What Every MBA Applicant Needs to Know About the GMAT


Let’s be honest — standardized testing isn’t something students look forward to. But taking the GMAT is a necessary evil if you’re planning on going for your MBA.


Why does it matter?

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is a 3.5-hour test designed to predict how test takers will perform academically in MBA programs. It’s one of the main factors graduate schools consider when choosing which students to admit into their programs.

“The GMAT is the one completely comparable metric of an MBA application,” says Thomas Davis, TCU MBA ’04 and instructor of the free GMAT prep course made available by TCU Neeley. “The GPA, while a quantitative measure, is not completely comparable with other GPAs, as the undergraduate institutions and majors of applicants vary.”

Preparation is your friend.

Yes, the GMAT is an important test, but taking the time to prepare for the test will help take some of the pressure off. That’s the primary reason the Neeley School developed the free GMAT prep class taught by Davis. The course provides a frame work for additional study. Davis recommends students spend about 100 hours practicing for the GMAT.

Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to help you get ready. Check out Davis’ prep videos on YouTube (here and here) that is offered as a precursor to the prep class. The GMAT prep class features another six hours of live instruction. Learn more about the class here.

Here are some other practical tips to help you breathe easy come test day:

Get a plan. Get to know the GMAT and how you can develop a game plan for success with this Guide to Your Best GMAT from mba.com.

Relax. The GMAT can be intimidating, but remember, it’s only a test of the skills you’ve already learned.

Don’t pass on the prep course. It’s not a required course, but it might as well be. TCU’s GMAT prep course is free to all students applying to the Neeley School of Business.

Timing is everything.The GMAT is a timed exam, so it’s important to master the timing of the test by taking multiple timed practice exams.

Multiple-choice matters most. When it comes to the scoring of the exam, your score ranging from 200 to 800 reflects your performance on the verbal and quantitative multiple-choice sections. The integrated reasoning and analytical writing portions are scored separately, so spend the majority of your time studying up for the multiple-choice.

Take advantage of the freebies.Don’t take the GMAT unless you’ve taken at least one full-length practice exam (available on www.mba.com). Otherwise, you’re wasting your money.

Know your weaknesses.You may want to spend a little bit of extra time studying the categories in which you need the most practice. But don’t spend all your time there or you won’t be adequately prepared for the other sections of the test.

If you’re planning to apply to the Neeley School of Business, don’t wait to register for a free GMAT prep course. TCU offers the course both as an on-campus classroom format and in a webinar series. Learn more about the class here.

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