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GMAT Preparation : A Comprehensive Guide To Your Success

GMAT is a business school entrance exam and acts as a proven predictor to succeed in the business programs. GMAT Preparation is no joke. It measures the critical thinking and reasoning skills of the candidates and connects with them the best fit programs according to their performance.

For decades, GMAT has been a trusted tool for business schools in making an informed business decision. Gmat is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) where the testing software adapts to the examinee’s performance as the test progresses. Therefore, the performance of each question determines the difficulty of the next few questions.

GMAT
GMAT Test

What are the sections of GMAT?

The GMAT test has four sections:

  • Analytical writing assessment
  • Integrated reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Verbal reasoning

Out of this Verbal and Quant sections are computer-adaptive whereas AWA and IR are not. Each section starts with a medium difficulty question and as per your response, the progressive questions are then easy or difficult. The result is basically a composite that considers the difficulty of each question. The entire exam lasts no longer than 3.5 hours.

 

How is the GMAT scored?

GMAT is an adaptive test which means that the difficulty of the questions changes according to the performance of the candidate. GMAT doesn’t allow you to skip the questions so the candidates have to answer all the questions presented to them. Due to these reasons, the scoring of the exam depends on two different factors: the number of questions answered correctly and The average difficulty of the questions answered. Due to the nature of the scoring and the sections in the examination. Both cumulative and sectional scored matter in the report card. The sectional score displays strength in the particular section, while the total scores show the overall percentile in which the candidate ranks.

Quantitative Section

The Quantitative section of the GMAT measures the ability to reason mathematically, interpret graphic data, and solve quantitative problems. It consists of 31 multiple choice questions and the entire section runs for 62 minutes.

Questions and Timing
There are two types of questions in the quantitative section: Problem-solving questions and data sufficiency questions. Both types of questions require arithmetic skills, algebra, concepts of geometry. The mathematical level of this section usually corresponds with the mathematics thoughts in secondary school.

Types of Questions in the Quant section 
There are two types of questions in the quantitative exams. You definitely need to practice for a perfect GMAT score. They are as follows:

Problem-solving: Problem-solving questions measure the ability of analytical reasoning using logic to solve quantitative problems. The examinee has to solve the problem and then choose the correct answer from five options.
Here is a sample problem.

ACME’s manufacturing costs for sets of horseshoes include an $11,450 initial outlay, and $19.75 per set. They can sell the sets for $52.50. If profit is revenue from sales minus manufacturing costs, and the company produces and sells 987 sets of horseshoes, what was their profit?

(A) $20,874.25
(B) $30,943.25
(C) $41,308.50
(D) $51,817.50
(E) $53,624.25

Correct Answer: A

Data-sufficiency: These questions measure the ability to analyze quantitative problems and recognize the relevant data for better GMAT Preparation. The examinee has to recognize the point at which there is sufficient data to solve the problem.

Here is a sample problem.
What is the standard deviation (SD) of the four numbers p, q, r, s?

The sum of p, q, r and s is 24
The sum of the squares of p, q, r and s is 224

(1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
(2) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (1) alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.
(1) and (2) TOGETHER are sufficient to answer the question asked, but NEITHER statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked.
EACH statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked.
Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient to answer the question asked, and additional data specific to the problem are needed.

Correct Answer: C

Verbal Section

The verbal reasoning of the GMAT exam section measures the ability to read and comprehend the written material, reason, and evaluate arguments and correct material to express ideas effectively in standard written English. This section consists of 36 multiple choice questions and runs for 65 minutes.

Questions and timing
The verbal section is made up of three types of questions: Reading comprehension, Critical reasoning, and sentence correction. This portion of the exam needs a basic understanding and knowledge of English language skills.

Types of Questions in the Verbal Section 

Reading Comprehension: These questions measure the ability to understand words and statements, make logical inferences between certain points, and understand concepts. This section tests skills such as reading skills for main ideas, supporting details, application, logical structure, inference, and style.
Here is a sample problem.

