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What is GMAT and how to prep

  • 02/20/2021

About GMAT

The Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT, is a multiple-choice, computer-adaptive standardized exam that is a part of the business school admission process. Developed and administered by test maker GMAC, GMAT provides business schools with candidates’ preparedness for graduate-level academic work.

Business school admission committees look at your GMAT score, along with work experience, academic record, and supporting materials, to assess your readiness for the MBA program.

The GMAT exam tests your critical thinking, command of basic mathematics, data analysis, and grammar. It primarily measures your ability to analyze and evaluate written material, think critically, and solve problems. Knowing how to analyze information is the key to a great GMAT score.

The GMAT exam consists of four separately timed sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative and Verbal. The total exam time is approximately 3.5 hours with two optional eight-minute breaks in between.

On the test day, GMAT test takers can choose their preferred order from three options.

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning (IR), Quantitative, Verbal
  • Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment


GMAT sections:

gmat preparation

The total score, which ranges between 200 – 800, is based on Math and Verbal section results after scale conversion with a mean score of 564.64.

Study Tips:

GMAT is a formulaic and dynamic exam which adapts to your skill level.  Even though, there is no substitute for studying, you can try out some quick strategies below to improve your performance right away.

1. Develop a GMAT study plan early.

Start your preparation at least four months prior to your test date. Most test takers report a minimum of two-months’ worth of study. However, you are the best judge of how much time you need to prepare.

2. Familiarize yourself with the test sections and consider them in your study plan.

Review the types of questions in the Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Verbal, and Quantitative Reasoning sections and practice each section one at a time.

Prepare well in the areas that are tested on each GMAT section: Reading Comprehension; Critical Reasoning; Grammar rules for Verbal and AWA; Algebra, Arithmetic and Geometry for Quantitative Reasoning; and basic data presentation for Integrated Reasoning.

3. Pick your GMAT prep materials wisely.

Use the free GMAT™ Official Practice Starter Kit and Exams 1 & 2 to help you become familiar with the format used in the actual exam.

Also, Practice with real GMAT questions, answers, and explanations using the GMAT™ Official Guide.

4. Identify your GMAT weaknesses (and work on them)

On a scale of 1-5, with 1 being poor and 5 being Excellent, how would you rate your skills in Math and Verbal? This will play into extra time you would spend in studying specifically for the GMAT.

For example: If you are stronger in math but weak in verbal, then make a study schedule focusing more on verbal. Also, Read articles from The Financial Times, The Economist magazine, Bloomsburg Businessweek, and The New York Times. This will accustom you to advanced grammatical constructions typical of GMAT Verbal.

5. Keep track of time as part of your GMAT prep and Do not get stuck on any question.

Practice pacing because time management is critical to the GMAT exam.  While taking a timed practice test, do as carefully as possible, but do not spend more than 2 minutes on any question as it will leave you with lesser time for the rest of the sections. Most of the questions can be answered by applying shortcuts. Also, go through the choices before answering any question. If you do not, you may waste time putting answers in a form that is not required. So, if on timed tests you find yourself taking a longer time than anticipated on any question, then you are probably not implementing the shortcut needed to solve it.

6. Use process of elimination on the GMAT exam.

Eliminate the choices you know are wrong first, select the best of the remaining choices, and move on to the next question.Remember to read each question carefully to determine what information is given and what is being asked.

7. Practice visual literacy during GMAT prep.

Learning to read tables, graphs and charts is important to GMAT. In quantitative section, you will be expected to read geometric figures and be comfortable using symbols created just for the exam.  The Integrated Reasoning requires a higher level of visual literacy than Math. In the IR section, you will need to analyze multiple charts and tables to gather data. So be sure to practice visual skills during your GMAT prep by having a look at various infographic websites across the net.

8. Improve your mental math as part of your study plan

Mental math is a time-saving tool you will need when it comes to the Quantitative and Integrated Reasoning portions of the exam as you are not permitted the usage of a calculator in GMAT. So, improving your mental maths skills is a must. For Verbal, learn to read with minimal note-taking— note-taking is important, but heavy notetaking can slow you down.

9. Take official practice tests to improve weak areas.

By simulating the real test experience, you will familiarize yourself with the test format and frequently tested concepts. This will diagnose your strengths and weaknesses based on your practice test so you can adapt your study plan to the areas where you need work.Before preparing for GMAT, take a diagnostic test first to get a sense of your current areas for improvement and prepare a timetable accordingly. After you have started studying, assess your progress regularly with additional practice tests. Make sure you are prepared by doing as much prep as possible on computer.

With Brighter prep, you will be able to address all the issues above. We completely customize the study program for your abilities so that you are always working on what is most effective for you. We even give you different strategies depending on what your score target is.

10. Manage your time!

Stick to a schedule that works for you. Work significant portions of study time into your daily routine by using a variety of study methods. How you approach a task is as important as how you do it. Also, take breaks often and reward yourself!

Last but not the least, Bring it all together for test day!

In conclusion, the only way to ace the GMAT is to invest lots of time in preparation. Studying for it requires motivation, endurance, and skill. Choose a good test preparation institute like Brighterprep to help realize your goal. Consider your dream grad school and research the score you will need to get in.Writing down why you want that score on GMAT—and reviewing your reasons often—can be a powerful reminder to keep you going! Dive into the study plan, Maintain your health and Happy preparation!


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