GMAT Part I: Importance of the Exam


One of the most daunting aspects of applying to grad school is studying for and taking the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test). GMAT scores are typically required as part of any MBA program application, including those for the Neeley School of Business.

As a service to our applicants, Neeley offers a free GMAT webinar, which provides an overview of what to expect on the exam and strategies to develop your study plan. The course features live instruction.

Thomas Davis (TCU MBA ’04), former TCU accounting instructor, teaches TCU’s GMAT prep course. Davis was key in the development of the course and has taught the GMAT class since its inception in 2004.

“Most MBA applicants are apprehensive about the GMAT, and we had a great response to the course from the beginning,” says Davis.

Importance of the GMAT

There is only one GMAT exam, and scores are objective, regardless of where the exam is taken.

“The GMAT is the one completely comparable metric of an MBA application,” says Davis. “The GPA, while a quantitative measure, is not completely comparable with other GPAs, as the undergraduate institutions and majors of applicants vary.”

While the GMAT is an important part of your MBA application, it’s not necessarily a predictor for how successful a candidate will be in the program.

“It is important to note that while GMAT results do have a correlation with later performance in an MBA program, what is ‘completely comparable’ in these results is simply how good you are at taking the GMAT,” says Davis. 

TCU’s GMAT Prep Course

The GMAT prep course is designed to introduce participants to the overall structure and content of the exam, provide a review of the math skills required and to introduce the seven different question types—sentence correction, critical reasoning, reading comprehension, problem solving, data sufficiency, integrated reasoning and analytical writing assessment—with a specific strategy for managing each one. 

“We work through several examples of each question type, focusing on how to apply the appropriate strategy to each question,” says Davis. “I emphasize that the course provides the strategies to maximize an applicant’s GMAT results, then it is his or her responsibility to practice using those strategies.”

Davis recommends applicants spend about 100 hours practicing for the GMAT. When he took the new GMAT in June 2012 in order to help better refine and improve the GMAT prep course, he spent about 90 hours studying, even though he had been teaching the course for eight years by then.

“My GMAT score in 2012 was 760, and I teach the strategies exactly as I used them myself,” he says. 
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