The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admissions Test, is a standardized test required for most applicants to business schools nationwide, including the Broad MBA program. This test is a proven indicator of students’ success in a business and management educational program, so performing well is extremely important in the admissions process. The GMAT may seem daunting, but by familiarizing yourself with the testing format and preparing ahead of time your chances of success can greatly improve.
Just like a career in business, the GMAT tests abilities far beyond math. The GMAT will require you to use your verbal, writing, and logic skills as well as mathematics. Over the three and a half hour testing period, test-takers complete three distinct sections. A thirty minute analytical writing section tests the ability to analyze an issue in essay format. The second half hour is devoted to integrated reasoning, twelve questions that test your ability to interpret graphics, analyze tables, and perform other reasoning tasks. Seventy-five minutes are allocated to a quantitative section composed of thirty-seven questions focusing on data sufficiency and problem solving. The final seventy-five minutes are spent answering forty-one verbal questions, encompassing skills such as reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction.
The best way to prepare for the GMAT is to practice taking the test in an environment similar to that of the actual examination. We have provided practice testing resources below, and it is best to utilize these in an environment free of distractions and without taking breaks until you have completed a section. This will also help you to practice the timing of the test, as GMAT test-takers experience a large scoring penalty by not finishing the test in the allotted time period.
An important thing to understand about the GMAT is the unique computer-adaptive format of the test. GMAT test-takers are presented with one question at a time. You may not proceed without answering the question, and you may not return to a question once answered. The test questions you are given are determined in part by how well you perform on preceding questions. The algorithm begins with questions of medium difficulty, and decides whether to give you less or more difficult questions dependent on whether you answered correctly. For this reason, giving the first several questions of the test adequate time and attention is crucial. Online practice for the GMAT is the easiest way to gain familiarity with the computer-adaptive format.
After you take the GMAT, you will receive a score report with your scores for each section of the test, as well as a total score. The total score ranges from 200 to 800. It is difficult to identify what constitutes a “good” score on the GMAT, as most business schools do not have cutoffs for admission. Instead, they consider all aspects of an applicant, including GMAT score, admissions essay, undergraduate GPA, work experience, recommendations, and more. The average GMAT score for Broad MBA students is 640. While the GMAT is undoubtedly an important indicator of a student’s ability to succeed in an MBA program, it is important to note that a high GMAT score alone will not guarantee your admission. Likewise, a GMAT score lower than your goal does not guarantee rejection from an MBA program.
To avoid stress in the admissions process, start preparing for the GMAT now and take the test as soon as possible. Should you not perform well the first time you take the GMAT, it will take time to register for the test again and to have your new scores sent to the MSU admissions office. In order to meet program application deadlines, we recommend getting a jump start on the process by taking the GMAT at the first available opportunity.
We understand the preparation and effort required to get a great score on the GMAT. We’ve listed a few of our favorite resources on the web, including articles, studying tips, and practice questions to help you prepare for the GMAT. We hope you find these resources helpful!
GMAT MBA Prep: Features a variety of content, including a free 100 page GMAT course, advice from experts, and articles.
GMAT Hacks: Useful advice and articles for planning and taking the GMAT.
Dana’s Quant Math Strategy: Interesting article on the number picking strategy.