The GMAT is a standardized test designed to help business schools determine how well you might succeed in their graduate program.
It is absolutely essential that you do well in the exam because your scores will determine your eligibility for not only seeking an MBA but also other graduate business and management programs that use GMAT as a tool for assessing its applicants. Although the GMAT exam has evolved over the years, the three-and-a-half-hour exam still tests candidates in three main areas – analytical writing, verbal and quantitative skills.
Now, let us take a look at what is the GMAT exam and what it consists of.
Dissecting the GMAT:
The Integrated Reasoning & Analytical Writing Sections
Integrated Reasoning- 12 questions
The Integrated Reasoning section consists of four question types, which require you to analyze and synthesize data in different formats and from multiple sources.
- Analytical Writing (AWA)
In the analysis of an argument essay, you will be presented with a short argument prompt and asked to critique that argument. In this essay, your personal opinion is not called for. Instead, you are supposed to assess the logical soundness of the argument that has been presented.
- The Verbal Section
The second part of the GMAT exam is the verbal section. You will have 75 minutes to answer 41 multiple-choice questions. These questions cover three areas: reading comprehension, sentence correction and critical reasoning. Approximately one-third of the questions will fall into each category.
The reading passages varying in length (150-350 words) cover a wide spectrum of topics from the biological sciences through humanities to trade and tariff rates. As for the questions, you may be asked on the main idea, argumentative strategies, explicit details and inferences drawn from the passage.
The sentence correction questions present you with a sentence with a part of the entire sentence underlined. You must choose such an option that best expresses the idea of the sentence. To determine the best answer, you will have to consider the grammar and usage, diction, logic and sentence structure. This segment is designed to test your knowledge of the conventions of standard written English.
The critical reading passages are shorter in length (50-100 words). It deals with an argument on a general topic. You will be asked about the argument structure including its conclusion and assumptions, on the quality of the argument, including its strengths and weaknesses and appropriate and effective plan of action based on the text. Now, this is great training for the business world.
Here is a guide on how you can improve your GMAT verbal score.
- The Quantitative Section
The quantitative section is the final part of the test and includes 37 multiple choice questions covering two areas of mathematics – data sufficiency and problem-solving. You will have 75 minutes to answer these questions.
A good foundation in mathematical concepts is a prerequisite for scoring well in the test. With the dissection of each question, multiple layers of analysis will unfold themselves, more so as the questions get tougher with diverse combinations and permutations of concepts. For instance, basic concepts in geometry and arithmetical percentage can be combined via a simple question – what is the percentage increase in the volume of a sphere whose radius is doubled? To solve that question, you ought to know the volume formula of a sphere, V=4/3πR3 as well as the concept of the percentage change. Such traps are far too many and it is like treading cautiously on a minefield. To take a specific example, if one were asked: if 5x is even, is x even? The answer appears to be yes. But what if 5x is 2. In that case x = 5/2, which is not even. So one cannot be sure that x is even. This is a common trap – variables cannot be assumed as integers, unless mentioned explicitly. Another problem area could be in the sphere of positives and negatives. For example, if a2 > b2, then can we say a > b? Yes if a and b are positive, but if a and b are negative then the answer is a < b. Thus one has to be literally on one’s toes to sail through the test with a minimum amount of anxiety.
Moreover, there are plenty of lengthy word problems on the test. To solve them you have to rephrase the question, part by part and convert each fragment into equations or a visual structure. Remember one has only two minutes to solve a question. So it would be ideal to read it carefully and solve it using the above method. The more one digs deep into the test it sort of grows on you. Recently one of our GMAT students scored a 540 in his first attempt. After a month of intense coaching, his score jumped to a 690, which has earned him a full tuition waiver from Marshall School of Business. But he enjoyed the entire preparatory process to such an extent that he now wants to give it another try and score a scintillating 750+!
If you too are considering to make this interesting journey of writing the GMAT, do stop by and write the diagnostic and discuss it with our faculty. We will love to help you with your GMAT journey.