Some observers have attributed the dramatic growth in temporary employment that occurred in the United States during the 1980s to increased participation in the workforce by certain groups, such as first-time or reentering workers, who supposedly prefer such arrangements. However, statistical analyses reveal that demographic changes in the workforce did not correlate with variations in the total number of temporary workers. Instead, these analyses suggest that factors affecting employers account for the rise in temporary employment. One factor is product demand: temporary employment is favored by employers who are adapting to fluctuating demand for products while at the same time seeking to reduce overall labor costs. Another factor is labor’s reduced bargaining strength, which allows employers more control over the terms of employment. Given the analyses, which reveal that growth in temporary employment now far exceeds the level explainable by recent workforce entry rates of groups said to prefer temporary jobs, firms should be discouraged from creating excessive numbers of temporary positions. Government policymakers should consider mandating benefit coverage for temporary employees, promoting pay equity between temporary and permanent workers, assisting labor unions in organizing temporary workers, and encouraging firms to assign temporary jobs primarily to employees who explicitly indicate that preference.

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(A) present the results of statistical analyses and propose further studies
(B) explain a recent development and predict its eventual consequences
(C) identify the reasons for a trend and recommend measures to address it
(D) outline several theories about a phenomenon and advocate one of them
(E) describe the potential consequences of implementing a new policy and argue in favour of that policy

Critical Reasoning: Critical reasoning section measures the ability to make and evaluate arguments and formulate and evaluate a plan of action. These questions are usually based on a short reading passage.
Here is a sample question:

Music Industry executives have claimed that online file-sharing networks are significantly hurting their business because potential consumers are getting music for free that they would otherwise purchase. However, after file-sharing networks started to become popular, CD sales actually increased.

Which of the following, if true, best explains the apparent contradictions described above?

A. File-sharing networks carry a more complete variety of music than most traditional music stories.
B. The few people using file-sharing networks already purchased more music than most people.
C. Many people prefer to store their music as computer files rather than maintain large CD collections.
D. Many consumers have purchased music by artists they discovered through file-sharing networks.
E. Music available on file-sharing networks is on the same audio quality as music on commercially produced CDs

Correct Answer: D

Sentence Correction: These questions measure the aspects of language proficiency. They test a candidate’s ability to correct expression and effective expression in terms of grammatically and structurally sound sentences.
Here is a sample question.

Thieves steal Hondas and Toyotas from the 1990s more than other models because they can chop them up and sell them for parts that are worth more than the car.

more than other models because they can chop them up and sell them for parts that are worth more than the car
more than they steal other models because they can chop them up and sell them for parts that are worth more than the car
more than they do other models because they can dismantle the cars and sell the parts that are worth more than the car
more than other models because they can chop the cars up and sell them for parts that are worth more than the car
more than other models because they can dismantle them up and sell them for parts that are worth more than the car

Correct Answer: C

GMAT Scoring

It’s hard not to make a mistake while GMAT preparation, but as the test is adaptive in nature and the difficulty level of the questions depends on the previous ones, rather than a linear set of questions. It is better to make mistakes in intervals rather than continuously.

Making mistakes continuously drastically reduces the accuracy and hence demotes the percentile of the ranking. In the quant section, a GMAT score of 50 and above is considered as a good score and places one in the percentile of 86% and above. Whereas, a great score in the verbal section is 40 and above which lands the candidate in the percentile of 91% and above

GMAT Scoring
GMAT Adaptivity

GMAT  Adaptivity 

 

As stated earlier, GMAT is an adaptive test. But what does it really mean? Let’s understand the adaptivity of the test.

GMAT test would initially ask a question of average level difficulty, as starting off in the middle is the optimal strategy. Then based upon the accuracy of the response, GMAT would either promote you to a higher level, keep you at the same level or demote you to a lower level. By asking such a series of questions, GMAT figures out the range or band of the candidate’s ability and scores according to that range.

Environment

Before the initiation of the exam, all the candidates have to go through a workspace evaluation, where the place that they are taking their exam at is inspected by a proctor. These are the guidelines for the examination workspace:

Candidate’s desktop must be clean and they should not be within the reach of books, notepads, paper, pen, or pencil. If students are using a physical whiteboard, they must have the dry marker and eraser ready. Additional monitors or screens must be unplugged and the writing on the walls would be inspected.

During the GMAT exam, students must not have access to items such as mobile phones, headphones, handheld computers, pagers, watch, bags, purse, notes, or other materials not specified by the examiner. Unapproved pen, paper, or other electronic writing devices are not permitted either. Students are not allowed to access a calculator during the quantitative exam, neither physical nor digital.

 

GMAT environment

HOW ARE GMAT SCORES CALCULATED?

