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Tips for Preparing GMAT Examination

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Knowledge and tips for preparation of GMAT examination

The GMAT exam is important and candidates with good score can enhance their career. This test takes time and effort, but with good study plan, aspirants can get the desirable score. GMAT is ‘Graduate Management Admission Test.' The GMAT is designed particularly for students who are interested to study an MBA or a masters in accounting and finance.

The GMAT is an inclusive test, which examines the student’s skills in writing, reading, reasoning and quantitative aptitude. The GMAT tests the students' ability to read a passage and answer questions, identify grammatical errors, check number skills and reasoning skills to solve numerical and word-based problems. In a new section of the test, students will also have to solve problems interpreting data from graphs and charts.

The test is called a CAT, or Computer Adaptive Test, both because it is administered on a computer and because the test actually changes based upon how we answer the questions.

The GMAT evaluates an applicant’s potential by testing various parameters to determine their expertise in various areas.

There are four sections in the new exam pattern:

1.Analytical Writing Assessment:This section has a 30-minute essay which includes:

Analysis of an Argument

Candidates are expected to

  • Examine and analyse the given argument
  • Figure out the reasoning behind an argument and write a critique of the same
  • Work out a methodical approach to present your answer
  • Consider various viewpoints

Support answer with appropriate examples and explanation

They must use the right grammar while presenting answer.

The scores for this section are on a six point scale. Their essay is given two independent ratings and then an average is considered.

One of these scores is done by an automated essay-scoring engine. If the difference between both the ratings is more than one point, a third rating would be provided by an expert reader which would then be the final score.

2.Integrated Reasoning Section:

As per the pattern of 2016, this is the new section of the GMAT. It was introduced in June 2012. It has 12 questions with thirty minutes to answer this section. This section has replaced one of the AWA essays. The score is on a scale of 1 to 8.

This section tests candidate’s analytical skills to solve a complicated problem. They are provided with data in various forms.

Candidate’s skill depends on being able to handle the data, pick out the information that is relevant and then choose the right answer. In each question, they are expected to provide multiple answers from the choice provided. This section has four different question types.

Table Analysis:

In this, candidates are provided with loads of information in a table format. In questions, candidates are expected to pick answers from yes/no, true/false with multiple statements to answer under each question

Graphics Interpretation:

In this type, candidates are given a graph or a graphical image. They are expected to interpret the graph and complete the statements given by choosing one of the options from the pull-down menu.

Multi-Source Reasoning:

In this section, candidates have to gather information by clicking on the various tabs (2-3) provided. The data available may be presented either as text or in the form of charts, tables. The answers may be in the yes/no, true/false format or as multiple choice options.

Two-Part Analysis:

Candidates have a question and multiple choices provided. The answers in a table form have the two components occupying the first two columns and the answer options in the third column. Of all the options provided, they have to choose only one option under each component to complete one answer.

3.Quantitative Section:

This section tests the GMAT candidate’s quantitative skills. Candidates have to attempt 37 questions with 75 minutes to complete this section. The questions are designed to test math skills of candidates. They revolve around basic arithmetic, algebra and geometry. Topics tested include Number Properties, Algebra, Geometry, Statistics, Word Problems, and more. This section has multiple choice questions that fall in the following two categories

Data sufficiency questions:

This section is intended to test candidates’ ability to assess the given data systematically. They will be given a question followed by two statements and five answer choices. These answer choices always remain the same.

Problem solving questions:

This part is designed to test quantitative skills and ability to solve a problem using the various mathematical concepts

The number of problem solving questions would be greater in number. Each of the above two category of questions would appear in random order throughout the entire section.

4.Verbal Section:

Candidates will have 75 minutes to answer 41 multiple choice questions that fall in one of the following category. Reading Comprehension: Candidates need to read a passage (typically two to four paragraphs) and answer a series of questions to demonstrate our ability to correctly comprehend, analyse, and apply the information to answer both general questions, such as the main idea, and specific questions, such as why the author states a particular piece of information in the passage.

In this section, candidates are given a passage (approx. 350 words) on a topic and multiple choice questions based on the same.

They need not have thorough knowledge of the topic. They should be able to

  • Understand the underlying concept of the passage
  • Grasp the main idea and the relationship between the various entities involved

Critical Reasoning:

These questions test candidate’s ability to scrutinise the line of reasoning used in an argument. They may be asked to strengthen or weaken an argument, to identify an assumption used in the argument, to draw a conclusion, to explain a discrepancy.

There are around 14 critical reasoning questions in the GMAT verbal section. The passage is in the form of an argument with five answer choices. Candidates should be able to

  • Sort out the useful information from the irrelevant matter
  • Identify the key points that influence, strengthen or weaken the given argument

Candidates need to carefully go through the argument to logically analyse it, read through the options carefully to be able to decide which option would be the best possible answer.

Sentence Correction:

These sentences assess candidate’s ability to use grammar. Grammar topics include Parallelism, Modifiers, Subject-Verb Agreement, Verb Tenses, Pronouns, Comparisons, Idioms, and more. They are given a sentence having an underlined portion and five answer choices.

