The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is designed for students interested in pursuing a master's degree in business. Most graduate schools of business look at GMAT test scores as part of their application process, and this standardized test can be taken at test centers around the world. In order to pass the GMAT exam successfully the first time, many students enroll in a test preparation program so that they can learn about the components of the GMAT exam, complete sample quizzes and tests, and learn critical test-taking techniques.
About the GMAT Exam
The GMAT exam is designed with a written section with two essays called the Analytical Writing Assignment (AWA), and a quantitative and verbal section. The AWA involves completing two essays in under half an hour each, and the test taker must write about a topic after analyzing a core issue. These essays are rated by a computer program that evaluates writing structure, syntax and spelling, as well as a human test evaluator. GMAT classes can help you practice with different types of essay questions that often appear on the exam.
The second part of the exam, the quantitative and verbal section, is made of multiple choice questions. The quantitative section consists of 37 multiple choice questions and this must be completed in 75 minutes. The questions are centered around problem solving and data presentation. The verbal section consists of 41 questions that test reading comprehension and analytical skills. This portion of the GMAT exam must also be completed in 75 minutes. Test preparation courses can help you practice with sample multiple-choice tests that often appear on the exam.
Since the GMAT is administered as a computer adaptive test (CAT), you will only see one question at a time and your answer will determine what type of question you will get next. This structure makes it slightly more difficult to prepare for than other standardized tests, and a prep course can help you learn how to choose the best answers throughout the testing process.
Why Should I Take a GMAT Course?
GMAT course prep programs provide students with the basic knowledge and skills to pass the exam the first time. Preparation classes include lesson plans, tutorials and a comprehensive overview of all sections of the test. Prep courses also include sample quizzes and sample versions of the actual GMAT exam so that test takers can learn how to pace themselves when completing the test, and become more comfortable with the structure format.
Other key reasons to enroll include:
Improving analytical and reasoning skills
Improving writing abilities for the essay portion of the test
Learning how to make the most of a computer adaptive testing environment
Completing practice tests to improve proficiency
Having important questions answered by a GMAT advisor or tutor
What to Expect with a GMAT Prep Course
GMAT prep course programs are offered in both offline and online settings. Instructor-led courses typically meet once or twice per week, and give you the opportunity to work with classmates and an instructor in a one-to-one setting.
Online prep courses give you the flexibility of working at your own pace and submitting your answers to lessons, tests and quizzes for grading as you go along. Some online test preparation courses also include access to tutorials, a discussion board where you can 'meet' other students studying for the exam, and access to an instructor for any questions you may have.
Both formats of classes can be equally as effective for helping students prepare for the GMAT test and pass their first time. Some GMAT course providers offer a guarantee and discounts for future courses if the student does not successfully pass the test after their first try.
Private tutoring programs are also available from tutoring providers around the country. A private tutor may work with the student in a private classroom or the library, or help them study for the exam by providing help and lesson plans online.
Other Tips for Preparing for the GMAT Exam
In addition to enrolling for a GMAT course or preparation class, you can make use of some study strategies that will help you do better on your exam. Here are some other tips for preparing for the GMAT exam:
Create a study plan and stick with it
Plan to spend at least two to three months familiarizing yourself with the GMAT test structure and format
Use GMAT prep books to practice your math, sentence correction, critical reasoning, data sufficiency and reading comprehension skills
Join an online GMAT prep forum or discussion group for tips and pointers from people who have already taken the GMAT exam
Take as many sample or 'mock' tests as you can before the real GMAT exam so that you know how to pace yourself under pressure