GMAT consists of four sections and provides candidates with five different scores. For most people, it could get a bit tricky, but it is actually easy if broken down into simpler pieces. Candidates get a score from each section and then a total score calculated by combining the scores of the quantitative and verbal sections. In total, the scores students would receive looks like this

Analytical writing assessment: on a scale of 0-6

Integrated reasoning: on a scale of 1-8

Quant: 0-60

Verbal: 0-60

Total score (Verbal+Quantitative score): on a scale of 200-800

 

 

 

 

Analytical Writing Assessment

In the Analytical writing assessment, grades are given after the analysis of the argument essay. The essay is scored by a computer software program and a human scorer and then the average of the two scores provided becomes the final AWA score. In case the scores provided by the human examiner and the software program differ by more than a point, another expert examiner (human) grades the essay and provides the final score. The essay is graded on the following points:

  • Quality of the ideas and the candidate’s ability to organize, develop, and express them in the essay.
  • The supporting reasons and arguments
  • the Candidate’s ability to control the quality of written English.

As the assessment of this section is done by human raters, candidates can’t get their GMAT scores on the same day of giving the examination.

 

Integrated Reasoning

Most Integrated reasoning questions contain more than one part in the question, hence a point is given on successfully answering all the portions of the question accurately. Out of the 12 questions in the IR section, 3 are experimental and do not account for the final scoring.

But as students won’t know which question is experimental or not, it is advised to do well in answering all the questions accurately. Similarly to other sections, the scoring provided doesn’t reflect the number of questions answered correctly but rather a number from 1-8 that accounts for both the number of correct answers and the difficulty of the questions.

For example: If one answers 5 out of 9 non-experimental questions accurately, then their raw score would be 5 and their scaled score would be 4 or 5 depending on the level of difficulty of the questions answered.

Verbal and Quant - Separate

The verbal and quantitative section scores are item adaptive meaning each response provided to a question affects the next question presented in the exam. The verbal and quant sections are scored separately. As they measure separate elements, their scores should be compared with each other. A score of 46 on quant reflects a very different percentile than a score of 46 on the verbal section. The scores in these sections are based on three factors:

  • Number of questions answered
  • Difficulty and other parameters of the questions answered
  • Number of correct answers

Verbal and Quant - Cumulative

The scores from both verbal and quant sections make up the total score of the examination. They are based on the calculated performance before the individual scores are given. The raw scores are then converted to a number in the total score range. The total scores range from 200-800. A good GMAT score is one above 640, while a score beyond 700 falls into the excellent category.

Factors Affecting GMAT Scores

Scores are based on three main factors.

The number of questions answered correctly: There are 31 questions answered in the quantitative section and 36 questions in the verbal section but not all of them count towards the score. There are 3 experimental questions in the quantitative section and 6 experimental questions in the verbal section that do not account for the final scores.

The number of correct answers: It is mandatory to complete each section of the exam. It means that one has to answer 31 quants questions in 62 minutes and 36 verbal questions in 65 minutes. As there are only 1-2 minutes for solving each question, it is imperial to maintain a fast pace throughout the exam. Not completing a section results in the penalty.

The difficulty of questions answered: GMAT is adaptive in nature, hence the test starts with a question of medium level difficulty. If one answers it correctly, the next question would be harder and the total score would go up. In case, the answer is incorrect, the candidate would be provided with a question of the same or easier difficulty and the score would go down. The actual mechanism of selection and scoring of the questions is complicated but the core of the mechanism remains this: the overall score is not only dependent on the number of questions answered correctly but also on their relative difficulty.

How to avoid Score Penalties

 

There are certain score penalties in the GMAT exam. In an exam that is already difficult, the penalties can easily make it harder and hence lower the overall score. Here’s how to avoid these penalties.

Do not try to figure out the experimental questions: In both verbal and quant sections, there are certain experimental questions that do not account for the overall score, but the problem is they are indiscernible. You can’t differentiate between an experimental and non-experimental question, so don’t even try to figure them out and simply answer all the questions in the exam.

Complete all the sections: There is a penalty for not completing the sections of the exam. So if you run out of time and still have some unanswered questions, just guess and answer them. There are no penalties on wrong answers, so you can make calculated guesses.

Time management: The exam is fast-paced and hence oftentimes, students can’t complete it on time. It is important to manage the time properly and go through all the sections and answer all the questions.

