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GMAT Tips for Beginners

The business school application process takes several factors into consideration. One of them is your score on the Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT.

What Is the GMAT?

The GMAT provides an objective measure of a candidate's proficiency in the skills most important to success in business school. These include critical thinking, problem solving, and the analysis and evaluation of written material. The test also measures business school applicants' command of basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, multi-source data analysis and grammar.

The Graduate Management Admission Council developed the exam to be "the most trusted, proven and well-understood predictor of academic success." It is relied upon by more than 6,000 business programs in 2,100 schools and universities in 114 countries.

The 3.5 hour computer-based, multiple-choice test produces a composite score ranging from 200 to 800 based on scores from sections of the test:

  1. 75-minute Quantitative section (scores range from 0 to 60)
  2. 75-minute Verbal section (scores range from 0 to 60)
  3. 30-minute Analytical Writing Assessment (scores range from 0 to 6, but do not count toward the overall composite GMAT score)
  4. 30-minute Integrated Reasoning section (scores range from 1 to 8)

How to Prepare for the GMAT

The best way to get ready for this exam is with preparatory courses or books and practice tests. The former help you to understand how the test is structured, what kinds of questions it includes, and how to go about building up your proficiency (and memory) for the tested subjects. Many of the books contain practice questions and exams, but taking an online practice exam more accurately simulates the GMAT experience, and provides you with specific feedback on areas you need to focus on improving most before you sit for the real exam.

Tips for Exam Day

The GMAT exam is uniquely designed, so it helps to understand a few concepts that underpin the test in order to maximize your potential score:

  1. Sections are computer-adaptive: This means the test changes based on the number of questions you answer correctly and their levels of difficulty. These sections begin with a medium-difficulty question, and the questions get harder if you get the answers correct, and easier if you do not. The computer is homing in on your skill level, and it also counts questions that appear early more than those that appear later. So start slowly and be methodical in your work. Check and double-check until you have the feel of the test before quickening your pace.
  2. Use intelligent guesses: Remember, one of the test objectives is to determine your logic and reasoning capabilities, so use the process of elimination to rule out wrong answers. By doing this, you will increase your odds of identifying the correct answer; it is always easier to guess between two possibilities than three or more.
  3. Answer all questions: Guess on any questions you may have left unanswered, rather than leaving them blank, as there is a penalty for unanswered questions. Because the test is multiple choice, randomly answering the difficult questions will almost certainly yield a higher score than leaving them unanswered.

You May Qualify for a Waived GMAT Requirement

Candidates are required to submit either GMAT or GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores for consideration. However, there are conditions under which this requirement can be waived. The Texas A&M University Corpus Christi program admissions committee will waive the GMAT requirement for students with a 3.0 GPA or better in the last 60 hours AND a grade of B or better earned in college algebra or a higher level math course. The GMAT requirement will also be waived if the applicant has earned a master's degree AND a grade of B or better in college algebra or a higher level math course.

As you go through this process, keep in mind that GMAT preparation helps to bridge the transition between where you are now — whether you are working or have just finished your undergraduate studies — and where you need to be in your preparedness for business school. Approach it with this positive attitude and prepare to excel — on the exam and in business school!

Learn more about TAMU-CC's online MBA program.


Sources:

GMAC: About the GMAT Exam

MBA.com: GMAT Official Starter Kit + Practice Exams 1 & 2 (Free)

Princeton Review: 6 GMAT Tips to Follow on Test Day

Kaplan: What Is the GMAT?

Kaplan: Creating a GMAT Study Schedule


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