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The GMAT currently (as of early 2013) costs 250 US dollars plus VAT. Every candidate can register for the test online and pay the test fee by credit card. Registration is via the official GMAC website at www.mba.com or the direct link http://www.mba.com/the-gmat/schedule-a-gmat-appointment.aspx.
In the following, we will briefly go through the assessment of the performance in the GMAT and explain the importance of the test score. We will then focus on the test structure and content as well as the topic of test preparation.
Every GMAT participant receives a test report with three different scores. The GMAT itself consists of four sections, Essay Writing, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Questions and Verbal Questions, which we explain in more detail below. For the sections Essay Writing and Integrated Reasoning, which each only last 30 minutes and therefore only make up a small part of the GMAT, the test participant receives his own number of points, namely 0 to 6 points for the essay and 1 to 8 points for the Integrated Reasoning Part.
The main areas of the GMAT, the quantitative section and the verbal section, on the other hand, are both rated on a raw point scale from 0 to 60 points and both raw points are then included in the total score of the GMAT, which is between 200 and 800 points. This value is by far the most important test result that all universities and in some cases even some employers pay attention to. The maximum number of points of 800 points is achieved by around 50 out of more than 100,000 test participants worldwide, which corresponds to a rate of 0.05% or one test participant out of 2,000.
An interesting development is that the average GMAT scores at the universities as well as the average test results of the candidates have continued to rise in recent years. Just a few years ago, a 700 score in the GMAT corresponded to the 92% percentile, i.e. someone with 700 points was among the top 8% of the test participants. Currently this value has slipped further down and the 700 points only correspond to the 90% percentile, i.e. someone with 700 points is only among the best 10% but not necessarily among the best 8% of all test participants. One of the biggest influencing factors is the increasing number of Indian and Chinese students taking the GMAT test and doing so with extraordinary success. Selected by nationality, the average GMAT scores of Indian and Chinese students are statistically significantly higher than those of US or Western European students. The distribution curve of the test results, which usually resembles a Gaussian normal distribution, is also shifted strongly to the right in these groups. There are two reasons for the great success of Indian and Chinese students: Firstly, standardized school and admission tests are widespread in India and especially in China. As students, Chinese grow up with the idea that their school tests determine their whole life and the opportunities that you can perceive later. On the one hand, many Indians and Chinese are already very familiar with tests that are quite similar to the GMAT. On the other hand, for many Chinese and Indian students, the leap to an elite US university is a lot bigger than for an American or a Western European, since we already have a good education and in this sense are somewhat “test lazy”, while many Chinese and Indians work on tests such as the GMAT with a doggedness and iron hardness that is completely unknown to us. At international forums such as the GMAT Club you can sometimes read that for some test participants four weeks of preparation time is a lot, while others are of the opinion that anything less than half a year preparation time for the GMAT is not to be taken seriously. As much as this is certainly a question of mentality, as explained below in the section “Preparing for the GMAT”, we maintain that four weeks should be enough for an average student without any problems.
The good news for everyone is that the GMAT is by no means an intelligence test. The score of each participant depends very much on the preparation time invested. Anyone who wants to achieve 700 or more points can be relatively sure that they will achieve this goal if they learn long enough and, above all, proceed in a structured manner in their planning. Like all standardized American multiple choice tests, the GMAT can be cracked if you look at its structure long enough and practice the various tasks often enough.
The following table shows which point combinations in the quantitative and verbal sections lead to which total number of points:
Below you will find the respective point scales and rankings for the individual test sections of the GMAT:
The GMAT point scale can be divided as follows using the rule of thumb: 200 to 590 points are a rather poor or at best only moderate result and the global average of currently over 700,000 test participants is 544 points. Test results in the range of 550 to 650 points are quite sufficient for second and third class universities, whereby “second and third class” is not meant in a derogatory way, but rather addresses the league of nationally significant universities. In a very few cases, these scores were sufficient for otherwise very strong applicants with impressive CVs to be accepted at some of the top international universities such as Harvard or Standford.
As a general rule of thumb for the average applicant, however, a score of around 700 points should be aimed for in the top international programs. The limit of 700 points is considered by most universities and GMAT test participants as a “magic limit” or “sound barrier” that needs to be broken. Another rule of thumb is that every applicant should try to achieve a GMAT score that does not deviate more than 50 points from the average of their desired university and program. If the downward deviation is greater (e.g. a 670 GMAT while the Harvard MBA GMAT Average is 730), the applicant should seriously consider repeating the test.
Conversely, it must be clear to every applicant for a university program that the GMAT is only a few of the many components in the application portfolio. Again and again, many students distort the image of the GMAT to the effect that it is the only admission criterion at a university. But the truth couldn't be further away. On the downside, a very poor GMAT score often excludes admission to a good program, but the conclusion drawn from this, a high GMAT score guarantees admission, is fundamentally wrong. If the GMAT score is within a certain range, the college's admissions office practically ticks the list and that's it. Whether the score is 700 or 730 doesn't really matter. Exceptional test results such as 780 points are certainly perceived and rewarded benevolently, but if the Admissions Office is of the opinion that the applicant does not seem to fit into the program and the student body based on his résumé or his letter of motivation, then the applicant will not be admitted , not even if his GMAT score was 800.
