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How to prepare for the GMAT

What is the GMAT exam all about? If you want to know how to start preparing for the GMAT test, then closely examine the tips mentioned in this article.

| 17 Jun 2014 | Updated on 04 Feb 2016 | 23.7K Views
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Overseas education experts and test guides advise students to begin their GMAT prep at least six months prior to the test date for securing good scores.

GMAT: An Introduction

GMAT stands for ‘Graduate Management Admission Test.' The GMAT is designed specifically for students wanting 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.

Computer Adaptive Test

CAT or Computer Adaptive Test is a new intelligent system of testing in the GMAT. Not sure what that means? In other words, if you answer your questions right, you end up with harder ones but these will be worthy of more points. Answer a few questions wrong, then you will end up with easier questions but these won’t be worthy of many points and your scores could take a hit.

Scoring Pattern

The ‘Writing’ section which has the descriptive essay is graded on a score-range of 0 to 6. The ‘Quantitative Reasoning’ section is graded on a score-range of 0 to 8. The following table will help you understand the scoring pattern clearly:

 Test Module  Scoring Scale
 Verbal Scaled  0 to 60
 Quantitative  0 to 60
 Analytical Writing  0 to 6
 Integrated Reasoning  1 to 8
 Total Scaled Score  200 to 800

The scores achieved in the writing and quantitative sections are independent of the overall test score scale of 200 to 800. In the quantitative and verbal sections, students may get anywhere between 0 and 60 marks. Scores of above 50 in either section are extremely rare.

Temporary scores are generated at the end of the test. The final scores are made available online after 20 days once the essay is manually read and graded. Each test allows five free score transmissions to institutions and scores are valid for five years. Subsequent test-score transmissions to institutions are charged at 28 dollars per request. A score of 700 and above on the GMAT is considered to be a good score. The current cost of taking the GMAT in India is $250. Rescheduling the test will cost you $50.

Preparing for the GMAT

Experts advise that a minimum of six months of dedicated preparation for the GMAT would help students secure a good score in the test. If you are a working professional aiming for an MBA abroad and are preparing for the GMAT in your spare time and on holidays; then give yourself one-year of preparation time. If your English language skills are way better than your mathematics and quantitative aptitude skills; then focus on solving quantitative problems. If it is the other way around and your English language skills are weak, then read more, do more grammar exercises, and improve your vocabulary.

The New York Times, The Economist and The Wall Street Journal — this is the Holy Trinity for improving one’s language skills. Read the editorial pieces, get a feel of the language used and try to rewrite the lengthier articles in your own words. The writing exercise will definitely help you when you face the essay component in 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 you improve your answering speed and make you ready for the actual test. The paid websites also analyze your test performance and give you individualized reports with tips on how to improve your weak-subject areas!


In addition to being a popular qualifying test that’s accepted by international business schools, 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 good enough for Tier-2 B-Schools. The 700 to 730 score is the benchmark for Tier-1 B-Schools. Anything above 730 gives the aspirant 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 continues to remain the most popular and respected test for those aspiring to study a postgraduate management course. Preparing with care and writing ample practice tests can help students ace the GMAT.

So all the very best with your GMAT preparation, and do comment below to share your GMAT-preparation experience and writing the GMAT.

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