#### 1. What is the GMAT?

GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test. It’s a three and a half hour long test that students take to apply to MBA programs and other business school programs. It’s meant for students at the graduate level. This potentially life-changing test consists of four sections. The first is the analytical writing assessment or AWA. Students have 30 minutes to analyze an argument based on a topic chosen by GMAT. This section gives students the opportunity to demonstrate they are expert writers and can express themselves in the written word once in a challenging management program. The second section is the integrated reasoning section, which consists of 12 questions based on graphs and charts which examine a student’s reasoning skills. This section is also 30 minutes long. There are two 75 minute sections, the first of which is quantitative. This is a 37 question math section broken down into data sufficiency and problem-solving. The second long section is a verbal section, which analyzes a student’s critical reasoning and reading comprehension abilities. It consists of 41 questions – it’s never too early to book your private Irvine GMAT tutor.

#### 2. Who needs to take the GMAT?

Students who will be applying to a graduate management program in the US, Canada, and parts of Europe need to take the GMAT. The test results are a major determinant of whether or not a student is accepted into a business school, thus it should be a high priority for MBA applicants.

#### 3. When is the best time to take the GMAT?

Students should take the GMAT in time to send their scores to their preferred graduate school and meet the application deadline. Some schools have rolling deadlines while others have very strict cut-off dates. After five years GMAT scores expire so students shouldn’t take the exam too early. Because this exam requires intensive study and preparation, it’s important that students leave enough time to prepare for the test when they don’t have other outstanding academic commitments (READ: “5 things to do while taking a year off between undergrad and grad school”).

#### 4. What scores to students need on the GMAT?

The student’s total score on the GMAT can range between 200 and 800. The scoring guidelines for the GMAT are a little bit different than other standardized exams, so students are encouraged to research what their intended university program emphasizes. For example, UCLA advertises an average GMAT score of 714 but doesn’t have a minimum score for admissions. San Diego State University advertises an average GMAT score of 610. Each school will have a range of class profiles and admissions requirements, so it’s a good idea to check up ahead of time.

#### 5. How can I best study for the GMAT?

Studying for the GMAT is no different than studying for any lengthy standardized exam. Students are encouraged to take a full-length practice test to establish a starting point, especially if they haven’t taken a standardized exam in several years. Students should focus on all four sections but should know that their quantitative and verbal section will make up their total score. Like most standardized exams, the GMAT’s focus is heavily on math and English. Although some students will be able to prepare solo, studying in a group or with a tutor can help jumpstart a student’s efficiency and help them reach a higher score the first time around. Graduate programs will see all the GMAT scores the student has within the last five years, so it’s not advisable to take the official test without having studied extensively. Rather, students should start with an unofficial practice test they can do at home.

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