GMAT : Entry to Graduate Management Program

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) under the registered trademark of Graduate Management Admission Council. It is a standardized selection criterion to help business schools in carefully choosing candidates to their business programs (more than 5000) across the globe.

Every year management schools report an increase in the number of aspirants as business studies have become one of the most preferred options to secure a good career and pay package. Also there are many international business schools today which go for their own entrance tests and exams but they use the GMAT scores as well. This test gauges ability to reason, implement basics and interpret available data apart from analyzing the quantitative and verbal skill sets. The test can be taken six times in a week all around the year. In a year, not more than 5 attempts are allowed and between two consecutive attempts there must be a gap of 31 days.

MBA courses usually mention no age bar as eligibility but it has been observed that major applicants fall in the age group of 24 to 30. A student enriched with work experience of few years definitely has an upper hand above a fresher because knowhow of the nitty-gritties of corporate world or public sector generally prepare a candidate to handle the stress and strain of the business environment better.

With an all-time increase in applications, business schools are getting selective each day. GMAT score makes it easier for them to access an application over another and make choices. It proves the credibility of the student on certain acceptable standards.

Let’s know the four sections of this computer adaptive test a little better:
1. Analytical writing assessment
2. Integrated reasoning (A section included recently in 2012)
3. Quantitative section
4. Verbal section

Analytical Writing Assessment: The purpose of essay section is to put the candidate’s writing skills to real litmus test. Most of the schools prefer to take a good look to the scores of this section than read the essays submitted with the application form. Reason being that those essays may have been prepared with external help. The AWA score, which varies from 0 to 6, does not report immediately after test but is sent through mail roughly two weeks after the test.

Integrated Reasoning: This is the latest section included by Graduate Management Admission Council in June 2012. There was an aim to include this section as the test takers wanted to analyze reasoning abilities of candidates. One must be adept in synthesizing data available in different formats from multiple sources. Data must be integrated well to answer the complex problems.

Quantitative Section: Problem solving and Data sufficiency problems rule this section offering a mix of questions from basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry and a few miscellaneous topics. Candidates must be quick with mental calculations as calculators are not allowed.

Verbal Section: This section is made up of grammar, critical reasoning and reading comprehension (RC). Careful passage reading and deducing correct answers for questions picked from the passage is all about RC. It requires good reading and understanding abilities. Grammar and critical reasoning questions must be practiced well from sample papers to prepare as per the pattern.

The average GMAT study time is 3 – 6 months and like any crucial examination it requires proper plan of study and practice. A score of 630 and above is a balanced score to make it to the good colleges but to make to the top business programs, 720+ has been an observed trend.

A low GMAT score can be a tough call but don’t give in to the pressure. The undergraduate transcripts, high undergraduate GPA, recommendations, essays, top scores from previous college, exigent course or master’s program can play a role to convince the admission officer of the candidate’s analytical and mathematical capabilities. A second attempt at it is not a bad option at all.

Some of the best business schools that pull in talent from all across the world are Harvard, LBS, Kellogg, Wharton, ISB, Manchester, NYU, Columbia, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge, Insead (France) and IMD (Switzerland).

Last but not the least, one must practice and focus on preparations with positive frame of mind.

Please go through the list of recent MBA scholarships available for international students.

Manjulika Pramod

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