What the GMAT Is and How to Prepare for the Test

What the GMAT Is and How to Prepare for the Test

Experts suggest that self-studying for GMAT can only be successful when there is a lot of control and responsibility.

Know the reason businesses use this test for admission. Know what you can expect when you take the test.

Students at business schools who are competing to get spots at prestigious graduate business schools must realize that high scores in the Graduate 

Management Admission Test will increase their chances of being accepted according to B-school admissions representatives.

"While most business schools use a holistic review process and consider all parts of an application to paint a well-rounded picture of each applicant, the test score plays an important role," said Lindsay Badeaux, a senior assistant director of admissions at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business and an MBA admissions counselor for IvyWise. IvyWise admissions consulting firm through an email.

Badeaux also states that the GMAT scores are "a powerful indicator" of how well a student is prepared to attend a college, "so admissions committees take it seriously."

If you're wondering how you can prepare for this standardized test, here's an extensive guide to the GMAT and includes information and tips to aid you in performing the best you can.

What Is the GMAT?

The GMAT is an entrance test for business schools that takes close to 3 1/2 hours and has four elements:

Analytical writing assessment that tests critical thinking and communication abilities.

An integrated reasoning section that shows how students can analyze data and interpret information presented in various formats.

A quantitative reasoning section determines if students have excellent mathematical aptitude and literacy.

A section for verbal reasoning that tests reading comprehension ability to edit and editing abilities, and whether a person can comprehend written arguments.

The test-taker has the option to choose the order they will begin the exam, whether it's the quantitative written, verbal, or writing section.

"Someone consciously designed the GMAT to assess skills that are most relevant for business school," said Vineet Chhabra, senior director of product management for the Graduate Management Admission Council, the non-profit entity that runs and develops the GMAT via email. "It's a test of applied reasoning. It's not just about knowing stuff; it's about what you can do with your knowledge and how you can apply that thoughtfully during business school. It hits closer to what business people do daily."

What Are Typical GMAT Test Scores?

GMAT test-takers taking the test are expected to receive five scores, including sections score for integrated reasoning, analytical writing, verbal, and quantitative reasoning. 

There is also an overall score that is determined by performance in the quantitative and verbal sections.

Scores vary from 0 to 6 on the analytical writing test and are scored in half-point increments and range between 1 and 8 on the integrated reasoning portion, which has eight scores, which all are complete numbers. 

The quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning sections require a minimum score of 0. The maximum score is 60. However, scores that are below 6 or above 51 are extremely rare. The total GMAT scores vary between 200 and 800. to an awe-inspiring 800, and are presented at 10-point intervals. 

They calculated these scores based on the accuracy of the test-takers answers to questions in the quantitative and verbal portions of the GMAT and the difficulty of the questions a test-taker had to answer.

The average GMAT score from January 2015 to December 2017, was 561.27 from 800. Scores of 590 were higher than the score of 52% of test-takers during that period. Scores that were 760 and higher were in the 99th percentile of all test-takers during that time span.

How Does the Computer-Adaptive Format of the GMAT Work?

The verbal and quantitative portions of the GMAT each start with a standard difficulty. 

Then, the tests continuously differ in difficulty, based on the test taker's ability to answer according to experts. 

Therefore, if a test taker answers a question, the next question is usually more difficult. Comes up.

If someone wrongly answered a question, the next one is usually simpler to answer. When the test, the computer calculates the score based on the test taker could effectively answer tough questions.

How Is the GMAT Different From the GRE?

Experts believe that one of the major differences between GMAT and the GMAT and GRE can be found in the GMAT was specifically designed to be used by business schools and they designed the GRE to be more universal in its use in a variety of graduate schools.

MBA admissions experts state that the GRE's verbal portion is typically more difficult than the verbal section on the GMAT. However, the quantitative section of the GMAT is more difficult than the quantitative section that is on the GRE.

How Do I Register for the GMAT?

A majority of students can sign up for the GMAT online, by establishing an account at mba.com which is a site that GMAC manages, and scheduling an appointment via the online scheduling system. 

However, those with disabilities who require accommodations must fill out an accommodation request form prior to making an appointment for their test.

Where and How Often Is the GMAT Offered?

It is possible to find GMAT test centers across the globe and across the U.S. Test takers can locate test locations on the "Find a Test Center" part on the mba.com website. The GMAT can be taken only once every 16 days and can be taken not over five times within the 12-month period. 