As a rule of thumb, it is always advisable to aim for the average score of the respective university at which you want to study. Experience has shown that a clear upward deviation hardly brings any advantages, since it is more important that the overall picture of the candidate is correct, but as already mentioned one should avoid deviating more than 50 points down from the average.
Another important point is the composition of the total score from the quantitative and the verbal part. A lot of universities don't just look at the final score, they look very carefully to see whether the candidate was stronger or weaker in the quantitative or verbal part. While most universities pay attention to a well-balanced score in MBA programs, but tend to be more interested in the verbal-analytical part, the quantitative scores tend to be more important for Masters in Finance programs. For example, those who achieve a raw score of 50 in the quantitative area, but crash in the verbal part and only get 35, can still get into some outstanding finance programs. The other way around would be almost impossible. Some universities, such as the University of Oxford, also advise applicants that not only a certain minimum number of points must be achieved in the GMAT, but also that certain minimum points apply, e.g. for the quantitative part of the test. It may be that a GMAT 700 candidate has no chance of admission to the Master in Financial Economics at the University of Oxford, despite his high score, if his score is primarily only on a very strong verbal part of the GMAT, but only a weak quantitative part.
The following table gives a very good and up-to-date indication of which universities have which average scores. The tendency is that the average GMAT scores of US universities are always slightly higher (usually 10 to 30 points) than those of equivalent European or Asian universities.
Much to the surprise of many, not only universities pay attention to applicants' GMAT scores. In fact, a few employers occasionally ask about GMAT scores. In Germany, this has so far been very unusual, e.g. at Deutsche Bank, this information can be made optional in applications. In the USA and Great Britain in particular, however, the GMAT is asked more often and business schools strongly recommend that their candidates include exceptionally high scores (usually 750 or higher) on their résumés.
The sense or nonsense of this aspect of an applicant may well be argued, but some employers do in fact value the GMAT. For example, the management consultancy Bain found in an internal study among its newcomers that there is a statistically significant relationship between the GMAT score of a newcomer to Bain and his professional performance in the first few years in the company. This means that those with the highest GMAT scores also received the best assessments on average from their superiors. Interestingly, however, Bain also found that this connection no longer exists in experienced and seasoned employees with a few years of professional experience.
However, the example of Bain shows one thing that is very valuable for applicants to know: Anyone who is determined to continue working or working again in Germany after their studies can confidently forget the GMAT score, provided it is sufficient for the university. However, if you want to work abroad, especially in the Anglo-Saxon countries, you should consider repeating a moderate GMAT score, as a poor GMAT may accompany the applicant beyond his time at the university.
The focus of the GMAT is on the following competencies: working under very high time pressure, analytical and logical thinking, numerical comprehension and mathematical skills, logical discussion of arguments, reading comprehension of complex texts and very good knowledge of English. The GMAT consists of four different test segments and takes a total of 3.5 hours without breaks. Breaks between the test segments can, however, be taken in the test center at the request of the candidate; the total time spent in the test center is extended accordingly. The test is taken on a computer in a test center. The participant is provided with scratch paper and pens, but has to enter their final answers on the computer. The test is generally held in English, but is expressly not a language test such as the TOEFL. However, test participants must master English at a high level in terms of reading skills and the ability to write challenging texts themselves in order to be able to successfully take the test.
Regarding its content, the GMAT is not officially a knowledge test, but in practice every applicant has to familiarize himself with a number of different concepts and solutions in advance in order to achieve a high score in the test. The GMAT is more similar to an intelligence test in some ways (but it has to be said that it is not an intelligence test), as it seeks to measure the test-taker's intellectual and analytical abilities by answering a large number of different questions, which only through logical-analytical considerations can be solved.
The test is carried out under very high time pressure.Quite demanding questions only take an average of two minutes (2.5 minutes in the Integrated Reasoning part). The test is structured as a so-called CAT test, where CAT stands for "Computer Adaptive Test". This means that the test becomes more and more difficult with every correct answer, until the candidate at some point comes across questions that he can no longer answer because these become too difficult. This feature of the test is expressly requested by GMAC and is intended to capture the true abilities of the test participant by pushing him to his performance limits. Conversely, it follows from this logic that the test becomes increasingly easier the more the candidate gives wrong answers.
With the exception of the essay, all test sections of the GMAT are multiple choice tests with given answers. The test participant receives a question on the screen and always five different answer options, of which exactly one is the correct answer. The questions in the test come from the areas of "Integrated Reasoning", "Quantitative Questions" and "Verbal Questions".
The GMAT is divided into the following four test sections:
Section 1 - Analytical Writing Assessment
The GMAT begins with an essay. The structure, structure and questions can be compared very well with the essay part of the TOEFL test and those who have already written good essays in the TOEFL test can expect to deliver a good essay in the GMAT as well. The test participant receives a short text and an argument that relates to the text. The test participant then has 30 minutes to write an essay in which he critically analyzes and evaluates the mentioned argument. Usually a good essay follows the typical structure of a short introduction (is the argument correct or not?), Two or three paragraphs in each of which a reason is elaborated why the argument is correct or not, and the conclusion in which the author of the essay is just briefly repeats what he wrote at the beginning (the argument is correct or not).
