So you’ve decided to take up the GMAT. You google it and find GMAT sections, scoring and evaluation. Furthermore, you realise that you have to plan your preparation. In addition to planning and preparing, you have to separate exam facts from fiction and there seems to be a lot of information (and misinformation, it would seem!)
Don’t worry, we can help you by clearing out some of the misconceptions associated with the GMAT. Moreover, we’ll also give you some bite-sized tips along the way. Let us begin by understanding the GMAT full-form and the overall GMAT syllabus.
What is the GMAT?
The GMAT or Graduate Management Admission Test is a standardized computer-adaptive test conducted globally and is used to assess your application for MBA schools. The GMAT syllabus is designed to test your analytical and reasoning skills which are essential for you to perform well during the course of your postgraduate study.
How Many Sections Does the GMAT Have?
The GMAT consists of four sections and each section has its own time duration and scoring. The sections of the GMAT are as follows:
• Analytical Writing Assessment or AWA measures your critical thinking and how you communicate your ideas through a written essay.
• Integrated Reasoning or IR measures your ability to evaluate information from multiple sources.
• Quantitative Reasoning measures your ability to solve problems using concepts of mathematics and reasoning skills.
• Verbal Reasoning measures your command of the English language. Using critical reasoning, sentence correction and reading comprehension question types, the GMAT tests your ability to think critically and logically to answer questions in a short amount of time.
What is the GMAT Scoring Pattern and Evaluation Like?
The GMAT is scored on a scale of 200-800, the final score you receive after you complete the exam falls within this range. However, your final score comprises the verbal and quantitative reasoning section scores, you can score on a scale of 6-51 in each of these two sections. The combination of scores received on the verbal and quant sections determines your final score on a scale of 200-800.
In addition to the quant and verbal reasoning sections, you will also be provided with a separate Integrated reasoning score that ranges on the scale of 1-8. Furthermore, the AWA (Essay) is scored on a range of 0-6. It is essential to note that the scores of AWA and IR do not influence your score on the scale of 200-800 since the two sections are scored separately.
Now that we’ve covered the basic know-how, let’s move on to the myths.
For ease of understanding, we’ve broken them down to five major misconceptions to demystify.
Let’s take a look at them:
Myth 1: You Need Many Expensive Books to Pass the GMAT
No, you do not! You do not need to shell out a fortune to buy expensive guides or new textbooks. Rather, you can buy the previous editions of the books you need. There are older versions of the guides available from second-hand sellers. However, it is strongly recommended to get the GMAT Official Guide since it covers all the essential topics, has several exam-like questions to practice and provides detailed explanations to each answer. Bear in mind that the books are only as effective as the time and approach you to dedicate to your study.
Myth 2: You Need Only a Month to Prepare for the GMAT
Can you prepare for the exam in a month? The short answer is no.
Let’s put it this way- if you are working and have a full-time job, one month will not be enough.
Secondly, if you’ve been away from academics for quite some time you can’t be exam-ready for the GMAT in just one month.
Think of this as a skill-based test. So, like any other skill, preparing for the GMAT takes time to learn and master. Hence, give yourself a realistic timeline to review the questions of the different sections.
Start by taking a mock test to get an idea of where you stand on the GMAT scoring chart. Based on the score you receive on the mock test, give yourself a period of 4 to 6 months for preparation. Strategize your study with one section of the test at a time, time management is critical to completing the exam so practise pacing while solving problems.
You should only take the exam when you feel fully prepared to reach your goal score.
Myth 3: You Can Take the GMAT Only Once
Although you can take the exam more than once a year, GMAC allows you to take it 5 times once every 30 days. According to official guidelines, you can take the exam once every 16 calendar days. The lifetime limit on the attempts per person is 8. Moreover, the GMAT online exam is also counted in the said lifetime limit of attempts on the exam.
Myth 4: Only the Total Score is Counted
The GMAT provides you total scores based on your section-wise scores. Hence,
scoring above 700 requires you to perform well on both the quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning sections of the test. Therefore, to get the score you want, you have to work on your strengths and your weaknesses in both sections. Furthermore, your score report doesn’t just show your most recent scores. It also shows the scores of the times you’ve taken the exam in the last 5 years. Finally, the GMAT score is officially valid for 5 years from the date you took the test.
Myth 5: Getting a High GMAT Score is Enough to Get into a Good B-school
It counts as an important criterion to improve the chances of your MBA enrollment but a high test score is not the only criteria that count towards your admissions. To be honest, it certainly isn’t enough, this is because other factors go into the application that counts such as your work experience, LORs, essays, extra-curricular activities, etc.
The GMAT score is the only standardized test for applicants on which business schools can base their decisions. However, admissions committees will pay attention to other ways in which you’ll probably contribute to their class. MBA programs will look at your undergraduate grades, business experience, community service and leadership qualities.
So yes, a good score is important but not the sole component. Business schools also look at the quality of work experience and your previous academic performances to gauge your overall candidature.
Now that we have covered the basics of GMAT, it gives you a good starting point for your GMAT preparation journey. You can now make a precise plan and devise a focused method. With common myths busted and a more organized approach to GMAT prep, you can enhance your preparation and plan your application to your dream business school by considering all factors.