The GMAT

For many admissions committees, an applicant’s GMAT score is one of, if not the most, important considerations when admissions decisions are being made. Candidates may question this practice. After all, their four years of study, positive work history, and glowing recommendations are certainly more important than a test that only lasts a few hours. However, there are several important reasons why the GMAT is such an important part of the application process.

What is the GMAT?

The GMAT, which stands for Graduate Management Admission Test, is a type of standardized test. Most reputable business schools require MBA candidates to write the GMAT as part of the application process. These scores, along with an applicant’s academic background, work history, MBA interview, and MBA essay, are used to determine whether an individual will be admitted into an MBA program.

The GMAT test is used to measure a number of different skills. It is divided into three sections. The first, the verbal section, consists of three different types of questions. Reading comprehension questions test the individual’s ability to read, comprehend, and make inferences based on a short written passage about an academic topic. Critical reasoning questions present the test taker with various statements, and then asks them to determine what conclusions can be drawn from those statements. Sentence correction questions test the ability to express ideas in an accurate, succinct, and grammatically correct format.

The quantitative section, as the name suggests, focuses on problems involving numbers. The problem-solving section tests a candidate’s knowledge of a variety of mathematical concepts, including algebra, arithmetic, and geometry. Data sufficiency questions require the test taker to identify information that is essential for answering a stated question.

The first two sections of the test are scored by a computer, and scores can range from 200 to 800. The higher the test taker’s score, the greater their chances of being accepted into a top MBA program, particularly if they have a strong academic and work history. These sections are completed on a computer, and the GMAT uses what is known as a computer adaptive format, whereby the difficulty of succeeding test questions is influenced by the answers provided to previous ones. In addition, failing to answer questions will lower the score significantly, even more so than providing an incorrect answer.

The analytical section of the GMAT is scored separately, and is graded by both a human scorer and a computer scoring program. It measures a test taker’s ability to construct and analyze arguments.

The GMAT is a favored selection criteria among business schools because it allows them to accurately compare candidates from various schools and academic backgrounds. For example, graduates from some schools may have a higher average GPA. With the GMAT, however, all candidates are essentially on a level playing field because the scores are only influenced by the number of questions answered correctly, allowing admissions committees to evaluate candidates more objectively.

GMAT Registration

All GMAT exams must be written at an authorized GMAT testing center. The test can be written in virtually any part of the world, but the locations and dates for the test in areas other than the United States may be somewhat limited. In America, however, the GMAT is offered many times a year at numerous locations. When registering for the GMAT, these steps should be followed.

Find a suitable location

With so many testing centers across the United States, this should not be a difficult task. Choose a nearby location, or one that you can travel to relatively easily. If you are writing the GMAT outside of the United States, you may have to travel a great distance to get to a testing center, so make sure you will be able to make arrangements to get to the location.

Find a suitable date

Generally, it is always better to schedule a GMAT exam sooner rather than later. Two things should be considered when choosing a testing date. First of all, you should find out about application deadlines for all of the schools to which you are submitting an application. Write the test well before these application deadlines. That way, you will be relatively certain that your scores will be received on time. Secondly, consider the possibility that you may wish to retake the GMAT to better your score. If you are nervous or not fully prepared on test day, your score may be lower than you would like. Fortunately, the GMAT can be rewritten. However, at least 31 days must pass before a rewrite is permitted, so book a testing date that will allow enough time for the test to be rewritten if necessary. You can visit www.mba.com to view all GMAT testing locations and dates.

Finalize your GMAT date and time

After you have found a suitable location and time, the next step is to actually register for the test. This can be done directly online, or by fax, e-mail, mail, or phone. You will probably be asked to fill out some forms and provide some personal information. Ensure that any information provided is accurate and complete so there will not be any complications on test day. Finally, a fee of $250 must be remitted to finalize your GMAT registration. Taxes may be applicable in other countries. After these steps are completed, all that remains is to prepare for the test and arrive on time on the day of the test.

