesses. Also, most students concentrate only on the Quantitative and Verbal sections and do not prepare for AWA very well. Students with high scores in Quantitative and Verbal sections and low scores in AWA may lose out to others who score well in both sections. Since Competition is tough, you should give due importance to this section as well.
You can do well in this section using the following pointers:
• Side with a point of view and continue writing in support of that opinion. Do not try to be diplomatic in your arguments.
• Plan your essay in sequential paragraphs. First, present your view. Explain how you feel it is correct and finally conclude summarizing all the points in an exciting finale.
• Never switch sides, because it will reflect your lack of confidence in your stance.
• Provide practical examples that reinforce your stand.
• Finally, proofread your article for grammatical or spelling mistakes.
By following these pointers, you can write compelling essays, which will give you an edge over the others in joining the top B-Schools around the world.
ii. GMAT Math
You can score between 200 to 800 points doing well in quant and the verbal sections. The Quant section has 37 questions to be solved in 75 minutes. It is a Computer Adaptive test. This means if you answer one question right, the next question will be tougher but will get you more points. Similarly, if you answer a question wrong, the computer will pose an easier question next and will give you lesser points ultimately leading to a lower score.
So, one might wonder what is the level of Maths that is essential for best GMAT prep? The concepts involved are as per the syllabus for GMAT and are basically what one learns at the secondary school level. Just brush up your school maths concepts such as Arithmetic, motion problems, mixture problems, geometry, length, volume, weight, area, circumference, surface area, perimeter, money problems, ratio proportion, formulae, mixture problems, equations, and sets. Again, Practice is the only key word here.
2. GMAT coaching
While you can have your own strategy, you can also go for GMAT online coaching. There are various sites that provide readymade GMAT practice questions to test your aptitude. You can also use their Tutor coaching and practice test options to improve your speed and answering abilities.
Some of the popular GMAT Prep online options are Kaplan Test Plan, Empower GMAT and Magoosh. While choosing a coaching option online, you need to consider the cost as well. There are other cost-effective but still beneficial courses online and offline which you can consider.
3. Best available books for GMAT Practice
In case you want to do self -study and you are ready with your plans; you can buy some books for this purpose. GMAT formats have changed, hence it is best to check out the latest books for preparation. Here are some time-tested series that can guide you through your preparations with concept details as well as practice questions: -
• You can choose the Official Guide for GMAT Review if you are planning to use a single book for all the sections. In case you want to go the next level, chose advanced level Official Guide GMAT books which cater to individual sections. Some of them are
a) The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative review
b) The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review
• You can try out Manhattan GMAT strategy guides which are a set of eight books that explain concepts from the basic level. You can also buy one or two books from this set, in case you feel you do not need the other ones. This is an excellent book for beginners. The Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction Strategy guide has always been very popular among non-native speakers of English.
• Kaplan GMAT 800 Advanced Prep for Advanced Students as the name suggest is for students who have completed their preliminary study and would like to go the next level. Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook is another book from the same institute, for advanced learners.
• A lot of free study material is available in GMAT Forums Online. You can utilize them and also get expert advice from members on the forums such as Pagalguy, GMAT club, etc.
4. Healthy diet
Like for all exams, students should follow a healthy diet while preparing for a GMAT exam. A sick or stressed out student may not be able to do well despite the best GMAT preparation. In case you feel you are not doing well during the exam, take deep breaths and relax to regain your focus.
So eat well, plan, practice and take ample rest before taking this important exam of your life, a passport to further studies and a glorious future.
Importance of GMAT
Kaplan Test Prep survey has established the massive popularity of GMAT among students who are trying to enter the top Management schools in the World.
1. GMAT is highly valued by Management Schools worldwide
There are more than 2000 reputed Management schools around the world. Students who pass from these schools are equipped with skills and knowledge to be counted amongst the best business leaders of the future.
Students who wish to join them need to pass stringent admission processes. This process involves assessing students’ reasoning capabilities and thought processes that are vital for taking up a professional course. Standards like GMAT course help Management schools to screen and select the best from the numerous applications they receive every year. The most reputed schools choose students with the highest scores. Some facts about this process are mentioned below:
• It is estimated that 90% MBA enrolments are based on GMAT scores.
• The fact that the students are taking the GMAT test itself depicts their commitment to go to any length to achieve their goals
• GMAT scores denote Analytical Writing skills, Integrated, Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning skills of a student.
• A Student with good GMAT scores can gain entry to Management programs such as MBA, Master of Finance and Master of Accounting.
2. Students eyeing best MBA courses require GMAT score eligibility
High GMAT score automatically helps you enter the best management courses as seen above. GMAT Study is preferred by many so that they can do better than their contemporaries. Some facts and reasons for students preferring GMAT:
• More than 2 million students take the GMAT test to try and qualify for reputed MBA programs.
• There are 600 exam centers across 114 countries in the world. Hence students from even the remotest areas can access centers for writing this exam.
• Candidates can attempt GMAT more than once as the highest scores will be considered by B-schools for admission.
• Students can attempt GMAT online five times a year with a 16-day gap in between attempts.
3. Even employers glance your GMAT scores first before assessing other Credentials
From various surveys, it has been established that prospective employers give preference to candidates who have done well in GMAT. Even though experience is still the most significant criteria, Candidates with high GMAT scores have bagged the best Internship programs and commanded the highest packages as compared to other students.
4. The GMAT advantages
Here is the list of unique GMAT advantages
a. GMAT is an eligibility criterion for more than 2000+ Management Programs around the world
b. GMAT is administered by an agency called Graduate Management Admission Council(GMAC). It comprises of professionals and experts who design such tests that the results are reliable indicators of academic successes in Management Programs.
c. GMAT provides various resources to students for skill upgradation and a database for finding the best management school, corresponding to the GMAT score.
d. GMAT Online Preparation resources are also available.
e. One can register for GMASS on the official website of GMAT. About 500 Management programs are linked to GMASS Search Service, and this can be your link to scholarships/financial aid.
To summarize, GMAT scores are a scale to monitor ones’ aptitude for taking up best Management Programs worldwide. They are sometimes considered even by recruiting authorities to differentiate between candidates faring equally in other aspects of education and experience. Prepare well for GMAT Practice Tests available and attempt your exam with confidence.