You certainly have your personal learning style, but the most effective preparation strategy is usually a combination of guided GMAT preparation (courses or individual tutoring), self-study and a lot of practice.
Here are several key reasons to commit to a good GMAT preparation. Keep them in mind and you will be on the right track.
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The GMAT test is not only about achieving a high score. GMAT preparation helps you improve or even build skills which are crucial for your success during MBA or Master’s degree studies. Performing analyses and calculations, reading charts, understanding specialised texts from various subject areas, presenting written arguments on different issues, combining data from multiple sources to make a decision and clear expression are all part of every manager’s daily tasks. And all this is always done under time pressure and with limited resources. You will have all of it during the almost four-hour-long Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).
Integrated Reasoning very closely matches the skill sets that we require for people to succeed in a modern business school classroom.
What Oliver Ashby, senior manager of Recruitment and Admissions, London Business School states above about the newest section of the GMAT, certainly applies for the whole test.
Take a look at Free Online GMAT Study Material
The highest possible score in the GMAT is 800. The world median GMAT score for 2014 was 550. The average score of students admitted to top US MBA programmes is constantly on the rise and it is currently about 730. The latest GMAT score range of admitted students to Harvard Business School is between 510 and 790. So, after all these figures, what is actually a good-enough GMAT score?
You should aim to achieve the highest score you can. People have differing potential. For some it will not be possible to score in the 90th percentile within a reasonable timeframe. It may take you several tries and more preparation than initially anticipated, but it is usually worth it. The minimum decent GMAT score is 550, but if you aim to impress a business school you should try to achieve above 650.
In addition, business school admission officers appreciate well-balanced scores. This means that you should be equally successful in all sections – Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning (IR) and Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) sections. Although IR (score 1 – 8) and AWA (score 0 – 6) are scored separately from the Verbal and Quantitative sections which give the overall score (200-800), all are carefully considered by the Admissions Committees (AdComs). So, you should not rely on a high score in the Quantitative section compensating for a low score in the Verbal section.
Check out GMAT Scores for Top Business Schools
A good GMAT score always makes a difference and helps your application to stand out. Of course the application is a package of many elements – essays or a statement of purpose, a resume/CV, recommendation letters, diplomas and academic transcripts, language tests (TOELF or IELTS), etc. The GMAT is indeed just one element, but it is very easy for the AdComs to use it as a standard and to compare the results of applicants. So, why not take the time and make the most of your GMAT preparation in order to position yourself well during the application process?
Prospective business school students around the world took 243,529 GMAT exams in testing year 2014 and over 1.5 million in the past five years, according to the latest reports of the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), owner of the GMAT test. GMAC datareveals also that the test is in high demand for the MBA application:
Globally, MBA programs remain the predominant program format that all prospective students considered in 2014: 52 percent of candidates considered only MBA programs; 22 percent considered only specialized business master’s and 26 percent considered both program types.
Even schools which do not require the GMAT will give you an advantage if you submit a decent GMAT score along with your application.
Scholarships up to 100%
GMAT is often a requirement for those applying for financial assistance from the business school. Merit-based scholarships and graduate assistantships are accessible to applicants who demonstrate potential for good academic standing during their MBA or Master’s studies.
Watch video interviews with MBA alumni who won 100% scholarships.
Some schools have candidate-friendly scholarship policies which allow you to win a generous scholarship of over 50% of your tuition fees based simply on a high GMAT score. Well, usually business schools require a GMAT score of above 650 or in some cases even over 720, but such an achievement can win you over 50,000 euro and pay for most of your MBA expenses.
According to the owner of the test – GMAC – GMAT scores are not intended to be used by recruiters or employers as a requirement for a job, for licensing or certification, for raises or promotions. The GMAT does not measure knowledge of business, management or economics. The GMAT is not intended to measure motivation, creativity, interpersonal skills or job skills.
Employers may use GMAT results only in relation to what the test actually measures — basic verbal, mathematical, analytical writing, and integrated reasoning skills.
Intel Corporation's Melissa Evers-Hood shares with GMAC that the company values candidates with exceptional data analysis skills. This valuable skill set is developed in business schools and the GMAT is part of this learning process.
Data analysis skills are really important for us at Intel, because we live in an environment that’s rapidly changing. That requires us to be very responsive. So being able to digest volumes of information and make recommendations based on what you see is critical for Intel’s future success.
Management consulting companies, such as McKinsey, also look into job applicants’ GMAT scores as part of the recruitment process. Although this is just one element which they take into consideration, it will be to your benefit for have a 700+ GMAT score if you wish to land a consulting job with one of the elite companies upon graduation.
Check out also 5 Steps to Crack GMAT Preparation Books
GMAC expects that you approach the GMAT with the right attitude and level of responsibility. There are over 15 test-taker responsibilities listed on the official GMAT website. One of them clearly states:
As a GMAT test taker, it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the GMAT exam format, policies and procedures in advance of testing and comply carefully with all test instructions.
So, you have plenty of good reasons to make the most of your GMAT preparation, because it will give you an advantage in MBA or Master's admissions, scholarship applications and your post-graduation career.
Learn more about What the GMAT is really testing.