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GMAT FAQ PAGE

All your questions about GMAT answered here

What areas does the GMAT test in?

GMAT Tests candidates in the following areas:

Verbal Ability, which has 3 question types: Sentence Correction (approx. 16 ques), Critical Reasoning (approx. 12 questions) and Reading Comprehension (approx. 13 questions)

Quantitative Ability, which has 2 question types: Word problems(approx. 18-22 ques) and Data Sufficiency questions (approx. 15-18 questions)

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section, which has an essay question on Analysis of an Argument, and the Integrated Reasoning (IR) Section which has multiple choice questions that expect candisates to analyse information that is presented in either Graphic, Tabular or Textual format

Within each section on GMAT, the questions are assorted i.e. On the Verbal Ability (VA) section, your 1st question could be a Critical Reasoning question, next could be a Sentence Correction question and so on. Similarly, in the Quantitative Ability (QA) section, the Word problems and Data Sufficiency questions appear in random order

What is the format of GMAT?

AWA section (1 Essay question) and Integrated Reasoning Section to be answered in 30 minutes each. Answer for the essay question has to be typed. The IR is a multiple choice section

Quantitative section: 37 questions in 75 minutes. Multiple choice, Compulsory Answering, Adaptive questioning

Verbal Ability section: 41 questions in 75 minutes. Multiple choice, Compulsory Answering, Adaptive questioning

What are the GMAT Test dates & centers?

GMAT can be attempted throughout the year, at any center anywhere in the world. You may even attempt the GMAT more than once, upto 5 times in a calendar year. However, the time period between two attempts has to be 16 days

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How is GMAT scoring done? What does GMAT percentile score mean?

You get 5 scores when you take the GMAT

1. Your Verbal scaled score, which ranges from 6 to 51

2. Your Quantitative (Math) scaled score, which also ranges from 6 to 51

3. Your overall GMAT score, which is out of 800. The overall score is derived from the Verbal & Math scores.

4. Your AWA scaled score which is out of 6.0 & Integrated Reasoning score which is out of 8.0

With each of these 5 scores, you also get a percentile score. The percentile score tells you how you have fared out of every 100 candidates taking the GMAT. For e.g. if your percentile score in the Verbal section is 98 percentile, it means that for every 100 candidates attempting the GMAT, you are ahead of 98 candidates

The scaled scores are computed by the software taking into account the difficulty level of questions that you answered correctly and incorrectly. It is NOT a factor of how many rights and how many wrongs you got. In other words, in the Quant section, for example, a candidate answering 28 questions correctly and 9 incorrectly can actually end up with a higher scaled score than a candidate answering 29 questions correctly and 8 incorrectly

How long does it take them to send me my GMAT score after I have taken the test?

As soon as you finish the test, you will get a printout (referred to as the Unofficial GMAT Test Report) containing the Verbal scaled score & percentile, the Quant scaled score & percentile, the IR score and percentile and the Overall GMAT score & percentile. Your AWA will be evaluated later, so you will get a Final Official Scorecard in approximately 5-20 days after your attempt.

Most B-schools accept the printout along with the application form you send them, subject to your sending them the official score through GMAC (the organisation that conducts the GMAT)

Can I cancel my GMAT score after the test?

Yes. Once you have finished taking the GMAT, you will be shown your score on the screen. In case you are not happy with the score, you can Cancel the score. If you do this, your score will not be reported and will also not feature on your score report. In fact, nobody will know that you had attempted the GMAT on that date.

What is a good GMAT score?

You have to keep in mind that the GMAT score is not the only parameter on which B-schools short-list candidates. For most top ranked b-schools such as Harvard, Stanford, LBS, INSEAD, Wharton etc., the range of GMAT scores of admitted candidates is from 600 to 790

This broad range exists primarily because the schools also look at the quantity & quality of your work experience, your academic record, the answers to the essay questions on the application form (very important - can make or break an application) and the recommendation letters that you provide.

