Master the GMAT: Tips

Published: 30 April 2010 | by Thomas Graf

For most people, mastering the GMAT means stress. The problem is not that the exercises are difficult per se. It's rather the time pressure that creates trouble.

  • You might be able to solve most of the GMAT questions with the tools that you learnt at highschool - if you had enough time. But with an average of about 2 minutes per question in the test you may still not master the GMAT because common ways to solve problems may not work anymore. New ways to FIND the right answer and even BYPASS solving the problem mathematically may be needed to master the GMAT.

Click here to find:

more info on the format and timing of the GMAT

a GMAT mini quiz to see how many questions you get right

practicing sample questions

and the Free GMATPrep® software

1. Master the GMAT Tip: Find out in advance which score you need

Not all universities require a GMAT score of their applicants for the admission to a Master in Management degree course. Those who do give only vague information about the score that has to be reached. Some Schools are content with a score of 500 whereas others require "600-800". But in the latter case you can assume that with a very impressive CV and the official lower limit of 600 the granting of a university place is not impossible. Among most business schools with a certain reputation (as, for example, reflected in the Financial Times business school ranking), 600 counts as an unofficial minimum requirement.

2. Master the GMAT Tip: What is reported in the final GMAT certificate?

For all three parts the participant will receive a separate score. The all over score is calculated out of the quantitative and the verbal part. Some Business Schools require explicitly a well-balanced proportion of the two parts of the score to assure that the applicant brings likewise good verbal and quantitative abilities with him. For the essay part a score of 0-6 is given which isn’t included in the scores required by universities. But care needs to be taken: Some universities also explicitly require a convincing result in the essay part. To just leave out this part is rarely a good idea.

3. GMAT with 650 for scholarships

Some schools require a GMAT with 650 for scholarships, for instance the HHL - Leipzig Graduate School of Management. This does NOT mean that there are no other scholarships for peopel with a lower GMAT score. But keep in mind that many students may apply for scholarships and as with the program admission the GMAT score can have an impact on the grant of scholarships.

4. Master the GMAT Tip: Understand the logic of the test

The GMAT is a computer adaptive test which means that the examinee will always get an accordingly more difficult question every time he answers correctly. If he answers wrongly, the next question will be easier. The more questions you answered correctly and the more difficult they were the higher your score will be.

5. GMAT Tip: Cancellation is not recommended

Right after completing the test the candidate can decide if he wants the test to be cancelled or evaluated. The former means that the score will be deleted completely and that the test will be counted as cancelled in the candidate’s record. The unpleasant thing about it is that you can only make the decision about deleting the result before you have seen your score.

6. GMAT Tip: For once do NOT listen to your gut feeling

Because of the enormous time pressure during the test many candidates have a negative feeling when they have eventually finished all the questions. After such a marathon of questions it is doubtful if you are really able to judge objectively if you have delivered good work. Once deleted, the score can’t be re-established and all the effort was in vain.

7. GMAT Tip: It is allowed to come again

It is worth it to let the result count in every case and therefore to risk that a possibly not ideal score appears in your personal record which the Business Schools of your wish list can see into. As everyone has the chance to continue the GMAT as often as they want it is possible to improve your bad result – you just have to wait for a 31 days long waiting period until you are allowed to have another try. And of course you have to pay the test fees of 250 US Dollars again.

  • By the way: One of the authors of this article had 590 points the first time and was pretty disappointed. He repeated the test one month later and got 660... The schools see your latest three test scores and if you improve - which is very likely - repeating is totally accepted.

By Thomas Graf