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What is GMAT? Here is Everything You Need to Know Before Taking the Test

What is GMAT? Here is Everything You Need to Know Before Taking the Test
A vital aspect of getting into a good business school – GMAT is an entrance exam that students take to take admission in MBA. Undoubtedly, it makes your application strong and will give you preference over students who have not taken the test. However, you can say GMAC administers this test to help business schools to analyze their decision about which candidate to choose. It is considered the predictor of a student’s academic test. Also, it is assessed by recruiters when a business student is applying for jobs. In this post, we will talk about everything you need to know before taking the GMAT. Without any further ado, let’s get started.

What is GMAT?

First and foremost, the GMAT (General Management Admission Test) analyzes a student’s critical thinking skills so if you are familiar with critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. You will be likely to do great. The exam focuses on all nationalities. More than 2100 recognized institutions require this test around the globe. The GMAT holds great importance in around 114 countries. Since it is an adaptive computer test, it is more accurate and reliable than a paper test.
The exam’s focus will be to measure a student’s capability to work with introductory algebra, arithmetic, geometry, grammar, and more. As a student you will be expected to analyze and evaluate, think, and solve written problems during the exam. If you lack a quantitative background, experts advise that you take the GRE test. Just remember to check with your desired business school if they accept GRE rather than GMAT. The GMAT test is divided into four main sections that are mentioned below.
  1. Analytical Writing Assessment – analyzing critical thinking and communication skills.
  2. Integrated Reasoning – analyzing the student’s ability to interpret information
  3. Quantitative Reasoning – analyzing a student’s mathematical abilities
  4. Verbal Section – determining a students comprehension skills.

GMAT Exam Pattern and Duration

The GMAT is an approximately three and a half-hour test primarily conducted online these days. However, in remote areas, it is still taken the traditional way on papers. It depends upon the availability in your area as per government rules, also if the test centres are maintaining social distancing, also focusing on hygiene.
Also, with this ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the whole world is shifting to technology. A student can take the exam from the comfort of their home on his/her personal Windows or Mac computers. Except in a few areas like Mainland China, Cuba, Iran, Sudan and North Korea, GMAT is not available online.

The test is divided into four sections. You will be allotted specific time slots to complete each task. 

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (30 minutes)
  • Integrated Reasoning (30 minutes)
  • Quantitative (62 minutes)
  • Verbal Section (65 minutes)
  • Optional Breaks (16 minutes)
The AWA section helps analyze a student’s writing skills. It is scored by the computer grading system as well as humans. If both the results are highly unlikely, then another human takes over to evaluate the test score.
In the integrated reasoning section, there will be 12 questions with multiple parts. At the same time, the quantitative section will solely assess the student’s ability to solve arithmetic, algebra and geometric questions. It will help analyze a student’s critical thinking skills. Lastly, the verbal section focuses on critical reasoning, reading comprehension, and sentence correction.

GMAT Preparation

It solely depends on a student’s ability on how long or short he/she should spend preparing for the test. Like every other test, there is no magic trick that will help you succeed in GMAT. However, it would be best to spend time on preparation and planning more than worrying about scoring the best scores. It is all about studying smart rather than studying hard.
Does it actually matter how many hours should I spend on the preparation of GMAT? According to a student survey, GMAT test-takers who spent around 80 hours studying for the test were able to score between 600-690. While those GMAT students who scored more than 700 studied for more than 90 hours.

hours spent preparing for gmat exam


If a student is more ambitious, he will likely focus more on the exam studying for more hours naturally as you learn with practice. At the same time, the more significant amount of time spent on the GMAT test shows better results. GMAT is a challenging exam, and you should prepare accordingly. The more you practice, the better you achieve as study habits and targeted scores matter more. Just keep in mind that due to the test’s computer-adaptive format, you will not be able to attempt a tricky question later. So, be prepared to give quick answers.

Great Tips for Getting Steller Scores in Gmat

Here are a few great tips to help you achieve excellent scores in the exam. These tips will help you prepare for the exam so you can do your best even on the first attempt. However, by following the right strategy and proper planning, you can show excellent results especially if you have a targeted score in mind.

