How To Study For The Gmat

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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The GMAT is the Graduate Management Admissions Test, the standardized exam used by business schools in selecting applicants. While the criteria for business school admission also consider things such as grades, personal statements, and recommendations, it is GMAT scores that factor in the most. In fact, many "B-schools," as they're known, use the GMAT as a filter to weed out the majority of their applicants before looking at any secondary credentials, including grade point average.

Obtaining a solid score on the GMAT then becomes the single greatest goal that an applicant can set for him or herself. That said, the test, much like the SAT, the GRE, LSAT, and MCAT, rewards those students who best prepare for it. Since none of these tests measures raw intelligence per se, the defining trait of their so-called winners and losers is test-taking ability, which encompasses solid knowledge of the test, its sections, its point system, and its penalties.

Tricks for Acing the GMAT

Nothing will take you further in your quest to conquer the GMAT than test-taking savvy. To start with, there are the basics: the test comprises three sections--an essay or writing portion, a quantitative portion, and a verbal portion. The writing section includes two separate essays, each with a 30-minute time allotment. The quantitative section, which covers 37 multiple-choice questions, lasts 75 minutes, as does the 41-question verbal section.

Studying for the GMAT requires you to break these sections down into sub-sections, then tackle those portions one at a time. The quantitative third splits into two halves--data sufficiency and problem solving. The verbal third, on the other hand, breaks down into three sub-sections of its own--sentence correction, reading comprehension, and critical reasoning. For those concerned about performing to the best of their abilities, study skills courses can be taken ahead of time.

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