Ace the GMAT Test: Tips and Strategies for Success
If you’re looking to pursue a graduate degree, taking the GMAT test is an essential step towards achieving your goals. Scoring well on the GMAT test can open doors to top graduate programs and help you stand out among other applicants. In this article, we’ll provide expert advice on how to prepare for the GMAT test, including where to start, test content overview, tips and strategies for acing the test, and what to expect on test day.
We’ll also address frequently asked questions and provide specific tips for non-native English speakers taking the test. Whether you’re taking the GMAT test for the first time or looking to improve your score, our comprehensive guide has got you covered. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- What is the GMAT Test?
- GMAT Test Preparation: Where to Start
- GMAT Test Content Overview
- Tips for Acing the GMAT Test
- GMAT Test Day: What to Expect
- Interpreting GMAT Scores
- GMAT Test Tips for Non-Native English Speakers
- GMAT Test FAQs
What is the GMAT Test?
If you’re planning to pursue a graduate degree, chances are you’ll have to take the GMAT test. The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardized test that assesses your analytical, quantitative, verbal, and integrated reasoning skills. It’s used by graduate business schools around the world to evaluate applicants for admission.
The test is computer-based and consists of four sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal. The total testing time is 3 hours and 30 minutes, and the maximum score is 800. Each section is scored separately, and the scores are combined to give you a total score.
GMAT Test Sections
The Analytical Writing Assessment section measures your ability to analyze an argument and communicate your ideas effectively in writing. You are given 30 minutes to complete this section.
The Integrated Reasoning section measures your ability to evaluate information presented in multiple formats and from multiple sources. This section consists of 12 questions and you are given 30 minutes to complete it.
The Quantitative section measures your ability to reason mathematically, solve quantitative problems, and interpret graphic data. This section consists of 31 questions and you are given 62 minutes to complete it.
The Verbal section measures your ability to read and understand written material, evaluate arguments, and correct written material to conform to standard written English. This section consists of 36 questions and you are given 65 minutes to complete it.
It’s important to understand the structure and question types of the GMAT test when preparing for it. In the next section, we’ll discuss various options for preparing for the GMAT test.
GMAT Test Preparation: Where to Start
Preparing for the GMAT test requires discipline, effort, and a well-planned strategy. When deciding where to start, there are several resources and options to choose from. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Self-study is an excellent option for individuals who prefer to work independently. The Official Guide for GMAT Review provides a comprehensive overview of the test, including sample questions and practice tests. Additionally, there are many online resources and study guides available, such as Magoosh and Manhattan Prep, that offer comprehensive test-taking strategies, timed practice tests, and personalized feedback.
A GMAT coach can provide individualized attention and support to help you achieve your goals. A coach can help you develop a personalized study plan, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and provide targeted strategies to help you tackle difficult questions. A coach may also provide motivation and accountability to help you stay on track.
With the rise of online learning, there are now many online GMAT test prep options available, including online courses, video lectures, and interactive forums. Taking the GMAT online offers the flexibility of studying according to your schedule and taking the test from the comfort of your own home. However, it is important to ensure that the online resource provider is accredited and recognized by the GMAT test.
Creating a Study Plan
Regardless of the method you choose, it is important to create a study plan and stick to it. A study plan should include realistic goals, a schedule of study times and a list of resources. Set weekly and monthly goals to track progress and hold yourself accountable. Be sure to include time for practice tests and review sessions in your study plan.
Test Center vs. Online Test
Deciding between taking the GMAT test at a test center or online at home depends on personal preference and situation. A test center provides a professional testing environment, and eliminates the need to worry about technical issues. On the other hand, taking the test online offers flexibility and convenience. However, ensure you have all the necessary equipment and choose a quiet and secure location.
GMAT Test Content Overview
The GMAT test consists of four sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal. Each section assesses specific skills and abilities that are considered essential for success in graduate business programs.