Therefore, a score of even 650 may be good enough for someone with a very strong application (work-ex > 7 years, strong acads/extra-curricular, good career progression) whereas a score of even 760 may be inadequate for someone with a weak profile. Having said this, since most Top ranked b-schools have an Average (Mean) GMAT score in the range of 690-730, you may set this as a target score to ensure that your application gets a competitive edge, other things being equal

What are good AWA and IR scores on GMAT?

he AWA score is computed in multiples of 0.5 and the maximum score is 6.0 points. All top ranked b-schools take the AWA score very seriously, and anything below 5.0 will affect your application negatively. Aim for a 6.0 or at least a 5.5 on AWA

As far as IR is concerned, b-schools have begun to look at this score only for the 2013-14 admissions cycle onwards. However, you must aim for a score of at least 5/8 on IR.

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I heard that unless I score 700+ on GMAT, I should not consider applying to Top ranked B-schools such as Harvard, Wharton, Insead, ISB Hyderabad etc. Is this correct?

Last year, over 10% of candidates who made it to top b-schools such as Kellogg, Berkeley Haas, and Columbia had GMAT scores of 680 or below. The lowest score at both Stanford & Chicago Booth for the MBA class of 2017 was 570! Therefore, it would be pre-mature to decide against applying to a top ranked b-school on the basis of GMAT score alone. Please refer to the previous question 'What is a good GMAT score' which details out the various parameters that influence your selection

I am very strong in one section but just about average in the other. Can I still look at a score of around 700 on GMAT?

To get a score close to 700, you will need to demonstrate Above Average skills in BOTH the sections, not just in 1 of them. If you do exceptionally well in one section but put in an average performance in the other, you will safely cross 620, but may not cross 680

I have scored just around 600 in my first GMAT attempt. How much improvement is realistically possible in a second attempt?

At SharpMinds GMAT Prep, we believe that the following can be causes of a low score in the first GMAT attempt:

1. A weak conceptual base in either Verbal or Quant or both

2. A decent conceptual base but poor application of concepts, which results in high error rate and more time spent even on relatively easier questions

3. Taking GMAT in a hurry: Taking the test before you are ready for it will be a recipe for disaster on GMAT

4. Ego problems: At times a candidate believes he/she knows best and refuses to look at better approaches towards solving questions

5. Absence of a well thought out Strategy, or relying on a Strategy that's ineffective: Even if a candidate is conceptually strong, he/she may not fare well unless the Strategy adopted during the test ensures optimum Time Management and effective handling of pressure & fatigue during the test

6. Psychologically unprepared: Some candidates waver a lot during their GMAT prep. Were your unsure about your study approach in the first attempt and ended up switching from one source of practice to another in desperation? Were you relying more than you should have on the opinion of fellow candidates? Were you never fully certain that your prep was adequate? The natural consequence of all these factors is lack of self-confidence. Low confidence and low scores go hand-in-hand

7. Too much prep: This is one of the very common reasons for a low score. These days, a lot of content for GMAT is in electronic form, so you can easily get a long set of books, notes, so-called important questions etc. on your computer. Obviously, you are tempted to refer to all of it. It is almost the same as going to a restaurant and wanting to eat everything on the menu. Hope you get the point.

So we suggest that you honestly evaluate the applicability of the above factors to your performance, and this will tell you to what extent (and in what area) you can improve. Going from a 560-600 range to at least a 640-670 range should not be very difficult. And for someone who is at 600, targeting a 710+ score in the second attempt is quite realistic

I read that the first 10 questions in a section influence my GMAT score the most. Is this true?