  • Get Familiar with the Format.. Succeeding in the GMAT exam and scoring a steller score predicts you are able to adapt to the business environment well. Performing well in the exam will help you succeed in business school without a doubt as it will teach you determination, motivation, and every skill you need to learn to succeed in your business career. If you are familiar with the test format in advance, you are likely to achieve a better score. It would help if you prepared yourself with everything that you can expect at the test centre or while taking the test online.
  • Register Beforehand.. Another great tip would be to register for the exam several months earlier. It will help you choose your preferred dates as well. It will be hard to find your desired slot if you register just before the exam. Besides, registering way before the exam will give you a lot of time and motivation to prepare for the exam. You would not want your investment of $250 to go to waste.
  • Your Study Plan is the Most Important.. Developing a study plan holds great importance as if you only register and do not follow a specific study plan will not mean anything. If you genuinely want to get your desired score in the exam, you need to be disciplined and follow your study plan. Do not leave everything to prepare at the end as it will only burden your mind and without practice you will not be able to perform well.
  • Study Smart Rather than Study Hard.. GMAT official starter kit is proved helpful as it matches the exam format and will help you get accustomed to the exam format. It is always great to be prepared in advance. The kit gives you a chance to get familiar with the exam format and is absolutely free. However, do not expect to perform excellent on your first attempt. The goal should be to only get familiar with the design of the exam at first. Memorization is not what actually counts. GMAT is all about practice,
  • Plan Your Time.. In order to show a stellar performance in the test. You need to focus significantly on the timeline that you have made for the test preparation. However, discipline is the key. Analyze your studying habits and when your mind feels productive the most. Choose that time to study for the exam; this way, less effort will provide you with better performance. While taking the test, time management plays a vital role to secure a great score. Try to answer the test questions mindfully, as there will not be a second chance.
  • Make Use of the Test Prep Material.. The material available for the test preparation will help you extensively assess your performance, so make use of the resources. Practising ahead of the exam will help you boost your confidence immensely. Know your weaker areas and target them effectively. All the tools and resources that will be proved helpful for a GMAT student to take the test efficiently are here. Feel free to hire an online tutor that will help you with the test preparation and solve queries you have. You can also join various study groups online.
  • Consider Retaking the Test.. Not all students have the same abilities and capabilities, so do not be too hard on yourself if you are unable to achieve your desired score on the first try. Consider retaking the test. You will feel more confident the next time you visit the exam centre. Evaluate the mistakes that you made in your first attempt and focus on eradicating them.
  • Trying not to Panic.. the GMAT is an important test, so most students tend to panic on exam day. Meditation can help you feel better, and it can reduce your anxiety level. It will also be helpful to take a tour of the exam centre before the exam day to get familiar with the routing. The students must consider taking the time of the test when they feel the most productive.
Remember, as you answer most questions correctly, the exam tends to get more complicated, so be mindful and do not ignore the actual exam conditions while practising. It will help you analyze and assess your performance in a better way.

GMAT Score

You might have heard students referring to GMAT to CAT because it’s a computer adaptive test. When you start attempting the quiz, the computer will give you a question of medium difficulty. If you do it right, the difficulty level will increase as you keep attempting the questions as this exam helps analyze and predict a students ability to succeed in the business world and their careers ahead. On the other hand, if a student tends to give a wrong answer at first, the computer will show more easy questions. The algorithm works that way, predicting the ability of a student’s various skills.
If you want to achieve a great score and want to beat the GMAT algorithm, you must prepare hard. The integrated reasoning section is scored at 1 to 8. Whereas the quantitative and verbal sections are scored at 0 to 60, the analytical writing assessment is based on 0 to 6.
Your target should be on achieving more than 700 scores if you intend to go to a competitive MBA school as a strong applicant. However, it is also important to be realistic and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Think of a low score as a learning opportunity and give yourself a chance to improve in the test. You can retake the test and master it the next time.

Application Process

The first step would be to create an account on mba.com and proceed with the GMAT application process. Or you could also make a call to the local GMAT customer service centre and schedule your exam. You can make the payment through your debit, credit card or even payrolls.
As most people register for GMAT online. It is a simple process in which you will make an account on mba.com. Just make sure to keep your username and password saved. Your account will also keep a record of your business journey. However, in case of a disability, you need to request for disability accommodation beforehand and wait for confirmation. Here are the main steps that you need to follow for the application process.

  1. Make an account on mba.com
  2. The registration process will start.
  3. Provide all the necessary information.
  4. After verifying your profile
  5. Schedule your GMAT
  6. Pay the fee.
Just keep your documents handy, and you will be done with the application process within 15 minutes.
During the registration process, the documents you might need would be your full name mentioned on the passport, email address, debit/credit card, nationality, and further essential information.
If you register through a phone call, the customer service representative will fill your form on your behalf. You can also register for the GMAT using postal mail and fax.

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With over 3 years of experience in teaching, Chloe is very deeply connected with the topics that talk about the educational and general aspects of a student's life. Her writing has been very helpful for students to gain a better understanding of their academics and personal well-being. I’m also open to any suggestions that you might have! Please reach out to me at chloedaniel402 [at] gmail.com

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