The assessment of the essay is not directly included in the GMAT score but is shown on a separate AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment) scale from 0.0 to 6.0 points.
Section 2 - Integrated Reasoning
The “Integrated Reasoning Test” follows the essay. This includes 12 multiple choice questions for which the test participant has 30 minutes. The Integrated Reasoning part was only included in the GMAT test in June 2012 and therefore currently plays a very subordinate role for business schools. As of the beginning of 2013, Stanford Business School wrote on its website that applicants should continue to concentrate on the essay as well as the quantitative and verbal sections of the GMAT, as the business schools, at least initially, did not place great emphasis on the IR part of the GMAT because they cannot yet assess the scores due to the lack of a benchmark. In addition, the IR test is quite short with only 30 minutes and its number of points is also not included in the important GMAT score, which is between 200 and 800 points. Instead, the test participant receives his own number of points for the Integrated Reasoning section, which is between 1 and 8 points. Another important point is that GMAT test results are valid for five years and business schools continue to accept old test results. This means that the last old GMAT test results will not completely disappear from the market until May 2017 and only then will each applicant be able to show an IR score in his test. However, those who write the new test should by no means ignore the IR section, since a very bad result in an otherwise good test would clearly show that the candidate apparently "didn't feel like it" and this does not work well in admissions regardless of the arguments set out above Office of every university.
With regard to its content, the Integrated Reasoning Test corresponds very closely to a typical job test that applicants can take in the recruitment process at banks or management consultancies, for example. Anyone who knows the SHL test, which is widespread in investment banking, should be very reminded of it when working through the IR test in the GMAT. The Integrated Reasoning Test comprises a total of four different types of questions, which are:
Graphics interpretation: The candidate sees one or more line, column or quantity diagrams etc. with different information. He receives a question about each of these figures and has to answer the correct answer with the help of the provided diagrams.
Two-Part Analysis: For these tasks, the test participant has to enter two answers directly. The two-part analysis specifies a question and then shows a table with two columns, two of which are answer columns, a third column contains the respective answers. For example, the right column shows various correct and incorrect calculation formulas for the gasoline consumption of a car, while the left and middle columns contain answer buttons with which the candidate marks which formula gives the gasoline consumption per hour and which one the gasoline consumption per 100km, i.e. between the two in the Task united questions there is a connection.
Table Analysis: In the table analysis, the test participant is shown a table with various data (e.g. GDP, GDP per capita, GDP growth etc for different countries). Various statements are then offered that the candidate must mark as "true" or "false". Alternatively, the test participant may only have to answer whether the question can be answered with the data provided or whether there is insufficient data (data insufficiency problem).
Multi source reasoning: With multi-source reasoning, the test participant receives a short text and various statements about this text. The test participant must now analyze whether the statements are correct, ie are covered by the text without any doubt, whereby the connection may not be explicitly given in the text but must be read implicitly from the facts, or whether it is incorrect or not with conclusive certainty can be answered (ie the statement could possibly be correct, but this is not clear from the text).
Section 3 - Quantitative Section
With the essay and the integrated reasoning test, the test participant initially only got through the preliminary skirmish. With the Quantitative Section and the Verbal Section, on the other hand, things get serious, because these two test sections together take 2.5 hours, make up the majority of the test and together form the GMAT score between 200 and 800 points, which is by far the largest at all universities Enjoying attention, while the AWA and IR Score are more or less a "nice accessory" for most of them.
In the quantitative section, the applicant's mathematical skills are tested. The test asks topics from a wide range of different mathematical concepts across 37 multiple choice questions. The content requested is conceptually very easy and corresponds to the subjects of secondary school or high school, i.e. no special mathematical knowledge is required. However, the questions are asked under great time pressure and are therefore very demanding, as the test participant often has to think around a corner or two in order to find the solution for the difficult questions that lead in the direction of 700 or more points. Basically, two different types of questions are asked:
Problem solving: The candidate receives a question and has to calculate the result. One of the five results shown is the correct answer to the question.
Here are two typical examples from the GMAT (Please note: The examples here are in German, but the test questions in the GMAT are always in English):
Question 1 (easy question):
Albert was 38 years old eleven years ago. How old was he x years ago?
A] x - 49
B] 27 - x
C] x - 27
D] 27 + x
E] 49 - x
The correct answer is E] which is very obvious in this case. This question is one of the easiest in the GMAT and, at best, you will come across it at the beginning. If you are aiming for a high score, the following questions quickly become much more difficult than the following question.
Question 2 (difficult question):
In the Alabama senatorial election, Candidate X received 1/3 more votes than Candidate Y and Candidate Y received 1/4 fewer votes than Candidate Z. If candidate Z received 33,000 votes, how many votes did candidate X receive?
The correct answer here is C]. The calculation is relatively easy, this applies to practically all tasks in the GMAT. The challenge here is to solve the tasks within a maximum of two minutes.
Question 3 (difficult question):
A flour middleman buys x tons of flour for p euros per ton. If y tons of flour have to be thrown away due to poor quality and the middleman sells the remaining amount to different bakeries for € s per ton, which following formula correctly calculates the trader's profit?