This is perhaps the most common myth about GMAT! Your score on each section of the GMAT depends on how you perform on ALL questions put together, not just on the first few questions. However, you have to keep in mind that if you make many mistakes at the outset, say in the first 10-12 questions, you will have no choice but to ensure that most of the remaining questions turn out correct. This is because GMAT is an adaptive test and if it adapts downward very soon, you will have to make a greater effort to take it to a higher level

Therefore, the first 10 questions on each section of the GMAT have what can be called a 'hygiene factor effect' i.e. if you do badly on these, they will affect your section score adversely, but beyond a point at which you do well enough on these, they are unlikely to ensure a high final score by themselves

I have taken GMAT more than once. Which score will b-schools consider?

Over 95% of B-schools worldwide look at your BEST GMAT score across all your attempts. In the event that your latest GMAT score is not your best score (an earlier attempt had a better score), they will still consider your higher score. Very few B-schools average out the scores

Which is my most reliable source of practice for GMAT?

Without a doubt, it has to be the Official GMAT Guide (latest edition is the 2017 edition). This book contains 900 published actual past GMAT questions with good quality explanations. It is your safest and most reliable source of practice.

There are lots of Free GMAT questions available on the net. Are these good for me?

Are you sure who has created these questions? More importantly, are you certain that someone reliable has verified the answers! Be careful when you look to the net for free content. There is a lot of non-gmat content floating around under the guise of GMAT material. Students have reported that in many instances the  free content contains errors. While there may be some good references as well, you will not be able to assure yourself that it good and trustworthy, unless you have a reliable seal attached to the questions. Otherwise, stick to published material only. Besides the Official GMAT Guide.(latest edition is the OG 2016 edition), books published by Kaplan, Princeton Review, Manhattan GMAT ARCO's and Barron's are reliable sources of practice.

How should I prepare for the Grammar questions in the Verbal section of GMAT?

Grammar by itself is a vast subject. However, for GMAT, you do not need to know all the Grammar rules. If you are not enrolling for a GMAT course, then a good strategy to prepare for Grammar is to carefully analyze the Grammar questions in the Official GMAT Guide and look for rules that are tested and correct idioms and syntaxes that need to be used. Alternatively, pick up a good Grammar book and review the rules for Pronoun usage, Modifier usage, Parallelism, Errors in Comparison, Agreement between Subject & Verb, Correct use of Tenses including the Perfect Tenses etc.

How should I prepare for the Critical Reasoning questions in the Verbal section of GMAT?

Critical Reasoning questions on GMAT are well drafted and require close scrutiny. Once again, actual past questions published in the Official GMAT Guide are the best and most reliable source of practice.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR GMAT PREPARATION?

Contact our counsellor on +91 809 707 5272 / +91 22 6551 5272 or visit our GMAT Courses page.

How should I prepare for the Reading Comprehension questions in the Verbal section of GMAT?

In order to do well on Reading Comprehension questions, you need to be adept at reading a variety of passages, have a decent reading speed, but most importantly have good grasping ability. Unless you understand the content of the passage clearly and accurately, you will not be able to answer more than 50% of questions asked. As you practise, try different approaches to reading the passages. Alter the pace of reading, re-read some portions for better understanding etc. Try to narrow down to a reading style and approach that works well for you and stick to it.

How tough are the Quantitative (Math) concepts that are tested on GMAT?

Most of the Math concepts that are tested on GMAT are school level math concepts. The challenge in Math is not learning the concepts, but applying them. You do not need a math or science background to do well on GMAT Quant section. But you definitely need conceptual clarity coupled with lots of common sense.

Are Data Sufficiency (DS) questions in the Math section tougher than the Word Problems?

As you do well on GMAT, the questions get tougher. This is when you are likely to encounter quite a few seemingly easy but very tricky Data Sufficiency questions. If you are not careful, you could end up making many mistakes without even realizing the same. Moreover, Data Sufficiency questions test core concepts, hence if your conceptual base is not strong, you are likely struggle on these questions.

GMAT is a computer based test. Does my prep have to be computer based too?

Yes and No. The initial part of your prep, when you are learning the concepts and their applications, need not be computer based and can be done using conventional book based learning. However, you do need to get a feel of answering questions on a computer screen as well. Hence, closer to your GMAT appointment, try to practise on the computer as much as you can.