LIFETIME LIMIT OF GMAT RETAKES

Earlier The GMAT exam had the stipulation that it can be taken an infinite number of times during one’s lifetime. But now after the GMAC July 2015 update, the maximum number of times one can appear for the GMAT has been reduced to 8.

Candidates can retake the GMAT after a period of 16 days. Which means that there should be a gap period of 16 days between two consecutive exam takes. This allows candidates with flexibility to retake the exam within a shorter period of time as per their schedules, deadline, and peak performance times.

Candidates can’t exceed five GMAT exams within a period of one year. And the maximum number of times one can appear for GMAT in their lifetime has been reduced to 8. But if a candidate showcases legible reasons for appearing for GMAT, they can contact the GMAC and get the authorization to do so.

COMPREHENSIVE GMAT STUDY PLAN

GMAT is a tough examination to crack, especially the fact that the scores are more or less scaled and reflect a percentile rather than a simple pass/fail examination, makes it even difficult to prepare optimally for. But with a comprehensive and detailed study plan, candidates can not only tackle the exam and get great scores, but they can also manage other things in their life such as application, work and other chores as well. A study plan would help you stay organized, help you cover all the concepts effectively and track your progress.

How to develop GMAT Preparation Schedule

GMAT study plan-GMAT guide

The time taken for GMAT preparation is subjective to each individual. GMAT is a test of aptitude and capabilities, hence there is no definite time period for learning all the concepts and preparing for the exam. But with proper GMAT prep guide on average it takes a minimum of 3 months of study to prepare for the exam. It can take even less if you are already proficient in the aptitudes being tested.

Depending on the variable aptitudes and capabilities of each student, there is no set time limit for the preparation of GMAT. But each study plan starts with the following steps:

  • Figure out your target score: A target score would help you focus better on the exam and would give you a clear goal to chase after. It’ll help you focus on the material that is especially hard for you to understand.
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses: Identifying your strong and weak points would give you a clear idea on what aspects you need to focus on more and what aspects you’d be able to handle without a lot of difficulties.
  • Gather study material and Resources: Before making a study plan it is important to gather all the material and resources that you need to cover and go through.
  • Figure out the time constraints: Another important factor is to figure out how much time can you actually put towards your prep. With so many responsibilities and aspects to work on, it is important to set realistic time goals.

Study Plan for Students

This is a standard 3-month GMAT preparation guide that students can follow for GMAT preparation along with managing their other commitments.

Week 1: Build your GMAT Foundation (6 hours)
Familiarize yourself with the foundations of GMAT. Learn about the test, how it’s scored and get an overview of the types of questions the exam comprises. If you wish to learn more about your current aptitude in the exam, you can take a CAT Prep exam in the standard exam setting. This would help you assess your current knowledge and how much you need to improve in order to achieve your target score.

Week 2: Quantitative Focus (15 Hours)
Familiarize yourself with the GMAT Quant section by reading about it on various guides and test preps. In accordance with your performance in the earlier test prep, review math strategies, formulas, facts and definitions. Build your knowledge in the math concepts such as Algebra, Geometry and Word Problems. Build your fluency in the concepts using flashcards.

 Week 3: Verbal Focus (15 hours)
Familiarize yourself with the GMAT Verbal section. Build your knowledge of sentence correction, structures and GMAT Reading. Practice your grammar fluency using flashcards.

Week 4: Check your Progress (8 hours)
Take a practice test to check your understanding and progress in the verbal and quant section. Review the practise test results and figure out the concepts that you struggled with the most. You can further improve upon those concepts later.

Week 5: Quantitative Review (15 hours)
After the review exam of the concepts, focus on building knowledge of number properties, sets, questions and concepts you struggled with last time. Practice data-sufficiency questions and problem-solving questions. Improve your fluency and time management skills using flashcards.

Week 6: Verbal Review (15 Hours)
Build your knowledge of reading comprehension questions and critical reasoning questions. Work on the problems you struggled with the first review test. Practise GMAT verbal questions.

Week 7: Check your progress (8 hours)
Take and review practise test results. Practice question types you struggled with the most.

Week 8: Build IR and AWA Foundation (10 hours)
Review and practise AWA strategies and prompts. Practice IR questions by reviewing and learning their tips and strategies.

Week 9: Review Quant and verbal (10 Hours)
Review the Quant and verbal concepts as needed. Always follow the technique of active recollection of concepts, it’ll make it easier for you to retain the information and retreat it during the exam.

