GMAT Exam Preparation & Best Practices to Score High

What is the GMAT test?

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) happens to be a 3½-hour standardized exam built to predict the academic performance o the test takers in any given MBA program and also their probability to succeed in the same. GMAT scores are used by graduate business schools to make admission decisions and the better your performance is; the higher chances of selection to the school of your choice.

Often, people call the GMAT exam by many names, and the most common of them is GMAT CAT. Interestingly, everyone engaged in GMAT study must know that although CAT stands for Computer Adaptive Test, just two of the exam's four sections (Quantitative and Verbal) are computer-adaptive--- which simply means t hat while testing you, the computer increases the difficulty level of the questions according to your performance just in two categories, while the other two sections are just computer based tests and not computer adaptive tests. 

Currently, computer based testing for GMAT is available all over the world, except in a few remote locations outside Northern America, where a paper based version of the GMAT exam is available for the test takers. 

What are the eligibility criteria for GMAT exam? 

Although students of any nationality can appear for the GMAT exam, one must remember that a qualified bachelor degree from a recognized institution is an absolute necessity for appearing in GMAT before they begin their GMAT prep. Before you set your eyes on a GMAT Study plan, ensure that you are at least 18 years of age. In case a student wants to write the test is aged between 13-17 years, then he or she must provide a written proof of guardian’s consent for taking GMAT Test. Don’t forget that a person can take a maximum of 5 attempts to clear GMAT in a year and there is a wait period of 16 days before taking the test again. Candidates will have to wait at least five years to take the GMAT Exam again if the previously obtained GMAT score is a perfect score of 800.

What score do I need to get into a top business school?

Want to work with your eyes set on the goal? Studypal.co has combined a list of top MBA schools accepting GMAT scores and the average score required to get an admission into the same. They are simply indicative, but can serve as target scores for those long hours of GMAT prep ahead of you: 

 

Business School – MBA program

2018 GMAT  score

2017 GMAT  score

2016 GMAT  score

2015 GMAT  score

2014 GMAT  score

The Wharton School

732

730

730

732

728

Harvard Business School

729

729

729

725

726

Stanford Graduate School of Business

732

737

737

733

732

Booth School of Business

731

730

726

726

724

Kellogg School of Management

732

732

728

724

713

MIT Sloan School of Management

728

722

724

716

713

Dartmouth Tuck

722

722

717

717

716

Columbia Business School

732

724

720

715

716

UC Berkeley (Haas)

726

725

717

715

717

Yale School of Management

724

727

725

721

719

 
 

Is the GMAT really a necessity for MBA applications?

Before taking the GMAT Test, you need to understand why it is important. And the reason is simple: it has been effective in predicting behavior!

Over the years, a high GMAT score has not correlated to professional success, but has correlated closely to success in the first year of business school for a given candidate at any point of time. And that is just one of the benefits of taking GMAT exam. 

Additionally, US News uses the GMAT scores for the students taking admission in a particular institute as a factor in its highly influential rankings. Schools want to do well in the rankings, and students with high scores make them look good. As much as rankings are important for applicants, they also tend to affect the rankings of a given institute extensively too.

Combining the predictive value of GMAT for a business studies institution and not business as per se – especially with respect to its objective qualities and influence on the rankings, GMAT turns out be an important, if not an absolute mandatory element in the MBA admissions equation in the US. It helps a student stand out with GMAT exam score, or in a better way to put it, be a part of the inner circle with the same!

What’s the difference between the GMAT and the GRE?

Although there are many factors that separate GMAT and GRE, the most obvious difference is that GMAT scores are helpful in admissions in business schools while GRE scores are accepted for admissions into a host of graduate school programmes. Technically speaking, both tests are a little over three and a half hours long and the scores are valid for 5 years each. So going by the rule of the thumb, one must go ahead with GMAT if they have their eyes set on business schools while if you are in doubt; GRE could be your right choice, as it provides the flexibility to apply to other graduate schools other than business schools.

How should I prepare for the GMAT?

