GMAT preparation for beginners: What to Study and How

GMAT preparation for beginners

How to prepare for GMAT (for beginners)

By applying to some of the top business schools, you will take a significant step toward achieving your career goals. Now, in order to make it through the admissions process, you’ll need a great application. And you won’t be able to do it without a GMAT score. Furthermore, your GMAT score is the most important factor in your MBA application. Here we are providing the GMAT preparation tips for the beginners.

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Check out the video explanation:

Introduction to the GMAT Examination

The GMAT is one of the most widely taken MBA entrance examinations globally, and the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) organises it. It is a test known to assess the analytical and critical thinking abilities of a candidate. The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a Computer-Adaptive Test.

Every management aspirant hopes to achieve a high GMAT score that will allow them to apply to some of the best MBA colleges in the world. Also, since the GMAT score carries maximum weight during your MBA application, you need to plan your preparation in an organised way, which will help you achieve your target score. If you’re someone who’s planning to start the GMAT preparation from the scratch, firstly you should be aware of the examination pattern clearly and have a proper GMAT online preparation plan.

Structure of GMAT Examination

The beginners should know the GMAT exam structure to start their preparation in a well-planned manner.

Exam Duration 3 hours and 7 minutes, plus two optional 8-minute breaks
No. of Sections Four
No. of Questions 80
Mode of GMAT Exam Online (candidates have the option to take at Home or at a Test Centre)
Negative Marking No

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GMAT Exam Pattern & Format

Subject Name No. of questions Points Time Limit
Quantitative Reasoning 31 6-51 (in 1-point increments) 62 Min
Verbal Reasoning 36 6-51 (in 1-point increments) 65 Min
Integrated Reasoning 12 1-8 (in 1-point increments) 30 Min
Analytical Writing Assessment 01 0-6 (in 0.5-point increments) 30 Min

Check out the GMAT Syllabus PDF

How many months are needed for beginners to crack the GMAT Exam?

There’s no magic number for the number of hours or months that one needs to prepare for the exam. If you’re starting your preparation from the scratch, it is recommended to start your GMAT preparation six months before your exam date. Usually, for those who already have a decent grasp of the fundamentals, a minimum of 2-3 months of time is recommended for preparation.

Candidates must focus on each part individually when preparing for the GMAT exam. Try to devote a set amount of time each day to each portion, which can help keep your mind sharp and retain crucial concepts from each section. Here are a few pointers to help you prepare for the GMAT Exam.

GMAT Tips for beginners

  • You can start your preparation using the GMAT Official Guide (which includes real GMAT questions, answers, and explanations). So, first, you need to get the GMAT Official Guide (OG). Also, apart from the Official GMAT guide, it’s extremely important that you enroll for an online course for an in depth understanding of the underlying concepts. Enrolling in an online course will guide you through the preparation process and will help plan your prep in an organised way.
  • Before you start your prep, it’s recommended to take a mock test. Start with taking a mock test. This helps you assess where you stand. By analysing the mock test, you will know your strengths and weaknesses. You need a study plan that addresses your weaknesses. And, for the areas that are your strengths, you simply need to practice on a regular basis. Allot more time to your weak areas, without neglecting your strong areas.
  • Please note that the study plan one needs, varies from individual to individual, depending on his/her strengths and weaknesses. You can take this study plan as a reference and create your own study plan.
  • It is also important to start with your target GMAT score in mind. Your target score depends on which B-School you’re aiming for. With that target in mind, one needs to plan his/her preparation accordingly. The GMAT is one of the most widely taken MBA entrance exams. Aspirants must achieve a score of at least 650 (out of 800) in the GMAT exam to gain admission to the top  B-schools. With the appropriate planning and strategic approach to exam preparation, you can achieve above 650.
  • As previously said, prepare for one section at a time. Start with going through the type of questions of each of the sections. Have weekly goals and deadlines for the topics you have to cover.

Check out the PDFs for Ratio & Proportion Formulas, Profit and Loss Formulas.

Preparation tips for GMAT Quantitative Reasoning

Start a video preparation series so that you can understand each and every concept clearly. Review the basic maths skills. Once you have learned the fundamentals thoroughly, solve a lot of questions. Make notes for the concepts you learned so that when you want to revise a particular topic you don’t have to watch the whole video again. Just by going through the notes, you should be able to understand and revise the entire concept. Do as many problems and questions as you can so that by the end of each concept, you will be able to learn the concept as well as tricks to solve certain problems.

Also, practice simple speed math calculations every day: This will improve your speed while solving the quant questions. Additionally, it is imperative to revise the concepts you learned, on a weekly basis. GMAT preparation time to spend at least 1-2 hours every day in the quants section.

Problem Solving & Data Sufficiency are the two sections of the Quantitative Section. Questions will be from both sections and there is no definite number of questions for each section. However, there will be a total of 31 questions in the Quantitative Reasoning section. The questions will be objective, with multiple-choice responses.

Problem Solving

It evaluates the candidates’ ability to solve quantitative problems using logic and analytical thinking.

Data Sufficiency

It evaluates applicants’ abilities to analyse a quantitative issue, determines whether data is relevant, and assesses when enough information is available to solve the problem.

