The Graduate Management Aptitude Test, commonly called as GMAT, is a globally recognized common management aptitude test. It was started in 1954 and was developed by an alliance of nine schools, known as The Graduate Management Council. It was started with an aim to organize a standardized test, and it has now become a gatekeeper for all the higher degree courses in management, finance, accountancy, and economy. In India, over 100 business schools accept GMAT as an entrance test for admission into their 200 programs. The top-notch college for Management in India, IIM Ahmedabad accepts GMAT, keeping it par with the CAT scores. Other creamy layer colleges that accept GMAT scores include XLRI Jamshedpur, IIFT Delhi, NMIMS, just to name a few. Owing to its ever-increasing popularity, presently the GMAT test is available at 600 test centers in 114 nations across the globe. The GMAT scores are used by over 2100 universities and institutions for more than 6,000 programs. More than 2,43,000 people took the test during 2014, which itself is a testimony to the significance of the GMAT. Further, the cherry on the cake is that this exam is conducted multiple times in a year. In this three and a half hour test, the minimum score is 200 while the maximum being 800. The GMAT exam mainly consists of four sections, namely Analytical writing assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Verbal, and Quantitative. Let us now discuss each of these sections in detail to help you better in the know-how of the exam.
- Analytical Writing Assessment
It consists of broadly one topic- “analysis of an argument”. The time allotted to this section is 30 minutes. Basically, the candidate is supposed to analyze an essay in which a statement of position is given. The candidate has to analyze and suggest where the reasoning has been faulty or how it can be improved, if any improvements are required. For this, one needs immense practice of critical analysis, in order to score well in this section.
- Integrated Reasoning
This section has 12 questions which need to be solved in 30 minutes. For solving this section, the candidates are provided with an online calculator. The question types include four concepts. Firstly, there is a table analysis, which has various questions based on the information in the given table, the candidate has to answer these “true/ false questions” based on their calculations and reasoning. In the second type, the candidates are asked to interpret a graph or graphical image. After analyzing the graph, one needs to answer the fill-in-the blank statements. Multi-source reasoning, which is the third type, has different tabbed pages which contain the relative data. The examinee has to go through all of them and answer the questions accordingly. Finally, in two-part analysis, a question has two components of a solution. The answers are presented in the table format with a column for each component and rows for all the possible options. The examinee has to choose one response per column.
This section contains 37 questions and is one of the longest sections of the test. The time allotted for this section is 75 minutes. To check the quantitative aptitude of the test takers, questions are based on the topics like Data Sufficiency as well as problem solving. The questions of problem solving require one to be thorough till the 12th grade mathematics. However, the level of reasoning required to solve data sufficiency questions is quite high, which means one needs to practice them a lot. Also, as calculators are not provided at all, so the calculation needs to be done manually.
In terms of number of questions, it is indeed the longest section with 41 questions. There are broadly three types of questions asked in this section, namely Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction and Reading Comprehension. The questions are multiple choice questions, all of which are required to be solved within 75 minutes. Out of these, there are generally 12 Reading Comprehensions, 14 Critical reasoning type questions and the rest are based on sentence correction. As per the time allotted, the number of RCs is more, so one needs to develop greater reading speed, only then the section can be completed well in time.
Now, let us have a glimpse of the available study material for this celebrated exam.
Through its official website GMAC gives an online platform to help the test takers in the best manner. All the resources provided here are free of cost, user-friendly and finally the best in the market. These include –
- Free GMAT Prep Software : It is a test preparation software available free to registered users of mba.com
- GMAT Write: It is an online tool that helps you prepare for the Analytical Writing Assessment.
- GMAT Sample Papers: It has easy-to-download sets of ‘retired’ test papers.
- Besides it, GMAC also has a comprehensive guide to help the aspirants crack the exam. It is named as “The Official Guide for GMAT 2016”. If you are going to prepare from only one book, then this book surely wins the fight.
Other guides for the exam include books like-
- “Manhattan GMAT Strategy Guides”, (a set of 8 books)
- “Kaplan GMAT 800: Advanced Prep for Advanced Students”. It also has other books on verbal, quantitative section separately available.
Last but not the least, here are a few quick tips for the exam to help you to give it your best shot.
- As this a computer adaptive test, so you must spend some time on computer daily few months before the exam so that you can easily use it without any hassle on the test day.
- Have regular short daily studying sessions rather than cramming over the weekend.
- As calculators are not provided, so you must learn to do calculation with speed and accuracy to save the time.
- Time management is the most important key to nail the exam as the verbal and quantitative sections are quite lengthy.
- As now you well know, the pattern of the GMAT is different from CAT, so study for it separately as well, in case you are appearing for both.
- Finally have a strategy for solving the exam, decide how much to attempt in each section and how much time you are going to devote to each question therein.
With this A to Z guide in hand, you must also utilize time well and then you are sure to come up with great results. All the best! J