Analytical Writing Assessment
The Analytical Writing Assessment section requires test-takers to analyze and evaluate an argument and write a persuasive essay. This section assesses the ability to think critically and communicate ideas effectively in writing.
The Integrated Reasoning section requires test-takers to solve complex problems using data from multiple sources and formats. This section assesses the ability to gather, analyze, and synthesize information from different sources to solve real-world business problems.
The Quantitative section requires test-takers to solve mathematical and quantitative problems related to business concepts. This section assesses the ability to reason quantitatively, interpret data, and perform mathematical calculations.
The Verbal section requires test-takers to evaluate written passages and answer questions based on the information presented. This section assesses the ability to read and comprehend written materials, reason critically, and evaluate arguments.
Each section is timed and contains both multiple-choice and task-based questions. Test-takers must answer a minimum number of questions correctly to progress to the next section. The total time for the test is approximately three and a half hours, including breaks.
Tips for Acing the GMAT Test
Scoring well on the GMAT test requires more than just knowing the content; it also involves strategic test-taking skills. Here are some tips to help you ace the GMAT test:
- Time Management: The GMAT test is timed, so it is essential to manage your time effectively. Practice pacing yourself during practice tests, and make sure you are familiar with the test’s timing and format.
- Critical Thinking: The GMAT test is designed to assess your ability to think critically and solve problems. Practice analyzing arguments, evaluating information, and making logical deductions
- Eliminating Wrong Answers: One strategy for narrowing down answer choices is to eliminate obviously incorrect options. This can help you focus on the more likely correct answers and improve your chances of getting the question right.
- Avoid Common Pitfalls: The GMAT test is notorious for including tricky questions and answer choices designed to trip you up. Be aware of common pitfalls, such as assumptions or oversimplifications, and avoid them
- Ethics and Integrity: It goes without saying that cheating on the GMAT test is not an option. Not only is it unethical, but it can also have severe consequences for your academic and professional career. Stay honest and maintain your integrity.
By incorporating these strategies into your GMAT test preparation, you will be well-equipped to achieve a high score and ultimately reach your academic and career goals.
GMAT Test Day: What to Expect
GMAT test day can be stressful, but being prepared can help alleviate some of the anxiety. Read on to learn what to expect on test day, whether you’re taking the GMAT at a test center or online from home.
GMAT at a Test Center
If you’re taking the GMAT at a test center, arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled test time. Bring a valid ID, such as a passport or driver’s license, as well as your confirmation email. Your test center will provide scratch paper and a pen or pencil for the Analytical Writing Assessment section.
Once you arrive, you’ll go through a security check, which may include a metal detector scan and storage of personal items in a locker. You’ll be fingerprinted, and your photo will be taken to match your ID.
The test center staff will guide you to your assigned workstation, where you’ll complete your test on a computer. You’ll be allowed to take two optional eight-minute breaks during the test, but the clock will keep running during this time.
GMAT Online at Home
If you’re taking the GMAT online from home, make sure you’ve completed the required technical and environmental checks at least 24 hours before your scheduled test time. You’ll need a computer with a reliable internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone.
On test day, log in to the GMAT online portal 30 minutes before your scheduled test time. Follow the on-screen instructions to check in, which will include showing your ID and your testing environment to the proctor via webcam. You’ll be allowed to take two optional eight-minute breaks during the test, but the clock will keep running during this time.
No matter where you take the GMAT, try to stay calm and focused. Remember to bring your ID and confirmation email to the test center, or complete the required technical checks if taking the test online from home. Take advantage of the optional breaks to stretch, hydrate, and clear your mind. Good luck!
Interpreting GMAT Scores
Scoring well on the GMAT test is crucial for admission to top graduate programs. But how are GMAT scores calculated and interpreted by schools? Let’s dive into this question.
|Analytical Writing Assessment||0-6 in 0.5-point increments|
|Integrated Reasoning||1-8 in 1-point increments|
|Quantitative||0-60 in 1-point increments|
|Verbal||0-60 in 1-point increments|
|Total||200-800 in 10-point increments|
As you can see, the GMAT test is scored on a 200-800 scale, with separate scores for each section. The Analytical Writing Assessment and Integrated Reasoning sections are scored separately, while the Quantitative and Verbal sections are combined to create the Total score.