The following is the broad list of topics that come under the math syllabus:

  • Ratio Proportions
  • Properties of Integers
  • Permutation and combinations
  • Exponents and roots
  • Geometry
  • Elementary Algebra
  • Arithmetic, Linear equations, etc.

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Preparation tips for GMAT Verbal Reasoning Section

When it comes to the GMAT Exam, the Verbal Reasoning section is often considered a very challenging section. The most important skills tested in the verbal section are your reading comprehension abilities, grammar, and critical reasoning. Firstly, watch the requisite concept videos to cover the fundamental concepts of all the topics tested in the Verbal Reasoning Section. You can improve your comprehension skills by reading diverse online articles. Allot one hour every day for Reading. Start with reading anything you like, and slowly diversify your reading into various topics.

You can also allot some time for vocabulary every day if your vocab is poor. But, make sure not to spend too much time on that. Your vocabulary automatically improves if you read quality articles every day. Once you’ve learned the fundamental concepts, it’s very important that you practice the RCs, Critical Reasoning questions, and Sentence Correction questions regularly. Spend at least 1-2 hours on the Verbal Reasoning section every day (apart from a regular reading of one hour).

There will be 36 multiple-choice questions in the Verbal Ability segment. Critical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and Sentence Correction are the three sections of this section. This section assesses the applicants’ ability to read and comprehend written information and the logical relationship between the passage’s arguments and concepts.

Critical Reasoning: It evaluates the candidates’ ability to construct and analyse arguments and formulate and evaluate a plan of action.

Reading Comprehension: It tests the candidates’ ability to make inferences, comprehend logical linkages between significant points, understand words and sentences, and track the progression of numeric concepts. Aside from that, candidates will be judged on their reading skills, including inference, application, primary idea, supporting the notion, logical structure, and style.

Sentence Correction: This part examines two different areas of the candidates’ language skills. The first is to correct expressions while referring to grammatically and structurally sound phrases. The second aspect is an adequate expression, which refers to phrases that and grammatically represent a concept or relationship.

Topics in the Verbal Reasoning section

  • Reading unseen passages
  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Misplaced modifiers
  • Countable Vs Uncountable
  • Parallelism
  • Critical reasoning
  • The rhetorical construction of the sentences
  • Sentence correction to finding error or omission

Analytical Writing Assessment

This section evaluates a candidate’s ability to think critically and convey their thoughts in writing. The Analytical Writing part may include themes for the candidate to write about or a piece from which questions will be asked. The candidate will be required to respond based on the passage. The syllabus for this subject is extensive and diverse, as the passage’s topic could be anything of interest. The topics are broadly divided into the following two types:

Argument essay: One must analyse the logic and then present their argument in this area. Keep in mind that you’ll be graded on how well-reasoned you think a particular statement is.

Issue essay: One must compose an essay on the topic assigned to them in this section. In approximately 600 words, the candidate must express their opinion. Candidates can express their support for the stated statement, or they can express their own opinion. However, make sure to provide your viewpoint in a well-structured manner, as this will be used to evaluate you.

Check out the complete GMAT syllabus and Section-wise Preparation Tips

Integrated Reasoning

The Integrated Reasoning component of the GMAT Exam is the most recent addition to the exam’s syllabus. This section evaluates applicants’ ability to analyse and evaluate data in various formats. It assesses the applicants’ ability to evaluate data provided in the form of a graph or table. This section will have 12 questions of the following type:

Table Analysis: This segment examines applicants’ ability to sort and analyse data in a table, such as a spreadsheet, to find the most critical information or the information that satisfies specified criteria.

Two-Part Analysis: This score represents a candidate’s ability to tackle complex problems. The issues can be verbal, numerical, or a combination of the two. The format is adaptable and may accommodate a wide range of topics. The ability of the applicants to solve simultaneous equations, analyse trade-offs, and discover linkages between two items is assessed.

Multi-Source Reasoning: It evaluates candidates’ ability to study data from a variety of sources, including tables, visuals, text passages, or a mix of all three, and carefully analyse each source of data in order to answer numerous questions. Candidates may be asked to make inferences, and others may demand you judge the importance of facts.

Graphics Interpretation: It measures candidates’ ability to deduce relationships and make inferences from data provided in a graph or graphical representation (scatter plot, x/y graph, bar chart, pie chart, or statistical curve distribution).

It’s all about time management

Time management plays a very crucial role in the GMAT exam. While learning the basics, ensure that you stick to your deadlines. Once the fundamentals of each topic are covered, it’s imperative to solve problems in a timed manner. Candidates must take enough tests to build this ability to manage time during the exam. One of the biggest mistakes candidates do while preparing for the GMAT is not taking enough tests. One must remember that giving enough tests during your preparation will help you assess your progress and work on your mistakes.

Take tests frequently (preferably weekly) to assess your progress. Analyse the tests thoroughly, understand your weaknesses, and bridge the gaps in your preparation accordingly. Also, most importantly, while analysing the tests you need to analyse the time you’re spending on each question.

Importance of Peer learning

Apart from regular preparation, it’s very crucial to have a peer group for during your GMAT preparation. Do Join our Telegram group where you can post and discuss your queries with your peers.

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