Week 10: Check your progress (8 hours)
Take a practice test that mimics the actual GMAT exam. Take the test in one sitting without interruptions. It’ll help you figure out the areas where you have improved and areas that still need improvement. Review the test results and focus on the questions that you got wrong.

Week 11: Review concepts as needed (6 hours)
Based on the test results of the latest review test, review and revise the concepts you especially struggled with during the entire course of your preparation. Practise as many questions as you can and build upon your active retrieval of knowledge and speed of answering the questions.

Week 12: Rest and Light Review (4 hours)
As you are getting ready to take the exam, it is important to be well-rested. If you are worried about the performance, then review some questions and revise lightly. It is recommended to rest as much as possible.

Study Plan for Working Professionals

Studying for an exam can be especially challenging while managing a job that requires you to put in 40+ hours a week, that coupled with the commute timing and exhaustion doesn’t leave a lot of time to study or prepare for an exam. So if you want to study for GMAT while maintaining a job, you can follow this 6-month study plan to achieve your target GMAT scores.

This is a 23-week plan that would leave you with enough time to manage your other obligations such as work, school and household responsibilities etc. In this study plan, one needs to study for a maximum of 2 hours a day.

Week 1: Take a diagnostic test (6 hours)
In the first week, start out by taking a diagnostic test in the actual exam conditions in one sitting on a weekend. Then review the test questions and jot down the concepts that you found difficult, unfamiliar, new or rusty. You can then review the questions on weekdays.

Week 2: Build your Quant Foundation (10 hours)
Learn about the Quant section format and test question types. Read about Quant strategies and tips.

Week 3: Build your Verbal Foundation (10 hours)
Learn the section format and question types. Since there are no unfamiliar concepts in the verbal section, start out by building sentence correction knowledge, reading GMAT strategy knowledge and practising grammar fluency.

Week 4: Quant Practice (12 hours)
Build upon the knowledge of algebra, geometry and problem-solving concepts. Dedicate at least 3-4 hours on each concept.

Week 5: Verbal Practice (12 hours)
Build reading comprehension knowledge and critical reasoning knowledge.

Week 6: Quant Practice (14 hours)
Study the concepts of number properties, sets and advanced quant skills. Practise the question and time fluency using flashcards.

Week 7: Practise test 1 (10 hours)
Take a practice test in quant and verbal sections in real test conditions to measure your skills and abilities. Then review the test results to figure out the aspects you understood and the ones you struggled with. Always make sure to practise the question that you answered wrong in the test.

Week 8: Quant Practise (10 hours)
Practise data-sufficiency and problem-solving questions.

Week 9: Verbal Practise (8 hours)
Practise verbal questions types.

Week 10: Verbal and Quant Review (12 hours)
Practise the verbal and quant question types that you struggled with based on the recent practise test and prep results.

Week 11: Practise test 2 (10 hours)
Take a practice test on verbal and quant sections to figure out the areas where you improved and areas and questions that you still need to work on. Review the questions and practise similar ones.

Week 12: AWA Practise (8 hours)
Review AWA strategies and practise the writing prompts.

Week 13: IR Review (8 hours)
Review IR strategies and practise IR questions

Week 14: Review Quant and Verbal Concepts (10 hours)
Practise the verbal and quant questions that you especially struggled with in the last practise test.

Week 15: Practise Test 3 (12 hours)
Take a practice test of the entire GMAT in real exam conditions and review the result to figure out the areas of improvement.

Week 16: Review Quant concepts (10 hours)
Review the quant concepts as needed and focus solely on the topics that you found extremely difficult and time-consuming. This is the time when one should start focusing on the time management and speed of answering questions.

Week 17: Review and Revise verbal Concepts (10 hours)
Review the verbal topics that you struggled with during the course of your study and practise questions based on those concepts.

Week 18: Practise test 4 (12 hours)
Take a practice test in real-life exam conditions and review the result. Focus on your time management and speed.

Week 19: Review IR and AWA Concepts (10 hours)
Review and practise the IR and AWA questions that you struggled with and focus on the delivery and interpretation of ideas in the AWA questions.

Week 20: Revise Quant concepts (10 hours)
Review and revise quant concepts, practise previous year questions and try to practise as many questions as you can making sure that you are pacing yourself and are able to answer each question within two minutes.

