Graduate Management Admission Test (Computerized Adaptive Test)
You finally decided that you need an MBA! And not just any MBA, but from a fine, demanding school. Maybe you even know to which one you hope to be admitted.
- Where do you go from here?
Many students, especially those who have done very well on the Psychometric Exam, think that the GMAT must be similar. They hope that by studying for a week or a month whenever they can, or even for hours on end and often, that they will be able to ace the GMAT. The truth hits them at the end of the GMAT, when they get their test score! What they did not realize is that this score will stay with them for five years, and will be impossible to hide unless they take the GMAT three more times! When you ask to have your scores forwarded to a college or university, The GMAT Council forwards the last three scores, and there is nothing you can do to prevent it, except wait out the next five years.It is much wiser to prepare for the test properly, take it only once, and do brilliantly!Note: If you need both the TOEFL and the GMAT, study for the TOEFL first, and then begin the work for the GMAT. An excellent score on the TOEFL is the basis for a good beginning on the GMAT.
- What topics are covered on the GMAT?
There are many topics you will study in preparation for the test: mental arithmetic (so that you are a whiz!), number theory, algebra, geometry, probability, statistics, word problems (remember those?), set theory, and various types of complex mathematics work-outs.
In addition, and certainly just as important, are: serious grammar problems, critical reasoning (logical argument) questions, and reading comprehension questions about essays on the Master’s Degree level.
In addition to the above multiple-choice questions, there are two essays you must write and which will be forwarded to the universities with your scores. (Yes, they get the actual essays!)
- Do the schools read the GMAT essays?
Every school we have asked says that they read them for those students whose applications they are considering. However, if you know which school or schools you are interested in, contact the admissions advisor of the MBA program and ask the question directly.
- How is the GMAT scored?
The essays are scored on a scale from one to six, with six the top score and very hard to get. A score of four is about average for English-speaking test-takers who are fairly good writers. Five is wonderful. The essay score is not added into the GMAT scores, but is given as a score of its own. The essay section is called the Analytical Writing Assessment, and its score is called the AWA score.
The GMAT itself is scored from 200 to 800. Both of the sections – the quantitative and the verbal – have a maximum of 300 points, in ten point increments. If a student has 100% on the quantitative portion, and 0% on the verbal, for instance, he will earn a maximum of 500 for the total score. (200 + 300)The following score distribution chart displays the probability of getting a certain score.
The area under the curve, to the right, represents the probability of getting that score or higher.
- The Computerized Adaptive Test (CAT) How does it work?
Adaptive tests are interactive, and work like this: harder questions are given more points, and easier questions, fewer points. If you are lucky enough to earn a very difficult test, you may find that you have earned a very high score. ETS states that the GMAT is generally interactive. But you will see easy questions after difficult ones, even if you answered the difficult ones right. If you get easy questions, do not be tricked into thinking that you made mistakes. Thank them for the easy questions and move on. Just don’t lose your cool!
- Which books can I buy to study on my own?
Each type of GMAT question, including the essays and the mathematics and verbal multiple-choice questions, has specific theory and techniques underlying its successful solution. As far as we can see, there is no single book (or combination of two or three books, either) that really teaches the concepts completely, or even touches on all the types of questions. ETS offers two aids to study that actually share the same data bank of real questions from tests: the Official Guide and the Power Prep Software. While they look like real tests, only very few students are lucky enough to receive the (high) scores that the tests give almost everyone. Study them for structure of the test and for an idea of timing. Many of the difficult questions from the tests that these real questions come from have been eliminated from the data bank altogether. Therefore, you cannot see the most difficult types of questions.
Aside from that, there are several test-prep guides that may offer some useful information. The problem is that the questions are not real (no one can sell ETS questions except ETS). The test-prep company makes them up. In many cases, the questions are not exactly the same type as the ETS questions. So you wind up studying for something else. Not too smart!
Taking The Test
- How often can I take the GMAT?
ETS allows you to take it every calendar month, up to 5 times a year. Otherwise the only restriction is that you cannot take the GMAT twice in the same calendar month. ETS does not care what your record looks like; they make their money by selling tests. Our advice, once again: Take the GMAT only once, but only when you are absolutely prepared!
- How will the university see my score, if I am not a native English-speaker?
The schools will see you as a 550 or 620 or 720 student, whatever you actually earn on the GMAT. If your score is below their range, they probably will not be interested in you. If you are within their range, they may think you are certainly bright to be able to get such a good grade, despite the fact that you are a “foreigner.” They are looking for success, not excuses.
- If I have a learning disability, what can I ask for on the test?
It depends on two things: distinguish between a pure learning disability, like dyslexia, or a physical disability, like vision problems.
If you have only a mild learning disability, do not ask for more than an additional 50% of the time for each section. If you have a severe disability, then you may ask for up to 100% more time per section. It is also possible to request and receive a reader for the test, a writer for the essays, and extra time for your breaks (the normal break is 5 minutes). For additional information about the criterium for each disability see the disability section on the ETS web site.
If you have a pure learning disability, there are centers such as Nitzan (03 – 5372266), and many private psychologists who do the diagnostic testing. If you are working with a psychologist now, or have worked with one in the recent past, and are satisfied, continue with him or her. Just be sure they know how to test for ETS exams.
If you are uncertain, but you suspect that you may be learning disabled, it may be worth your while to be tested. Even a first-time document, if it diagnoses a true learning disability, will be enough to gain you the extra time you need to succeed on the GMAT.
For medical disabilities, go to your physician and ask for a document in English specifying exactly the physical problem and what he recommends as special testing conditions. Whatever he recommends, ETS will probably provide for you.
After you have all the documents verifying your disability, it will take between three weeks and one month to get an answer from ETS. So leave plenty of time.
- How important is the GMAT?
Extremely. Ask anyone who has been accepted. Generally, there are four predominant factors in gaining admission to a top university: the GMAT score, your Grade Point Average (GPA), your personal essays, and your letters of recommendation. The personal essays and letters of recommendation are used to highlight your experience, your unique qualities, and your character.
The problem is that if your GMAT score is not high enough, the other three factors are usually not enough to assure your admittance. If your GMAT score is exceptional, a lower GPA may be overlooked, especially if you have amazing essays and letters of recommendation.
The GMAT is a career-builder! It is worthwhile to do your very best!
Good luck in all your endeavors!
The information contained in this article has been contributed by the courtesy of
GMAX Ivy-League Test-Preparation Center in Israel
For a free consultation, call GMAX at: 1-700-702-102