Consistency over intensity: One can compare GMAT prep with learning to play chess. It is not only necessary to learn and know all the concepts and tricks; it is also essential to be confident and quick in using them. This means doing quick calculations in the quant section. Remember that regardless of what GMAT study guides say, you need to develop your own GMAT exam prep strategy to reach the goals you set for yourself. 

Set an exponential GMAT prep timetable: It goes with saying that you need to leave enough time and plan effectively during GMAT preparation. A GMAT study plan should be effective, and make sure it has answer to all your questions including how long to study for GMAT and a detailed GMAT study guide.

Practice educated guessing: A good method in dealing with GMAT questions (especially in the Verbal section) to which you are not absolutely certain of the answer is ‘educated guessing.’ This means to quickly rank the five possible answers in order of their suitability and exclude wrong answers.

Try to overshoot your target GMAT score : Even if you don’t necessarily need a 700+ GMAT score for your MBA application – maybe only 500 or 600 – it is still wise to overshoot during preparation in order to more or less safely reach your required score. Your preparation should target a GMAT score of at least 50 higher than you ‘need.

Use Online resources: When you Google for how to prepare for GMAT online, there are a zillion results that will pop up! Our two cents? We advise to make use of these resources for online GMAT preparation like pro! First, use the resources to develop an understanding of what you need to study and then access the most easily available and of course suitable, course of study for GMAT.  

What should I expect on my GMAT test day?

Prepare to feel a little nervous, but that is commonplace in every test. To make the best out of the situation, locate your test centre before hand and keep your photo ID handy when arriving for the exam. You will be given the option of choosing to take breaks between the sections and try not to waste those breaks. Utilize them to stay hydrated and always carry extra clothing in case you feel cold. A well rested day before the examination should be ideal to keep you going!

How does the Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) format work?

The CAT format is something unique—that tests your ability and the extent of it. So, instead of your standard test where there is a fixed share of easy, moderate and difficult questions, the GMAT test adapts to your performance, giving you challenges to understand your extent of learning. By the rule of thumb, if a student answers a question correctly, the next question will be of greater difficulty whereas if the answer is wrong, the difficulty level of the next question is lowered.

How is my GMAT score calculated?

GMAT score is divided into sections, although the total score is in the range of 200-800. The Analytic Writing Assessment is graded on a scale of 0.0 to 6.0, with the score an average of two scorings—one by a human and another by a computer. The Integrated Reasoning section is scored on the number of correct answers given for the section, and the marks can be affected by the questions which have more than one correct option, in which case, marks are awarded only when a student gets them all correct. It has a scoring range of 1-8. 

The Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections are item-level adaptive, and your score is based on three factors: Number of questions you answer, whether your answers are correct and the difficulty and other parameters of the questions you answered. You will be getting a higher score in GMAT if you answer a higher number of questions in the test, go ahead and answer more of them correctly, and qualify for questions of a higher difficulty level in the same. The scores are recorded in the intervals of 1 and the standard error of measurement in the score is 3 points. 

How many times can I take the GMAT?

 A student can take GMAT up to 5 times in year and 8 times total in a lifetime. The tests have to be scheduled with a gap of at least 16 days in between them.

How long will my GMAT score remain valid?

The GMAT Score is valid for five years

How long do you have to wait between GMAT exams?

The rules mandate that a candidate have to wait at least 16 calendar days before retaking the GMAT exam again

How B-schools will receive my score?

GMAT sends your Official Score Report to up to five (5) programs that you select at the test center prior to the start of your GMAT exam. These are sent in electronically or by mail, depending on the programs’ preferences.

Why you need a study partner or study group for the GMAT?

- Saves time
- Keeps you Disciplined and focused
- Saves money- as you can share notes
- Makes the study journey less lonely
- Makes studying fun

How can you find a study partner or study buddy or study group?

The perfect GMAT study partner is a search away at Studypal.co, but you need time and patience to choose the best one for yourself. Log on to the website with a large repository of study partners, filter them using location and test goals; before interacting with them. With time at hand, you can also meet a few people before you settle down for the perfect study pal for your test prep! Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it?