The Graduate
Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardized test which has been widely
used as part of the assessment process for admission to MBA programs in
Business Schools for many years.

The test measures
skills and abilities that develop over time. Although it is basically verbal
and mathematical, the complete test offers a method of measuring overall
ability. It doesn't test knowledge in specific subject areas.


The test has three
main sections, quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and analytical
writing. Each complete test has the same format and areas of content, but
specific questions vary from one to another. The questions are continuously
replaced, but must fit the overall content and statistical requirements for the
test. The GMAT is only available as a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT).




The test scores are
intended as one measure of your ability to do graduate work. The test aims to
predict your chances of academic success in the first year of an MBA program.
It yields four scores: verbal, quantitative, total, and analytical writing.


Verbal and Total Scores


Both verbal and
quantitative scores range from 0 to 60, (scores below 10 and above 46 are
unusual). These are on a fixed scale and can be compared across any
individuals. They measure different things and are not comparable to each
other. The total scores for the test ranges from 200 to 800.


Writing Score


The analytical writing
score is an average of the ratings given to two writing tasks. Each response is
given two independent ratings. Once both essays by a candidate have been
scored, they are averaged to provide an overall score. This average score can range
from 0 to 6 in half point intervals.


Schools Use and Interpret Scores


Test scores have two
important characteristics:


1.They are reliable
measures of certain developed skills that have been found to be important in
the study of management/business at the graduate level. They have been found to
be good, but imperfect, in predicting academic success in the first year of study
at Graduate Schools of Management.


2. Unlike academic
grades, which vary in meaning across school, test scores are based on the same
standard for all test takers.


The Graduate
Management Admission Council (GMAC) has published guidelines for the use of
test scores. Because the test only measures some characteristics related to
success in graduate school, schools usually use GMAT scores as one source of
information. Undergraduate record and information obtained from applications,
interviews, and letters of recommendation are other good predictors of success.
Each school evaluates the scores in its own way. Some set and state a minimum
total score for entry.




The test is available,
year-round, at test centers throughout the world. In the United States, U.S.
territories, Canada, and Puerto Rico, it may be possible to schedule your test
within a few days of taking it, but popular dates (especially weekends) book up
quickly. In some countries the test may be offered only once per year, so
planning is essential. Refer to the admissions deadlines of the schools to
which you are applying and make your appointment early enough to increase your
chances of receiving your chosen test date and the test center most convenient
to you. You cannot take the test more than one time in any calendar month, even
if you have taken the test and cancelled your scores. If you test more than
once in a calendar month, your new scores will not be reported and your test
fee will be forfeited.




There are many
organizations that will help you prepare for the test, such as 800score.com.

The following is some
general advice:




Don't think that you
can drop into the test testing center and cruise through the test with no
effort. Think again. The test, if required by your chosen school, is important.
You should take it very seriously.


on some areas only


Some candidates will
focus on strengths at the expense of their weaknesses, while others will
concentrate only on their weak areas and neglect their strong areas. Both
approaches are dangerous. Your test score will be based on how many questions
you answer correctly and their difficulty level, but also on the range of
question types and specific abilities covered by those questions. Prepare
carefully for all sections of the test. Also note that schools often have their
own formula for weighing your individual scores. Try to perform your best on
every section and every question type within each section.


emphasis on practice test scores


Even though your
preferred school may have a declared minimum total score for entry, setting a
goal for your test score is understandable. Try not to concern yourself as much
with your scores but with what you can usefully do between now and your test day
to improve your performance.




Preparing for the test
is like training for an sporting competition. Familiarize yourself with it and
get comfortable with it. Build up your endurance. Aim to have your motivation,
interest, and performance peak on the day. Preparation means getting comfortable
with the test, correcting poor test-taking habits, developing an instinct for
spotting wrong answer choices and finding your pace. But after a time
additional practice will give little additional benefit. So don't over prepare
by starting many months in advance or by postponing test dates to give yourself
more time than you actually can usefully use need for preparation.




