The most grueling of all the things you need to do to get into a top-ranked business school is to prep for either the GMAT or the GRE. Test takers who’ve scored 700 or above say they spent about 100 hours studying for the GMAT. Most of them have also taken a test prep course.
Starting today (May 24), you can now download a new $4.99 app from Graduate Management Admission Council to allow you to study for the GMAT exam pretty much anywhere on the fly—from a subway train, the back seat of a car, or on a bench at your favorite park—with your iPhone, iPod Touch or IPad in hand. The app is now available at iTunes.
After spending a couple of days trying out the new app, I can tell you that it’s a clever and easy way to bone up on your math or grammar for the test. I’m not sure it makes studying for the GMAT an entertaining exercise, but it does take some of the pain out of it. Unlike existing apps for this purpose, the GMAC version is much easier to use, boasts a cleaner interface, and far more options that make the app significantly more useful to B-school applicants.
The coolest feature of this new app is your ability to compare your scores on actual review questions with other app users. If you signup and login to Apple’s Game Center, the app will anonymously compare your scores against those of others. It’s a game-like feature that puts a little more fun into something that is no fun at all. Too bad it’s anonymous. It would be great fun to challenge a friend to a GMAT review duel and see the results in real-time on your iPhone.
In any case, there are hundreds of real questions and answers in the app on every part of the GMAT exam, from problem solving and data sufficiency to sentence correction and critical reasoning. You can buy more practice questions on the go at a cost of $9.99 for 250 questions.
Practice makes perfect, right? Well, the mini-exams available on the app can be chosen by size. Just have time for 10 quick questions on that subway ride? You can select a review that is 10 questions long, or 20, or 40, or take all the questions in a portion of the GMAT.
Tap on the “Exam Mode” button and you’ll get the questions in sequence without answers or explanations until you finish the review. Tap on the “Tutor Mode” and you’ll get instant feedback on whether your answer was correct—along with an explanation.
Just to make this a bit more interesting, the developers also installed a timer to track how long it takes you to answer a question. Why? Because keeping a certain pace for the exam is important to completing the GMAT.
There’s a “Study Progress Report” that reminds you of how many practice tests you’ve completed and how well you performed on each test. There’s even a chart that plots the percent of questions you answered correctly (not that you may want to be reminded of how poorly you’ve done).
Two other great features: Once you tell the app when you expect to take the exam, it will countdown the days left before your judgment day. Even better, there’s a constant display of pertinent questions for every applicant. Examples: “How long should I prepare/study for the GMAT?” and “How many schools should I apply to?” Tap on the headline and up comes the best advice GMAC can offer. (The answer to the two above questions? It depends and five schools, respectively.)
Users also can use the app to register on GMAC’s mba.com website to compare schools, explore financing options, register for the text and find other prep materials.
All in all, it’s an invaluable tool to help prepare for the test every B-school applicant hates. It may not replace those thick GMAT study books you need to buy, but it’s a nice on-the-go complement that can keep your test taking skills sharp. And for just $4.99, it’s an absolute bargain.