GMAT MBA Help

Most reputable schools and institutions that offer MBA programs require individuals to take the GMAT. It is a challenging exam that covers a significant amount of material. Those who wish to be successful in obtaining a high GMAT score and getting accepted to a top business school must be familiar with the conventions of written English, as well as numerous mathematical concepts. While it is possible to prepare for the GMAT independently, many choose to enlist the services of a company that specializes in helping people prepare for this important test. The following are study materials offered by most quality test prep companies.

Flashcards

Because of the numerous concepts one must be familiar with for the GMAT, flashcards can be an indispensable preparation tool. They condense topics so they are easier to review quickly, and they also eliminate the need to search through numerous resources to find information. In this way, study time is both more efficient and productive. Finally, they are a great self-assessment tool. Those studying for the GMAT can quickly identify areas in which they are strong, and also those that need further review.

Sample questions

Many of the questions on the GMAT follow a very specific format. Sentence correction questions, data sufficiency questions, and those in the analytical writing section, for example, are always constructed in the same way. Having access to sample questions allows the test taker to not only review important concepts, but also to become familiar with the question format. This will help the test taker develop strategies to answer specific types of questions, and also to feel more confident when test day arrives.

Online practice tests

The GMAT itself is always taken on a computer, at least if the MBA candidate plans to take the test in the United States. A few basic computer skills, including scrolling and using a mouse, are required. Most will be familiar with these. However, the GMAT is quite different from other tests in that once an answer is submitted, the test taker cannot return to a previous question, and answering a question incorrectly will affect the difficulty of succeeding questions and also the GMAT score. Learning how to submit answers and navigate through questions prior to the actual test is beneficial, and taking a mock test online will help the MBA candidate become familiar with this process.

GMAT Scores

Most quality schools that offer MBA training require applicants to write the GMAT and submit their official scores as part of the application process. In fact, if you are considering a school that does not require you to write the GMAT, it should raise some red flags. Where you obtain your MBA is almost as important as having the degree itself, and schools that do not require the GMAT may not be looked upon in a favorable light by recruiters. Exactly how GMAT scores will be used by admissions committees to determine whether you will be accepted into the MBA program varies from school to school.

Firstly, just how much of an influence your GMAT score will have on whether you are accepted depends entirely on where you submit an application. In all cases, the GMAT score is just one thing that is considered. GPA, work experience, interviews, and recommendations are also important. For some schools, the GMAT is the most important factor in determining acceptance, so even if all of their other qualifications are outstanding, a low score means there will be little chance of the applicant being granted acceptance. Some schools, on the other hand, weight GMAT scores much lower, so scoring highly on other parts of the application can make up for a less-than-exemplary GMAT score.

In addition, the actual score itself, regardless of how highly it is weighted, can be interpreted in different ways. Some schools will establish a cut off, so that any students with a score that falls below a specific number will be excluded from being considered further. Other schools prefer to look at it in terms of percentiles. When the GMAT is written, the test is scored, but that score is also converted into a percentile, which indicates how your result compares to other people who wrote the test. Admissions committees, for example, may decide that they will only look at candidates whose scores are within the top 20 percent of all GMAT scores.

It is impossible to predict exactly what your GMAT score will mean to individual schools. Although some are upfront about their cut offs (if any), the average GMAT score of successful MBA applicants, and how much the score counts towards the total score assigned to an MBA application, many institutions do not share this type of information. For MBA hopefuls, the best strategy is to study hard, possibly get some help from a test prep company, and obtain the highest score possible, because although exactly what your score will mean is often unclear, an outstanding score will always be a positive attribute to your application. for the test and arrive on time on the day of the test.