The GMAT score report also includes percentiles, which indicate the percentage of test-takers who scored lower than you on the test. For example, if your Total score is in the 90th percentile, it means that you scored higher than 90% of test-takers.
While achieving a perfect GMAT score of 800 is certainly impressive, it is not necessary for admission to top graduate programs. The average GMAT score for students admitted to the top 10 MBA programs is around 730, while the average score for all test-takers is around 560. However, scoring well on the GMAT test can certainly boost your chances of admission, especially if you are applying to selective programs.
If you are unhappy with your GMAT score, you can retake the test after a waiting period of 16 days. However, keep in mind that many graduate programs consider only the highest score, so it is important to prepare thoroughly before taking the test.
GMAT Test Tips for Non-Native English Speakers
If English is not your native language, taking the GMAT test can be a daunting experience. However, with the right preparation and strategies, you can still achieve a high score and reach your academic goals. Here are some tips to help non-native English speakers ace the GMAT test:
Improve Your English Skills
One of the keys to success in the GMAT test is having a strong grasp of the English language. Make sure to practice reading, writing, speaking, and listening as much as possible. Consider enrolling in an English language course or working with a tutor to improve your skills. Additionally, reading academic articles and publications can help you become more familiar with the type of language used in the GMAT test.
Approach Reading Comprehension Questions Strategically
The Reading Comprehension section of the GMAT test can be particularly challenging for non-native English speakers. To improve your performance on these questions, try to read the passage in a strategic, active way. Look for keywords and key phrases, and try to identify the main idea and supporting details. Additionally, practice summarizing the passage in your own words to help ensure that you have a strong understanding of the material.
Manage Your Time Effectively
Time management is essential in the GMAT test, and non-native English speakers may need to be particularly mindful of this. Make sure to pace yourself throughout the test, and don’t spend too much time on any one question. If you are having difficulty with a question, consider skipping it and coming back to it later. Additionally, try to maintain a steady rhythm throughout the test, rather than rushing or slowing down too much.
Address Challenges Specific to Non-Native English Speakers
Non-native English speakers may face unique challenges when taking the GMAT test, such as unfamiliar vocabulary or cultural references. To overcome these challenges, try to expose yourself to a range of English-language materials, such as books, films, and TV shows, to help build your vocabulary. Additionally, try to practice with GMAT test materials specifically designed for non-native speakers, which can help you become more familiar with the language and test structure.
By following these tips, non-native English speakers can improve their chances of success on the GMAT test and achieve their academic goals.
GMAT Test FAQs
If you’re gearing up to take the GMAT test, you likely have a lot of questions. Here are some frequently asked questions (and their answers) to help you better prepare.
You can take the GMAT test once every 16 calendar days, up to five times within any rolling 12-month period. After the fifth attempt, you must wait at least 16 calendar days before taking the test again.
You can change or cancel your GMAT test appointment up to 24 hours before your scheduled test time. You can do this online through your GMAT account or by calling the GMAT Customer Service Center. Please note that fees may apply for rescheduling or cancellation.
GMAT scores are valid for five years. However, some business schools may only accept scores that are less than three years old.
The online GMAT exam is identical in content, format, and on-screen experience to the test taken at a test center. The only difference is that you will take the exam on your own computer at home, and you will be monitored remotely by a proctor. You will need a reliable internet connection and a computer that meets the technical requirements outlined by GMAC.
During the GMAT test, you can expect to spend about 3.5 hours answering questions across four sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal. You will have a few short breaks in between sections. You will be provided with a scratch pad and marker to use during the test.
If you have additional questions about the GMAT test, you can visit the official GMAT website or contact the GMAT Customer Service Center. There are also many online resources available, including test prep providers and GMAT forums.