A] (x - y) (s - p)
B] (x - y) p - ys
C] (s - p) y - xp
D] (x - y) s - xp
E] xp - ys
The correct answer here is D]. The task is very typical for the problem solving part of the GMAT and shows that the simple calculation of a result is not always required, but instead a general solution is often expected.
Data sufficiency: This part is much more hated and feared by many than the Problem Solving section, as it is much more abstract. Instead of calculating the result of a question asked, the candidate is given two different statements with different information and an associated question. Instead of determining the solution, the test participant has to choose from the following five possible answers and determine which data are necessary so that a solution can be determined:
A] Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient to the question asked
B] Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (1) alone is not sufficient to the question asked
C] BOTH Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are sufficient to answer the question asked, but NEITHER statement ALONE is sufficient
D] EACH statement ALONE is sufficient to answer the question asked
E] Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient to answer the question asked, and additional data is needed
The data sufficiency questions are therefore a bit trickier, because firstly the candidate is not expected to calculate the result and accordingly the time for the question is tight and secondly, the correct answer may come down to that with the given data no result can be determined while with problem solving questions it is always clear that a result exists and that it is already on the screen and only needs to be isolated from the wrong answers.
Here are two typical examples (again in German) of what a data sufficiency question looks like. The respective answer key is always identical to the format shown above.
Question 1 (easy question):
In a specialist computer store, some notebooks are brand X and all the rest are brand Y. If the ratio of brand Y to brand X in the store is 5: 6, how many brand Y notebooks are currently on the retailer's shelves ?
Statement 1]: There are currently 80 more notebooks from the X brand than from the Y brand.
Statement 2]: There are currently a total of 880 notebooks on the retailer's shelves.
The correct answer here is D], because both statements on their own are sufficient to answer this question.
Question 2 (difficult question):
In a union, two officials are randomly selected from a group of 10 qualified people for a newly appointed body. If p describes the probability that both functionaries are women, is p> 50%?
Statement 1]: More than half of the 10 eligible people are women.
Statement 2]: The probability that both officials will be male is less than 10%.
The correct answer here is E], because even both statements taken together are sufficient to be able to say with final certainty that the probability that both functionaries are women will be over 50%.
These are just a few examples. All quantitative questions for both problem solving and data sufficiency cover a wide range of topics in the GMAT. The areas queried primarily include the following areas:
- Fractions, Decimals & Percents
- Word problems
- Number properties
The questions are not sorted according to sections, but are randomly selected by the computer from a comprehensive pool of questions. At the end of the Quantiative Section, a raw score between 0 and 60 points is determined for the test participant. The rule is that points below 7 and above 51 are extremely rare. In practice, the point scale is usually only given up to 51 points, since higher scores are hardly ever achieved, because with 51 points you are already among the best 2% of all test participants worldwide.
The raw number of points, which is later included in the total number of points from 200 to 800 points, is determined on the basis of the following data:
- The number of questions the applicant answered (there are heavy point deductions for unanswered questions)
- Whether the question was answered correctly or incorrectly
- The level of difficulty of the question asked, the level of difficulty of each subsequent question, depends on whether the last question was answered correctly or incorrectly
Section 4 - Verbal Section
The Verbal Section records the linguistic and logical-analytical skills of a participant with regard to the understanding of texts, the critical analysis of arguments and contexts as well as the ability of the candidate to create grammatically and content-wise appealing texts. The Verbal Section asks 41 multiple choice questions within 75 minutes, i.e. the time to answer each question is on average a little shorter than in the Quantitative Section.
The questions are randomly selected from the following three areas:
- Critical reasoning
- Reading comprehension
- Sentence correction
Critical reasoning questions measure the test participant's ability to understand and develop logical conclusions and logical arguments, as well as to uncover incorrect arguments. The core competencies therefore include the preparation of arguments, the critical evaluation of arguments and the derivation of conclusions from given arguments. In the critical reasoning questions, the test participant is presented with various situations for which the test participant does not need any prior knowledge. The candidate then receives five multiple choice answers to questions such as which of the following arguments would most likely strengthen or weaken an assertion made in the case. It can also be asked which of the five arguments, for example, would be the only one to refute a claim instead of supporting it.
Here are two typical questions that reflect the idea of Critical Reasoning well (please note: In the GMAT test, the questions are never in German, but always in English!):
Question 1 (easy question):
Since the Mayor's campaign to upgrade London's bus system began six months ago, morning rush hour downtown car traffic has decreased by 7%. Within the same period there has been an equally sharp increase in the number of people using public bus transport in the city center. Obviously, the mayor's campaign to convince a significant number of car drivers to use the city's bus system was a great success.
Which of the following arguments, if true, would cast the greatest doubt on this conclusion?
A] The number of buses that go into central London in the morning is the same today as it was six months ago.
B] Comprehensive renovation measures in the city center over the past six months have resulted in only a few main roads leading into the city center being passable without any problems.
C] Long-term studies of the London transport system show that bus users are no more satisfied than they were six months ago when the mayor's campaign began.
D] Fares for using public buses in London have increased by an average of 5% over the past six months.
