Is GMAT Easy To Crack? What Makes GMAT Challenging


Is GMAT Easy To Crack? What Makes GMAT Challenging

The GMAT is one of the most widely taken graduate-level entrance exams to get into the top B-Schools worldwide. It tests its examinees on their verbal reasoning, quant and analytical skills.

It can be said that GMAT is not a difficult exam, but it is challenging. 

Why is it not difficult? 

Because it tests your grammar and comprehension skills along with your analytical skills. The syllabus is limited to higher secondary-level mathematics, and proficiency in the english language. You 

can look at the latest syllabus of the GMAT here. It does not require a lot of memorization or a lot of technical knowledge to crack this exam.

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Why is it considered challenging? 

Because the GMAT is given by 1.5 lakh students worldwide from various backgrounds. Also, the difficulty of the questions is relatively high and requires critical thinking and problem-solving skills in a time-bound environment that can only develop with practice. Also, since the exam is computer-adaptive, accuracy also becomes crucial to scoring high.

Score vs Percentile:

We can get a fair idea of how difficult it is to achieve a certain score from the table below.

Score Percentile
800 99
750 98
700 88
650 75
600 57
550 41


Based on the data collected from 2015-2017, only the top 1% of the test takers achieved a perfect score of 800. Also, the bottom 1% of the test takers scored 200. This means that a test taker can reach a maximum score of 800 and a minimum of 200. Hence, while a score of 600 is achievable, scoring 750+ is much harder.

What Makes GMAT Challenging?

The challenges to crack GMAT exam are threefold:

Duration of the Exam: The GMAT has a duration of 3 hours and 7 minutes (excluding optional breaks). Because of this, it requires a lot of practice to be alert throughout 3 hours. Since this exam is mostly computer adaptive, you cannot afford to lose concentration and make silly mistakes while solving the easy questions.

Also, even though the exam duration is 3 hours, the average time given per question is around 2 minutes for each of the VA and QA sections. So, even after having 3 hours, you might face a shortage in time while solving the questions. 

For instance, the comprehension questions in the VA section require you to read passages and answer questions based on the passage. Hence, reading the passages (which can sometimes be verbose) quickly while also understanding its meaning by reading between the lines is crucial to ace this section.

In the analytical writing assessment section, you need to understand the topic, frame an article and present your arguments in a structured manner within 30 minutes, which is quite challenging if you do not have adequate practice.

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Order of Attempt:

You have the option to choose the order of attempting the sections among the three given options:

● AWA, IR, Quantitative, Verbal (original order)

● Verbal, Quantitative, IR, AWA

● Quantitative, Verbal, IR AWA

You should be able to figure out which order suits you the most by taking mocks in each of the three orders and identifying your strengths and weaknesses.

Out of the four sections, only the verbal and quantitative sections are computer adaptive and contribute to your crack GMAT score out of 800. 

The IR (integrated Reasoning) and AWA(Analytical Writing Assessment) sections are not computer adaptive and have a score from 1 to 8 and 1 to 6 respectively. They do not contribute to your final GMAT score A common mistake that students make however, is that they ignore the IR and AWA sections completely. It is important to give attention to these sections as insufficient practice could yield poor results which could bar you from some of your dream B-Schools even after scoring well in GMAT.

Please note that you might get significantly drained by the end of the exam, hence more prone to making silly mistakes. This could affect your score if any of the last sections is computer adaptive. 

Accuracy: Even with your best strategies in place, if you tend to make a lot of mistakes in the easy questions, you will not be able to reach a high GMAT score. This is because you will be given less number of difficult questions which carry more weightage in your GMAT score – in the computer adaptive sections.

In the IR section, even though it is not computer adaptive, it requires high accuracy. Each of the 12 questions have multiple parts and there is no partial marking if you attempt any part incorrectly.

Ultimately, the crack GMAT is a test of time and stress management. With sufficient practice, you are bound to improve these skills. The GMAT filters out students who can solve problems innovatively, think critically and communicate effectively under pressure. These skills are extremely important to succeed in management programs across the top B-Schools. Hence, if you train your mind to focus under pressure, you will crack this exam. 

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