So, you’ve decided you want to go to business school. That’s great! There are many steps you’ll need to take along the way, but one of the most important pieces of your business school (or b-school) application is going to be your GMAT score. This might be the first standardized test you’ve taken in years, so it’s normal to be a little concerned about it. However, with the right preparation, the GMAT is nothing to fear, and can even be a jewel to be proud of in your overall application.
What is the GMAT?
The GMAT stands for the Graduate Management Admissions Test. It’s a standardized test for all graduate-level management programs, including MBAs, Masters of Management, and more. Like other graduate admissions exams, including the GRE, it’s taken on a computer, usually at a designated testing center.
The GMAT has four sections—analytical writing, quantitative reasoning, integrated reasoning, and verbal reasoning. The test takes about three and a half hours to complete, and aside from analytical writing, the questions are in a multiple choice format, similar to what you’ll have seen on the ACT/SAT.
Can I Study for the GMAT?
Of course you can! And you should. GMAT practice tests, sample questions, and other materials are readily available for students just like you. If you haven’t taken a standardized test in a while, it can be helpful to review all materials and get a sense of your strengths and weaknesses—then you can do a more targeted focus on the areas where you need improvement.
Better still, consider a coach or tutor! Test prep experts, like those at A-List, have valuable experience working with students like you. They can help you prep, keep you accountable, and ensure you spend your time and energy in the smartest and most effective ways.
How Important Is My GMAT Score?
In a word: very. Some even argue that the GMAT is the most important part of an MBA application! But this shouldn’t scare you off; while you likely have a lot of impressive material in your undergraduate record and work experience, consider the GMAT an opportunity. You know exactly what it contains, and you have time in advance to prepare for it, so it’s just a question of prepping and studying, and then it’s time to shine!
When Should I Start Preparing for the GMAT?
There’s a proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second-best time is now.” Once you know you want to take the GMAT, it’s never too early to start prepping! That said, the minimum recommended prep time is at least eight weeks before your test date—and some sources recommend giving yourself up to six months of study time. If you give yourself more time to prep and ready yourself, you’ll feel comfortable and confident walking into the test—and with a great score, you’ll be one step closer to business school!