At Sharp Minds GMAT Prep, over 80% of our course material is now in Online format, including PDFs, Presentations, and Presentations with Audio.

How many practice tests should I solve before taking the GMAT?

Many candidates believe that the greater the number of tests they solve, the better prepared they will become. This is just not true. What is more important than the Quantity of tests is the Quality of your tests. What is also important is how much do you learn from each test you take. At SharpMinds GMAT Prep we strongly advise all our students to devote quality time analyzing their performance on each test they take and guide them in the entire process.

Do I need to take GMAT Classes to prepare for the test?

Our response to this question is likely to be biased since we offer Classroom courses for GMAT. While it is not necessary to take classes and while there are many who excel on GMAT without any formal training, taking a formal GMAT course can have the following advantages:

1. You have someone to guide you throughout your prep
2. You may not have enough time to research for your prep. You run the risk of referring / relying on the wrong sources of information
3. You save time because classroom teaching takes comparatively lesser time than reading books and is more effective if you have a good instructor!
4. The class schedule automatically forces a schedule on you and hence your prep gets more disciplined
5. Each GMAT attempt costs you $250. Hence taking multiple attempts without coaching may turn out to be more expensive than taking just 1 successful attempt after coaching
6. Investing in good quality coaching can pay huge dividends. If coaching can help improve your score by just 30 points (say, 710 instead of 680), and thus help you get into a better MBA program, the annual salary earned post MBA could be about $15000-$50000 more than what it would otherwise have been.

At SharpMinds GMAT Prep, we offer regular classroom as well as 1-on-1 courses that prepare you for a 710+ score on GMAT. Click here to know more

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FABIAN
KATRAK
GMAT SCORE: 760
Admitted to Yale Business School
PERVEZ
ASLI
GMAT SCORE: 750
Admitted to Harvard Business School
ABHIJIT
A.
GMAT SCORE: 750
Admitted to INSEAD
PRATYUSH
RASTOGI
GMAT SCORE: 740
Admitted to Chicago Booth
ARJUN
DEVGAN
GMAT SCORE: 740
SHREYA
MATHAI
GMAT SCORE: 740
Admitted to Harvard Business School
DEEPA
KELKAR
GMAT SCORE: 740
Admitted to ISB, Hyderabad
NIKHIL
BHAMIDIPATI
GMAT SCORE: 740
Admitted to ISB, Hyderabad
NIKHIL
KRISH
GMAT SCORE: 730
Admitted to Columbia
HUSAIN
INDOREWALA
GMAT SCORE: 730
SAMBA
PATNAIK
GMAT SCORE: 720
Admitted to Chicago Booth
INDUJHA
NATARAJAN
GMAT SCORE: 720
Admitted to Purdue
VINAY
MHETRE
GMAT SCORE: 720
Admitted to ESMT, Berlin
ZAREER
VANDREVALA
GMAT SCORE: 720
Admitted to Babson Olin
CHINTU
GANDHI
GMAT SCORE: 720
Admitted to Imperial College, London
PRITISH
PILLAI
GMAT SCORE: 720
Admitted to IIM-A, PGPX
ASHISH
AGRAWAL
GMAT SCORE: 720
Admitted to Stanford
SAMTA
LALAN
GMAT SCORE: 710
Admitted to London Business School
NEHA
KABRA
GMAT SCORE: 710
Admitted to IMD, Switzerland
SIDHARTH
NEGANDHI
GMAT SCORE: 710
Admitted to ISB, Hyderabad
RANJAN
BARNWAL
GMAT SCORE: 710
Admitted to Queen's, Canada
SANTOSH
SUBRAMANIAN
GMAT SCORE: 710
Admitted to S. P. Jain
ANAND
NAIK
GMAT SCORE: 710
Admitted to IIM-A PGPX

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