10 Tips to Help You Prepare for the GMAT Exam

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The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is overseen by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a non-profit organization comprised of the world’s leading graduate management schools. Since approximately 6,500 graduate business programs around the world consider the GMAT as an integral part of their enrollment process, taking time to prepare for this 3.5-hour exam is highly recommended.

As the GMAT exam is updated regularly, prospective students of Washington State University’s Carson College of Business online MBA program should prepare for the exam by using the GMAT Official Guides, which are available on the official website of the GMAT exam.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by Washington State University’s Carson College of Business online Master of Business Administration degree program.

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GMAT Exam Overview

U.S. business schools created the GMAT exam in 1954 as a way to standardize requirements for entrance exams taken by prospective students of graduate business management master’s programs.

Furthermore, approximately $250 is needed to cover the 3.5 hour exam, a total of 110 countries accept GMAT scores, and there are 600 official test centers located all across the world.

The average GMAT score ranges between 540 and 550, and approximately 50 people achieve a perfect score of 800 each year – these exam results are valid for five years.

10 Tips to Prepare for the GMAT Exam

Each person taking the exam should consider their own learning preferences and skills when assessing these study tips. Setting aside an adequate amount of time to prepare is also essential.

1. Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Communication Skills

The GMAT tests an ability to communicate in the business world using emails, letters and press releases. Writing essays that cover an array of topics is one way to develop communication skills.

Since the results of the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are combined, receiving a high score in one section will be negated by a low score in the other section.

2. Practice Solving Data Sufficiency Questions

These problems pose a question and then provide two statements. Test takers will then be asked whether the statements answer the question, one statement answers the question, both answer in unison, both answer independently or neither statement answers the question.

3. Brush Up on Statistics and Economics

While there is no economics section in the GMAT, being familiarized with the basic principles of economics and statistics can be useful for interpreting and understanding the exam’s business content.

4. Prepare for Computer-adaptive Testing

According to the Glossary of Education Reform, computer-adaptive tests “are designed to adjust their level of difficulty — based on the responses provided — to match the knowledge and ability of a test taker.”

Taking a simulated practice exam is one way to prepare for the testing environment. Veritas Prep and many other online resources offer simulated computer-adaptive GMAT practice tests.

5. Take Advantage of Online Study Resources

Study guides and sample questions are readily available on the official website of the GMAT exam. Other online study resources include the Economist GMAT Tutor online program and Veritas Prep online courses.

6. Think Conceptually

While attending high school and college, students learned to memorize information by reviewing notes from lectures and previous exams.

The GMAT takes another approach by testing an ability to apply knowledge, instead of testing an ability to recollect knowledge. By providing variations of a single problem, the GMAT aims to test the concept itself, rather than testing a rule or process for solving a specific problem.

7. Consider Taking Practice Exams as an Undergraduate

Many of the GMAT’s math questions cover theory taught in high school, which may make taking the test early a beneficial decision. Think about taking the exam as a sophomore or junior in college.

According to data from GMAC, taking the exam as a 20- or 21-year-old results in a score that is approximately 39 points higher than the average for someone taking the exam as a 22- or 23-year-old.

8. Practice Using Warm-up Questions 30 Minutes Before the Exam

Get into a testing mindset by practicing a few easy questions before the exam begins. However, practicing warm-up questions with complicated or unpracticed concepts may cause undue strain and is not recommended.

9. Keep a Steady Pace During the Exam

Since questions become more difficult as the exam progresses, answering each question methodically is especially important.

The GMAT covers four separate sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning.

The Analytical Writing Assessment has a 30-minute time limit for completing one essay prompt.

The Integrated Reasoning section has a 30-minute time limit for completing 12 multiple-choice questions. Each question should be completed within 2.5 minutes.

The Quantitative Reasoning section has a 75-minute time limit for completing 37 questions. Each question should take less than 2 minutes to finish.

The Verbal Reasoning section has a 75-minute time limit for completing 41 multiple-choice questions. Each question should be answered within 1.5 minutes.

10. Stay Optimistic!

Stay positive and arrive at the testing center with an optimistic attitude. GMAT test takers who maintain a positive perspective can increase both their problem-solving capacity and cognitive responses.

Completing the GMAT exam brings prospective WSU online MBA students one step closer to pursuing a graduate education. WSU’s online MBA program offers four concentrations as well as a general MBA track to help students seek an education that aligns with their career goals, which is one reason why it is considered a top-ranked program by U.S. News & World Report.

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