GMAT test takers have the option of a lifetime limit to how they may take the test. There is a limit of a maximum of eight attempts allowed.

How Much Does It Cost to Take the GMAT?

The cost of the test varies according to the test center. In U.S. test centers, we priced the GMAT test at $250.

When Should I Take the GMAT?

Badeaux suggests that regardless of the method a hopeful for a B-school intends to study for their GMAT, the candidate should plan their exam at least 3 or four months ahead of the first date for applying. "This will allow you some buffer room should you need to take the test again to aim for a higher score," she suggests.

What Skills Are Tested on the Integrated Reasoning Section of the GMAT?

They designed the integrated reasoning section to test the applicant's data analysis skills and problem-solving abilities, which are crucial to employers' MBA graduates.

"The IR section - developed with input from business schools and corporate recruiters - specifically measures real-world skills relevant in today's job market, including synthesizing data from multiple sources, organizing data to see relationships, and making judgments based on the same," Chhabra said in an email.

Why Do Business School Use the GMAT?

Business schools, according to experts, use GMAT scores to assess whether future MBA students possess the abilities required to demand classes.

"They want to prove ahead of time that a candidate will actually get through their entire program, and so the GMAT helps them make that decision with some level of confidence," Says Camille Coppock, marketing director for the Americas region at GMAC.

Kelly Wilson, executive director of masters admissions at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business, states that it is important to know that the GMAT score is only one of the many factors of your MBA application.

"While the GMAT is important, it is a single component of the larger application and is not the be-all and end-all," she wrote in an email. "The GMAT score and prior academic coursework often work hand in hand to provide insight into the candidate's potential for academic success."

How Much Does the GMAT Matter in the Admissions Process?

Chris Lele, a grad school expert, and senior curriculum manager at Magoosh Test Prep, says that one of the most common misconceptions concerning the GMAT is the notion that scores of 700 or more ensure admission to a prestigious B-school.

"While surely that helps and is almost a prerequisite for a few elite schools, a super high GMAT score won't totally cover over a weak application," 

Lele wrote in an email. "Professional experience, letters of recommendation, and even an entrance essay are all important parts of the admission process that students should also focus on."

How Can I Set a Target GMAT Score?

Luke Parrott, assistant director of graduate admissions at Luke Parrott, assistant director of graduate admissions at the University of Denver Daniels College of Business He advises that B-school students should strive to beat or even exceed what is considered being the standard GMAT score for their chosen MBA programs. They should strive to beat the standard GMAT score of B-school students from their respective regions.

Parrott suggests that someone looking to get into the B-school of their choice will require a score of 600 or more to be competitive. 

However, Parrott notes that graduate business programs differ in the test scores they require.

How Long Should I Study For the GMAT?

Experts believe that an MBA applicant's performance in the GMAT is related to the time they spent preparing for the test, however, there's no definitively established guideline on it required how much preparation time since this will differ for each student.

GMAC survey results from 2016 revealed that GMAT test-takers who scored in the range 600-690 logged on average 80 hours, whereas those who scored above 700 had a median time of 90 hours.

Coppock says that the time spent to prepare for tests is contingent upon the level of confidence an applicant has with logic tests and the level of ambition that the goal score is.

Coppock states that MBA applicants typically can find the GMAT more difficult than the previous exams they've been through because of the emphasis on the ability to reason rather than the knowledge of a particular academic area.

Which GMAT Test-Prep Methods Should I Use?

Experts advise against getting ready for the GMAT by yourself requires discipline.

"Some applicants can manage with self-study but we find that a class, or even better, a private tutor, helps to keep students on track and reinforce the study schedule," wrote Stacy Blackman, President of Stacy Blackman Consulting, an MBA consulting firm for admissions, via email.

Coppock suggests one method to locate a help group would be to join an event focusing on the GMAT. She also suggests MBA applicants looking to choose the best test prep method should consider what was the method that did best for them in college.

What Are Common GMAT Mistakes and How Can I Avoid Them?

Lele states that B-school hopefuls frequently become frustrated when they face issues in their GMAT preparation, and mistakenly believe they can't improve their scores. 

Lele suggests that a mindset of growth will assist students in avoiding this mistake.

