GMAT stands for Graduate Management Administration Test and is the examination that’s used by most universities to assess a potential candidate who is applying to the school of business. The test assesses a candidate’s writing, verbal, analytical, reading, and quantitative skills through a computer-based exam. Though the test is not the only determining factor when it comes to getting accepted into graduate school, it can definitely make or break a candidate’s eligibility and is regarded as a fair and comprehensive evaluation of an applicant’s skills.
What Exactly is on the GMAT?
The test is broken into four sections, which are composed of 12-41 questions. The sections include an analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning, quantitative, and a verbal reasoning component. The first two sections of the test are both 30 minutes, while the quantitative and verbal sections are both 75 minutes, and contain 37 and 41 questions.
The integrated reasoning section of the GMAT is a newer addition to the test. Questions in this category are presented in one of four forms: two-part analysis, graphic interpretation, table analysis, and multi-source reasoning. Test takers have 30 minutes to answer 12 questions, and the questions become easier or harder depending on the test taker’s performance.
The essay portion of the test resembles the writing sections of other college entrance exams in that it is scored on a scale ranging from 1 to 6, will be marked down for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors, and gives higher scores for succinct essays that use logical reasoning. The writer’s task is to analyze an argument. The more thorough and rational the analysis is, the higher the score.
Both the verbal and the quantitative sections are similar to verbal/quantitative sections of the GRE. They assess a test taker’s ability to solve basic algebra and geometry problems, interpret graphs, demonstrate problem solving skills, understand different vocabulary in and out of context, answer questions about text, and use logic to understand the relationship between sections of text.
How is the GMAT Scored?
Most applicants to business school score in the high 500s, but if you want to be accepted into a top-tier school, you’ll need a score of at least 600, although a score of 720+ is more ideal. The test is scored by rewarding more credit for each difficult question answered correctly. If a candidate isn’t performing at a high-level, the test will automatically adapt and become easier. Even if the candidate answers these questions correctly, less credit will be awarded for easier questions. Each section of the test is scored separately, with a cumulative total score being awarded as well.
How do I Prepare for the GMAT?
The GMAT isn’t an easy test and is said to be more difficult, particularly in the quantitative section, than the GRE and much more difficult than the ACT or SAT. However, in comparison to other standardized tests, such as the LSAT, Foreign Service Entrance Exam, or MCAT, the GMAT is relatively painless. That being said, proper study and testing techniques are very important in order to prepare for the test. Business Week touts a wonderful 90-Day GMAT Study Plan that can help prospective graduate students get ready for the test. There are also a variety of study books out there, including editions by the Princeton Review and Kaplan. The best way to prepare for the test is to give yourself enough time, make sure you’re familiar with all sections, focus on your weaknesses and your strengths, and practice practice practice.
Roy Pritchard writes on higher education, certification exams, testing materials, graduate programs, grants and scholarships and other related topics. Those who’d like to learn more should view the A+ certification study materials from Total Seminars.
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