Necessary GMAT Score For MBA

One of the most common questions asked by those hoping to be admitted into an MBA program is: “What is the minimum GMAT score I will need to be accepted?” Unfortunately, there is not really an easy answer to this question. Keep in mind that the GMAT exam is only one thing that will be considered when admissions decisions are being made. Therefore, a great GPA and work history could possibly make up for a lower GMAT score, while poor academic performance could prevent you from being accepted, even if your score is very high.
Furthermore, different schools have different standards when it comes to GMAT scores, and some might prefer to look at percentiles as opposed or in addition to the raw score itself. So, even if you scored very high, if 50 percent of the people who wrote the test scored higher, you may not be accepted. Finally, the caliber of the school will often determine what kind of score you need for acceptance.

Although there are many factors in addition to the GMAT that may be considered by schools, it is obvious that a higher score is invariably more favorable than a lower one. And, although schools rarely have a stated cut-off, if you are hoping to get into a B-school, which is a school generally recognized as one of the top institutions offering the MBA program, there are some guidelines regarding the GMAT score you will need. In general, you should strive for a score that is at least in the mid 600s. If it is lower, the chances of acceptance begin to fall. Another good way to determine what score you will need to make on the GMAT is to look at the average GMAT score of students who were accepted into the program in the past. Many schools will provide this information. In general, you should be within 60 points of the median GMAT score. If your score falls below this range, it is a good idea to consider taking the test again.

Objective comparisons

Those who decide they might wish to pursue an MBA come from a wide variety of backgrounds and institutions. For this reason, looking at GPAs alone may not be enough to assess academic abilities. A student from one university may have a 4.0 GPA, but be less suitable for an MBA than a student from another institution who has a 3.5 GPA. For example, the latter student may have taken more difficult courses. Or, they may have encountered difficulties during their first year. Perhaps the university they attended simply graded students more rigorously. The list is endless, and it is impossible for those making admissions decisions to take all of these factors into consideration. The GMAT, however, is a standardized test. All students have an equal opportunity to perform well, because the exam tests knowledge and skills objectively. For this reason, admissions officers can compare diverse candidates very quickly and effectively.

Prediction of success

The last thing that schools want to do is admit candidates who will not be capable of successfully completing their MBA courses. Many required courses focus heavily on mathematical skills and analytical thinking, and the GMAT is a test designed, in large part, to accurately gauge such skills. The GMAT is a good indicator of whether a candidate is suitable for MBA courses and has the skills required to successfully complete those courses. Since high GMAT scores indicate a higher possibility of being successful in obtaining an MBA, they are an important tool for most universities.

Reflection of the present

It is well known that many undergrad students encounter difficulties during their first year at a university. Being away from home, the shock of the sheer amount of school work required, and being inadequately prepared academically for university courses are common issues. All of these can have a lasting and negative impact on a student’s GPA. GMAT scores, on the other hand, give an accurate picture of the skills the applicant presently possesses, which is usually much more relevant than past performance.

Although no test is perfect, the GMAT is recognized for its ability to objectively measure a candidate’s present knowledge and also their potential to perform well in a rigorous MBA program.

GMAT Verbal Section

Reading Comprehension

According to economic theory, there is a clearly observable relationship between the price of a product and the demand for a product. As price increases, the demand for a specific product will fall relative to the increase in price. As a simple example, a 10% increase in the price of soup might correspond to a 20% decrease in consumer demand.

However, this relationship is not observed to the same extent in all goods. The extent to which a change in price influences demand is known as price elasticity. It is calculated by dividing the change in demand by the change in price. In the above example, the can of soup would have a price elasticity of 2, which would be considered a high elasticity. High elasticity is observed in goods that can easily be replaced with different or similar products.

On the other hand, some products are considered to be relatively inelastic, which implies that an increase in price will not result in a marked decrease in demand. Essential goods, or those that cannot easily be replaced with other similar goods, would be less elastic than the can of soup discussed above.

1. Based on the information presented, what can be inferred about highly elastic goods?

A) Following a price reduction, demand would increase at a higher rate than it would for inelastic goods.
B) Following a price increase, demand would decrease at a slower rate than it would for inelastic goods.
C) If prices remained stable over time, the demand for these goods would eventually decrease.
D) Compared to inelastic goods, prices for highly elastic goods are generally more stable and predictable.
E) Elastic goods are generally less expensive overall than those classified as inelastic.