  • If the sentence sounds correct as it is then answer the options
  • Candidates have to be familiar with the rules of English grammar and choose the answer which seems the best in compliance with standard written English
  • Once done, read it over again to check if the sentence construction looks correct and if the original meaning of the statement has been retained.

Candidates are given three and a half hours to complete these four sections. The total score out of 800 is only for the verbal and quantitative sections. The remaining two sections receive their independent scores.

To get good score, it is important to understand the format, practicing sample questions, and reviewing one section. Experts advise that candidate’s must devote minimum of six months for preparation of the GMAT.

There are a number of online forums and websites; both free and paid that offer a variety of simulated GMAT mock-tests. These mock-tests replicate the actual GMAT test structure and help to improve candidate’s answering speed and make them ready for the actual test

Syllabus of GMAT

GMAT Quantitative / Maths Syllabus:

Candidates must prepare following topics in the quantitative section

  • Maths Formulas List
  • Integers
  • Decimals
  • Fractions
  • Number properties
  • Order of operations
  • Percentage
  • Ratio and proportion
  • Profit and loss
  • Simple and compound interest
  • Speed, distance and time
  • Permutation & combination
  • Linear equations
  • Quadratic equations
  • Sets Theory
  • Statistics:Average, Median, Mode, Range, Standard deviation
  • Powers and roots
  • Probability
  • Pipes, cisterns, work, time
  • Lines and angles
  • Triangles
  • Polygon
  • Quadrilateral
  • Circles
  • Co-ordinate geometry
  • Volume and surface area

GMAT Verbal / Grammar Syllabus:

In this section, candidates must have thorough knowledge of following topics. They generally revolve around basic grammar rules.

  • Basic Sentence structure: Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives
  • verb Tense
  • Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
  • Pronoun Agreement
  • Subject Verb Agreement
  • Modifiers
  • Parallelism

Following are some tips which help candidates to secure good score:

  1. Consistency over strength:According to experts, it is not only necessary to learn and understand principles and all concepts and tricks but candidates must be confident and quick in using them. This means doing quick calculations in the quant section. To increase this skill, it is better to have shorter, daily training sessions rather than stuffing during the weekend.
  2. Candidates must create a learning diary. The number of concepts that are asked in GMAT questions are finite. Therefore, effective technique to improve and reduce weaknesses is to keep a learning diary. This means one should write down every unknown prep question and try to understand the correct answer and concept behind them.
  3. Candidates need to make GMAT prep timetable. They must plan effectively during GMAT preparation. Furthermore, it is recommended that candidates take an exponential approach in prep time planning. It is wise to choose a test date that occurs towards the end of a period of holiday.
  4. Candidates must be well trained to use laminated drawing board during GMAT Prep. Many test centres offer only laminated drawing boards for calculations and sketches during the test. This can lead to irritation for those who are not familiar to using an erasable overhead. Candidates must practice this during their preparation phase in order to avoid as many surprises on test day as possible.
  5. Candidates must not misjudge GMAT prep test results. Preparation needs to take place over a good number of months in order to give them the best chance of success.
  6. It is recommended to redo GMAT prep tests. Candidates can get good GMAT prep tests from many sources and companies. The good thing about prep tests used by the better of these companies is that most of them use an adaptive question algorithm as the real test does. Therefore, it is a good technique to use the same prep test multiple times.
  7. Candidates may practice educated guessing. A good process in dealing with GMAT questions (especially in the verbal section) to which candidates are not absolutely certain of the answer is ‘educated guessing’. This means to quickly rank the five possible answers in order of their suitability and exclude wrong answers. One can save time by quickly eliminating two or three wrong answers and then guess out of the rest. Of course, a proper evaluation is better.
  8. It is important in preparation of GMAT that candidates must focus on their weaknesses. They must know the GMAT test areas in which they are weak. Nonetheless, a big mistake is to focus only on one weakness for too great a period of time, since GMAT knowledge can also be forgotten easily and quickly. A good technique can be to set a certain base level of prep questions in each category to do on each day.
  9. Candidates must make efforts to exceed their target GMAT Score during preparation to get good score.
  10. It is advised to set time milestones during the GMAT test. One of the major problems is that most candidates do not recognize that they are falling behind until it’s too late. It is hard to compensate intelligently in this situation, meaning that takers are forced to take rapid and wild guesses. A simple way to avoid this scenario is to set and stick to certain milestones.

    The GMAT is now accepted for admissions to more than 200 programs offered at over 90 business schools in India.

    On a maximum total of 800, a score in the range of 650 to 700 is considered well enough for Tier-2 B-Schools. The 700 to 730 score is the benchmark for Tier-1 B-Schools. Anything above 730 gives the candidate a chance to study in the best B-Schools in the world. There have been regular instances of students scoring in the 760 to 770 range on the GMAT. The GMAT is the most popular and respected test for those wishing to study a postgraduate management course. Candidates must prepare with care and do practice to gain success.

Important information:

A GMAT score is valid for 5 years. While a student can retake the exam to increase upon scores, Business Schools will have access to candidate’s scores registered for the last 5 years. Therefore, candidates are recommended to prepare systematically before appearing in the exam.