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The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is a key exam for MBA applicants worldwide. As GMAT testing centers prepare for an influx of applicants, it is critical to have a solid preparation plan to ensure success. This guide will provide you with comprehensive information, strategies, and resources to help you ace the GMAT at any testing center.

Understanding the GMAT:

The Graduate Management Admission Test, commonly known as the GMAT, is a standardized exam that plays a crucial role in the admissions process for many top-tier business schools around the world. Designed to evaluate candidates’ analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills, the GMAT provides business schools with a consistent measure to compare applicants.

Structure of the GMAT:

The GMAT is divided into four main sections:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA): This section tests your ability to think critically and communicate your thoughts. It involves writing an essay in response to an argument presented. Your task is to analyze the reasoning behind the argument and write a critique of it.
  • Integrated Reasoning (IR): This section assesses your ability to evaluate data presented in various formats, such as graphs, tables, and text. It combines both quantitative and verbal skills, requiring you to analyze and synthesize information from multiple sources.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: This section evaluates your mathematical skills and understanding of basic concepts like arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. It consists of two types of questions: Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency.
  • Verbal Reasoning: This section tests your command over the English language, specifically in reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction. It assesses your ability to read and understand written material, reason and evaluate arguments, and correct written material to conform to standard written English.

Computer-Adaptive Nature:

One of the unique features of the GMAT is its computer-adaptive format. This means that the difficulty of the questions you encounter is determined by your performance on previous questions. If you answer a question correctly, the next one might be harder, and vice versa. This adaptive nature ensures that the test is tailored to your ability level, providing a more accurate representation of your skills.

Importance of the GMAT:

While the GMAT is just one component of the MBA application process, it holds significant weight. A high GMAT score can enhance your chances of admission into a top business school. Moreover, it can also play a role in scholarship considerations. Therefore, understanding the intricacies of the GMAT and preparing effectively is paramount for anyone aiming for a competitive MBA program.

Study Materials:

For any aspirant aiming to excel in the GMAT, choosing the right study materials is paramount. The market is flooded with a plethora of resources, but it’s essential to select those that offer comprehensive coverage, accurate content, and effective strategies. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the top study materials you should consider:

Official GMAT Guide:

  • Description: Published by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the official body behind the GMAT, this guide is the most authentic resource available. It provides insights into the exam’s structure, types of questions, and scoring.
  • Features: The guide includes real GMAT questions from past exams, detailed answer explanations, and a diagnostic test to help you gauge your starting point. It’s a must-have for anyone serious about their GMAT preparation.

GMAT Prep Software:

  • Description: This is the official software provided by GMAC. It offers a simulated test-taking experience, closely mimicking the actual GMAT exam environment.
  • Features: The software includes two full-length practice tests with real GMAT questions. It also provides detailed performance reports, helping you identify areas of strength and weakness.

Manhattan GMAT Books:

  • Description: Manhattan Prep’s GMAT series is renowned for its in-depth content and clear explanations. Each book in the series focuses on a specific section of the GMAT.
  • Features: These books offer comprehensive coverage of concepts, numerous practice questions, and detailed strategies for tackling challenging problems. They also come with access to online resources, including additional practice tests and video lessons.

Kaplan GMAT Prep:

  • Description: Kaplan is another leading name in the test prep industry. Their GMAT resources are designed to offer a mix of content review, strategies, and practice.
  • Features: Kaplan’s GMAT books include practice questions with detailed explanations, full-length practice tests, and online resources. They also offer a higher score guarantee, giving students added confidence in their preparation.

Online Forums and Websites:

  • Description: Websites like GMAT Club, Beat The GMAT, and Magoosh offer a wealth of information, ranging from study plans to debriefs from students who’ve taken the exam for your GMAT online preparation.
  • Features: These platforms provide forums where students can discuss problems, share experiences, and seek advice. They also offer practice questions, study schedules, and reviews of various prep materials.

Mobile Apps:

  • Description: In today’s digital age, several GMAT preparation apps allow students to study on the go. Apps like Magoosh GMAT Prep and Manhattan Prep GMAT offer a range of resources accessible via smartphones and tablets.
  • Features: These apps provide video lessons, flashcards, practice questions, and mock tests. They’re perfect for squeezing in some study time during commutes or short breaks.

Create a Study Plan:

Crafting a well-structured study plan is a cornerstone of GMAT preparation. A systematic approach not only ensures that you cover all the necessary content but also helps in tracking progress, managing time, and building confidence. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating an effective GMAT study plan:

1. Self-Assessment:

  • Description: Before diving into preparation, it’s essential to understand where you currently stand. Taking a diagnostic test will give you a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Action: Use the diagnostic test available in the Official GMAT Guide or any reputable online platform. Analyze your scores section-wise to identify areas that need more focus.

2. Set Clear Goals:

  • Description: Determine what score you’re aiming for. Research the average GMAT scores of students admitted to your target business schools to set a realistic and achievable goal.
  • Action: Write down your target score and break it down by section. This will give you a clear direction for your preparation.

3. Allocate Time:

  • Description: Depending on your starting point and target score, decide how many months or weeks you need for preparation. Remember, quality matters more than quantity.
  • Action: Create a daily or weekly study schedule. Dedicate specific days or time slots to different sections of the GMAT. Ensure you also allocate time for regular practice tests.

4. Regular Reviews:

  • Description: Periodically review what you’ve studied. This helps in reinforcing concepts and identifying areas that might need a revisit.
  • Action: Dedicate one day a week or every two weeks for a comprehensive review. Use this time to go over notes, redo challenging problems, and clarify doubts.

5. Practice Tests:

  • Description: Mock tests are invaluable. They not only gauge your preparation level but also help you get accustomed to the GMAT’s format and time constraints.
  • Action: Start with one practice test every two weeks. As the exam date approaches, increase the frequency. After each test, spend time analyzing your performance.

6. Stay Flexible:

  • Description: While it’s essential to stick to your study plan, be open to making adjustments. You might find that you need more time on certain topics or that some strategies aren’t working for you.
  • Action: Regularly assess your progress and adjust your study plan accordingly. If a particular resource isn’t helping, consider trying something else.

7. Stay Motivated:

  • Description: GMAT preparation can be grueling, but maintaining a positive mindset is crucial. Celebrate small victories and remind yourself of your end goal.
  • Action: Join GMAT forums or study groups for motivation. Hearing success stories or discussing challenges with peers can be immensely motivating.


How long is the GMAT exam?

The GMAT exam is approximately 3.5 hours long, including breaks.

When should I start preparing for the GMAT?

Ideally, start your preparation 3-6 months before your exam date.

Are there any changes to the GMAT format in 2023?

It’s essential to check the official GMAT website for any updates or changes to the exam format.