Correct Answer: A

Explanation: A high elasticity implies that demand is greatly influenced by price. This relationship would work both ways. A price increase would correspond with a relatively dramatic reduction in demand, so a price decrease would correspond with a relatively dramatic increase in demand compared to inelastic goods.

2. Which of the following would have strengthened the argument that certain goods are considered inelastic?

A) Discussing the fact that the market supply of these goods is relatively inelastic as well
B) Providing numbers that could be used to calculate the lower elasticity of a good
C) Presenting several examples of goods that are considered essential by consumers
D) Identifying examples of situations when a price increase results in increased demand
E) Giving an example of a situation in which elastic goods may be considered inelastic

Correct Answer: C

Explanation: The discussion of elastic goods identifies soup as a good example. Relying on this example, the reader can understand why a price increase would correspond with a decrease in demand. There are many brands of soup on the market, so the consumer could simply replace it with another brand. The discussion of inelastic goods could have been strengthened by identifying examples rather than just characteristics. For instance, identifying gasoline as an inelastic good would have strengthened the argument. The reader would understand that an increase in price would not result in a significant decrease in demand because people will still have to travel, and the need for the good cannot easily be eliminated.

GMAT Quantitative Practice

Problem Solving

1. A man is departing on a trip to a neighboring state. It is 5000 km away. He drives half of the distance at a speed of 200 m/s, 30% of the way at 80 km/hour, and the remaining 20% at 110 km/hour. Approximately how long will it take him to reach his destination?

A) 10 hours
B) 25 hours
C) 50 hours
D) 100 hours
E) 200 hours

Correct Answer: C

Explanation: First it is necessary to calculate what half the distance would be: 5000 km x 50% = 2500 km

He travels at a speed of 200 m/s.

This must be converted to km/hr: q1-formula

Now that the speed is known, the amount of time it will take him to travel 2500 km can be calculated: 2500 km/ 120 km/hr = 20.83 hours

Next, it is necessary to calculate the distance represented by 30% of journey: 5000 km x 30% = 1500 km

Then, calculate how long that would take: 1500 km / 80 km/hr = 18.75 hours

Next, calculate the distance represented by 20% of the journey: 5000 km x 20% = 1000 km

Then, calculate how long that would take: 1000 km / 110 km/hr = 9.09 hours

Finally, add the three calculated values: 20.83 + 18.75 + 9.09 = 48.67 hours

2. A square has an area of 36 square inches. If the lengths of all sides of the square are doubled, what will be the percentage increase in the square’s area?

A) 50%
B) 100%
C) 200%
D) 300%
E) 500%

Correct Answer: D

Explanation: The formula for the area of a square is length x height. Therefore, we need to find the square root of 36, which is 6 inches.

This is the length of each side of the square.

Then, this value must be doubled: 6 x 2 = 12 inches

Next, calculate the area of the new square: 12 inches x 12 inches = 144 square inches

To find the percent increase, subtract the original value from the new value:
144 square inches – 36 square inches = 108 square inches

Finally, calculate the percent increase this represents: 108/36 (the original value)= 3 or 300%.

3. If 18z + 20q – 90 = 100 and 3q + 5 = 35, what is the value of z?

A) -1
B) -0.6
C) 0.6
D) 0.75
E) 1

Correct Answer: B

Explanation: Using the second equation, we can solve for q.
3q + 5 = 35
3q = 35 – 5
3q = 30
q = 30/3
q = 10

Then, it is simply a matter of substuting q into the first equation and solving for z:

18z + 20q – 90 = 100
18z + 20q = 100 + 90
18z + 20q = 190
18z + 20(10) = 190
18z + 200 = 190
18z = 190 – 200
18z = -10
z = -10/18
z = -0.6

Data Sufficiency

1. A triangle has a base of 4.5 centimeters. What is the area of the triangle?

1) The perimeter of the triangle is 15 cm.
2) The length of the hypotenuse is 12 cm.
A) Statement 1 alone is sufficient, but statement 2 is not sufficient.
B) Statement 2 alone is sufficient, but statement 1 is not sufficient.
C) Both statements together are sufficient, but neither statement alone is sufficient.
D) Each statement alone is sufficient.
E) Statements 1 and 2 together are not sufficient.