E] The mayor himself also uses the bus system to be a role model for the citizens of the city.
The correct answer for this example would be answer B], it would be the only argument that provides a sound justification why more and more motorists have switched to buses without this having anything to do with the mayor's campaign.
Question 2 (difficult question):
A glasses manufacturer tries to increase its sales figures by offering its whole sale customers a special discount of 20% for the autumn quarter if the orders of the respective buyer are more than 20% above those of the autumn quarter of last year. The promotion is a complete success and most buyers qualify for the discount. Despite the discount, the increase in sales is so strong that the eyewear maker closes the quarter with a very solid profit. Due to the very good experience with this promotion, the manufacturer plans to offer it again in the winter quarter.
If true, which of the following arguments most clearly demonstrates the logical flaw in concluding that this success will recur in the next quarter?
A] The buyers who qualified the most for the special discount were mainly those who ordered very little last year in the autumn quarter.
B] The customers were free to decide for themselves how much of the special discount they would pass on to their own end customers.
C] In general, the orders of the whole sale customers are not higher in the autumn quarter than in the summer quarter.
D] The whole sale customers who took part in the discount campaign in the autumn quarter now have unusually high stocks for the winter quarter.
E] During its special campaign for its customers, the eyewear manufacturer also increased its marketing expenses for advertising in newspapers and on the radio.
Answer D is correct. The overcrowded warehouse argument (if it is true) most strongly reveals a logical flaw in the above conclusion.
The question type "Reading Comprehension" is the only section in the GMAT that is almost directly comparable with some tasks from the TOEFL test. The test participant receives a longer text passage that he has to read through and then answers several consecutive questions that relate to the text he has read. It is primarily a matter of interpreting texts and extracting information from them that are not expressly mentioned and thus about connections that the reader must understand for himself. The multiple choice questions for the Reading Comprehension tasks usually ask whether certain statements are true or false or whether they can be implicitly inferred from a text.
The last part of the test, and often the hardest part for many students, is the “Sentence Correction” section. In this section, the test participant receives a sentence and four modifications of this sentence in each task, in which, for example, words are in a different order, commas are set differently or different tenses are used. At first glance, all five sentences look absolutely correct, only with a lot of practice can someone who does not speak English as their mother tongue quickly recognize which sentence is best in terms of its grammar but also its stylistic form (e.g. parallelisms, etc.) formulated sentence is. The point "the best formulated sentence" is important here, it is not the case that only one sentence is completely correct and all the other four, e.g. grammatically fundamentally wrong. Several sentences are allowed, especially for difficult tasks, but there is always one sentence that is by far the best structured. This is what we need to find.
Sentence Correction assignments require knowledge of the following areas:
- Diction (appropriate and correct choice of words)
- Idioms (specific and non-standardized expressions in the English language)
- Grammatical construction (time, commas etc)
- verb forms
- Rhetorical constructions
- Correct reproduction of logical relationships
More than with almost all tasks, every GMAT test participant should take a close look at the Sentence Correction tasks beforehand and practice several examples so that in the test it is clear what it is about and what the questions are aimed at.
As with the quantitative section, the test participant's performance in the verbal section is rated with a raw point value of 0 to 60 points. The Verbal Section tasks are more difficult than the Quantitative Section questions in terms of the achievable points. Although the scale goes up to 60 points, in practice the end of the flagpole is reached at around 45 points. Those who achieve 45 points belong to the top 1% of all test participants in the Verbal Section.
As a test participant, you should arrive around twenty minutes before the test begins. There are lockable compartments in which you can stow your belongings. In particular, cell phones must be switched off and must not be taken into the test room. You can very well bring snacks and drinks with you, which can be stowed in your compartment. These may not be brought into the test room, but you have access to your compartment during the breaks, with the exception of the cell phone, which must also be off during the breaks. Telephone calls are not permitted.
Before the actual test begins, an identity check is carried out, so make sure you have your ID with you. A scan of your palm vein pattern will then be carried out. A scanner identifies the map of your venous system in your hand and saves it. When you return to the test room after a break, the scan is repeated to ensure that you are really "you". Conceptually, this is something like the scan of a fingerprint, only that the scan of the palm vein system is more precise and less prone to errors and is therefore preferred by GMAC. At the beginning the test leader will inform you again about all test rules and make sure that you have understood everything. You will then receive a brief introduction to the test on the computer and then you can get started.
First you write the essay for half an hour, then you immediately continue with the Integrated Reasoning Section, which also lasts half an hour. After one hour of your test time is over, you will have the opportunity to take an optional break. During this time you can briefly go to the toilet or have a drink and something to eat. Either way, it is always advisable to take the breaks to lower the adrenaline level again and to clear your head before the next task. If you want, you can skip the break and continue straight away.
Note: The break time is fixed, the GMAT test will start again automatically after the time has elapsed, so if you come back too late, you will lose valuable test time. This is followed by the quantitative section of the GMAT with its 37 questions for 75 minutes. After completing the third section, you can take another optional break, then continue with the Verbal Section and its 41 questions.
