Understanding and Preparing for the GMAT Test Format

by Despina Hermegegildo

The Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT, is used world-wide as a means of predicting the success of post-graduate business management students in graduate study courses. Because the GMAT has been so accurate for so many years, it is now the gold standard of business school admissions tests, and is administered by over 5,400 colleges across the globe. The reason the GMAT is so relied upon to determine which students are most likely to succeed as business graduate students is that it was formulated to systematically separate the great from the not-so great, and to expose areas of needed improvement in hopeful graduate studies applicants. If you are preparing to take the GMAT, then you should start early and use all of your available resources. This is a great place to start. Here is a guide to understanding and preparing for the GMAT format:

What does it mean to be computer adaptive? The GMAT is a highly sophisticated, computer adaptive test. This means that there is not fixed group of questions that are administered to each person; rather, you will be given questions that are specific to your level of knowledge. For example, your first question will be of an intermediate difficulty level. If you get it right, your next question will be harder, but if you get it wrong, your next question will be easier. In this way, the GMAT is customized to your knowledge, and is accurately reflective of your level of understanding.

What will you be tested on? There are four different sections of the GMAT, each requiring you to exhibit an understanding of specific management principles. There is an analytical writing task, a twelve question section on integrated reasoning, a multiple choice quantitative analysis section of 37 questions, and a verbal section of 41 questions covering critical reasoning, sentence correction, and reading comprehension.

What to expect from the GMAT computer interface. You will only be shown one screen at a time - each screen with only one question. You cannot move on to the next question without answering the one you are on, and you do not have the option of going back to a question once you have moved on. For this reason it is very important to pace yourself, and to make sure you have answered to the best of your ability before clicking to the next page.

Preparing for the GMAT can be stressful. Just remember that if you put the time and effort in preparing properly, you are that much more likely to pass the GMAT with ease. Start here, with this guide to understanding and preparing for the GMAT test format.

This post was written by Despina Hermegegildo

Despina Hermegegildo took the GMAT 2 years ago. She used Veritas Prep services and private tutors to help her prepare and ultimately did better than she had originally anticipated she would!

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