Correct Answer: B

Explanation: Statement 1 is not sufficient on its own, because the perimeter is the combined length of the two remaining sides. The height cannot be calculated based on this value.
Statement 2 is sufficient. The Pythagorean Theorem can be used to calculate the length of the remaining side (the height of the triangle). Then, using the formula for the area of a triangle (1/2 x base x height) the area can be calculated.

2. Is f > r?

1) f and r are decimals.
2) f is a negative integer.
A) Statement 1 alone is sufficient, but statement 2 is not sufficient.
B) Statement 2 alone is sufficient, but statement 1 is not sufficient.
C) Both statements together are sufficient, but neither statement alone is sufficient.
D) Each statement alone is sufficient.
E) Statements 1 and 2 together are not sufficient.

Correct Answer: E

Explanation: Statement 1 tells us what kinds of numbers f and r are, but whether one is greater than the other cannot be determined based on this.
Statement two reveals that f is a negative integer. This information is not sufficient either, as r could be a negative integer as well.
The question cannot be answered with the given information.

3. Company A and Company B competed to see who could secure the highest number of new customers in 2006. Which company won?

1) Company A saw its customer base grow by 10%; company B by 25%.
2) Company A had 550 customers at year end; company B had 200.
A) Statement 1 alone is sufficient, but statement 2 is not sufficient.
B) Statement 2 alone is sufficient, but statement 1 is not sufficient.
C) Both statements together are sufficient, but neither statement alone is sufficient.
D) Each statement alone is sufficient.
E) Statements 1 and 2 together are not sufficient.

Correct Answer: C

Explanation: Statement 1 is not sufficient. The percent increases cannot be used to determine the actual number of new customers.
Statement 2 is not sufficient. It reveals how many customers each company had at year end, but without knowing their original numbers, it is impossible to say who attracted the most new customers.
Using the information from both statements, this question can be answered. The original number of customers can be calculated based on the percent increases and the number of customers at year end, and the number of new customers can then be determined.

GMAT Analytical Writing Section

Analysis Of An Issue

1. Some people feel that we must make every effort to protect the environment for future generations. They say that without immediate action, irreversible damage will be done. Others, however, contend that scientific developments will be able to address any serious problems that may arise in the future. Therefore, it is best not to be concerned.

Which side do you agree with more? Use your personal experiences, relevant facts, and observations to state and support your opinion.

2. Many people feel that standardized testing in school is absolutely essential. It allows teachers to accurately measure when students have learned required skills and concepts. What they fail to realize, however, is that children learn differently. Therefore, diverse testing methods that cater to each child’s individual strengths should be developed to more accurately measure authentic learning.

Which side do you agree with more? Use your personal experiences, relevant facts, and observations to state and support your opinion.

3. Numerous studies have proven that teachers favor boys in the classroom. Many say that this is grounds to discipline the educator and/or require them to undergo additional training. However, what they do not realize is that these biases are often unconscious. Therefore, it is not right to punish someone for an action or behavior of which they themselves were unaware.

Which side do you agree with more? Use your personal experiences, relevant facts, and observations to state and support your opinion.

4. Many people believe that the increased number of corporations supporting charitable causes is a positive development. They say it shows that big companies genuinely care about their customers and their communities. What they fail to see, however, is that this is little more than a marketing gimmick. When corporations decide to support good causes, it is usually done only to develop a favorable image that will allow them to earn more profits.

Which side do you agree with more? Use your personal experiences, relevant facts, and observations to state and support your opinion.

Video Review