When you have completed the test with the last question or you ran out of time, you can decide whether you want to report the test result or not. The following is important here: You have to make this decision BEFORE your score is displayed, that is, you have to assess for yourself whether the test was good enough or not. Remember, however, that an aborted test will not disappear from your file but will be recorded as an aborted test as such in your profile at GMAC and will also be reported to the universities if you take a new test later and then report your score.
If you decide to accept the test and send the score reports to the universities, in the next step you will immediately receive your preliminary result, i.e. the GMAT score, which is based on the quantitative section and the verbal section. "For the time being" is a technical term here, your test result is fixed at this point in time and you can be sure that it will be in exactly this form in your score report.
After you can read your score on the screen, you can leave the test center. The on-site staff will give you a preliminary score report without the AWA score. After about two to three weeks, the full score report with the values for all test areas will be available online and you can order additional score reports to some other universities of your choice as required.
At this point we will briefly deal with the best way to tackle the preparation for the GMAT. We are not addressing the content-related preparation for the GMAT (which comprises several hundred pages in many good books), but want to briefly develop a guide on how best to tackle the topic of GMAT. This guide consists of the following rules:
1] Do the GMAT at least 1 year, even better 18 months before you start your studies. The last thing you want is to come under massive time pressure until you can only take the test between the door and the hinge. You also need enough reserve time if everything goes wrong on the day of the test and you want to repeat the test again.
2] At the beginning, before you even begin to learn, do the two trial tests that GMAC can download for free at www.mba.com. The two tests give you an indication of your performance and show which areas you can already do relatively well and where you need to improve the most. Working on your biggest weaknesses brings the greatest profit for every hour invested.
3] Get the right literature to prepare with lots of exercises early on. The official books from GMAC are an absolute must-have, you shouldn't start without them. Manhatten Review's books are a nice add-on and have a good reputation. This is especially true because the Manhattan Review tasks are designed in such a way that, on average, they are a little more difficult than the real GMAT tasks, i.e. those who train well here will do very well in the GMAT. You definitely don't need more than the official books and Manhattan Reviews.
4] Start your test preparation for the GMAT about eight weeks before the test date, but don't start immediately obsessively studying eight hours a day, it doesn't make any sense at the beginning. On the other hand, take a look at all the test concepts, understand how the questions are structured and what the GMAT actually wants from you. You will save yourself a lot of time in the actual preparation time for the GMAT if you already have a good understanding of what it is about and what the various questions point to.
5] You should take the last two to four weeks before the GMAT test date off to prepare for the test full-time every day. About seven to eight hours a day is a good guideline in the last few weeks before the test. It shouldn't be much more per day, because at some point your mental capacity will be exhausted.
6] It is important that you have a clear agenda on the table at the beginning of the last few weeks and that you have determined exactly in which areas you want to invest how much time. If you were particularly weak in the verbal area but already quite good in the quantitative part, take that into account. Don't keep working through the tasks that you can already do, but tackle the tasks that are particularly uncomfortable and difficult for you.
7] Also align your preparation with the requirements of your university. Are you applying for an MBA program and do you need a well-balanced score or do you want to do a Master in Finance program, for which the quantitative score is particularly important? Many universities provide precise information about this and sometimes also require minimum points in the individual test areas of the GMAT and not only in the overall result, take this into account in your preparation.
8] Read the contents and the test concepts carefully, but do not limit yourself to them. What defines the GMAT at the end of the day is practice, practice and practice again. Do as many exercises as you can before the test; you should at least be able to go through ALL of the exercises in the official GMAC books twice. Write down any questions that you answered incorrectly. Discuss why your answer was wrong and go through the list of wrong tasks over and over until you have mastered these tasks, including the complete solution. In the GMAT, a high speed is particularly important, so it is very important that you read through a task and immediately have an idea with which concept or with which solution you can crack the task.
9] Plan your final preparation so that you are finished with your planned workload at least one week before the test date. Reserve the last week before the test for a comprehensive review only by going through all the tasks you still get wrong, reviewing content, looking at your summaries, and doing the test tests again to see how much you have improved .
10] Take the last day right before the test completely off. Don't stress yourself and relax a little. What you would or would not learn today no longer has any particular influence on the final test result. Instead, concentrate on getting a good rest and relaxed going to the test the next day. Anyone who hectically goes through all the documents at midnight the evening before the test has often already lost for the next day and does more damage than improving. When you arrive at the test center, think of one thing in particular: the GMAT is important, that's right. But it is NOT the only criterion with which your entire application stands or falls. Be confident and have self-confidence: Almost all test participants who spend several weeks in the GMAT often reach their hurdle of 700 or more points very well. 700 points or more is really nowhere near as difficult to get as it is often said - it's just a matter of good preparation.
Do I need the GMAT test to get into an MBA or master’s program?
Not necessarily. This must be checked beforehand by looking at the program description of the respective university. Many universities also accept the GRE test as an alternative to the GMAT or do not require a study admission test at all. In the latter case, however, it is a question of regional universities, whose programs are often only moderately good. Practically every high-quality to very good university requires either a GMAT or a GRE test for master's and MBA programs.
Do I need the GMAT if I have already done a TOEFL?
