The GMAT test offers a way for prospective students to improve their chances of being accepted to business schools. This entrance exam consists of four different parts, including a writing assessment and integrated, quantitative, and verbal reasoning sections. The GMAT is designed to evaluate skills that are considered highly important for business school. GMAT scores include a score for each part of the test as well as an overall score. While taking the GMAT might seem intimidating, keeping these tips in mind can help you prepare for this exam, so you do your best on test day.
How Long Does the GMAT Take?
The amount of time the GMAT takes depends on whether you’re taking it online or in person. The online test, which started being offered recently, is roughly 30 minutes shorter than the in-person test. This is mainly due to the fact that the in-person format includes the writing assessment, while the online format only includes the three reasoning sections.
In general, the total time for the in-person test is around 3 hours. This includes roughly an hour for quantitative reasoning, just over an hour for verbal reasoning, 30 minutes for integrated reasoning, and 30 minutes for the writing assessment. The limited time for each section makes GMAT time management essential for doing well on the exam.
Tips Before Taking the GMAT
Before test day arrives, there are plenty of ways for you to prepare for the GMAT. Knowing what to expect and how to get ready for it can help you feel calmer when you take this exam, helping improve your performance and allowing you to think more clearly. The following tips can help you make sure you’re well-prepared to take the GMAT.
1. Develop a Study Plan Early
Don’t wait until the last minute to study for the GMAT. You could end up missing out on studying crucial information about this exam while also feeling much more anxious about it overall. You should give yourself plenty of time to study for this exam beforehand. In fact, you should begin studying for it at least a few months (or more) before taking it. Come up with a study plan to help you prepare for each section of the test. This plan should include a target score that you’re aiming for as well as how you’re going to study for the GMAT. Consider your learning style when choosing how to prepare, such as reading a GMAT prep book or taking online tests for practice. A combination of different methods might offer the most effective study plan.
2. Brush Up on Data and Economics
The GMAT tests your skills in analyzing data, so it’s important to make sure you’re ready to tackle these kinds of questions. Preparing for this part of the test means brushing up on data analysis skills, such as interpreting data on graphs or analyzing data in other formats. Studying basic math concepts in algebra, arithmetic, and geometry is also useful. You won’t find a separate section for economics on the GMAT but having some familiarity with basic economic concepts and principles can help you do well on the business parts of the test.
3. Use Online Resources
You don’t have to leave home when studying for the GMAT. In fact, you’ll find a wide range of online resources that you can use at your convenience. The exam’s official site offers online sample questions to test your knowledge and help you learn more about what kinds of questions to expect. You can also access online study guides at the exam’s official site—use them to get ready for the test. Other online resources you’ll find available include GMAT tutoring programs, forums where you can ask questions about the GMAT, and GMAT prep courses. These online resources provide effective ways to gather more information about the test and ensure that you’re ready to take it.
4. Take Practice Online Tests
Taking the GMAT test can make you feel nervous, especially if you’re not sure what to expect. You can avoid this anxiety by taking practice tests online. These tests offer a way for you to see how questions are worded and what kinds of information and skills you’ll need to know. You might find that you need to brush up on certain skills depending on how well you do on these tests. Doing these practice tests before taking the GMAT can also help you feel more at ease on the day of the test. You’ll be more familiar with different kinds of GMAT questions when you take the time to do these practice tests beforehand.
Tips for Test Day
When test day arrives, try to stay calm and focused. If you’ve spent plenty of time studying for the GMAT, remind yourself that you’re well-prepared for it. Knowing how much time to spend on each section or question and how to approach GMAT questions can help you successfully complete this exam. You should keep the following tips in mind when it’s time to take the GMAT.
5. Keep a Steady Pace
It’s important to maintain a steady pace when you take the GMAT rather than trying to rush through it or spending too much time on questions. Knowing the time per question GMAT is a helpful guide in determining how fast you should be going through this exam. Taking it at a steady pace can help ensure that you’re able to get through all of the questions. You’ll also be lowering your risk of making errors on the test due to rushing through it and trying to answer questions too quickly.
6. Move On After 2.5 Minutes Max
How long should you be spending on each GMAT question? A good rule of thumb to follow is that you should only spend a maximum of 2.5 minutes per question. Keep in mind that you’ll run into some questions that you can easily answer in a shorter amount of time. As long as you’re sure of your answer to these questions, you can move onto questions that might take more time to answer. However, you should avoid spending more than 2.5 minutes on these tougher questions, since this might prevent you from answering as many as possible. Leaving questions blank can impact your score more negatively than giving incorrect answers.
7. Look at All the Answer Choices Before Solving
You can save time on GMAT test questions when you read through all of the answer choices first. Doing this can help guide you in solving these questions since you’ll have some idea of the kinds of answers they’re looking for. Reading through the question first, then trying to find the choice that fits the answer you came up with can end up being more time-consuming. While going over the answer choices beforehand, look for clues or hints that might help you solve the question more easily.
8. Use Process of Elimination on the GMAT Exam
Since you only have a limited amount of time to spend on each section, using the process of elimination can help you find answers more quickly. Rather than focusing on finding the correct answer right away, you might find it easier to eliminate the ones you think are incorrect first. This can be especially helpful if you’re stuck on a question and aren’t exactly sure what the answer is. Think about why each choice might be wrong and go with the choice that you aren’t able to disprove.
9. Read Each Question Carefully
While it’s important to only spend no more than 2.5 minutes on each question, make sure you don’t hurry through them or do too much speed reading. You might accidentally skip over important words or phrases in the questions when you’re rushing. Take enough time to read through each question as carefully as possible to make sure you fully understand what it’s asking. This can make it easier for you to find or solve the answer while also lowering the risk of having to go back and read questions again to understand them better.
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