In theory you are
capable of attaining perfect scores, but you do not need to do so. Everyone is
limited to some extent by their abilities. Accept your limitations. Prepare
yourself so that you can do as well as you can reasonably expect.




Schools often clearly
state their admissions requirements on Quantitative, Verbal, and Total scores,
but they are often a lot more vague about their requirements for essay scores.
This does not mean that you can take the test essay sections less seriously!
The top school for you will look at all the evidence. Nothing is unimportant.




Don't make the mistake
of thinking, I'll give the GMAT one go, and if I do poorly, I'll not try for an
MBA program. With time and effort you could do very well. See it as preparation
for your study. Register for and take the real test once as a full practice,
just to get comfortable with the testing environment. You'll be far more
relaxed the second time around. More than 90% improve their score in the second






If you must guess the
answer to a question, try to eliminate at least one answer choice, rather than
just randomly guess. This improves the chances. In most questions, at least one
answer choice will be obviously wrong. Eliminate it, then guess if you need to.


out for easy answer choices


Test-writers like to
tempt you with plausible but wrong answer choices. So, remember:


-For problem solving
questions, wrong-answer choices typically reflect common calculation errors. To
avoid this, use your pencil and scratch paper and check your calculations.
Establish the general size of the numerical value that answers the question.


-Verbal section
questions often include a best response and a second-best response. So, don't
rush to select an answer until you've read all the choices!




Be sure that you have
enough time to consider every available question. Check your pace after every
10 questions (three times during a section). Pay attention to where you are in
the test, the number of questions that remain in a section, and the amount of
time you have left. You will have 75 minutes for 37 quantitative questions and
75 minutes for 41 verbal questions. That's about 2 minutes for each
quantitative question 1 3/4 minutes for each verbal question. If you do not
know the answer to a question, or it's too time-consuming to figure out, guess.
You cannot skip a question and go back to it, or change your answer once you
have moved on to the next question. For the Analytical Writing Assessment, you
will have 30 minutes to compose each of two essays.




The difficulty level
of your test questions will be based on the correctness of your responses to
first ones. If you answer the first questions wrongly the testing system will
immediately move you down the scale of difficulty, and your reward for easier questions
is less than for more difficult questions. For example  if you give the testing system the impression
that you're incapable of answering difficult questions, through carelessness on
the early questions, you'll be at a disadvantage.


aim to be perfect


Again, don't be a
perfectionist. The design of the test may encourage this attitude, because the
reward for correct answers to difficult questions is greater than for easier
questions. But aiming to be perfect may reduce the number of questions that you
attempt, and lower your score.


every question


Do not become casual.
Retain your concentration throughout. To score high on the test, think about
each and every question fully.


your calculations on paper


On the quantitative
section, only do the simplest calculations in your head; write down everything
else. Under time pressures it's easy to make careless mental errors in
manipulating numbers.




You cannot take the
test more than once in a calendar month even if you have taken it and cancelled
your scores. If you do test more than once in a calendar month, your new scores
will not be reported and your fee will be forfeited. You may repeat the test
once in any subsequent month. However, it is unlikely to result in significant
increase in your score. The average gain from the first to second testing is
approximately 30 points. Sometimes it is necessary to take the test more than
one time. For example, a Business School may request more recent scores than
you have on record. But  taking the test
again may not be helpful unless your scores seemed to you to be unusually low,
or unless there are other reasons to think that you did not do your best.


If you repeat the
test, your scores from the latest test and the two most recent test dates in
the past five years will be reported to the schools you designate.



The Official Guide for
Gmat Review

Management Admission Council,10th Edition, 2000, ISBN 0446396664


How to Prepare for the
GMAT (with CDRom)

Educational Series,2001,ISBN 0764174592


Cracking the Gmat
2001(with CDRom)

Review,2000,ISBN 0375756248


Republished with
permission from The MBA Program Information Site (www.mbainfo.com), a comprehensive source of
information on MBA programs.