Week 21: Revise Verbal Concepts (10 hours)
Review and revise verbal topics that you struggled with along with the other topics in the verbal section. Practise on pacing yourself within the time limit.

Week 22: Final Practise test 5 (10 hours)
Take an entire GMAT Practise test in one sitting without any interruptions and review the results.

Week 23: Light Review and Rest (4 hours)
Practise any questions that you feel necessary and rest well before the exam.

 

How to recover from spending too much time on GMAT Preparation

how to recover from spending too much time on a question-GMAT powerpage

While giving your exam, there would come a certain point where you’d most likely spend too long to answer a question. As GMAT doesn’t allow you to go back to the questions you have once attempted, the temptation to stick on a particular question until you find an answer is incredibly strong. If you find yourself in such a situation, remember these four things:

You can bounce back. Yes, you spend more time than necessary but it is not going to ruin your entire attempt. Do not fall into the hole of negative thinking and despair over one question.

Resist the impulse to increase your speed. If you find yourself in this situation, you’d want to accelerate your speed and answer the next questions under a minute to make for the loss of time. Do not do that, that could result in multiple wrong answers in a row and drastically affect your scores.

Know when to let go. Sacrifice the question when you truly need to, there is no point in spending 15 minutes on one question in a time-based exam.

Don’t buy into the myth that every question needs to be answered while GMAT preparation in a certain time. The time it’d take you to answer a question depends on your personal capabilities, you may solve some questions under a minute and spend more time on the others. As long as you answer all the questions to the best of your ability, you can make up for the loss of time over a single question.

Strategies to follow during GMAT studies

GMAT is not an exam of memory but aptitude and skills. Hence, if you prepare correctly and use certain strategies during your studies, you can easily score 690+ which will, in turn, increase your chances of getting accepted into your dream school and showcase your aptitude and academic calibre. These are certain strategies to deploy during your study sessions to achieve a great score

Strategic Guessing

Oftentimes students get anxious when they spend too much time on a question, they don’t want to sacrifice the right answer.

But GMAT Preparation is not simply about the number of correct answers, the scoring process takes more than that. With a strict time limit and inability to go back and re-attempt a question, it is important to pick your battles and make a calculated guess on the question that is eating up your time.

When you have no idea how to answer a question, it is better to simply make a guess. There is no negative marking, if you don’t know the answer, simply guess.

Questions in the middle portion where you have spent more than a minute and a half and would probably take up another minute or so to answer. Make a calculated guess and save your time for the end questions.

Questions that are messing the overall time schedule by taking way too long to solve. End questions are especially important in the marking scheme, so if a question is taking way too long, make a guess and focus on the later questions.

strategic guessing-gmat guide
when to attempt practise exams-GMAT powerpage

When to plan GMAT practice exams

Beyond the study material and concepts, if there is another important element in your study regime, it is a simulation exam or Practice exams. Simulation exams are taken to practise what you learned in a real-time setting and build up stamina and time management skills.

The most ideal time to take a practice exam with proper GMAT preparation guide is when you are halfway through your study material. Once you start including simulation exams in your study plans, you should take one exam every week to practise. Ideally, one should take at least 5-6 practice exams to make a correct guess on their actual scores. Taking one or two exams doesn’t really show your scoring potential.

The simulation tests should be taken in real-time exam settings. Try to take them at the same time as the actual exam, with the same amount of sleep and with the materials you’d have that day. Do not take a simulation exam on the same day as the test as it would cause burn out

GMAT practice test Revision

Taking a simulation test alone won’t improve your test results if you don’t engage in active debriefing after the test. Debriefing means taking the time to examine the score assessment and using the information to develop a strategic plan for improving the scores.

One should debrief as soon as they can after taking the exam. A debriefing should give you answers about your time management strategies, the questions you could answer easily and the questions you struggled with the most.

Make sure to look for recurring patterns within each test. If you are consistently getting a question wrong, then you should invest more time in understanding that particular topic and practise the related questions. Make sure to make notes of these debriefing sessions to review them after some time.

