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GMAT Preparation – 10 Things You Need to Know

If you are reading this article, then you have probably encountered the term GMAT while looking for potential schools or programs to apply to. The GMAT or Graduate Management Admission Test is a standardized test that prospective students are normally required to take as part of the requirements for entering graduate studies related to management or business, such as an MBA. Using the GMAT scores of the applicants, admissions officers are able to assess their potential and aptitude for business school.

If you don’t already know what the GMAT Test is you can find out here.

Because your GMAT score is a deciding factor in your application, it is wise to be ready for it. Here are ten things you need to know as you prepare for the GMAT:

#1 – The GMAT has four sections

The exam consists of four sections, the first of which is analytical writing. Critical analysis and ability to communicate ideas is measured in this section where you will be asked to focus on one topic. An argument will be given on this topic, and you will have to analyze the reasoning behind it as well as critique it. Integrated reasoning is the second part of the exam where you will be expected to answer twelve questions that will measure your ability to evaluate information. Next, is the Quantitative assessment, where you will encounter data that you will need to analyse and draw conclusions from. Verbal is the final section of the exam where your ability to read and understand written material will be assessed, along with your ability to evaluate arguments and correct written material.

#2 – Two sections of the GMAT are computer-adaptive

This means that you will be answering the test on a computer, and the computer will be able to adapt its questions to your skill and knowledge based on how well (or how bad) you answer each question. For example, when you answer correctly on an intermediate item, the next question will be of a more difficult level, and vice versa. Your score for these sections will be based on the difficulty of the questions answered and the number of correct responses.

#3 – You will receive four scores…

You will receive scores for each of the sections. Analytical writing assessment is scored on a scale of 0 (minimum) to 6 (maximum) in half point intervals. Integrated reasoning is scored from 1 to 8 in single digit intervals, while both qualitative and verbal are scored from 0 to 60.

#4 – …plus a total score

The total score for the GMAT ranges from 200 to 800 with increments of 10 and takes into consideration only the verbal and quantitative scores. Of all examinees, around two-thirds obtain a total score within the range of 400 to 600. Score reports also include a percentile rank.

#5 – GMAT scores are valid for five years

You will receive official scores within twenty days of the exam, and it will be valid for five years. This is important for planning when to take your GMAT. If you already have a specific school and program in mind, you will need to schedule your test based on the deadlines the school has specified. However, if you are still unsure about when you will be applying to schools, you need to keep in mind the validity period.

#6 – There is no pass or fail

The GMAT is not a pass or fail test. The score you need depends on the school and program you are applying to. Most business schools will indicate the range or exact score that they accept. Setting a goal for yourself with the required score in mind will help you while you prepare for the exam using different diagnostic and practice tests or whatever tools work best for you.

#7 – There are many free resources online

The GMAT’s official website (mba.com) offers free practice questions every week. It also offers the GMATPrep software for free, which includes ninety questions with answers and explanations, two full-length practice tests, scores for all sections, a math review, a step-by-step guide for GMAT preparation and tools to create your own question sets to practice on. There are also many other websites that offer practice tests and questions for free. Some other resources and tools you can find online are flashcards, reviewers and even simulated exams.

#8 – Almost half of GMAT takers spend around 51 hours preparing

This gives you an idea of how much time you have to spend preparing yourself to take the exam. It is recommended for you to create a study schedule taking into consideration your other activities (work, school, etc.) in order to help you identify how many days or weeks you need in order to fully prepare and review for all sections of the exam.

#9 – The GMAT is in English

The test is administered entirely in English. This is important to know for test takers who have difficulty with the language or are not confident in their ability to understand and communicate using it. If you feel like you need to take time to improve your English before taking the exam, you should include it in your test preparation. You will have to do this before diving into studying for the GMAT itself.

#10 – There are regulations to follow on test day

On test day, you will not be allowed to bring in mobile phones, notes, scratch paper, pens, dictionaries, thesauri, watches and other devices, and only identification, a list of programs where your score must be sent and your appointment letter will be allowed. The test will last for three hours and thirty minutes, and you can take two optional breaks. There are also country specific test center regulations, so make sure you review those applicable to the country you’re taking the test in.

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