Taking the GMAT Long After College

Now that you’ve decided to go back to school, you might be feeling like Al
Pacino in Godfather III, “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back
in!” It is overwhelming just thinking about hitting the books again,
relearning the math you could not wait to forget.

Keep your eyes on the prize.

You have a worthy goal… to get in the top school of your choice and receive
the best education you can. It is an admirable goal and just as any project
you successfully completed, it requires some legwork. GMAT is an important
piece of the admission puzzle, and with careful planning, consistent effort
and determination, it could be your best ally.

The quantitative section is likely to be the harder piece for you unless you
are already working in a quantitative field. You may have to spend a
disproportionate amount of time on remembering and mastering this section.
You will have to “re-learn” some of the theory behind numbers, and acquire
GMAT specific tools and strategies to solve difficult questions.

Remember: understanding math concepts theoretically is one thing, execution
is another. This means after brushing up on the basics, there’s a bunch of
practice to be done.

Data sufficiency will probably be a new question for you. That section of
the GMAT requires a lot of review and you need all the help you can get.

You may have never taken a computer adaptive test (CAT) before. What
“adaptive” means is that there will be no predetermined set of questions or
set difficulty level. The computer tries to match the difficulty of each
successive question to both your overall performance and the question you’ve
just answered.

The better you perform, the more challenging the questions – and the more
challenging the questions, the more points you will receive for answering
them correctly. You can’t skip questions on the CAT: you can see one
question at a time, and there is no going back to change an answer once it’s
confirmed.

Finally, not finishing the test is more heavily penalized compared to
guessing a few questions throughout the test.

The degree to which your score influences your acceptance into business
programs is contingent on a number of factors. Admissions committees
consider, for example, how long you’ve been out of school and will likely
give more weight on the GMAT scores of students who’ve been out of school
for a while.

You might be under the impression that this exam is most difficult hurdle in
your admissions process. This is avoidable when you allow sufficient
practice time and guide yourself by logic rather than emotion during GMAT preparation.

You will master the basics of “reading, writing, and math.” The verbal
segment assumes that you understand standard conventions of written English
and are capable of presenting coherent and compelling arguments in two
analytical essays. The math segment assumes you know the basics of algebra,
geometry, and arithmetic and can apply these concepts in situations slightly
more challenging than high school math class.

The GMAT is not your enemy – half the battle is simply knowing what to
expect on the exam and planning well. Remember that GMAT is most concerned
with your ability to execute and find efficient solutions to problems from
limited areas.