GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is a mandatory standardized test for applying to numerous MBA and other Master of Management programs worldwide. It evaluates the most important skills of a graduate candidate: analytical and numerical reasoning, as well as reading and writing skills. A high score indicates proficient skills that business schools desire.
There are three options available for selecting the order in which to begin the exam:
• Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal (original format)
• Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
• Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
There is no "correct" or "recommended" format. Selecting between these options simply gives you more control and flexibility on the GMAT exam based on your strengths, weaknesses and overall preference.
How long does it take to prepare well for the GMAT?
The time needed to prepare for the GMAT depends on your grade, your level of English (to be able to answer the verbal questions), and your level of math (to be able to answer the quantitative questions). To get a good idea of what kind of preparation courses you can take, I suggest reading this article by Digitalvaults.
The difficulty of the GMAT does not lie in the difficulty of the questions (for example, the Quantitative questions have an elementary or secondary difficulty level), but in having to answer quickly (less than two minutes per question) and well (since the test is adaptive).
To get a good score on the GMAT, you must prepare well in advance for:
• Acquire the methodology: how to quickly identify incorrect answers, how to choose between two answers, etc.
• Acquire the necessary language and mathematical skills.
• Take previous exams to increase the speed of answering questions correctly.
Forming a study plan
To maximize your chances of passing, start preparing for the GMAT one year before the test date. Of course, studying for the GMAT at the last minute is not recommended. If you’re not a native English speaker, be sure to practice with native speakers by taking online English classes. The longer you prepare for the GMAT, the more likely you are to pass with a good score.
Find practice exams based on previous GMAT exams. While it’s not always up-to-date, it will give you an idea where your weak points lie, and where you should allocate your study time.
During your early practice runs, it’s a good idea to have textbooks and a dictionary on-hand to look up information that you may be lacking. Having knowledge gaps will only confuse you when you have to complete questions in a very limited amount of time.
Once you get closer to your exam date, you should start taking timed tests to measure you speed. As the real thing will have a time limit, you will want to answer all the questions promptly so they’re not counted against you.
It’s easier to visualize the test as five chunks that each take 15 minutes to complete. Although, you probably won’t complete each section in the same amount of time, so be sure to take note where you’re the slowest/fastest. The oral section, for example, may take 15 minutes to complete 8 questions.
While it’s an option, you don’t need to take a GMAT coaching class. More than anything, you just need discipline, organization, and enough gumption to go in and take the test.
Don’t be scared to go in and take the GMAT for the first time, as you are allotted up to five attempts per year. Just about anyone can pass this exam with enough discipline and self-confidence; you just have to do your due diligence.