Review your practise exams-GMAT guide

Free GMAT Preparation Resources

free gmat resources-GMAT guide
  • MBA.com: MBA.com is an official GMAT website created by the GMAC itself. It has a lot of free resources, prep guides, simulation tests and up to date relevant information that students can access for free. The software includes a comprehensive GMAT Quant review, customizable set of practice questions and two full-length practise tests
  • Beat the GMAT: Beat the GMAT is a social network that boasts an active discussion forum and other prep resources. Students can access a variety of study plans that helped other students score 700+, a 60-day GMAT study plan that students can get via newsletter, free daily quant and verbal practice questions that students that are delivered using email and other flashcards.
  • Veritas Prep Question Bank and Free Practise Test: Veritas Prep Question offers GMAT online classes, practice tests, practise quizzes and questions. They offer full-length adaptive GMAT with a detailed analysis of scores and hundreds of GMAT practice questions.
  • GMAT Free: GMAT free provides a course that is completely free and accessible to both registered and non-registered users. It contains a Math review of all topics in the Quant section and 800 questions with detailed explanations and answers.
  • Sample materials: There are certain blogs that provide sample questions, practise tests that one can find in an official GMAT prep book. Students can access them at Manhattan GMAT blog, Kaplan GMAT blog, Kaplan GMAT question-a-day, Manhattan GMAT Practice test and Kaplan GMAT Practice test

Tips for taking the official GMAT

Completing your prep and getting ready for taking the GMAT exam is getting half of the battle done. But to make sure that things don’t go wrong during the exam, there are some tips and tricks that you should be mindful of.

Do's on the GMAT Test day

  • Use the process of elimination during the exam. It is far easier to eliminate wrong answers than to pick the right ones.
  • If you get stuck on an exam, do move on after 2.5 minutes.
  • When in doubt in the sentence correction question, pick the precise and concise ones.
  • In the comprehension question, Do read the passage first.
  • In the critical reasoning questions, do read the question stem before reading the argument to get a correct sense of what is being asked.
  • In the data sufficiency question, do go methodically and go in the order of the question.
  • In the problem-solving questions, look at all the answer choices before solving
  • In the IR section, do read all the labels and units before answering the question
  • Do plan the essay before writing the essay in the AWA section
  • Pack ahead of time for the exam. Do check the guidelines of the things you can carry and pack those things that are allowed
  • Arrive 15-20 minutes before the examination.
  • If giving your exam at home, do make sure that you adhere to the guidelines of the exam before starting the session.
  • Do make sure to have a good wifi connection during the exam.
  • Do use the breaks to freshen up. It is a long exam and sitting in one place for such a long time can cause discomfort that can distract you during the exam.

Dont's on the GMAT Test day

  • Don’t try to find the location of the exam centre on the day of the exam. Check the location once before the exam.
  • Don’t forget to have a bottle of water and some light refreshments with you.
  • Don’t try to cram before the exam starts.
  • Don’t forget to check the GMAT database a day before the exam. Know the GMAT score recipients beforehand as you need to fill in that info before the exam starts.
  • In the IR section, don’t try to use every piece of information available.
  • Don’t spend more than 2.5 minutes on a question. 
  • Don’t skip or leave a question unanswered. Use strategic guessing and answer anyway. There are no negative markings so you can answer the question.
  • Don’t answer the questions without reading them properly. You can’t re-attempt a question once it’s gone.

Remove GMAT anxiety

GMAT is a difficult exam and its influence on college admissions makes it even scarier. It is normal to have a bit of anxiety related to the exam, but if unchecked, exam anxiety can ruin your entire exam attempt and drastically affect your scores. Here’s how you should tackle the exam anxiety on D-day.

  • Be prepared. The more familiar you are with the material and exam pattern, the less anxiety you’d feel.
  • Take as many simulation exams as you can.
  • Be aware of your breathing. Try to breathe deeper and harder to pace your breath. This would clear your head and you can then go back to answering the questions
  • Remember that one question won’t ruin your exam score, hence do not dwell on it or get discouraged if you can’t get a question right. Once you skip a question or guess on it, move on and focus on the next ones.
  • Do not give into limiting beliefs and listen to the negative thoughts in your head.
  • Eat your breakfast and meals properly during the exam day as being hungry can cause hunger jitters and increase your anxiety.
  • Keep your food, water bottle and other necessary things handy.

Retaking the GMAT 

retake GMAT exam-GMAT guide

According to GMAC, 43% of the test-takers send their scores to the business schools. That means, there is a vast majority of test-takers who retake or plan to re-take their exam at some point. GMAT preparation should be done better than before if you are planning to appear again. Retake the exam only if you can seriously prepare to improve your score and understand the scope of improvement.