"Some believe that the GMAT is something you are good at or bad at," Lele states. "As they begin their GMAT prep, they will construe early difficulties as evidence they fall into the latter category. 

But these are difficulties that most face when prepping for an exam as arduous and wide-ranging as the GMAT. Bottom line: Anyone, especially with the right mentality, can improve at the GMAT, and shouldn't take early struggles as a sign that they are simply not good at the GMAT."

Logan Thompson, an instructor at the Manhattan Prep test-prep company and the author of "Beyond the Content: Mindfulness as a Test Prep Advantage," the book that will be published in August, says that addressing negative thoughts and emotions is vital to perform well for the GMAT.

Thompson says that the adaptability of the GMAT that increases difficulty if the test-taker can answer the question correctly is what makes the test difficult from a psychological as well as an emotional point of view. Thompson says that this is because the GMAT tests the boundaries of test takers' capabilities in order to evaluate their capabilities to the fullest extent. "So you feel you're just keeping your head above water the entire test," He declares.

David D. Schein, director of graduate programs and associate professor at the University of St. Thomas-Houston's Cameron School of Business, states that one of the most important aspects to be prepared to take the GMAT is the ability to answer test questions quickly. 

"So, getting practice at working the tests is important to improve both speed and confidence," Schein wrote in an email. He also suggests that test-takers be aiming to answer each question that they receive on the GMAT and should know the time of the day they will take the test in order to take the test at an hour when they are in their prime mentally, whether it s in the morning or the after lunch.

When Does It Make Sense to Retake the GMAT?

The experts say that B-school students who are not satisfied with their GMAT score and believe they could do better will typically benefit by taking a retake.

"Data from GMAC shows that repeat testing can provide an opportunity for score improvement," wrote Gregg Schoenfeld, senior director of research and data science at GMAC via email. 

Schoenfeld said that three-quarters (75%) of GMAT test-takers scored higher after retaking the test and had an average increase of 30-40 points. 

Schoenfeld also says that 55% of test-takers had already scored scores of 700 or higher. GMAT score at or above 700 after retaking the test improved their scores.

Insufficient or nervous preparation for the test could be the reason why the score isn't the same as what they expected on the first attempt Experts recommend.

"Sometimes just having sat through the exam once, learned the procedure and how it feels, will be enough to help a second time," Alexander Lowry, Professor of Finance at Gordon College and executive director of the school's Master of Science in Financial Analysis program, told me via email.

Lowry states that the computer-adaptive component of the GMAT is a formidable feature in that test-takers who perform well could not master the subject. "So if you're taking the exam a second time, you'll know to expect that and it won't throw you off," Lowry adds.

Blackman recommends students strive to get a score that accurately reflects their capabilities. "Applicants almost always know whether a test score is an accurate reflection of their aptitude versus an over-or underperformance," she states. "Put your best foot forward, even if it means a retake to better align the score with one's potential and previous diagnostic exams."

What Are the Biggest Changes to the GMAT?

Chhabra claims GMAC has introduced modifications to the GMAT in order to help test takers feel more confident and relaxed during the test. 

GMAC offers test-takers suggestions for what graduate management programs could be a good fit for them, Chhabra says.

According to GMAC, the most recent revision to the GMAT included a shorter exam so that test-takers can have less time in the testing center. 

We can find another feature that has been added in Select Section Order, which allows students to alter the order of GMAT sections to suit their personal preferences, GMAC states. 

GMAT test-takers now receive specific recommendations regarding which B-schools they should be considered "based on their interests, fit and score," according to GMAC.

How Can I Improve My GMAT Score?

Students who are aspiring to business school and want to improve their GMAT scores must first think about whether they're making realistic plans and getting their desired score is really required to gain admission to their top-choice MBA course, Coppock says.

She also says that those who put the most effort in their preparation for the test and still fail may use a test preparation approach that isn't compatible with their style of learning.

"Schools are looking for diversity in the classes they bring in each academic year," Chhabra says. "Your GMAT score is an important part of what you bring to the table, but a particular score doesn't seal the deal in either direction. Look at your GMAT score as part of the overall value proposition that you bring to a school."

Reference: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/articles/2019-07-11/what-the-gmat-is-and-how-to-prepare-for-the-test

Thanks, Ms. Ilana for sharing the wonderful article. 

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Nadeem Khan
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Mail - ndmk1338@gmai.com

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