Definitely yes, or if the GMAT is not required, then the GRE test is usually required. The TOEFL is not a substitute for the GMAT or the GRE, because the TOEFL is a pure language test and is much easier and simpler than the GMAT or GRE. Since the GMAT is supposed to measure the ability of the student to begin further studies, the GMAT pursues a completely different goal than the TOEFL and thus has a completely different structure.
Is the GMAT particularly demanding mathematically?
No, nobody has to be a math genius to take the test. The requested concepts are very basic and correspond to the mathematics of the Realschule and the Gymnasiale Oberstufe. The difficulty of the test lies more in being able to think logically and analytically. A certain previous mathematical knowledge is not required. The school knowledge of mathematics, which is required for the test, is repeated in detail in all good preparation books.
Can I write down mathematical formulas, e.g. for the area of a circle, and use them in the test?
No, you have to memorize all of the basic math formulas that you may need in the test. No documents may be taken into the test and no collection of formulas or the like will be made available.
What happens if I give the wrong answer or just guess?
If a question is answered incorrectly or guessed incorrectly, the test continues with the next question and the test level drops. This means that the next question will be easier and will earn the candidate fewer points if the answer is correct. In addition, the next question must be answered more correctly in order to increase the test level again and to get back to the higher-value questions.
If an answer has to be guessed, it is strongly recommended to at least try to eliminate the obviously wrong answers in order to guess from the few remaining answers.
What if I don't finish the test?
When the time for the respective test section expires (e.g. the 75 minutes for the quantitative section), the test ends automatically and all unprocessed questions are marked separately as "not processed" rather than "incorrect". This is of central importance for the assessment, because unanswered questions put a far more serious burden on the candidate's test result than incorrectly answered questions. It is therefore of key importance that candidates adhere to the average response time per question and maintain a consistently high speed.If necessary, it is better to guess a question wrong than to leave it unanswered.
Can I fail the test?
No, you cannot fail the GMAT. The test determines a number of points between 200 and 800 points for the candidate, who then has to assess for himself whether this number of points is sufficient for his goals or not.
Can i repeat the test?
Yes, the test can be repeated as often as you like. However, all previous test results are saved and sent to the universities together with the current score report. This means that every university sees the applicant's entire test history and knows how often the applicant has taken the GMAT and what score he has achieved.
Regardless of the fact that the test costs a lot of money every time, applicants should be careful about repeating the GMAT frequently. A second repetition is usually considered okay, especially if the score has increased significantly. Anyone who takes the test three times or more and also does not show any particular progress in their performance leaves a very bad impression at any university. It should therefore be carefully considered whether you are prepared to invest a lot of time again to significantly improve the test result, because it is better to submit a 620 score once than a series of three test results in which you only go from 620 to 640 could improve, ie no progress can be seen even after three attempts.
However, the following restrictions apply to the repetition of tests: A maximum of five tests may be taken per year and a period of at least 31 days must elapse between each test.
Are all questions scored in the test?
No, not necessarily. GMAC continues to develop the test every year, constantly trying out new questions and ideas. New questions that are introduced for test purposes appear unmarked and without the knowledge of the candidate under all other questions, but are not included in the evaluation. GMAC then checks on the basis of tens of thousands of test results whether the new questions show statistically significant deviations from the other questions of the same level of difficulty and are adjusted if necessary. Otherwise they will be included in the normal pool of questions later.
Where can I register for the GMAT?
Registration takes place online on the website www.mba.com of the official test provider GMAC. The direct link to the registration mask is: direct link http://www.mba.com/the-gmat/schedule-a-gmat-appointment.aspx
Where can the GMAT be taken?
GMAC operates several thousand test centers around the world and the GMAT can be taken throughout the year on set dates in all major cities in Germany and abroad. An appointment calendar with place and date can be viewed without obligation at any time under the test registration for the GMAT at http://www.mba.com/the-gmat/schedule-a-gmat-appointment.aspx
What does the GMAT test cost?
GMAC is currently charging $ 250 for the test (as of early 2013). Added to this is VAT.
What dates is the GMAT offered?
Test dates are available throughout the year, especially in larger countries like Germany, GMAT tests are available every few weeks at the various locations.
How much preparation do I need for the GMAT?
This depends on the previous knowledge and cannot be answered in general. For a 700+ score, however, four to six weeks should be allowed depending on skills and knowledge. Still, there are some highly intelligent people who have scores over 700 points with less than a week of preparation, while others spend more than half a year preparing for the test and then fail to reach this barrier. Experience has shown that personal performance on the day of the test leads to a fluctuation range of up to 50 points, depending on how good you feel and whether you happened to be a little more lucky or unlucky with the questions.
Regarding the structuring of the preparation, the corresponding section above in the text explains in more detail how one should plan the preparation for the GMAT.
What does the GMAT test assess?
The GMAT tests verbal, mathematical, analytical and logical skills as well as the written expression of the test participant, which he has acquired during his training and in professional life. The GMAT does not test job-specific knowledge, professional skills or certain content from previous courses. Skills in other areas or other personal characteristics such as creativity are also not queried.
Are there practice tests for the GMAT?
Yes. The official provider GMAC offers two free practice tests on its website www.mba.com, which also give everyone an initial indication of the number of points. The scores in the trial tests already give quite good information about the knowledge and skill level of the candidate. Deviations of more than 50 points in the real GMAT compared to the practice tests are rather rare. In order to download the tests from GMAC, however, it is necessary to create an account on the website beforehand.
In addition, private providers such as Manhattan Review offer further practice tests that can be purchased for a fee, but mostly not individually but in a bundle with other materials such as books for preparation.
Are certain books particularly recommended in preparation for the GMAT?
Yes. The official GMAT guides from GMAC are a must-have. There are three books from GMAC that are often sufficient for many test participants. There is the general guide (a very thick, wine-red book) and, in addition to further practice, the green “Quantitative Review” book and the blue “Verbal Review” book. Both books contain an additional 300 questions from the respective test areas.
The Manhattan Review books are also recommended very often. These books, as well as the official guides, are considered to be the best preparation books and will do just fine. In addition, the time is often too limited to read more books.
The official guides from GMAC and the books from Manhatten Review are the only books that Financial Career can recommend without reservation. We do not receive any money or other benefits from GMAC or Manhattan Review for this recommendation, it is based independently and neutrally on our experience as well as the experience of many other GMAT test participants, which can be read in Internet forums in the form of reviews (e.g. at Amazon) .
There are a lot of preparation courses for the GMAT, do I really need them?
A high GMAT score promises the hope of getting into some of the best college programs in the world. It is therefore hardly surprising that a huge education market with countless offers has emerged around the GMAT in the last two decades.
In our opinion, GMAT preparation courses are unnecessary and an overly expensive investment. Even (or especially!) The most successful test participants in the GMAT are those who independently, actively and actively deal with the test and learn intensively. Experience has shown that this is always sufficient for the majority of all students, even when it comes to dream scores of 700 points or more.
However, there is one exception: for people who have to do the GMAT at short notice under high time pressure or who are employed and can only study on the weekend or in the evening, intensive seminars from good providers can make sense. However, a lot of time should be invested in the selection of a reputable, reliable and experienced provider, because many black sheep try to earn a few quick euros with the hope of applicants to get into good programs without really delivering quality.
What number of points do I have to have in the test in order to get into a good master’s program?
This depends on the master's degree and the university itself. First, universities have different average GMAT scores, and second, the programs at universities have different scores as well. For example, the average GMAT score for the Master in Finance at the LSE is around 730 points, while the score for the less popular Accounting & Finance Master is only around 680 points on average.
As a general rule of thumb, points between 550 and 650 points open up a good chance of being accepted into serious and good programs at national and lesser-known international universities. For example, a number of points in the GMAT between 600 and 650 points is completely sufficient for all good German universities. For many international elite universities, on the other hand, a GMAT score of 700 points is not mandatory, but it increases the chances enormously.
Can the GMAT really predict my performance during my studies?
Opinions differ about this. There are numerous studies that show a correlation between GMAT results and study success, and there are also studies that deny precisely this relationship. But two things are undisputed: On the one hand, only extremely hard-working, goal-oriented and highly intelligent candidates achieve very high scores above the 720 to 730 points in the GMAT. Both factors, intelligence and diligence, have an influence on the applicant's expected study result. On the other hand, the GMAT is not a test for everything and nobody claims that it is. The skills that the test tests are most likely to provide information about the applicant's analytical skills. In good MBA programs, for example, completely different skills such as business judgment and leadership are also important. These are factors that the GMAT does not record and accordingly it cannot make any predictions about them. In any case, the GMAT is an incomplete or only a partial indicator of the expected performance in the course. For precisely this reason, universities do not make the decision about admission or rejection of the applicant dependent on the GMAT alone, but also consider other services such as the letter of motivation, the résumé or professional experience.
Can I postpone a test date that I have chosen once?
Yes, GMAC is flexible about this. To postpone an appointment, you can log in online at www.mba.com and change the test date there. A service fee is charged for this and the change must be made at least seven days before the scheduled test date. The new test date must not be more than six months in the future.
Can I cancel my test date and will I get my costs reimbursed?
The test date can be canceled online. This must be done at least seven days before the test date and you will get a partial refund of 80 US dollars, i.e. the majority of the test fee is always lost in such a case. Anyone who cancels at short notice will not receive a refund.
I am currently in a semester abroad, can I take the GMAT abroad?
This is possible, but every applicant must be able to identify themselves completely and clearly with a valid passport.
What if I take a break but return to the computer late?
The break is entered in the computer via a timer. After the maximum time for the break has expired, the test continues by itself, i.e. test time is lost.
How long will it take to get my test result?
The test result of the GMAT based on the quantitative and verbal section is displayed on the screen immediately after the test has ended. All scores including the AWA score are available after about 20 days in the form of an online score report on the GMAC website.
If I take the GMAT several times, will only my last score be sent?
No. Universities receive all test results for the past five years.
How can I send my test results to universities?
When registering for the GMAT, you can instruct GMAC to send the test result to five different universities. This is included in the test fee. If you want to send your reports to other universities, you can request additional reports for a fee online via your account at www.mba.com.
I have an old GMAT test result that is over five years old, can it still be used?
GMAC stores GMAT test results for a maximum of 10 years. Results that are more than five years old can still be used and sent to universities. However, most colleges will not accept these test results and will require a new test.
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